Secretary of State Rex Tillerson walked back his statement Tuesday that the Palestinian Authority (PA) had ended its controversial payments to the families of convicted terrorists, clarifying that the Trump administration is in “active discussion” with the Palestinians about the issue.
“We will continue this dialogue with them,” Tillerson told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Wednesday, adding that President Donald Trump has only a “certain window of patience” for the PA to end the terror payments amid a U.S. push for renewed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
Tillerson had said Tuesday the PA “changed that policy and their intent is to cease the payments to the families of those who have committed murder or violence against others.” Both Israeli and Palestinian officials proceeded to rebuff Tillerson’s assertion.
“I have to say that I didn’t see any indication that the Palestinian Authority stopped or intends to stop payments to terrorists and terrorists’ families,” Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman told Kan Radio.
Haaretz reported that Issa Qaraqe, head of prisoner affairs for the PA, said he knows “the allowances [to terrorists’ families] were paid this month, and they will be next month too.”