Jerusalem saw its streets turn bloody once more in late January as Islamist militants targeted a synagogue. A litany of attacks, each more obscene and terrifying than the next, have since rocked the Jewish State. Keen to make an impression on both Israel and the Diaspora, terrorists elected International Holocaust Remembrance Day to make their move, marking what many have already labeled the Third Intifada.
The opening shot to a new campaign of violence and hate, the attack on Jerusalem’s synagogue was not a desperate cry by a beleaguered people to proclaim their national independence and freedom, but rather the affirmation that terror, while claiming its cause to be holy, cares little for the sanctity of life. To play still to the notion that terrorism has a rationale when slammed up against the State of Israel is, in my mind, an act of genocide.
Radicals care little for the aspirations of the people they claim to want to liberate – in this case Palestinians. What they seek is the complete and total annihilation of a people, in that they believe such an act to be a divine command – the expression of a faith they have hijacked and twisted to their bigotry.
Palestine Ambassador to the UK Husam Zomlot’s refusal to condemn January’s terror attack, an attack carried out by a 15-year-old Palestinian boy and which claimed seven lives, speaks volumes. The mindset is decidedly one of unaccountability and deflection. To witness a Palestinian official, the head of the Palestinian mission to the UK no less, to so casually and unabashedly argue that blame lies with Israel, is a testament to how successful terror propagandists have been in dehumanizing Israelis and Jews alike.
Palestinians need not destroy Israel to exist, let alone assert their identity. As for peace – it will not be extracted through intimidation and murder. And to those who continue to clamor that Israel had it coming, that it was Israel’s actions that pushed Palestinians to be radicalized, I have little to say other than “I pity you.”
But enough on that.
January’s attack against a synagogue in Jerusalem, the deadliest in recent years, raises some serious questions – well beyond the obvious matter of ideological indoctrination and national security.
While the motives for the attack are rather self-evident, little, if anything has been said on the economics of terror and in particular, the mechanics used by extremists to help them, not just to thrive, but also to build outposts – thus enabling their many legions to drown out the voices of those who reject radicalism’s tenets with their furious cries.
Terror does not exist in an ideological vacuum, it requires resources – perpetual war and oppression are demanding mistresses indeed. For decades, various Palestinian organizations and so-called charities have benefited from the largesses of our Western governments and wealthy sponsors, all in the name of peace and development of course. In reality, they are sponsoring hate and violence.
“Ludicrous,” you say? May I suggest you stick around, even if only for a little while.
Pay for slay
I WILL keep things simple and use but one example: pay for slay.
Under the Palestinian Authority (PA) legislation, for decades, provisions have been made in the annual budget to disburse all Palestinians, (including Israeli Arabs) imprisoned in Israel for terror crimes, with generous salaries.
Let me repeat that: the PA is required under the law and government decrees to support, sponsor, and thus encourage terror – Law No. 14 (2004), Law No. 19 (2004), and Law No. 1 (2013). As for our Western capitals, well, they have kept mum, whitewashing Palestinian violence to the tune of millions of dollars per year. Why risk being labeled an enemy of freedom by holding radicals accountable, when one could argue for peace-brokering?
A paper published in the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs by Brigadier-General (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser gives an incredibly detailed account of the problem. It reads: “The legislation defines ‘prisoners’ benefiting from this requirement, as ‘Anyone imprisoned in the occupation’s prisons as a result of his participation in the struggle against the occupation.’ The PA also pays by law monthly allocations to the families of Palestinians who lost their lives in the context of this struggle (referred to as “Martyrs”), including those who were involved in carrying out terror attacks.”
And, “this situation, in effect, constitutes a clear contravention of national and international norms and obligations. Moreover, the salaries are guaranteed in advance to the terrorists and their families, thus making the Palestinian Authority solicitors of terror activities and directly responsible for them.”
In 2016 the PA allocated $300 million of its annual budget to its pay-for-slay program.
Until such time as we ensure that financial access is denied, and short of that, at least restricted to a trickle through sanctions, then our outrage over terror means nothing. But my concern is not so much Western apathy before the murder of innocent Israelis – notwithstanding how young boys and girls continue to be sold to hate so that the PA could have its fill of blood – but the fact that we are being held back by fear.
Because we fear the repercussions, whether political or social, we continue to cater to Islamists’ propaganda, God forbid we should be labeled complicit in Israel’s expansionist policies.
To fight terror is an imperative that exists beyond party lines. It requires moral courage and determination, two qualities that seem to elude too many state officials.
The writer is a research fellow at the Henry Jackson Society.