A top official from the Palestinian Authority (PA) told reporters Thursday that convicted Palestinian terrorists who receive cash benefits from the PA are "victims of Israeli terrorism."
Riyad Mansour, the "Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine [sic] to the United Nations," was asked to comment on the PA's payment of benefits to the family of the terrorist who murdered an American tourist last year.
The Taylor Force Act, a bill under consideration in Congress that would cut U.S. aid to the PA over the payments, is named after the U.S. Army veteran and Vanderbilt graduate student who was killed.
The PA spends approximately $300 million a year on payments to convicted terrorists and their families, money that originates largely from aid donations by western countries. The terrorism benefits program, which comprises around eight percent of the PA budget, has emerged as a significant point of contention in U.S.-Palestinian relations.
"I don't know exactly what you're referring to," Mansour responded, before claiming that the PA is against the killing of civilians. The reporter repeated his query about Taylor Force.
"Who? Who is?" Mansour asked.
"Taylor Force, an American who was killed in Jaffa last year, March 8, and the family of the terrorist who killed him are receiving payments from the PA. What do you have to say about that?" the reporter asked.
"Listen, this issue is, that is now, uh, in circulation for discussions," Mansour said, later asking rhetorically, "Who is the killer and who is the terrorist?"
"There are a large number of Palestinians who are receiving compensation," Mansour acknowledged. "They are victims of Israeli terrorism."