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

By Recognizing Israeli Sovereignty over the Golan, the U.S. Has Freed Israel from “Land for Peace”

March 25 2019

In the 52 years since Israel seized the Golan Heights from Syria, there have been multiple efforts to negotiate their return in exchange for Damascus ending its continuous war against the Jewish state. Shmuel Rosner argues that, with his announcement on Thursday acknowledging the legitimacy of Jerusalem’s claim to the Golan, Donald Trump has finally decoupled territorial concessions from peacemaking:

[With] the takeover of much of Syria by Iran and its proxies, . . . Israel had no choice but to give up on the idea of withdrawing from the Golan Heights. But this reality involves a complete overhaul of the way the international community thinks not just about the Golan Heights but also about all of the lands Israel occupied in 1967. . . .

Withdrawal worked for Israel once, in 1979, when it signed a peace agreement with Egypt and left the Sinai Peninsula, which had also been occupied in 1967. But that also set a problematic precedent. President Anwar Sadat of Egypt insisted that Israel hand back the entire peninsula to the last inch. Israel decided that the reward was worth the price, as a major Arab country agreed to break with other Arab states and accept Israel’s legitimacy.

But there was a hidden, unanticipated cost: Israel’s adversaries, in future negotiations, would demand the same kind of compensation. The 1967 line—what Israel controlled before the war—became the starting point for all Arab countries, including Syria. It became a sacred formula, worshiped by the international community.

What President Trump is doing extends far beyond the ability of Israel to control the Golan Heights, to settle it, and to invest in it. The American president is setting the clock back to before the peace deal with Egypt, to a time when Israel could argue that the reward for peace is peace—not land. Syria, of course, is unlikely to accept this. At least not in the short term. But maybe someday, a Syrian leader will come along who doesn’t entertain the thought that Israel might agree to return to the pre-1967 line and who will accept a different formula for achieving peace.

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More about: Donald Trump, Golan Heights, Israel & Zionis, Peace Process, Sinai Peninsula, Syria