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PA cuts salaries of 60 former prisoners of Israel

Dec. 17, 2015 10:48 A.M. (Updated: Dec. 17, 2015 6:15 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian Authority this week cut the monthly salaries of more than 60 former Palestinian prisoners in the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian Prisoners' Society (PPS) told Ma'an.

A spokesperson with the society said the reasoning for the cuts are unclear, but confirmed that some of the former prisoners are no longer receiving payment due to their political affiliations.

The spokesperson was unable to provide direct details as to what those affiliations might be, but said that they may not recognize the "legitimacy" of the Palestinian Authority.

The head of the PA Committee for Prisoner's Affairs Issa Qaraqe did not immediately respond for comment.

Other former prisoners whose salaries were cut are those who were receiving benefits due to sicknesses which began to affect them while in Israeli prisons.

A spokesperson with the PPS explained that prisoners who become sick in Israeli prisons qualify for monthly salaries from the PA, however the Ministry of Finance has blocked those salaries as well, requesting paperwork to prove that they actually became sick while in prison.

According to the PPS, proving such a thing would be very difficult.

"These salaries come under the responsibility of the PA to take care of the people who spent several years of their lives in Israeli prisons," a PPS spokesperson said.

"It's for their families and their children. Israel says these payments are going against peace, and the Israeli government is always pushing Europe and other foreign aid donors not to donate to the PA because they say the PA is giving money to terrorists, but we know these people are our resistance fighters and the PA is required to take care of them."

In response to the cut salaries, several former prisoners on Wednesday held a sit-in at the PA Ministry of Finance headquarters in Ramallah city, and announced that they would go on hunger strike if their salaries were not renewed.

The prisoners denounced the PA's actions, calling the salary cuts illegal.

By law, the PA is required to pay monthly stipends to Palestinians who served time in Israeli prisons. The salaries are based on a sliding scale mainly depending on the amount of time a former prisoner served in Israeli jails.

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