Palestine raises with US over ‘prisoner abuse’ in Israeli jails

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The United States says its top diplomat Blinken looked for “the need for reform” in the Palestinian Authority, but Palestinian leader Abbas’ office said the phone talks touched on issues of Israel “abusing prisoners and withholding tax”.

The United States says Blinken and Abbas discussed “the need to improve the quality of life of the Palestinian people in a tangible way.” (AFP)

Palestine told the United States that Israel must “end prisoner abuse and … tax withholdings”, while the latter called for “the need for reform within the Authority Palestinians,” officials on both sides said.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas discussed by phone the “need for reform ‘in the Palestinian Authority’ which governs parts of the occupied West Bank, the spokesperson said on Monday. State Department spokesman Ned Price.

Blinken and Abbas discussed “the need to improve the quality of life for the Palestinian people in a tangible way,” Price added.

But, in a reading of the phone call, Abbas’s office did not mention any discussion of reform within the authority, which exercises limited autonomy in occupied West Bank territory captured by Israel in the war. of the Middle East in 1967.

Abbas told Blinken that Israel must “stop the mistreatment of prisoners and… the withholding of taxes.”

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National heroes

Israel and the US say the stipends, distributed monthly to prisoners, their relatives and the families of Palestinians killed for allegedly carrying out attacks, encourage further violence, while Palestinians view them as a form of welfare for the inmates and families they view as national heroes.

President Joe Biden has sought to restore ties, which were weakened by his predecessor, Donald Trump, when he cut aid to Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and besieged Gaza, and closed a US consulate for Palestinians in occupied Jerusalem. .

Blinken also spoke with Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid on Monday, Price said in a statement.

The pair discussed Ukraine, Iran and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and Blinken reiterated the Biden administration’s commitment to Israel’s security.

About 475,000 Israeli Jews live in settlements in the occupied West Bank, which are considered illegal under international law.

Israel has occupied the West Bank since the 1967 Six-Day War and exercises full administrative control over much of the territory, where more than two million Palestinians live. In besieged Gaza, a tiny Palestinian enclave, two million Palestinians continue to live under a crippling Israeli blockade since 2007.

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Source: Reuters

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