(photo credit: ING IMAGE/ASAP)
Israel is sick and tired of the seemingly endless cycle of terrorist murders it endures, which it rightfully blames on constant incitement by the Palestinian Authority, particularly its leader for more than a decade of violence, Mahmoud Abbas.
The world is bored by the Israeli-Arab conflict, and a new wave of international terrorism has got the world’s attention. Islamic State attacks throughout Europe are not caused by Palestinian incitement, but by a related offshoot of Muslim culture: Islamic State’s declared goal of establishing a caliphate through jihad, and not just against Israel, but the entire world.
Nevertheless, if the world wants peace there is something simple it can do – get the Palestinian Authority to stop paying salaries and stipends to terrorists and their families.
We commend President Donald Trump for his interest in working with Israel to solve its conflict with the Palestinians. While many Israeli politicians – particularly those on the Right – seem to believe that as president, Trump will not support a Palestinian state, that remains to be seen. His constant talk about what he refers to as the “ultimate deal” and the appointment of his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, as a peace envoy, might mean otherwise.
But for peace to be possible, the support for terrorists and their families needs to stop. Last week, Jerusalem Post
diplomatic correspondent Herb Keinon revealed that the Palestinian Authority spends approximately NIS 1 billion annually in salaries it pays to terrorists sitting in Israeli jails, as well as to the families of terrorists who are killed by Israel as they perpetrate their attacks.
The east Jerusalem terrorist who murdered four soldiers and wounded 17 others in a truck-ramming attack in the capital on January 8 is referred to by the PA as a “martyr.” His family will now receive a life stipend, alongside a lump sum of approximately NIS 6,300, according to Palestinian Media Watch.
“The PA pays directly and, as of 2014, partly through the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), about NIS 1.1 billion (around $300 million) every year as salaries to Palestinian terrorists in Israeli jails, continuing after they are released, and to the families of dead terrorists and other Palestinians who died fighting against Zionism,” according to a report the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs published recently.
There is a pay scale for imprisoned terrorists, depending on the length of their sentence, ranging from NIS 1,400 a month for those up to three years in jail, to NIS 7,000 for those in prison for 15-20 years, and NIS 12,000 for those sitting in jail for more than 30 years.
In addition, grants for released prisoners range from $1,500 to those in prison for one to three years, all the way to $25,000 for terrorists released after 30 years.
All of this support, it should be noted, amounts to about 7% of the PA budget, and to more than 20% of the aid it receives from foreign governments.
These salaries finance terrorism. When perpetrators and their families are rewarded, additional Palestinians contemplating an attack of their own can mark one concern off their list – no matter what happens to them, their family will be cared for. This ensures a steady supply of killers for hire.
When Abbas glorifies terrorists who murder innocent Israelis by referring to them as “holy martyrs” and names streets and public institutions after them, it is no wonder that Palestinian culture reflects this – and that so many young Palestinians are incited to commit acts of terrorism.
This is where Trump can help. America is one of the leading donor nations to the Palestinians. While it is important to help the Palestinians establish institutions and infrastructure needed to one day serve an independent state, the world should require of the Palestinians to first stop these payments.
Stopping these payments will help start a much-needed cultural revolution within Palestinian society. The Palestinian people will finally be told that terrorism does not (literally) pay. This is the first step toward real peace and it is one that Trump can help the Palestinians take.