The PLO's Committee for Prisoners and Freed Prisoners revealed on Monday that the Israeli authorities pay stipends to Jewish settlers indicted of crimes against Palestinians, Quds Press has reported. Israel has complained frequently about payments to the families of Palestinian prisoners by the Palestinian Authority, claiming that they "encourage terrorism".
As an example of the Israeli payments, the rights group mentioned the case of Israeli settler Yoram Skolnik, who shot dead Musa Abu Sabha while he was lying with his face on the ground and his hands tied behind his back in March 1993. The killing took place near the illegal settlement of Susia in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron, and the killer has been receiving a monthly salary in addition to his national insurance payments.
Furthermore, Skolnik also received financial assistance from the government to start a business after he was released from prison, the Committee pointed out. It noted that the Israeli authorities reduced his sentence from life to just eight years.
Israel's official and popular support for criminals and appeals for their release from prison are part of the "rising racism, fascism and encouragement of extremism against the Palestinians," the Committee claimed. Ninety-nine per cent of Israeli Jews who were imprisoned after killing Palestinians were released and received legal and social support, as well as full protection by successive Israeli governments, it added.
According to the Head of the Committee, Issa Qaraqe, the international community must take steps against Israeli laws which clearly target human rights and the rights of the Palestinians.