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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Read more at Washington Examiner

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

 

What Egypt’s Withdrawal from the “Arab NATO” Signifies for U.S. Strategy

A few weeks ago, Egypt quietly announced its withdrawal from the Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA), a coalition—which also includes Jordan, the Gulf states, and the U.S.—founded at President Trump’s urging to serve as an “Arab NATO” that could work to contain Iran. Jonathan Ariel notes three major factors that most likely contributed to Egyptian President Sisi’s abandonment of MESA: his distrust of Donald Trump (and concern that Trump might lose the 2020 election) and of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman; Cairo’s perception that Iran does not pose a major threat to its security; and the current situation in Gaza:

Gaza . . . is ruled by Hamas, defined by its covenant as “one of the wings of the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine.” Sisi has ruthlessly persecuted the Brotherhood in Egypt. [But] Egypt, despite its dependence on Saudi largesse, has continued to maintain its ties with Qatar, which is under Saudi blockade over its unwillingness to toe the Saudi line regarding Iran. . . . Qatar is also supportive of the Muslim Brotherhood, . . . and of course Hamas.

[Qatar’s ruler] Sheikh Tamim is one of the key “go-to guys” when the situation in Gaza gets out of hand. Qatar has provided the cash that keeps Hamas solvent, and therefore at least somewhat restrained. . . . In return, Hamas listens to Qatar, which does not want it to help the Islamic State-affiliated factions involved in an armed insurrection against Egyptian forces in northern Sinai. Egypt’s military is having a hard enough time coping with the insurgency as it is. The last thing it needs is for Hamas to be given a green light to cooperate with Islamic State forces in Sinai. . . .

Over the past decade, ever since Benjamin Netanyahu returned to power, Israel has also been gradually placing more and more chips in its still covert but growing alliance with Saudi Arabia. Egypt’s decision to pull out of MESA should give it cause to reconsider. Without Egypt, MESA has zero viability unless it is to include either U.S. forces or Israeli ones. [But] one’s chances of winning the lottery seem infinitely higher than those of MESA’s including the IDF. . . . Given that Egypt, the Arab world’s biggest and militarily most powerful state and its traditional leader, has clearly indicated its lack of confidence in the Saudi leadership, Israel should urgently reexamine its strategy in this regard.

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Read more at BESA Center

More about: Egypt, Gaza Strip, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, U.S. Foreign policy