What’s Behind the Palestinian Authority’s “Pay-for-Slay” Policy

March 21 2017

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.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Israel & Zionism, Knife intifada, Palestinian Authority, Palestinian terror, U.S. Foreign policy

 

How Israel Should Approach Syria in the Wake of the U.S. Airstrikes

April 27 2017

Nearly three weeks after a U.S. attack on a Syrian airbase, it remains unclear if Washington will start working actively against the Assad regime or simply enforce red lines. Ilan Goldenberg argues that in either case Israel should stick to the strategy it has been pursuing all along—one that will only be helped by greater American involvement:

The good news is that much of the area of southern Syria is now controlled by a group of moderate Sunni forces known as the Southern Front. This group is an alliance of smaller local militias that has been supported by the United States and Jordan with some quiet support from Israel. As a result, southern Syria has become one of the most stable areas in the country, resulting in a default buffer zone that protects both Israel and Jordan. The key for Israel will be to ensure that in any final resolution of the Syrian conflict or change in Trump administration policy, the Southern Front remains in place. . . .

[Another] central objective for Israel will be to prevent the proliferation of chemical weapons in Syria that could get into the hands of extremists who may launch attacks on Israeli civilians. At the start of the Syria conflict this was the foremost Israeli priority. . . . The priority Israel places on this issue also explains why the Israeli minister of defense, Avigdor Liberman, came out so strongly in support of the military strikes against the Assad regime, drawing a sharp rebuke from Vladimir Putin. In most instances, Israel has tried to avoid antagonizing Russia or getting in the middle of U.S-Russian competition, but on this particular matter it is highly invested in the American position.

Finally, Israel . . . has a broader overarching objective of trying to limit Iranian influence in Syria. . . . Iranian-supported militias and operatives of the Qods Force [Iran’s elite expeditionary troops] are deeply enmeshed inside the Syrian regime at this point, and Israel likely recognizes that. Iran will continue to have influence in Syria and be able to use its allies in Damascus to supply and strengthen Hizballah. All Israel can do is push for American policies that limit Tehran’s influence in Syria to the largest extent possible, while recognizing the reality of the situation on the ground.

Read more at Matzav

More about: Iran, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security, Russia, Syrian civil war, U.S. Foreign policy