Pursuant to a 1987 act of Congress, in 2018, the U.S. government shut down the Washington, DC diplomatic office of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). The PLO’s head, Mahmoud Abbas, has been lobbying for the mission to be reopened; David Pollock and Sander Gerber explain why the White House shouldn’t accede to his request so long the organization continues to fund terrorism:
[E]ven if Congress re-evaluates the modern-day PLO and determines it is no longer a terrorist organization, it would behoove the Biden administration to place conditions on the PLO for reopening its mission or receiving any new direct aid. A starting point for such conditions would be demanding the PLO end its “pay for slay” program, in strict accordance with [another] U.S. law, the Taylor Force Act.
Unequivocally, we know “pay for slay”—a program that establishes an enhanced benefits system for Palestinian terrorists based on how many Jews they kill—remains alive and well. A longer prison sentence means a larger payout and, to no surprise, the Palestinian Authority, of which the PLO is the dominant party, spends 7 percent of its budget—hundreds of millions of dollars—to sustain this terror network.
It simply will not do to rationalize this terror financing on the grounds that the PA also coordinates some security operations, in its own interest, with Israel, or that Abbas has opposed the “armed struggle” championed by both Yasir Arafat and Hamas. That is true, but it does not excuse the blatant hypocrisy and lethal effects of “pay for slay.” Nor will it do to argue that Abbas faces too much popular pressure to maintain this “program.” That is simply untrue. A credible Palestinian opinion poll from last year shows two-thirds of West Bankers agree that the PA should “stop paying extra bonuses and benefits to prisoners or martyrs’ families.”