Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Tuesday that the Palestinian Authority has changed its policy of paying families of convicted terrorists, and intends to stop supporting them as a result of pressure from the Trump administration. Tillerson made these comments during a public hearing on the State Department's budget in front of the Senate.
- Palestinian Authority: Hamas bears blame for Gaza power crisis
- What Palestinians can teach Jews about saving Israel
- How Israel jails Palestinians because they fit the 'terrorist profile'
In reply to a question from Senator Jim Risch (R-ID) on these payments, Tillerson said that the issue "was discussed directly with [Palestinian] President Abbas when he made his visit to Washington." Abbas was in the White House in early May, and according to Tillerson, President Trump talked to him about the controversial payments.
"The president [Trump] raised it, and I had a bilateral meeting with [Abbas] later and I told him - you absolutely have to stop this," Tillerson said.
He then went on to say that the Palestinians have in fact changed their policy: "They have changed that policy and their intent is to cease the payments to the families of those who have committed murder or violence against others. We have been very clear with them that this is simply not acceptable to us."