An Israeli government minister branded Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas a "mega terrorist" for stipend payments the P.A. makes to Palestinian security prisoners in Israeli jails for committing or planning terror attacks.
Economy Minister Naftali Bennett made the comment during an interview on the Voice of Israel radio on Thursday morning.
By transferring P.A. funds to prisoners the P.A. is supporting the murder of Jews, Bennett charged. Because of the situation, he said, the security cabinet voted to consider blocking funds from reaching the prisoners.
Later the Israeli government press office released a six-page document detailing the payments.
According to the report, prisoners are paid monthly salaries starting at about $400 per month for those who have served up to three years. In addition, the P.A. covers the living expenses of the prisoners' families.
That may not sound like a lot of money, but according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, the average monthly salary of a Palestinian worker in Judea and Samaria, also known as the West Bank, is $641 per month.
The amounts increase over the years up to $3,429 per month for those serving more than 30 years.
Upon their release from prison, they also receive a grant based on how many years they served up to a maximum of $25,000 or possibly $50,000.
The report disputes the claim of the Palestinian Authority that these are welfare payments and not salaries. The report says the payments are based on the number of years the prisoner is serving with only a small incremental increase for spouses and children.
It quotes a former P.A. minister Qadura Fares from the Palestinian television.
"What is spent on the prisoners is exactly what is spent on me and you. These are salaries," he was reported saying. "Therefore, when the salaries are paid to those working in government offices and institutions, they will also be paid to the prisoners."
According to the report, the P.A. paid more than $75 million to terrorists in Israeli prisons and another $78 million to the families of dead terrorists, including suicide bombers.
Together that's more than 16 percent of the annual foreign donations and grants given to fund the Palestinian Authority budget. Foreign donations account for about a quarter of the P.A.'s budget.