Palestinian pay-for-slay stands in the way of renewing ties with Biden administration

Palestinian policy of paying reward money to convicted terrorists stands between renewing ties with the Biden administration.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

The Palestinian Authority is looking at ways to change its pay-for-slay policy of giving cash handouts to convicted terrorists in order to hide or change the process and make it more palatable to the Biden administration, Axios reported.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh formed a special negotiating team to discuss the controversial payments with the Americans in order to renew relations and open the way for the PA to start receiving hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. foreign aid.

That aid was cut off in 2018 when the Palestinians refused to stop the payments and the Americans, under the Trump administration, invoked the terms of the Taylor Force Act that was passed by Congress the previous year.

The legislation is named for 28-year-old former U.S. serviceman Taylor Force, who was stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist in March 2016 during a graduate school visit to Israel. Under the “pay-for-slay” policy, the PA pays monthly stipends to any Palestinian jailed for acts against Israel as well as payments to the families of those who committed suicide bombings or were neutralized and killed.

U.S. and Palestinian officials acknowledged that the payments are an issue that must be resolved before foreign aid to the PA is renewed, the report said. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas gave Shtayyeh the job of having a team of lawyers and experts find loopholes to disguise the payments. One option is to change Palestinian law so that the payments are based on the welfare needs of the prisoner or the family and not on the crime committed.

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“We know we have to find a solution for the prisoner payments, but it is an important issue for many Palestinians and any solution must be dignified,” a Palestinian official told Axios.

However, as recently as last month, Palestinian officials vowed to continue the payments, putting pressure on the Biden administration, which wanted to resume funding to the PA.

“This pay (terrorists) to slay (Israelis) has been around for years,” tweeted former adviser to President Trump Jason Greenblatt. “We had ‘meetings’ where the PA said they ‘wanted to’ make a change, but they refused to stop making these atrocious payments. Hopefully the Biden Administration will make progress without trading anything for it.”