Joe Biden and Mahmoud Abbas
Joe Biden and Mahmoud AbbasFlash 90

The US is nearing a deal with the Palestinian Authority (PA) to end its “pay-to-slay” policy of paying salaries to terrorists who committed attacks against Israel, two Biden administration officials told Politico on Friday.

That would be a key win for the multifaceted US push to reform the PA — from instituting anti-corruption measures to improving basic services — so that it can take over governance of the Gaza Strip whenever the Israel-Hamas war ends, according to the report.

The PA’s “martyr payments” program financially supports terrorists and their families. PA officials have remained defiant about the issue of payments to terrorists and have made clear that the PA will never cease paying terrorists' salaries.

PA chairman Abbas has in the past called the PA's continued payments to terrorists a "red line" that would not be halted under any circumstances.

The Israeli Cabinet has several times in the past frozen the funds transferred by the PA to terrorists and their families, saying it would deduct the amount the PA pays terrorists and their families from the taxes and tariffs collected for the PA by Israel.

According to Politico, drafts of the PA payments reform plans seen by US officials indicate that PA leaders will replace the current scheme with a general welfare program. Further specifics were not immediately available.

“There’s been a great deal of work on this behind the scenes, and the progress is encouraging,” a senior Biden administration official said. Another administration official confirmed changes to the system were expected soon.

The White House and the State Department declined to comment. A spokesperson for the PA did not respond to a request for comment.

The US has pushed for reforms in the PA as part of its insistence in having the PA play a key role in administering Gaza after the war. That stance has put it at odds with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has expressed strong opposition to the idea.

Netanyahu has stressed that Israel will have to continue to control security in the Gaza Strip for as long as it takes to prevent terrorism. He has rejected the idea that the PA will rule Gaza the day after the war, since Abbas refuses to condemn terrorist attacks against Israelis while continuing to pay salaries to terrorist murderers and their families.

(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)