When he ran for office, the President promised to make America more discerning in its dispersal of foreign aid. Well, now he’s got somewhere to start.
Every year, the United States gives the Palestinian Authority (PA) a fluctuating mega-sum of money hovering somewhere around the amount of four hundred million dollars. As it turns out, the PA spends more than three-quarters as much directly funding terrorists and their families.
That the PA would do this should come as no surprise. There are few governments on earth as proud and excited about terror as is the Palestinian regime under Mahmoud Abbas.
Abbas and his government both celebrate terror and lionize those who perpetrate it. One need only look at the heroic homecoming offered by PA President Abbas to freed Palestinian terrorists in 2013, in which he triumphantly held up the hands of brutal-thugs such as Abu-Musa Atia, who axed a sixty-seven year old survivor of the Sobibor Death Camp to death as he walked through a construction site.
Those terrorists who don’t outlive their own attacks have streets, schools, parks, and competitions endowed with their names. Dalal Mughrabi, for one, was just nineteen when she led the most barbaric and deadly terrorist attack in modern Israeli history, known as the “Coastal Road Massacre,” in 1978. Infiltrating Israel on a boat, the young woman hijacked a bus and began to murder those inside. As the bus careened down the highway, Mughrabi and her accomplices threw the corpses of her victims out of the back door of the bus, so as to obstruct the security forces that pursued them. By the time Israeli police were able to take over the bus and eliminate the terrorists, she had murdered thirty-eight Israelis, among them thirteen children – seven of whom were under the age of six. Her reception in Palestinian government and society for such gruesome acts was – purely – applause and veneration. Two girls’ high schools, a computer center, a soccer championship, two summer camps, and a public square have since been named after her. As it turned out, one of those schools – a girl’s school in Hebron – was being directly funded by USAID. Mahmoud Abbas himself presided over a birthday celebration for what would have been her fiftieth birthday — one you can see for yourself on video.
So, with the Palestinian Authority so in love with terror, it’s not exactly shocking that they’d pay for it. What is shocking is that they do so with American taxpayer money. In fact, they even use this money to pay terrorists who have murdered Americans — even a former American servicemen at that.
Among those murdered in the most recent wave of terror was Taylor Force, a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and a veteran of both wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was stabbed to death last year by a Palestinian terrorist during a visit to Israel, while he was innocently paying a visit to the Tel Aviv boardwalk with fellow classmates from Vanderbilt University. The murderer was twenty-one year old Bashar Masalha, who was himself later killed by police, after he had injured another ten people. Amazingly, the family of this cold-blooded killer now receives a monthly stipend three times larger than the average Palestinian income – all courtesy of the PA.
Generally, when someone commits murder in America, our government holds them accountable. Through the PA, we quite literally reward them.
These payments are not even hidden, but are paid as a part of codified Palestinian law. Just last year, Abbas – who will be in Washington this coming Wednesday for a meeting with President Trump – even re-signed this pay-for-slay policy into Palestinian law. The law, moreover, dictates that that the deadlier an attack, the richer the reward. The monthly income received by imprisoned terrorists and their families is directly proportional to the length of the prison sentences they receive in Israeli courts — or, in other words, to the number of people they manage to maim and kill. Those who receive sentences of over thirty years’ imprisonment are entitled to $3,400 a month – twenty times the average Palestinian income.
The brutal thug I mentioned earlier — the one who axed a Holocaust survivor to death? He’s banking that payment, too. Forty-two thousand dollars a year, all for one blatant and indiscriminate act of murder. This, with help from Uncle Sam.
There are currently two Palestinian government bodies, each with special office space and hundreds of civil servants, dedicated to dispersing funds to terrorists and their families. In the last year, these funds allotted $315 million, or 8% of the Palestinian Authority’s total budget, to this twisted system of terrorist welfare.
To put it simply: If you blow up children, disembowel pregnant women, and stab Jews and American tourists to death, you are legally entitled to an official Palestinian government stipend for the rest of your life. And even if you don’t survive your own attack, your family will thank you when they receive the money in your stead.
That this is all official Palestinian government policy would sicken any moral person to his or her very core. But far worse, it makes every American taxpayer complicit in acts of terrorism.
This has gone on since the Oslo Peace Accords of the nineties, which means that at least three successive American administrations have done nothing to stop it.
But President Trump can. The President, in meeting Abbas Wednesday, can look him squarely in the eyes and tell him: Funding to the Palestinian Authority will be cut unless terrorists are taken immediately off the government payroll. You just can’t buy blood with our money.
This is not an American issue, or even a pro-Israel issue, for that matter. On the contrary, it’s a moral issue, and it’s what the president owes the American people. It is not acceptable to have hard-working Americans send their hard-earned money to imprisoned killers and the families of suicide bombers.
The reputation of President Obama will forever be stained by his Iran nuclear agreement. Not only because he allowed Iran to keep 6500 centrifuges — more than enough to produce a nuclear weapon over the next decade. And not only because he failed to demand that the murderous mullahs cease their genocidal incitement against Israel and America.
No — the worst part of the deal was that President Obama actually released $150 billion to the terrorist government of Iran knowing full well, and even admitting, that some of that money would be used to murder people in terror attacks.
Allowing the Palestinians to do the same with money that we don’t just unfreeze, but actually give them, is simply unforgivable.
Congress, under the lead of Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and with the support of Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR), Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Marco Rubio (R-FL), among others, is finally taking steps to cut Palestinian funding as long as the PA directly funds terror. It’s known as The Taylor Force Act, and it’s fitting name. An American hero had his life cut short at the hand of a killer, as have far too many Israelis.
Since taking office President Donald Trump has distinguished himself as a tremendous friend of Israel.
Now, President Trump, after showing incredible leadership in striking at the murderer Bashar al-Assad, can confront Abbas and reverse the previous administration’s amorality of allowing hard-earned taxpayer money to go to terrorists.
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, “America’s Rabbi,” whom the Washington Post calls “the most famous Rabbi in America,” is the international bestselling author of 30 books, including his most recent, The Israel Warrior. Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.