A New U.S Law May Finally Force the Palestinian Authority to Reconsider Its Support for Terror

In March, Congress passed the Taylor Force Act, which withholds funding from the Palestinian Authority (PA) until it ceases its practice of paying salaries and stipends to terrorists and their families to reward their crimes. For its part, Israel has followed up with its own version of the law. Now Mahmoud Abbas, the PA’s president, is threatening to suspend security cooperation with Jerusalem if it enforces the law. But, writes Maurice Hirsch, if he does so he will only shoot himself in the foot. Furthermore, a more recent congressional measure will soon put him in even more of a bind:

[S]ecurity coordination serves Abbas no less than it serves Israel, [since] the PA uses it to pass information to Israel about Hamas terrorist activities. Israel then arrests the terrorists, thereby avoiding potential terrorist attacks, but also eliminating Abbas’s competition.

Abbas’s threat, which he publicly links to the Israeli implementation of the new law, may well become a reality, but for completely different [reasons]. In October, the U.S. passed additional legislation that provides its courts with jurisdiction to adjudicate claims of U.S. victims of terror against any recipient of U.S. aid. While the Taylor Force Act put a stop to most American aid to the PA, it did not stop the funds—some $61 million annually—designated for security coordination. If the PA continues to accept this aid, it will be exposing itself to the risk of losing dozens of lawsuits for its direct involvement in terrorism. This, more than Israel’s implementation of the new law, is much more likely to be a dominant factor in any PA decision.

The real reason for the PA’s potential financial collapse is that it squanders more than 7 percent of its annual budget on rewarding terrorists. Abbas’s threats to halt security coordination, ostensibly because of Israel’s new law, should be seen in their wider context, most particularly, the clear fear that instead of rewarding terrorists the PA will have to start compensating the victims.

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

 

Why Israel Pretends That Hamas Fired Rockets by Accident

March 21 2019

Israeli military and political officials have repeated Hamas’s dubious claim that the launching of two rockets at Tel Aviv last week was inadvertent. To Smadar Perry, accepting Hamas’s story rather than engaging in further retaliation is but a convenient, and perhaps necessary, way of aiding Egyptian efforts to broker a deal with the terrorist group. But even if these efforts succeed, the results will be mixed:

The [Israeli] security cabinet has met in Tel Aviv and decided that they would continue indirect negotiations with Gaza. A message was sent to Egypt, whose delegation is going back to Gaza to pass on the Israeli demands for calm. The Egyptians also have to deal with the demands from Hamas, which include, among other things, an increase in aid from $15 million to $30 million per month and an increase in the supply of electricity.

The requests are reasonable, but they do leave a sour taste in the mouth. Israel must ensure that this financial aid does not end up in the pockets of Hamas and its associates. [Israel] also knows that if it says “no” to everything, the Iranians will step in, with the help of their Gazan friends in Islamic Jihad. They are just waiting for the opportunity.

Hamas also must deal with the fallout from a series of massive handouts from Qatar. For when the citizens of the Gaza Strip saw that the money was going to the Hamas leadership, who were also enjoying a fine supply of electricity to their own houses, they took to the streets in protest—and this time it was not Israel that was the focus of their anger. . .

[But] here is the irony. With Egyptian help, Israel can reach understandings for calm with Gaza, despite the lack of a direct channel. . . . In the West Bank, where the purportedly friendlier Fatah is in charge, it is more complicated, at least until the eighty-three-year-old Mahmoud Abbas is replaced.

As evidence for that last statement, consider the murder of two Israelis in the West Bank on Sunday, and the Palestinians who threw explosives at Israeli soldiers at Joseph’s Tomb in Shechem yesterday.

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More about: Egypt, Gaza Strip, Hamas, Israel & Zionism, West Bank