Israel and Australia Join the U.S. in Punishing the Palestinian Authority for Rewarding Terror

In March, Congress passed the Taylor Force Act. Named after a Texan graduate of West Point who was fatally stabbed by a Palestinian assailant in Jaffa, the act requires the U.S. to withhold funding from the Palestinian Authority (PA) so long as it continues to provide financial incentives for terrorism. Last week, Australia announced a similar policy, while the Knesset passed its own version of the act. The editors of the Jerusalem Post comment:

Though it may be weaker than the Taylor Force Act, the law passed by the Knesset . . . will require the government to deduct the 1.2 billion shekels a year that the PA pays terrorists [from the] money Israel withholds from the taxes and tariffs it collects for the Palestinians. The American law, on the other hand, requires the U.S. government to hold back all discretionary funds for aid. . . .

Force was killed . . . on March 8, 2016, by the twenty-one-year-old Bashar Masalha from [the West Bank city of] Qalqiliya, during a twenty-minute stabbing rampage that injured ten others, including Force’s wife. Masalha was killed that night, but his family receives a monthly pension from the Palestinian Authority Martyrs’ Fund, a stipend several times the average monthly wage in the Palestinian territories.

There were three other attacks in Israel that March 8, . . . in which a dozen Israeli civilians and police officers were wounded in knife and gun attacks. Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party, Hamas, and the Islamic Jihad all issued statements praising the attacks. Fatah said that such attacks would continue “so long as Israel does not believe in the two-state solution and ending its occupation.” . . . That was two years ago. But [the incitement] hasn’t stopped. . . . After the Knesset bill was passed, Palestinian officials emphasized that the PA will continue to pay stipends to prisoners and their families. Just last week . . . official PA television broadcast a song to pregnant Palestinians saying, “your fetus will be a martyr for Palestine.”

It is now the turn of others to stand up and do the right thing. Follow the example of the U.S., Australia, and Israel and call out the incitement and lies. Hold the PA’s feet to the fire and ask why killers or their families are being paid. Stuart Force, Taylor’s father, in Israel to watch the Knesset vote on the bill, [told a reporter], “Hopefully this will be the first step to ending terror, and maybe it will make the European Union and Canada check where their money is going.” Maybe.

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More about: Australia, Israel & Zionism, Palestinian Authority, Palestinian terror, U.S. Politics

 

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.

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