The Palestinian Authority Pays Terrorists at the Expense of Its Neediest Citizens

Jan. 14 2019

Last month, a Palestinian terrorist shot a pregnant Israeli in the abdomen, leading to the death of her child. If the perpetrator is arrested or killed, he or his family will receive regular, generous payments from the Palestinian Authority (PA). The U.S. and a few other nations that fund the PA have finally taken steps to punish this practice, but Ramallah has rejoined that under no circumstances will it cease to make the payments. Sander Gerber and Yossi Kuperwasser write:

Palestinian officials, in Arabic, characterize terror trust-fund recipients as “soldiers and sons of our nation.” In English, they defend these payments as “social welfare,” used to support “innocent individuals” suffering from the loss of a head of household “breadwinner.” This claim, which attempts to [disguise] blood money [as] benevolence, is usually phrased like a July 2017 statement by Husam Zomlot, a former Palestinian envoy to the U.S.: “This is a program that is used for the victims of the occupation. . . . It’s a program to give the families a dignified life; they are provided for, so they and their kids can lead a different future.”

Characterizing payments for terror as social welfare is a deception that is frequently accepted at face value by Western governments that fund the Palestinian Authority and its terror-payments policy. The problem with this claim . . . is that it is demonstrably false. . . . Simply put, the Palestinian system governing payments to terrorists is far superior to the regular needs-based welfare system. Perversely, by using its budget to pay terrorists, the Palestinian Authority is depriving those less fortunate members of Palestinian society of their fair share of government aid.

In the PA’s 2018 budget, funding levels for “pay-for-slay” programs and social-welfare programs are disclosed. Terror payment programs include salaries to prisoners set at nearly $150 million. Allocations to those killed or injured in “wars” with Israel is budgeted at over $180 million, together more than $330 million overall—consuming over 7 percent of the annual Palestinian budget.

These payments go to approximately 10,500 imprisoned and released prisoners and some 37,500 families of martyrs and injured. By contrast, the entire 2018 budget for the Palestinian Authority’s social-welfare system is about $214 million and supports 118,000 households: a much larger group subsisting on a much smaller budget. . . . The maximum welfare payment is 57-percent less than the minimum pay-for-slay salary.

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More about: Israel & Zionism, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority, Palestinian terror

No, Israelis and Palestinians Can’t Simply Sit Down and Solve the “Israel-Palestinian Conflict”

Jan. 17 2019

By “zooming out” from the blinkered perspective with which most Westerners see the affairs of the Jewish state, argues Matti Friedman, one can begin to see things the way Israelis do:

Many [in Israel] believe that an agreement signed by a Western-backed Palestinian leader in the West Bank won’t end the conflict, because it will wind up creating not a state but a power vacuum destined to be filled by intra-Muslim chaos, or Iranian proxies, or some combination of both. That’s exactly what has happened . . . in Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq. One of Israel’s nightmares is that the fragile monarchy in Jordan could follow its neighbors . . . into dissolution and into Iran’s orbit, which would mean that if Israel doesn’t hold the West Bank, an Iranian tank will be able to drive directly from Tehran to the outskirts of Tel Aviv. . . .

In the “Israeli-Palestinian” framing, with all other regional components obscured, an Israeli withdrawal in the West Bank seems like a good idea—“like a real-estate deal,” in President Trump’s formulation—if not a moral imperative. And if the regional context were peace, as it was in Northern Ireland, for example, a power vacuum could indeed be filled by calm.

But anyone using a wider lens sees that the actual context here is a complex, multifaceted war, or a set of linked wars, devastating this part of the world. The scope of this conflict is hard to grasp in fragmented news reports but easy to see if you pull out a map and look at Israel’s surroundings, from Libya through Syria and Iraq to Yemen.

The fault lines have little to do with Israel. They run between dictators and the people they’ve been oppressing for generations; between progressives and medievalists; between Sunnis and Shiites; between majority populations and minorities. If [Israel’s] small sub-war were somehow resolved, or even if Israel vanished tonight, the Middle East would remain the same volatile place it is now.

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More about: Hizballah, Iran, Israel & Zionism, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Middle East