I wonder what the reaction of steel-workers in Pennsylvania, coal miners in West Virginia, and produce workers in California would be to the news that their tax money is directly funding Palestinian terrorism.
It’s been known for some time now that the Palestinian Authority celebrates terrorism and lionizes those who perpetrate it. There was no secret made of the heroic homecoming offered by PA President Mahmoud Abbas to freed Palestinian terrorists in 2013, in which he triumphantly held up the hands of brutal thugs such as Abu Musa Atia, who axed Isaac Rotenberg, a 67-year-old survivor of the Sobibor death camp, to death at a construction site.
As for those terrorists who never made it home, they have streets, schools, parks, and competitions named after them.
Dalal Mughrabi was just 19 when she led the most barbaric and deadly terrorist attack in modern Israeli history, known as the “Coastal Road Massacre,” in 1978. Infiltrating Israel by boat, the young woman hijacked a bus and began to systematically murder those inside. As the bus careened down the highway, Mughrabi and her accomplices threw the corpses of their victims out of the back door of the bus, so as to obstruct the pursuing security forces. By the time police were able to take over the bus and eliminate the terrorists, she had murdered 38 Israelis, among them 13 children, seven of whom were under the age of six.
Her reception in Palestinian government and society was applause and veneration. Two girls’ high schools, a computer center, a soccer championship, two summer camps and a public square have been named after her. As it turned out, one of those schools – a girl’s school in Hebron – is being directly funded by USAID.
But now we’ve learned something new. The PA does not only celebrate terrorism, but actually funds it. And they do so with American taxpayers’ money.
The facts are straightforward. Every year the United States gives nearly half a billion dollars to Abbas and the PA. About four-fifths of that money is used to provide the payroll for Palestinian terrorists who have murdered Israelis and Americans.
Among those murdered in the most recent wave of terrorism was Taylor Force, a graduate of the US Military Academy at West Point and a veteran of both wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
He was stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist during a visit to Israel. The man who killed him, the 21-year-old Bashar Masalha, was later killed by police. But his family now receives a monthly stipend of $3,500 – many times the average monthly Palestinian income – all courtesy of the PA, and by extension, their American benefactors.
The brutal thug I mentioned earlier, the one who axed a Holocaust survivor to death: he’s getting that payment, too.
Forty-two thousand dollars a year.
These payments are not even hidden, rather they’re stipulated by Palestinian law. Just last year, Abbas – who was in Washington yesterday for a meeting with President Donald Trump – even re-signed this pay-for-slay policy into Palestinian law. The law, moreover, dictates that the deadlier an attack, the richer the reward. The monthly income received by imprisoned terrorists and their families is directly proportional to the length of the prison sentences that they receive in Israeli courts, or – in other words – the number of people they manage to maim and kill.
There are currently two Palestinian government bodies, each with special office space and hundreds of civil servants, dedicated to dispersing funds to terrorists and their families. In the past year, these funds allotted $315 million, or 8% of the PA’s total budget, to this twisted system of terrorist welfare.
To put it simply: if you blow up children, disembowel pregnant women, or stab Jews and American tourists to death, you are legally entitled to an official Palestinian government stipend for the rest of your life. And even if you don’t survive the attack, your family will thank you. They’ll get the money in your stead.
This is all official Palestinian government policy. To call it abhorrent is an understatement. But far worse, it makes every American taxpayer complicit in acts of terrorism.
That this has gone on since the Oslo accords of the 1990s is shocking enough. But even more surprising is how successive American administrations have done nothing to stop it.
But President Trump can.
From Jared Kushner to Steve Bannon, from Jason Greenblatt to David Friedman, Trump has surrounded himself with tremendous friends and defenders of Israel. It’s time to cut off funding to the PA unless it immediately takes terrorists off the government payroll.
This is not an American issue, or even a pro-Israel issue, for that matter. On the contrary, it’s a moral issue, and it’s what the president owes the American people. It’s not acceptable to have hard-working Americans send their money to imprisoned killers and the families of suicide bombers.
The reputation of president Barack Obama will forever be stained by the Iran nuclear agreement. Not only because he allowed Iran to keep 6,500 centrifuges when North Korea built its bombs with a third of that number. And not because he did not demand that prior to any deal the murderous mullahs first cease their genocidal incitement against Israel and America.
But because president Obama actually released $150b. to the terrorist government of Iran knowing full well, and even admitting, that some of that money would be used to murder people in terrorist attacks.
Allowing the Palestinians to do the same, with money that we don’t just unfreeze, but actually give them, is simply unforgivable.
Congress, under the lead of Senator Lindsey Graham, and with support of senators Cotton, Cruz and Rubio, among others, is finally taking steps to cut Palestinian funding so long as they directly fund terrorism. It’s known as the Taylor Force Act, and it’s fitting name. This American hero had his life cut short at the hand of a killer, as have far too many of Israelis.
And, President Trump, after showing incredible leadership on striking at the murderer Assad, we look to you to reverse previous administration’s amorality of allowing hard-earned taxpayer money to go to terrorists.The author, “America’s rabbi,” whom The Washington Post calls “the most famous rabbi in America,” is the international bestselling author of 30 books including his most recent, The Israel Warrior.
Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.