Jason Greenblatt, the US Representative for International Negotiations, said on Thursday that the Palestinian Authority (PA) could pay its own hospital bills if it stops paying salaries to terrorists and their families.
Greenblatt was replying on Twitter to an inquiry by Channel 13 News reporter Barak Ravid, who asked Greenblatt why the US stopped funding PA hospitals in eastern Jerusalem.
“The PA incurred bills at the hospital and assumed someone else would pay. We want those patients to receive the best care - the PA could easily pay its own bills to the hospital by ending incentive payments to terrorists/their families and use the money to care for their people,” Greenblatt wrote in response.
PA officials have remained defiant and have made clear that the PA will never cease paying terrorists' salaries, despite calls by Israel and the US to stop doing so.
PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas has in the past called the PA's continued payments to terrorists a "red line" that would not be halted under any circumstances.
Israel's security cabinet recently approved the freezing of 507,697,000 shekels ($140,350,300) from the tax money it collects on behalf of the PA over the PA’s payments to terrorists who carried out attacks against Israelis and their families.
The PA then angrily announced that it had returned the tax revenues to Israel after it deducted 41 million shekels from them. PA officials made clear that it would be “all or nothing”, that is they will receive the full tax revenues from Israel or will accept none.
The US announced in September of 2018 it would cut $25 million in aid to six Palestinian Authority-run hospitals in Jerusalem, noting the funds would be directed to "high-priority projects elsewhere."
In August of that year, the US administration announced a $200 million cut in the funding given to humanitarian needs and the development of infrastructure in Gaza and PA-controlled areas of Judea and Samaria.