Left: President Trump with Palestinian leader Abbas in Bethlehem, May 23, 2017. Credit: Aljazeera. —
When it comes to the Palestinians, the Trump administration goes the way its predecessors have. On June 13, 2017, State Secretary Rex Tillerson reassured the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the Palestinian Authority “have changed that policy and their intent is to cease the payments to the families of those who have committed murder or violence against others.” Tillerson apparently took Mahmoud Abbas at his word. He should know better.
The PA’s payments to Palestinian terrorists has been going on for decades and was never a secret. But successive American administration kept the money spigot open, albeit sometimes with some delay when the violence against Israeli civilians was no longer deniable. The Saudis, major supporters of the Palestinians, have apparently had apparently stirred up President Trump’s misguided ambition for a successful deal between Israel and the Palestinians. Surely, promising to purchase some $400 billion in U.S. arms, added to the Saudis credibility enough for the President to also renege on his repeated promises to move the U.S. Embassy to Israel’s Capital, Jerusalem.
The Palestinian leadership’s “intentions” for “peace” have been declared in public by Palestinian Authority’s (PA) Chief, Yasser Arafat on June 6, 2001, on Radio Palestine. “War is a dream; peace is a nightmare,” he announced.
Arafat is gone, but in the effort to avoid the “nightmare” of peace, Abbas and the rest of the Palestinian leadership adopted his motto and never stopped funding its jihadist propaganda for terrorism against Israel.
In 2003, Palestinian President Abbas, who then served as Arafat’s prime minister, justified PA’s Treasury payments to members of the terrorist designated al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades – who committed mass-murder attacks on Israelis and groomed children to become suicide bombers – was an effort to “de-radicalize” the terrorists. It was “an attempt to wean the terrorist from committing further homicide bombings,” Abbas said. But then, as today, the PA did not pay to stop terrorism; it has been paying the salaries of terrorists and rewarding their families. The Palestinian’s “de-radicalization” excuse, was later adopted by the Saudis and the other Gulf States to host al-Qaeda and ISIS fighters. The Palestinians should also be credited for “innovations” such as suicide bombing, stabbing, and car-ramming. And terrorism proved as a good industry for the Palestinians. The more terror, the more funds they were given supposedly to incentivize them for “peace.”
On July 17, 2003, after the European Union was criticized for funding Palestinian terrorism, then External Relations Commissioner, Christopher Patten, wrote in the Financial Times “[the EU has worked throughout the bloodstained months of the intifada to keep a Palestinian administration alive and to drive a process of reform within it.” Similar claims have become routine over the years, and the money kept flowing. Patten claimed, “At every step, the EU’s help was made conditional on reforms that would make a viable Palestinian state a reality one day and in the short term make the Palestinian territories a better, safer neighbor for Israel.” By the time Patten made this statement, he had received from the Israeli government volumes of captured Palestinian documents providing clear evidence that EU funds granted to the PA were being used to pay for the upkeep of terrorists, homicide bombers, weapons, bomb manufacturing plants, as well vacations, travel, scholarships and medical treatments to members the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and other Palestinian terror groups, and bonuses to the Palestinian leadership and their families, including Arafat and Abbas.
If for no other reason, the U.S. the EU, the UN, the World Bank, other international and even Christian charities should have stopped funding the PA for its ongoing human, civil and religious rights violations against their own people. Some of this abuse has been carried out through the introduction of the Islamic culture that encourages martyrdom in the name of Allah. To fool the West, the Palestinians have always said, in English, they are peace-loving people.
On June 14, a day after Tillerson assured the Senate the PA promised to change its spots, the head of the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs, Issa Qaraqe challenged the Secretary’s statement: “There is no end to the payments. We reject ending the subsidies to the prisoners and families of martyrs. We will not apologize for it,” he said and went on to denounce the Americans and Israelis.
With some 6,500 Palestinian terrorists in Israeli prisons, and with ongoing PA-sponsored incitement against Israel, it is foolhardy to believe Abbas will stop the terrorists, whom he praises as “martyrs.” Congress should ignore Abbas’s alleged promises and pass the Taylor Force Act that would terminate “payments for acts of terrorism against U.S. and Israeli citizens to any individual who has been convicted and imprisoned for such acts, to any individual who died committing such acts, and to family members of such an individual.”