The Palestinian Authority paid stipends on Sunday to the families of martyrs as well as prisoners held by Israel, despite the occupation authorities deducting the total amount of such payments from the tax revenues collected on behalf of the PA, local media have reported. Payments have also been made to Palestinians wounded by Israeli security forces.
Outgoing PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said that his government started paying the stipends and would pay part-salaries of its own employees soon. He accused Israel of tightening its grip on the neck of the PA in order to undermine its ability to serve the Palestinian people, and said that "popular support" for PA President Mahmoud Abbas would help the Ramallah-based authority to make the payments.
However, hundreds of martyrs' families, prisoners and wounded Palestinians in Gaza did not receive any payments. The salaries of thousands of PA employees in the besieged territory, meanwhile, were cut last month.
On 17 February, Israel's government decided to deduct $139 million from the tax revenues collected by the Israeli customs on behalf of the PA. The punitive measure was imposed in protest at such payments to those whom Israel regards as "terrorists" and not political prisoners.