Palestinian terrorists' families will still get paid for attacks

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Tillerson had declared the purported change in PA policy on Tuesday, during a public hearing with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee concerning budget changes at the State Department.

"They have changed their policy, at least I have been informed they've changed that policy", Tillerson told United States lawmakers.

"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", Tillerson said.

Confronted by Senator Robert Menendez (D-New Jersey), who has been a harsh critic of Moscow, about "Russia sanctions that have been agreed to in a bipartisan fashion", Tillerson said that he would prefer to have "flexibility" in relations with the Kremlin.

"The American and Israeli pressure is an aggression against the Palestinian people and the Palestinian Authority", Qaraqe said, adding that "almost every other household among the Palestinian people is the family of a prisoner or martyr".

"Those people, (prisoners) have sacrificed their lives for their people and the minimum we can do to them is taking care of their families", Karake said. "They could perhaps be labeled differently", but they "are not going to be stopped".

Palestinian terrorists' families will still get paid for attacks

But the Israeli newspaper Haaretz quoted a PA official as denying the payments would be stopped, saying they are essential for the PA's existence.

Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Tillerson was noncommittal about a package of new Russian Federation sanctions, saying he's still reviewing the proposed penalties that Senate Republicans and Democrats agreed upon after lengthy negotiations.

Later on Monday, a senior official in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) confirmed that Secretary Tillerson was mistaken. The fund for families of several thousand Palestinians held for alleged anti-Israeli activities, from stone-throwing to shooting attacks and bombings, had a 2016 budget of $125 million, according to the website of the Palestinian Authority's Finance Ministry.

"We are working in a couple of areas in particular to see if we can establish that there is a basis for reestablishing some type of working relationship with the Russian government that is in our interest", Tillerson said.

Half an hour later, however, Tillerson repeated his message from Tuesday and said that assurances from the Palestinian leadership on this issue "were given to me during the President's visit to Bethlehem".

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