Tag Archives: Palestinian people

Palestinian Authority Pays Terrorists and Their Families $140 Million a Year

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The Palestinian Authority spends roughly 10 percent of its annual budget paying terrorists who attack Israelis and supporting their families, according to expert testimony to congressional lawmakers.

Yigal Carmon, the president and founder of the Middle East Media Research Institute,told the House Foreign Affairs Committee Wednesday that the Palestinian Authority is investing $137.8 million this year in salaries to terrorists jailed in Israel and payments to the families of imprisoned terrorists or suicide bombers, in violated of the Oslo peace accords with Israel.

Wednesday’s hearing took place following a months-long wave of violent attacks waged by Palestinians on Israelis in the West Bank. Last week, a Palestinian attacker broke into a home in the West Bank and stabbed to death a 13-year-old Israeli-American girl in her sleep.

There have been 250 such attacks or attempted attacks by Palestinians on Israelis since October 2015, according to the report of the Middle East Quartet—comprised of the United States, Russia, the European Union, and the United Nations—issued last week. The assaults have killed at least 30 Israelis and resulted in dozens of Palestinians being killed by Israeli police.

Official Palestinian Authority media have glorified perpetrators of these terrorist attacks. Bashar Masalha, a Palestinian who stabbed U.S. Army veteran Taylor Force to death and wounded several others in March, was hailed on official media outlets as a “martyr” at the time of his funeral.

“We welcome every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem. This is pure blood, clean blood, blood on its way to Allah,” Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas stated last September on Palestinian television. “With the help of Allah, every martyr will be in heaven, and every wounded will get his reward.”

The Palestinian Authority has also furnished terrorists and their families with financial support weighted by the severity of the attack, a matter over which congressional lawmakers expressed outrage on Wednesday.

“These terrorists are not, in fact, lone rangers. They are not lone wolves,” said Rep. Ed Royce (R., Calif.), who chairs the committee, in opening remarks during the hearing. “Instead, these terrorists are the product of the programming done by the PA’s perverted culture that glorifies the willingness to die or to spend time in prison in pursuit of killing or maiming Israelis.”

According to Carmon’s testimony, which was informed by an analysis of the Palestinian Authority’s budget and years of research, the Palestinian Authority transfers funds to terrorist prisoners in Israeli or their families using two Palestinian Liberation Organization funds. The financial support of these individuals is mandated by law.

Prisoners must be provided a monthly salary ranging from $364 to over $3,000 during their detention, and salaries or jobs upon their release. Those who commit the most grievous attacks receive the most substantial monthly payments and are also entitled to jobs in the Palestinian Authority institution upon their release.

Carmon said that it is difficult to determine exactly what percentage of the Palestinian Authority’s annual budget is put toward this cause because of a lack of transparency, but estimated that it amounts to about 10 percent.

“It is just outrageous that they pay cold-blooded killers who murder innocent people and call them martyrs,” Rep. Eliot Engel (D., N.Y.), the committee’s ranking member, said during the hearing. “I cannot think of anything more disgusting.”

While Abbas two years ago ordered that these salaries not be paid by the Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs but instead by the Palestinian Liberation Organization, Carmon described this as a “deliberately misleading move” to assuage concerns from donor countries worried about their money being funneled to terrorists.

“The source of the money remains the PA, which receives them from donor countries, and the overseeing body remains none other than the PA,” Carmon told lawmakers. He said that countries who provide aid to Palestine, including the United States, are “complicit” in inciting terrorism because the Palestinian Authority uses foreign donations to subsidize terrorists and their families.

“By providing this support, the PA is encouraging terrorism in violation of its Oslo commitment.

Furthermore, the PA has been using money granted by donor countries for this purpose, and by doing so, has made them complicit in encouraging terrorism as well,” Carmon said.

The United States has committed over $5 billion in bilateral economic and non-lethal aid to the Palestinians since the mid-1990s in order to prevent Palestinian terrorist groups from attacking Israel and promote piece in the West Bank, according to a Congressional Research Service report issued in March.

While U.S. law allows the government to cut aid to the Palestinian Authority for paying terrorists and their families, the Palestinian Authority has avoided this by transferring the payments to the Palestinian Liberation Organization, experts said Wednesday.

“The U.S. stipulations have … been evaded by the PA by this deceitful technique of funneling money to terrorists and their families under a different name,” said David Pollock, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

“I think that the United States and other countries should … reduce the amount or condition the amount of assistance that they provide to the PA without threatening to or without actually cutting it off completely,” Pollock, added, cautioning that completely ceasing aid could result in the collapse of the Palestinian Authority.

“I do think that a certain calibrated, limited amount of financial pressure applied, again, by the United States without any loopholes or escape hatches and, if possible, by European and other donors to the PA would be helpful in addressing this immediate issue,” Pollock added.

Members of Congress have pursued legislative action to address this problem. A Senate subcommittee recently approved language inserted into the fiscal year 2017 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill that would cut U.S. aid to Palestine by an amount equal to that “expended by the Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization and any successor or affiliated organizations, as payments for acts of terrorism by individuals who are imprisoned after being fairly tried and convicted for acts of terrorism, and by individuals who died committing acts of terrorism during the previous calendar year.”

The companion bill in the House also includes similar language. The State Department would be responsible for enforcing the law.

Israel has already implemented such action. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Friday that the country would withhold some tax revenues that it sends to the Palestinian Authority. The amount withheld will be equal to what is “being transferred by the Palestinian Authority to terrorists and their families,” though it is unclear how much it will be.

Some members of Congress took a hardline approach toward the issue on Wednesday. Rep. Ted Yoho (R., Fla.) said that the United States should send a clear message to Palestine that “if these policies continue, we’re done.”

“We are funding hatred. We are funding terrorism,” Yoho said, labeling it “unconscionable” to provide aid to Palestine in the name of peace while the Palestinian Authority is subsidizing terrorists.

Royce said that the United States and its European allies must do more to use leverage against Palestinian Authority to halt the practice of rewarding terrorists.

“If the PA’s irresponsible behavior continues, the whole premise for funding the PA needs to be reconsidered. The U.S. needs to do better at bringing the parties together while holding the parties responsible for their actions. This has traditionally been our role,” Royce said. “Unfortunately, in recent years, the Obama administration has been hesitant to hold the PA accountable—yet has consistently pressured Israel.”

It’s time for Uncle Sam to stop funding Palestinian terror

Just what will it take to cut off US funding for Palestinian terror?

That question has taken center stage amid the wave of murderous “lone wolf” attacks against Israeli civilians, egged on by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Thursday, a Palestinian killed a sleeping 13-year-old girl in the West Bank. The next day, another opened fire on a car, killing a dad and wounding his wife and two kids.

Since September, the terror spree has left 40 dead and 430 injured. And every one of the terrorists — or their families — gets a hefty reward from Abbas’ PA.

Meanwhile, hundreds of millions flow to the PA from the West, including America. Which means US tax dollars are, in effect, going to pay for terrorist acts. (And here you thought we were fighting terror.)

Congress may be finally moving to end the outrage. Both houses are considering legislation to cut US aid to the PA by the amount given to Palestinian terrorists and their families. The key will be to make the bill loophole-proof, as the PA has skirted earlier attempts to curb its terror subsidies.

To be sure, some warn against cutting aid to Abbas & Co. for any reason. They fear it could destabilize the closest thing to a moderate regime the Palestinians may ever have.

Israeli officials have made that point. But the latest attacks spurred Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government this week to roll back the amount of Palestinian tax revenue it hands the PA, by deducting what the PA pays to its killers.

“Payouts to terrorists and their relatives constitute an incentive to murder,” a government statement said. No kidding.

Sending US tax dollars to the PA, only to see them go to reward terror, is a moral obscenity.

Congress should do all it can to curb the practice — pronto.

UNESCO’s Collapse of Credibility

Lying and spinning history are becoming an international disease.  On May 3, 2016, the world learned that the White House had deliberately falsified information about Obama administration’s relations with Iran.  A month earlier, the spinning and falsification of history had been demonstrated at the headquarters in Paris of UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.

Yet the difference between the two is meaningful.  Whatever one’s views of the correctness of U.S. policy on Iran, the White House acted for political reasons, though falsely, to score a policy success.  UNESCO was created in 1945 after World War II not as a political body, but to contribute to peace that would be established on the basis of humanity’s moral and intellectual solidarity.

UNESCO betrayed its own principles and ethos by the resolution, passed by the Executive Board on April 16, 2016.  Not only inaccurate historically and factually, the resolution was one partly of self-protection for reasons of security, but mainly based on hatred and animosity toward the State of Israel and, on the part of some countries, of anti-Semitism.

The resolution, submitted by seven Arab countries including Egypt, passed by 33 in favor, 6 against, and 17 abstentions.  France, Spain, Russia, and Sweden voted in favor; the U.S, the U.K., and Germany voted against.  The vote of France, which has experienced terrorist massacres in Paris, was particularly surprising and disappointing.  UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova dissociated herself from the resolution, saying it was a political decision by the economic council and the management council of UNESCO and that she herself was opposed to it.

UNESCO does not have a good record regarding Israel and Jewish holy places.  In 2010, and again in October 2015, resolutions proclaimed that Rachel’s tomb near Bethlehem and the Cave with the tombs of the Jewish patriarchs in Hebron (Ma’arat HaMachpela), which are mentioned in Genesis, are Islamic holy sites.  The new 2016 resolution reaffirms that the two sites are an integral part of “Palestine” and calls on Israel to end its illegal archeological excavations there.

The resolution in strong terms condemned Israeli actions in east Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza Strip, but most pointedly it concentrated on supposed Israeli actions on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and the Plaza of the Western Wall in the Old City.  The resolution referred to the area of the Temple as al-Aqsa Mosque/al-Ha-ram al Sharif, and to the Western Wall as al-Buraq Plaza, implying they are regarded as Muslim areas.  UNESCO thus refused to recognize the 3,000-year historic and religious connection between the Jewish people and those holy sites in Jerusalem and in Israel.

For some years the Palestinian Authority and Hamas have used spin and false rumors that Israel intended to change the status quo on the Mount.  The UNESCO majority accepted the spin and charged that Israel does not respect the integrity, authenticity, and cultural heritage of the mosque as a holy site of worship.  The resolution requires Israel to restore the status of the Mount to what it was before 1967.

This in itself is the height of hypocrisy as well as the rewriting of history.  Two things are pertinent.  One is that since 1967 and Israeli control of Jerusalem, all faiths have had access to the holy places in the city.  By comparison, in the period, 1948 to 1967, when the area of Jerusalem and the West Bank were under Jordanian control, the city was physically divided, Jewish civilians were attacked, and 57 synagogues were destroyed.

The second factor is that conditions in the disputed area changed in September 2000, when Arafat deliberately started the Second Intifada and falsely declared that Israel was about to change access to the Mount.  In fact, at that time, the Jordan Wakf had full control of the area, including access to it.  Today, the site is under the authority, but not the control, of the Wakf.  It was the very Palestinian riots provoked by Arafat that led to Israeli control of access to the site for security reasons.

Today, only Muslims are allowed to pray on the Mount.  Jewish worship has been forbidden there since 1967.  The resolution calls on Israel not to restrict Muslim worshippers from access to the mosque, but Israel has never had any intention to do so.

Not surprisingly, the UNESCO majority accepted the Palestinian Narrative of Victimhood and saw Israel as the repressive occupying power.  But it is morally reprehensible that it agreed to the Palestinian attempt to erase the historic connection between the Jewish people and its holy sites.  In addition, the majority forgot that the Palestinian Authority has laid claim not simply to Jewish sites, but also to the Christian Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

The one-sided resolution continued its misleading and false charges.  It condemned Israeli plans to build a prayer space for women at the Western Wall.  It charged that Israel had placed Jewish fake graves in spaces in Muslim cemeteries on Wafk property near the Temple.  It condemned the “new cycle of violence” since October 2015 but laid the blame on the victims of terrorism in Israel.  It accused Israel of the continued conversion of many Islamic and Byzantine remains into the “so-called” Jewish ritual baths or Jewish prayer places.

Again not surprisingly, without mentioning the continuing rocket attacks by Hamas on Israel and the projected use of tunnels in order to attack Israel civilians, UNESCO deplored the continuous Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip and the intolerable number of casualties among Palestinian children.  UNESCO appears ignorant of the reports including the important one by Amnesty International that indicates the use of children by Hamas for military purposes and stresses the war crimes committed by Hamas.

It is shameful that UNESCO, set up for peaceful purposes to promote intercultural dialogue, has been misused for political purposes.  Its one-sided resolutions against Israel and its citizens demonstrate that it has become a vehicle for hatred, not peace.