Admit It: The Palestinian Authority Is a ‘Terror-Sponsoring Entity’
JNS.org – Recent moves by the US administration towards the Palestinians are signs that as we approach the 25th anniversary of the Oslo Accords (signed on September 13, 1993), there are finally international players that are ready to call a spade a spade. In this spirit, it is high time to admit that the Palestinian Authority (PA) — the main product of the agreements — is a “terror-sponsoring entity” committed to the Palestinian struggle, which is aimed at rectifying the injustice that it sees in Zionism. The PA was like that from the day it was established, and it promises to stick to this identity in the future. Yet until recently, we were willfully blind to it.
The PA repeatedly declares that it is determined to keep paying salaries to terrorists arrested in Israeli prisons or released from them, as well as to the families of terrorists who died in their terror attacks. PA leader Mahmoud Abbas stated that “even if we are left with one penny we are going to use it to pay the salaries to the [terrorist] prisoners.” This came in response to the American and Israeli awakening to the reality about the PA, as represented in the “Taylor Force Act,” which would deny American aid to the PA until it stops paying those salaries. In a similar vein, Israel adopted an equivalent law that deducts from the taxes collected by Israel and transferred to the PA the sum that the PA pays to the terrorists. (Both laws were recently enacted, but have not been put into effect by the Trump or Netanyahu governments.)
In the PA’s 2018 budget, salaries to incarcerated and released terrorists will amount to NIS 550 million ($153 million). The amount allocated for the families of those killed or wounded in the struggle against Zionism is set at NIS 687 million ($190 million). Altogether, the expenditures for supporting terror in the 2018 Palestinian Authority budget are NIS 1.278 billion ($355 million). This sum constitutes 7% of the total budget, similar to the last several years, and amounts to 45.8% of foreign aid to the PA expected in 2018.
The budget for real welfare support is NIS 841 million ($233 million). In 2017, it was 826 million shekels ($229.4 million), and was used for paying 118,000 families under the poverty line 750 to 1,800 shekels ($208 to $500), compared with 1,400 to 12,000 shekels ($388 to $3,333) a month that are paid to an imprisoned terrorist.
These details are especially problematic as the Palestinian terror wave continues. Among the recipients of the salaries are the families of the terrorists who murdered Hadas Malka, a policewoman stabbed to death at the Damascus Gate on June 16, 2017; the families of the Israeli Arabs from Umm-Al-Fahm who murdered two Israeli policemen on the Temple Mount on July 14, 2017; the terrorist who murdered three members of the Solomon family on July 19, 2017; the family of the terrorist who murdered Yotam Ovadia on July 27, 2018; and many more.
Some people state that even though we know the PA is a terror-sponsoring entity, we should remain willfully blind because eventually we have to make peace with the PLO and the PA as the representatives of the Palestinians. They say that telling the truth may force the collapse of the PA, and lead to an even worse government.
The PLO in general and the PA in particular have long proven that they are not potential partners for peace, mainly due to their hate indoctrination and incitement. The repeated harsh antisemitic and hateful declarations by Abbas are clear evidence to that. If anybody needs further proof, the Palestinians rejected the Obama and Kerry peace proposals, and have refused to receive the Trump administration proposal.
At the same time, the Palestinian leadership consistently and vehemently oppose the idea that Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people. One wonders, in light of these factors, how anyone could consider the Palestinian leadership a potential peace partner.
The PA will survive as long as Abbas survives, and if it falls, then it will happen because of internal power struggles and not because of Israel. And in any event, the security cooperation between Israel and the PA will likely continue, because it benefits the PA in its struggle against Hamas.
Waking up from this willful blindness is necessary in order to stop contending with the PA in the international arena with one hand tied behind our back. As long as Israel remains in denial of the truth about the PA, it cannot expect the United States and Europe to adopt policies that are based on facts and not illusions. How can Israel say with a straight face to its civilians that it is doing everything to protect them without calling the Palestinian Authority what it really is: a terror-sponsoring entity?
Only by accepting the truth can we send the message that we are not “suckers.” Once the Palestinians begin to consider changing their attitude, it will be possible to start paving the long and winding road to peace.
Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser is director of the Project on Regional Middle East Developments at the Jerusalem Center. He was formerly director-general of the Israel Ministry of Strategic Affairs and head of the Research Division of IDF Military Intelligence. Sander Gerber is founder and CEO of Hudson Bay Capital.