Tillerson Says Palestinian Authority Will No Longer Pay Families of Convicted Terrorists

The secretary of state says Palestinians have changed their policy as a result of pressure from the Trump administration

Rex Tillerson, U.S. Secretary of State, speaks during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing in Washington, June 13, 2017.
Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

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.

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.

Secretary Rex Tillerson's remarks on the Palestinian Authority start at 1:22:30.

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."