Official: Abbas halts monthly stipends for Hamas ex-inmates

AP News
Posted: Jun 04, 2017 11:22 AM

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — A Palestinian official says dozens of Hamas activists once imprisoned by Israel did not receive their regular support payment this month from the group's political rival, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Abbas is under pressure from the U.S. and Israel to halt monthly payments to thousands of current and former "security prisoners." Israel claims the stipends encourage terrorism, while Palestinians portray them as welfare payments.

Support for prisoners is a Palestinian consensus issue, despite the political split between Hamas, which rules Gaza, and Abbas, who runs autonomous enclaves in the West Bank.

The Abbas government was not available for comment Sunday.

Abdelrahman Shadid, who runs a Hamas-linked prisoner advocacy group in Gaza, says dozens of ex-prisoners did not receive June salaries. It was not clear if the stipends have stopped indefinitely.