Israel opens fire on Palestinians who breach border; 1 dead

Israel opens fire on Palestinians who breach border; 1 dead

On Tuesday, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Saeb Erekat condemned the move, stressing that it endangered the existence of the Palestinian Authority.

On Monday, the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) passed a bill that would allow cutting funds to the PA by the amount it pays to detainees and families of Palestinian martyrs.

According to the Times of Israel, the PA gave $198 million the families of terrorists in 2017 as well as $160 million to terrorists serving in prison in the same year.

The Palestinian leadership, meanwhile, accuses the American administration and Israel of looking at Gaza as a humanitarian rather than a political issue and therefore they have been pushing for an economic solution that it fears is meant to create a permanent separation between the West Bank and Gaza Strip and an end to the Palestinian struggle for an independent state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and with East Jerusalem as its capital based on the 1967 borders.

The payments can be a key source of income for families, who have in many cases lost their main breadwinner.

Israel has withheld payments in the past, notably in response to the Palestinians' 2011 admission to the United Nations cultural agency UNESCO as a full member.

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman wrote on Twitter after the vote: "We promised to halt the stipend free-for-all for terrorists and we have made good on our promise".

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"An effective war on terrorism also passes through the pocket - of the terrorists, of their families and of Mahmud Abbas".

The Palestinian Authority, which has limited sovereignty in parts of the occupied West Bank, relies heavily on outside financial aid.

The situation escalated after the USA administration of Donald Trump in December officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

But while the prisoner payments have sparked outrage in Israel and elsewhere, Israeli authorities also benefit from security coordination with the Palestinian Authority and may be reluctant to see financial cuts that significantly affect that.

Israel accuses Gaza's Islamist rulers Hamas of using the protests as an excuse to carry out attacks.

The UN official described the meeting as constructive, adding that he discussed with President Abbas what should be done on the ground to help the people in the West Bank and Gaza Strip as well as finding a political solution for Gaza that would take into consideration the hard humanitarian situation there.

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