The Senate Should Stop Stalling and End U.S. Funding for Palestinian Terror

March 7 2018

In December, the House of Representatives passed the Taylor Force Act, which would withhold aid from the Palestinian Authority (PA) until it ends payments to terrorists and their families and takes steps to discourage terror. The Senate, however, is holding up the bill. Michael Barbero, Sander Gerber, and Michael Makovsky urge senators to prioritize its passage:

As soon as a terrorist is arrested, the PA provides him with a salary and, sometimes, a guaranteed government job upon release. The bloodier the crime and longer the sentence, the greater the reward. . . . The families of, as official Palestinian documents put it, “those martyred and wounded as a result of being participants or bystanders in the revolution” . . . also receive a monthly payment, health insurance, and tuition assistance. . . . In 2017, the Palestinian Authority budgeted $350 million to reward terrorism—around $160 million for jailed and released terrorists plus $190 million for terrorists’ families. This is roughly what American taxpayers contribute to Palestinians through payment of PA debts and direct support of projects in PA territories (excluding several hundred-million dollars to the United Nations Reliefs and Works Agency).

On strategic and humanitarian grounds, the United States should support the Palestinian people. A viable, uncorrupt, moderate PA serves U.S. and Israeli interests. Indeed, Israel and the PA cooperate on security matters, serving the interests of both parties, and it is important that such cooperation continue.

But none of these interests is served when the PA pays terrorists. Nor will suspending aid that amounts to roughly 8 percent of the PA’s budget trigger its collapse. Instead, it would pressure the PA to choose between terror and its people, revealing its true nature.

You have 2 free articles left this month

Sign up now for unlimited access

Subscribe Now

Read more at The Hill

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

Syria’s Downing of a Russian Plane Put Israel in the Crosshairs

Sept. 21 2018

On Monday, Israeli jets fired missiles at an Iranian munitions storehouse in the northwestern Syrian city of Latakia. Shortly thereafter, Syrian personnel shot down a Russian surveillance plane with surface-to-air missiles, in what seems to be a botched and highly incompetent response to the Israeli attack. Moscow first responded by blaming Jerusalem for the incident, but President Putin then offered more conciliatory statements. Yesterday, Russian diplomats again stated that Israel was at fault. Yoav Limor comments:

What was unusual [about the Israeli] strike was the location: Latakia [is] close to Russian forces, in an area where the IDF hasn’t been active for some time. The strike itself was routine; the IDF notified the Russian military about it in advance, the missiles were fired remotely, the Israeli F-16s returned to base unharmed, and as usual, Syrian antiaircraft missiles were fired indiscriminately in every direction, long after the strike itself was over. . . .

Theoretically, this is a matter between Russia and Syria. Russia supplied Syria with the SA-5 [missile] batteries that wound up shooting down its plane, and now it must demand explanations from Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad. That won’t happen; Russia was quick to blame Israel for knocking over the first domino, and as usual, sent conflicting messages that make it hard to parse its future strategy. . . .

From now on, Russia will [almost certainly] demand a higher level of coordination with Israel and limits on the areas in which Israel can attack, and possibly a commitment to refrain from certain actions. Syria, Iran, and Hizballah will try to drag Russia into “handling” Israel and keeping it from continuing to carry out strikes in the region. Israel . . . will blame Iran, Hizballah, and Syria for the incident, and say they are responsible for the mess.

But Israel needs to take rapid action to minimize damage. It is in Israel’s strategic interest to keep up its offensive actions to the north, mainly in Syria. If that action is curtailed, Israel’s national security will be compromised. . . . No one in Israel, and certainly not in the IDF or the Israel Air Force, wants Russia—which until now hasn’t cared much about Israel’s actions—to turn hostile, and Israel needs to do everything to prevent that from happening. Even if that means limiting its actions for the time being. . . . Still, make no mistake: Russia is angry and has to explain its actions to its people. Israel will need to walk a thin line between protecting its own security interests and avoiding a very unwanted clash with Russia.

You have 1 free article left this month

Sign up now for unlimited access

Subscribe Now

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Hizballah, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security, Russia, Syrian civil war