The Palestinian Authority (PA) government in Ramallah handed out lavish payments to Palestinian prisoners released by Israel in recent months, the Jerusalem Post reports. The PA confirmed the report but said the amounts claimed by Israel – up to $50,000 per prisoner – were "inaccurate" and "exaggerated."
Israel has released 52 prisoners since August as part of ongoing Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
The highest payments went to Palestinians who spent more than 25 year in an Israeli prison, an Israel Defense Forces office claimed. The freed prisoners also were to receive the "the status of a deputy minister or the rank of major-general in the PA security forces," the Post reports. That carries a stipend of about $4,000 per month.
A veteran Palestinian terrorist, Issa Abed Raboo, who was convicted in 1984 of killing two Israelis near Bethlehem, received a $60,000 bonus and the PA also volunteered to pay for his wedding.
PA officials claim the grants will help the released prisoners "begin their lives anew and reacclimate themselves to society." Senior Israeli officials disagree and have called for an end to prisoner releases and the halting of international aid to Palestinians that is being used to fund terror.
"While Israel makes more gestures, the Palestinian leadership continues to feed the fire of violence and encourage terror," Deputy Minister for Liaison with the Knesset Ofir Akunis said in the Post report. "The grants to villainous murderers shows the true face or our so-called partners for peace, and is further proof that they did not come to the negotiating room with clean hands."