Terror Victims Call for End to Palestinian ‘Pay-to-Slay’ Policy
JNS.org –The Palestinian Authority pays terrorist prisoners and the families of dead and wounded terrorists nearly $1 million every day. According to the PA’s 2018 projections, 7.5 percent of its annual budget will go to terrorism.
But to many Israelis, these are not simply numbers.
In October 2015, Palestinian terrorists wounded 20 Israelis in a combination shooting and stabbing attack in Jerusalem. Two were pronounced dead at the scene. Two weeks later, 76-year-old American-born Richard Lakin succumbed to his wounds. PA leader Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority rewarded the killers and their families with $3 million.
Earlier that year, in July 2015, another Palestinian terrorist — part of a four-member terrorist cell — shot and killed 26-year-old Malachi Rosenfeld after he came home from a basketball game, also wounding three of his friends, including Shai Maimon, who suffered two bullets in each of his legs. Rosenfeld’s killers were also paid a salary, as per Palestinian law.
On June 18, the head of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition requested a revision that halted the Israeli bill that would have deducted the amount of money going to terrorists from the money that Israel passes to the PA in tax-revenue transfers. Many believe that Netanyahu stopped the bill from passing because he wants the discretion of whether to reduce the funds or not.
JNS spoke with Micah Lakin — the son of Richard Lakin — and Maimon about their thoughts on the “pay-to-slay” backtracking.
Now 36 and living in a small village in the Binyamina Region north of Jerusalem, Maimon is committed to stopping the Palestinian incitement to violence. He told JNS on the three-year anniversary of the murder, “I thought we were closing a circle. I thought, ‘Wow, it’s going to be three years on this night, and this will be my revenge on all the terrorists.’ Now, after this revision, I’m very, very disappointed in the government, particularly in the Likud Party and Netanyahu. They are making a huge mistake. … Likud is [now] responsible for every shekel that the PA spends on terrorism.”
‘The right thing to do, the moral thing to do’
“For the past 24 years, we have been delivering money to terrorism,” said Maimon. While he acknowledged the chance of an international and Palestinian backlash if the bill is approved, Maimon said that “on this issue, Netanyahu is too afraid to make changes that are the right thing to do and the moral thing to do. Our government can’t pass … money to terrorists who murder our citizens.”
Lakin, too, agrees that the Israeli backtracking was morally reprehensible, and goes against all of the values that his father, who marched for civil rights in the United States in the 1960s, taught him.
The younger Lakin was born in Connecticut and made aliyah with his parents in 1984. He remembers his father as a social justice fighter, marching with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and teaching English as a second language to all sectors of Israeli society. After his father’s murder, Lakin began monitoring, writing, and lobbying on the issue of incitement of terrorism in Palestinian society.
He said, “For there to be peace one day, we need to educate ourselves and our children to live together and want peace — only then can we try to reach an agreement.”
“But,” he said, “I have witnessed the systematic [education] of hatred, violence, and murder. I’ve seen it in kindergartens and elementary schools, in high schools and universities, in clubs, book clubs, at sporting events, and summer camps — all named after the terrorist who murdered my father. Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority has worked together with the father of one of the terrorists who murdered my father. All of this promotes a culture of hatred and violence and death, which cannot be the background to any kind of peace.”
“The [PA’s] ‘pay-to-slay’ law — the idea that someone who goes out and murders Jews is rewarded by the governing authority with money — is by far the most dramatic and obscene example of this immorality. It’s the … most morally reprehensible thing that could happen,” stated Lakin.
‘No reason we should help Palestinian terrorists who murder Jews’
Lakin has been an outspoken critic of the “pay-to-slay” law at the United Nations Human Rights Council, where he testified in March. He asked the UN Human Rights envoy to the Palestinian Authority, Michael Lynk, whose report failed to mention this law, “What if I were to pay $3 million to have your father, Stanley, shot in the head?” and then asked the members of the council, “What if I were to pay $300 million to have all of your fathers butchered? Would you report on that? Turning a blind eye while United Nations’ funds and your states’ funds are funneled through the PA to pay for the murder of innocents is unconscionable.”
Since speaking to the Council, Lakin noted that the United States quickly enacted the Taylor Force Act, which sought to put pressure on the PA’s “play-to-slay” policy.
“I have spoken about this in Europe and in the UN, US, and Israel, and it is mind-boggling that other countries could understand this before we do here in Israel,” he said, pointing to the Israeli government’s backtracking on the issue. “There is no reason we should help Palestinian terrorists who murder Jews. Period.”
Eliana Rudee is a contributor to the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity. She is a graduate of Scripps College, where she studied International Relations and Jewish Studies. Follow her @ellierudee.