RNA - "Our position is as it was: We will not receive any money from Israel if it is incomplete."
"This is something we will not accept at any cost."
Those were the remarks made by PA President Mahmud Abbas during the weekly cabinet meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Monday.
In early July 2018, Israel’s parliament (Knesset) passed a bill to withhold hundreds of millions of dollars in funds from the Palestinians over welfare payments given to prisoners and their families.
Tel Aviv in February invoked a law to deduce tax revenues relative to the amounts the Ramallah-based PA pays to the Palestinians languishing in Israeli jails or the families of those killed by the Israeli military.
At the time, several senior Palestinian officials condemned the decision, which they described as “piracy and an illegal economic aggression.”
The stipends benefit roughly 35,000 families of the Palestinians killed and wounded by Israel. The PA says the payments are a form of welfare stipend to the families who have lost their main breadwinner. The Israeli regime calls that “terrorist salaries.”
Abbas has time and again defended such payments as an important function of his administration.
In a speech in June 2017, he argued that “payments to support the families are a social responsibility to look after innocent people affected by the incarceration or killing of their loved ones.”
Last week, the Arab League pledged to provide the PA with $100 million monthly, potentially averting a financial crisis caused by the row.
Abbas on Monday called on the body to honor that pledge, averting a crippling financial crisis.
"We do not have high hopes, but perhaps the amount could be considered a debt that we return as soon as Israel returns" the money, he said.
The administration of US President Donald Trump has taken a harsh stance against the Palestinians. In August 2018, the administration announced it was slashing millions of dollars in support to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
Millions of dollars have also been cut in aid to the Palestinians for projects in the West Bank and the besieged Gaza Strip, including to hospitals in the occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds.