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

Famous Novelists “Confront the Occupation” in the West Bank—and Celebrate Themselves

June 27 2017

To produce the collection Kingdom of Olives and Ash, the writers Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman gathered a group of novelists, arranged for them to be shown around Israel for a few days by anti-Israel activists, and had each of them write an essay about the experience. Matti Friedman surveys the results:

Chabon and Waldman tell us on the very first page of a visit to Israel in 1992, which they remember vividly as a time of optimism, when the “Oslo Accords were fresh and untested.” But their memory must be playing tricks, because the Oslo Accords happened in the fall of 1993. Chabon and Waldman, who live in Berkeley, CA, are accomplished writers, but the reader needs a few words about what they’re up to here. Do they have special expertise to offer? Israel is probably the biggest international news story over the past 50 years, so is there a reason they decided the world needs to know more about it and not, say, Kandahar, Guantanamo, Congo, or Baltimore?

The essays vary in tone and quality, but experienced journalists covering the Israel/Palestine story will recognize the usual impressions of reporters fresh from the airport. Cute Palestinian kids touched my hair! Beautiful tea glasses! I saw a gun! I lost my luggage, and that seems symbolic! Arabs do hip-hop! The soldiers are so young and rude!

The writers interview the same people who are always interviewed in the West Bank, thinking it’s all new, and believe what they’re told. . . . Everything is described with a gravitas suggesting that the writers haven’t spent much time outside the world’s safer corners. [Dave] Eggers devotes two whole pages to an incident on the Gaza border, where one Israeli guard said he couldn’t pass and then a different one came and let him through. Dave, if you’re reading this, I hope you’re okay. . . .

What [this book is] really about is the writers. Most of the essays aren’t journalism but a kind of selfie in which the author poses in front of the symbolic moral issue of the time: here I am at an Israeli checkpoint! Here I am with a shepherd! That’s why the very first page of the book finds Chabon and Waldman talking not about the occupation, but about Chabon and Waldman. After a while I felt trapped in a wordy kind of Kardashian Instagram feed, without the self-awareness.

Read more at Washington Post

More about: Anti-Zionism, Idiocy, Israel & Zionism, Journalism, West Bank