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

The Syrian Civil War May Be Coming to an End, but Three New Wars Are Rising There

March 26 2019

With both Islamic State and the major insurgent forces largely defeated, Syria now stands divided into three parts. Some 60 percent of the country, in the west and south, is in the hands of Bashar al-Assad and his allies. Another 30 percent, in the northeast, is in the hands of the mostly Kurdish, and American-backed, Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The final 10 percent, in the northwest, is held by Sunni jihadists, some affiliated with al-Qaeda, under Turkish protection. But, writes Jonathan Spyer, the situation is far from stable. Kurds, likely linked to the SDF, have been waging an insurgency in the Turkish areas, and that’s only one of the problems:

The U.S.- and SDF-controlled area east of the Euphrates is also witnessing the stirrings of internal insurgency directed from outside. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, “236 [SDF] fighters, civilians, oil workers, and officials” have been killed since August 2018 in incidents unrelated to the frontline conflict against Islamic State. . . . The SDF blames Turkey for these actions, and for earlier killings such as that of a prominent local Kurdish official. . . . There are other plausible suspects within Syria, however, including the Assad regime (or its Iranian allies) or Islamic State, all of which are enemies of the U.S.-supported Kurds.

The area controlled by the regime is by far the most secure of Syria’s three separate regions. [But, for instance, in] the restive Daraa province in the southwest, [there has been] a renewed small-scale insurgency against the Assad regime. . . .

As Islamic State’s caliphate disappears from Syria’s map, the country is settling into a twilight reality of de-facto division, in which a variety of low-burning insurgencies continue to claim lives. Open warfare in Syria is largely over. Peace, however, will remain a distant hope.

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More about: ISIS, Kurds, Politics & Current Affairs, Syrian civil war, Turkey