For most of its history, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has offered generous financial rewards (made possible by American funding) to terrorists and their families. It even has an entire ministry for distributing these payments, which ensure that they are directly proportional to the murderousness of the attack committed. Douglas Feith and Sander Gerber examine what this “pay-for-slay” policy suggests about the PA’s true attitude toward terror:
Mahmoud Abbas says he opposes widespread violence of the type that occurred during the first and second intifadas (1987–1993 and 2000–2005), and his security forces work with Israelis to prevent the outbreak of a new intifada. At the same time, however, the PA stokes hatred of Israel (and of Jews), urges anti-Israel attacks, and rewards terrorists. In other words, the PA encourages small-scale terrorism but cooperates with Israeli authorities to prevent larger-scale terrorism. The Israeli government finds itself in a mind-boggling twilight zone, partly of its own making. Its officials complain vehemently about incitement, but they’ve never tried to shut the PA down. . . .
The knifings and car-rammings that have characterized Palestinian terror emanating from the West Bank over the past two years are often described in the West as spontaneous signs of exasperation by Palestinians faced with oppressive Israeli occupation policies. But the official system of rewards for terrorism calls that into question. If exasperation were so potent a motivation, why would the PA have to offer such rich financial incentives to spur its people to violence?
Commonly described as peace-seeking and opposed to violence, the PA appears to contrast favorably with Hamas. But no one paying attention can honestly say that the PA opposes the murder of ordinary Israelis going about their business on the streets. In fact, the PA exerts itself to cause such murder, though it works to calibrate the violence. It blocks West Bank-based attacks by its Palestinian political opponents and works to head off devastating Israeli retaliation. It has been successful on both counts for the last dozen years.
The theme of PA propaganda is that the only way ultimately for the Palestinian people to maintain their honor and achieve justice is to drive the Jews violently off the land. Hence the praise of terrorists as heroes and martyrs, the naming of streets and public squares after Palestinians who have murdered Israelis in pizzerias and at bus stops, the school pageants at which small children are praised for saying they want to grow up to be killers of the Jewish “occupiers,” the laws promising large financial rewards for terrorism, and the ministries and other institutions that exist to pay terrorists.