Over 100 family members of Israelis killed in terrorist attacks asked to meet with US President Donald Trump during his scheduled visit to Israel next week.
In a letter Monday, the 103 signatories said they welcomed the visit but were concerned about the president’s plan to facilitate talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, citing payments by the PA to convicted terrorists.
“As is widely documented, the PA pays large sums of money to convicted terrorists who have murdered innocent Israelis, among them our loved ones,” read the letter.
“As the size of the payments are made in accordance with the severity of the crime, terrorists are motivated to commit extreme acts of cruelty and barbarity. This immoral policy must stop immediately before any talks can commence,” they wrote.
The families blasted a US effort in 2013 led by then-Secretary of State John Kerry to restart peace talks, in the framework of which Israel released a number of convicted Palestinian terrorists as a gesture to the Palestinians. The families said these prisoners were rewarded with “’prison release grants’ – blood payments for their acts of terror,” adding that they hoped “history will not repeat itself.”
“In light of this, we hereby extend a request to meet with you in order to share with you our views and stories. We are the voice of the terror victims and bereaved families in Israel, and unfortunately, our number and pain are great,” they wrote.
The families wrote that Trump’s victory in the presidential elections “heralds an opportunity for change,” and that with the president’s “desire to meet with all sides of the conflict, we call upon you to meet with us as well, the victims of decades-long Palestinian terror and violence that has claimed so many lives.”
Trump is scheduled to arrive in Israel on May 22, when he will meet with President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The following day, Trump will meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Trump’s first overseas trip as president also will include visits to Saudi Arabia and the Vatican. The agenda was set deliberately “to bring about all the different countries, all the different religions, in the fight against terrorism,” an aide said earlier this month.