Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas authorized the payment on Sunday of $42,000 to the family of a terrorist who killed two Israelis through a policy that incentivizes and rewards terrorism against Israel.
Laila Ghannam, governor of Ramallah’s Al-Bireh district, personally handed the money to the family of Muhannad Al-Halabi, a member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group on Sunday. Al-Halabi fatally stabbed two Israeli civilians in 2015 before being shot by police. The $42,000 payment was given to Al-Halabi’s parents "on behalf of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas to ‘complete the payment of the cost’ of their home, which was demolished by Israel following the attack," according to the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), which tracks regional media reports.
The payment is a direct rebuke to a 2018 bipartisan American law known as the Taylor Force Act, which prohibits the U.S. government from giving the Palestinian government aid money until it ends the practice of paying terrorists, known as "pay to slay." Republican lawmakers say the Biden administration violated this law by restarting U.S. aid to the Palestinians. The Biden administration approved another $100 million in aid for the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip late last month, even as it admitted these taxpayer funds could enrich terrorists operating there.
Sunday’s $42,000 payment is the latest proof the Palestinian government has no intention of ending its pay-to-slay program. The State Department informed Congress last October that the Palestinian government allocated hundreds of millions of dollars to this program in the last year.
In meetings with Western officials, Abbas has denied supporting the program and claimed his government has no formal ties to terror groups or militant operatives. His Arab-language rhetoric, however, mostly consumed by a domestic audience, routinely glorifies terrorism. Ghannam said over the weekend that Abbas asked her to deliver the $42,000 in funds to the terrorist family.
"The governor stressed that the meeting was being held on instructions from Abbas, who had ordered [Ghannam] to handle the issue of the house ‘in order to preserve the dignity of the family,’" according to MEMRI. "Ghannam thanked Abbas, who she said ‘attributes special importance to the families of the martyrs, prisoners and fighters’ and is ‘like a compassionate father to all our [Palestinian] people.’"