The Palestinian Authority has unveiled a new payment system to allow it to continue to disburse monthly salaries to imprisoned terrorists and their families, involving ATM cards and machines. Inaugurating the new system, the director of the P.A.-funded PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs, Qadri Abu Bakr, said that the P.A. would never stop these payments, which he called a “right.”

Speaking at a press conference, Abu Bakr said: “Our position regarding the payment of the salaries and allowances of the prisoners and their families is firm. This is their right, and it is anchored in all the international conventions and treaties, because our prisoners are prisoners of a liberation movement and freedom fighters. Therefore, the international agreements and treaties apply to them, and specifically the Third and Fourth Geneva Conventions.”

Until late 2020, banks operating in P.A.-controlled areas held some 35,000 bank accounts for imprisoned terrorists, released terrorists and families of dead terrorists, that were used to disburse the salaries. However, following an Israeli military order, the accounts were closed, leaving the P.A. scrabbling for a solution to continue making the payments.

Initially the P.A. decided to make cash payments through the P.A. postal service, however the decision was immediately criticized by the terrorists and their families, who said that having to wait in line at the post office made them feel “like beggars.”

This issue has now been circumvented by the new ATM/credit card system, unveiled earlier this month.

“In cooperation with the Ministry of Communications, the [P.A.] Monetary Authority, and the Ministry of Finance, we have succeeded in reaching a simpler mechanism that protects the dignity of the prisoners and their families,” said Abu Bakr, according to a report in the official P.A. daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida.

He continued: “Now the prisoners’ family members can receive their salaries and allowances without crowding, effort, and [wasting] a lot of time […] through the ATM cards, which will be enjoyed by 5,000 prisoners and 7,200 released prisoners, in addition to the wounded and the family members of the Martyrs.”

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