Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon on Tuesday called on the UN Security Council to take action against the Palestinian Authority’s payments to terrorists, blaming a recent terror attack on the policy and on Palestinian incitement.
Speaking at the Security Council, Danon accused the PA of inciting last week’s terror attack in the West Bank settlement of Halamish, in which a Palestinian stabbed to death three members of the Salomon family as they celebrated the birth of a new grandson at a Shabbat dinner in their home.
“The murderous attack in Halamish did not happen in a vacuum. This terrorist committed a heinous crime following rampant, relentless calls by Palestinian officials inciting violence,” he said. “It is no secret that the Palestinians have built an industry of incitement.”
“How many thousands of dollars will the Salomons’ killer be rewarded before the world acts?”
Speaking alongside Danon before the start of the Security Council session was Oran Almog, who was severely wounded and lost five family members in a 2003 suicide bombing at a restaurant in Haifa.
“Until the age of 10 I was an ordinary kid, but all this changed in one moment. Just as my family was having lunch at the Maxim restaurant, a Palestinian woman disguised to be pregnant blew herself up between the diners,” Almog said. “She murdered 21 people, including my father, my little brother, my grandparents, and my cousin Assaf. I was severely injured and eventually lost my vision.
“The Security Council is holding a discussion on the Middle East, but one of the most important subjects, the funding of terrorism by the Palestinian Authority, will remain outside this discussion,” he continued. “The Palestinian leadership is paying salaries to terrorists and their families every single month. Anyone who believes in the value of human life should act against these payments.”
The Security Council was meeting to discuss recent tensions in Jerusalem over new security measures put in place at the Temple Mount. Metal detectors were set up after three Arab Israelis emerged from the holy site and shot dead two Israeli policemen with guns that had been stashed at the site ahead of time. In the wake of widespread protests the detectors have since been taken down.
While speaking to the Council, Danon said that the family of the suicide bomber from Haifa has received tens of thousands of dollars since the terror attack, while her two accomplices have each received $500,000 from the PA.
Danon’s comments came as Israel has been ramping up pressure on the PA to halt payments to the families of terrorists jailed for attacking or killing Israelis.
Israeli officials say Palestinians have paid out some NIS 4 billion ($1.12 billion) over the past four years to Palestinian prisoners and “martyrs” killed during attacks against Israel. Jerusalem insists the policy is a major incentive to would-be assailants to carry out attacks.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson last month claimed the PA intended to end the practice. However following PA denials, Tillerson appeared to walk back his statement, saying there was an “active discussion” between Washington and Ramallah on the matter.
US President Donald Trump has also raised the issue, confronting PA President Mahmoud Abbas about the topic of Palestinian terror payments during their meetings in Washington and Bethlehem in May.
The US Senate is also currently working on legislation known as the Taylor Force Act, which would require the PA to stop paying stipends to the families of terrorists who kill Israelis, or else lose American aid.
The bill is named after a former US army officer who was stabbed to death by a Palestinian assailant while visiting Tel Aviv in March 2016.
Last week, the White House said it supports the objectives of the bill, but stopped short of endorsing the legislation.