Bennett: Palestinian President Abbas Is 'A Mega-terrorist'

Economy minister attacks PA for transferring funds to Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

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Naftali Bennett speaking at the Knesset.
Naftali Bennett speaking at the Knesset.Credit: Emil Salman

Economy Minister Naftali Bennett on Thursday called Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas a "mega-terrorist" for transferring Palestinian Authority funds to Palestinian inmates in Israeli prisons.

"A person who lines the pockets of murderers with tens of millions of shekels each month is a mega-terrorist, who has not changed his ways," Bennett, who is also the chairman of the right-wing Habayit Hayehudi party, told Israel Radio.

Bennett also condemned on the program a statement by President-elect Reuven Rivlin to build trusting relations with Abbas in the wake of the Palestinian president's call to release the three Israeli teens kidnapped earlier this month. Bennett said Abbas should be measured by his deeds, not his declarations.

Israel's security cabinet decided Wednesday night to examine options for preventing the fund transfers.

The PA's Ministry for Prisoners' Affairs gives stipends totaling 20 million shekels a month to Palestinian prisoners. The stipends vary between 1,400 shekels for a prisoner sentenced to three years to 12,000 shekels for a 30-year sentence. Released prisoners are eligible for stipends varying between 5,000 shekels for less than three-years in prison and 87,000 shekels for serving over 30 years.

In recent years, Israel has been claiming that the funds given by foreign governments to the PA, earmarked for building up the Authority's institutions, are eventually allocated for these stipends. Several countries, including Britain and Norway, have changed the relevant procedures to make sure their donations are not transferred to prisoners.

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