Ramallah cuts stipends for Palestine martyrs, detainees

Ramallah cuts stipends for Palestine martyrs, detainees

Palestinian factions blast move as ‘crime against Palestinian homeland, cause’

By Nour Abu Aisha

GAZA CITY, Palestine (AA) - The Ramallah-based Palestinian government has reduced monthly stipends paid to the families of Palestinians martyred or imprisoned by Israel, according to local sources.

Daoud Shihab, a spokesman for the Islamic Jihad movement, said: "Cutting stipends for the families of martyrs, prisoners, former prisoners, and civil servants [in Gaza] is a crime against the Palestinian homeland and cause."

At a joint press conference organized by several Palestinian factions (and held near the Gaza City home of President Mahmoud Abbas), Shihab asserted: “Our prisoners [in Israeli jails] should not be exploited for political point-scoring.”

Ramallah’s decision to reduce stipends for the families of prisoners and martyrs, he added, “specifically targets the Palestinian people and their struggle against occupation”.

Leaders of other factions who attended Thursday’s press conference demanded that the move be reversed "as it contradicts the most basic principles and ethics of the Palestinian people”.

In a related development, the Al-Dameer Association for Human Rights, a Palestinian NGO, reported Thursday that Ramallah had also cut the salaries of more than 5,000 civil servants in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.

According to the NGO, the move was predicated on the “political affiliations” of the targeted civil servants -- a reference to the link many of them have with Hamas.

Ramallah, for its part, has yet to issue a statement on the reported stipend and salary cuts.

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