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.

You have 2 free articles left this month

Sign up now for unlimited access

Subscribe Now

Already have an account? Log in now

Read more at Times of Israel

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


The Reasons for Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Staying Power

Nov. 20 2018

This week, Benjamin Netanyahu seems to have narrowly avoided the collapse of his governing coalition despite the fact that one party, Yisrael Beiteinu, withdrew and another, the Jewish Home, threatened to follow suit. Moreover, he kept the latter from defecting without conceding its leader’s demand to be appointed minister of defense. Even if the government were to collapse, resulting in early elections, Netanyahu would almost certainly win, writes Elliot Jager:

[Netanyahu’s] detractors think him Machiavellian, duplicitous, and smug—willing to do anything to stay in power. His supporters would not automatically disagree. Over 60 percent of Israelis tell pollsters that they will be voting for a party other than Likud—some supposing their favored party will join a Netanyahu-led coalition while others hoping against the odds that Likud can be ousted.

Opponents would [also] like to think the prime minister’s core voters are by definition illiberal, hawkish, and religiously inclined. However, the 30 percent of voters who plan to vote Likud reflect a broad segment of the population. . . .

Journalists who have observed Netanyahu over the years admire his fitness for office even if they disagree with his actions. A strategic thinker, Netanyahu’s scope of knowledge is both broad and deep. He is a voracious reader and a quick study. . . . Foreign leaders may not like what he says but cannot deny that he speaks with panache and authority. . . .

The prime minister or those around him are under multiple police investigations for possible fraud and moral turpitude. Under Israel’s system, the police investigate and can recommend that the attorney general issue an indictment. . . . Separately, Mrs. Netanyahu is in court for allegedly using public monies to pay for restaurant meals. . . . The veteran Jerusalem Post political reporter Gil Hoffman maintains that Israelis do not mind if Netanyahu appears a tad corrupt because they admire a politician who is nobody’s fool. Better to have a political figure who cannot be taken advantage of than one who is incorruptible but naïve.

You have 1 free article left this month

Sign up now for unlimited access

Subscribe Now

Already have an account? Log in now

Read more at Jager File

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel & Zionism, Israeli politics