Scores of former Palestinian prisoners freed by Israel and living in the Gaza Strip said on Sunday their stipends from the Western-backed Palestinian Authority have been suspended in an apparent bid to appease Israel and the United States.
A spokesman for Palestinian prisoners said that 277 freed prisoners in the Gaza Strip were surprised to find their May stipends had not been paid.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has demanded that the Palestinians, who view prisoners as national heroes, stop paying stipends to them and their families, and U.S. lawmakers have warned that Palestinian funding could be cut off unless Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas halts the practice.
Israel says the payments are a reward and encouragement for the prisoners’ actions against it but the Palestinians say they are welfare payments to support them and their families.
Some 6,500 Palestinians are currently being held in Israeli jails, many of whom were convicted of attacks or planning attacks against Israelis. Read more at REUTERS.