US Tax Dollars Fund Terrorists

 

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

On March 8, 2016, Taylor Force, a 28-year-old West Point graduate and veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, was visiting Israel with members of his graduate class from Vanderbilt University when a Palestinian terrorist attacked civilians in Jaffa with a knife. Force was killed, and 10 others, including a pregnant woman, were wounded. The next day, the terrorist who killed Force, Bashar Masalha, was praised as a “hero and martyr” by the Fatah party (which is overseen by Mahmoud Abbas). He was given a hero’s funeral and thousands attended.

The Palestinian Authority passed a law in 2004, Law Number 14, Articles 1 and 2 that provides Masalha’s family with a pension for life, amounting to three times the average yearly salary in the West Bank.

The Palestinian government makes absolutely no attempt to hide its rewards for terrorism. In the Amended Palestinian Prisoners Law 19 of 2013, the payments were actually enhanced for a terrorist who commits a violent act and is jailed. Under this law, the longer the sentence (i.e., the greater the violence), the higher the salary that a terrorist receives. Article 4 offers free tuition to the children of those jailed. In Article 6, there is even a clothing allowance and monthly stipend linked to the cost-of-living index. Health insurance is included in Article 4, section 12. Article 5 provides the ultimate bonus: a lifetime pension for a prison term of five years (or only two years in the case of a female terrorist).

The PA allocates $315 million, nearly 8 percent of its budget, to pay terrorists in prison and the families of the “martyrs.”

In February, Senator Lindsey Graham reintroduced the Taylor Force Act that would end the sending of funds to the Palestinian Authority for its support of terror. If passed, the US Secretary of State would be required to certify that the PA is taking credible steps to stop acts of violence against the US and Israeli citizens; the PA would publicly condemn violence and assist in bringing the perpetrators to justice; and it would stop paying terrorists and their families who commit these acts. The bill is sponsored by Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Roy Blunt (R-MO), and Tom Cotton (R-AR); Congressmen Doug Lamborn (R-CO) and Lee Zeldin (R-NY); and cosponsored by Senators Tim Scott (R-SC), Marco Rubio (R-FL), John Boozman (R-AR), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Richard Burr (R-NC), and John Thune (R-SD).

But the Taylor Force Act may not be as helpful as it appears. The use of US tax dollars to fund terrorism is only a portion of the PA’s economic corruption. As Caroline Glick says in her book, The One State Solution:

Foreign donor governments, who pay for more than a third of the Palestinian Authority’s operating budget, have repeatedly requested that the Palestinian Authority take serious steps to remedy the situation. But it has not done so. As the continued repression of freedom of the press since Arafat’s death makes clear, the Palestinian Authority doesn’t investigate allegations of corruption and authoritarianism to redress them—rather, it hides them by silencing its critics.

In addition, some of the funds we are sending to the PA are actually helping Israel to fight terrorism:

The reason that nobody has yet brought up eliminating American security assistance to the PA – although it is important to note that the preliminary budget for FY 2017 cuts it from $70 million to $35 million – is that the most overlooked fact of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict over the past decade has been the remarkable record of the PASF [Palestinian Authority Security Forces] in helping keep Israelis safe. Ask any Israeli security official, and they will tell you that coordination with the PASF is one of the primary reasons that terrorist attacks on Israelis now consist of lone-wolf stabbings and shootings rather than mass suicide bombings, and why there are rockets from Gaza but zero from the West Bank. Despite the rhetoric of Israeli politicians about the PA being barely a step removed from terrorism, the PA has become Israel’s most important security partner on the ground.

So if the Taylor Force Act is implemented, others will likely continue to support the Palestinian Authority; those funds could continue to support rewarding terrorists. Even if the PA complies with the Act’s demands, it will be difficult to track whether they continue to honor its requirements. At least we will be taking steps to make the support of terrorists and their families more difficult.

Still there does appear to be hope elsewhere. In December, the UK temporarily suspended funding to the PA because the Brits claim, correctly, that the money winds up in the hands of terrorists. They have established specific criteria for how funding should be distributed, and to whom. Shortly after his inauguration, President Trump held up a last-minute cash giveaway of $221 million to the Palestinians that Barack Obama authorized just hours before he left office. It is unclear whether the funds have been released, or released with restrictions.

So there are three primary questions:

  1. Do you think the Taylor Force Act will be effective if passed?
  2. Should we be supporting the Palestinian Authority at all?
  3. Should we find a way to provide funds that holds the PA accountable for using the funds appropriately?

There are 81 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Chuckles Thatcher
    Chuckles
    @Chuckles

    Let me see if I understand what you are saying:  If I understand correctly, the PA uses some of our money to pay off terrorists, and also uses some of our money to make terrorists less effective.  Is that correct?

    This kind of confusion is what happens when we give aid to foreign governments – which ought not be any surprise, I mean good grief!  Of course some of it isn’t going to be used for purposes we endorse.

    • #1
  2. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Chuckles (View Comment):
    This kind of confusion is what happens when we give aid to foreign governments – which ought not be any surprise, I mean good grief! Of course some of it isn’t going to be used for purposes we endorse.

    But a LOT of it is being used to fund terrorists, Chuckles. And when we are over there, Americans are being killed, too. I’m for looking at cutting back on our foreign aid to begin with, and this is a good place to start.

    So are you saying, in effect, that it goes with the territory? Or that we should re-think our foreign aid?

    • #2
  3. ModEcon Inactive
    ModEcon
    @ModEcon

    Why do either? I know stopping terrorism is important and a good cause, but shouldn’t the local people do that. I don’t think a little money is going to help much. Otherwise, we could just make some monopoly money to give them :)

    Besides, it is immoral to support terrorism, so we shouldn’t let it go just because it is useful. A right doesn’t make a wrong okay. Neither does countering terror make other terror okay. I think the moral stance is to stop funding terror and find other ways to stop it.

    • #3
  4. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    The PA is one of the most corrupt institutions ever. We should withdraw any support for a two-state solution and work with Israel to resolve its internal matters with rebellious citizens and work with Egypt and Jordan to provide for anyone who wants to leave Israel. It is clear that the PA only believes in the right of conquest, so on those terms there is only one state.

    • #4
  5. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    Let Congress determine the amount but authorize the President to withhold funding for any reason. Legalese is easily circumvented.

    Or give the PASF’s money to Israel, since the funding apparently exists to subdue terrorism and not broadly to police the country we pretend isn’t a country.

    Or withdraw all funding.

    • #5
  6. Chuckles Thatcher
    Chuckles
    @Chuckles

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Chuckles (View Comment):
    This kind of confusion is what happens when we give aid to foreign governments – which ought not be any surprise, I mean good grief! Of course some of it isn’t going to be used for purposes we endorse.

    But a LOT of it is being used to fund terrorists, Chuckles. And when we are over there, Americans are being killed, too. I’m for looking at cutting back on our foreign aid to begin with, and this is a good place to start.

    So are you saying, in effect, that it goes with the territory? Or that we should re-think our foreign aid?

    Yes to both of those.  Absolutely.  @aaronmiller suggested giving the PASF funds to Israel, I’m okay with that.  But I don’t see any way we can give any funds to the PA itself and not find ourselves supporting terrorism.

    • #6
  7. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    I don’t think we should be giving the PA a single cent.

    They have zero respect for the United States. Anything we give them is a joke to them. It won’t change them in any way. It’s money thrown away. And in fact, it makes us look like fools to them.

    • #7
  8. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):
    Let Congress determine the amount but authorize the President to withhold funding for any reason. Legalese is easily circumvented.

    Or give the PASF’s money to Israel, since the funding apparently exists to subdue terrorism and not broadly to police the country we pretend isn’t a country.

    Or withdraw all funding.

    Could it be given to Israel to give to PASF?  I don’t know; I’m asking.

    As for the OP’s three questions:

    1. I don’t know.
    2. I don’t know.
    3. Yes.

     

    • #8
  9. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    The Palestinian Authority is Israel’s best friend in this situation. But that only works so long as it can convince its own people it isn’t a total sell out.  These payments are one way it does that.

    The options are:

    1. All Palestinians killed

    2. Current lone wolf attacks

    3. The Palestinian equivalents of the Irgun and Stern Gang

    .

    Senator Cotton may make you feel better, but his actions actually make Israel less safe.  Of course jmho.

    • #9
  10. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Authoritarians to the left of them and Jihadis to the right. Just great.

    @Susan Why does the author of the one-state solution think that Palestinians will become non-violent when they become part of one big Israel.

    • #10
  11. Chris Campion Coolidge
    Chris Campion
    @ChrisCampion

    Zafar (View Comment):
    The Palestinian Authority is Israel’s best friend in this situation. But that only works so long as it can convince its own people it isn’t a total sell out. These payments are one way it does that.

    The options are:

    1. All Palestinians killed

    2. Current lone wolf attacks

    3. The Palestinian equivalents of the Irgun and Stern Gang

    .

    Senator Cotton may make you feel better, but his actions actually make Israel less safe. Of course jmho.

    Actually, it’s the actions of people who kill women and babies that make Israel less safe.

    But thanks for the effort at clarification.

    • #11
  12. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    Palestine and its terrorists are sustained by foreign donations, our share is not even the biggest and money is fungible, so we should make every attempt to end all of it.  To get the world to go along at least temporarily the effort will have to follow an act of terrorism, but the debate needs to go on now and include developing information on how the donations are used to sustain Palestine as if it were still a refugee camp and did not have the potential to become a real economy.  The Palestine insanity  would have ended many decades ago were it not paid for by the rest of the world.

    • #12
  13. Hypatia Inactive
    Hypatia
    @Hypatia

    In a nutshell, what we’re saying is that the Palestinian Authority is out to preserve: the Palestinian Authority.

    It’s being run by jus’ folks,  after all: folks like Arafat, who died a billionaire.  Now, there’s a CEO for the ages!  Whenever peace was within reach, he preached intifada, so the world could see the “oppression” against “his” people, and open their purses…lotsa the loose change fell into HIS pocket, of course, but nobody paid any attention to that, till he was dead, when his wealth was….shocking! Incomprehensible!

    • Like Arafat,  they’re doing all they must to make sure the funds keep comin’

    –which they do, from all over the world.

    So they’re working with Israel to solve the problem of terrorism

    but they have to make it worth the terrorists’ while, too!

    Its tough, give ’em a break: they may want to keep the balance of carnage at the level where the world won’t turn against them

    …but they have absolutely no reason to put an end  to it.

    That would be corporate suicide.

    • #13
  14. Richard Harvester Inactive
    Richard Harvester
    @RichardHarvester

    The PA is a deeply corrupt organization which is committed to maintaining its power. So they play both sides. Too much terror and Israel will stop supporting them and – as in Gaza – they will be replaced. Not enough honor of terror and their own people will finally tire of their corruption and replace them. So they play both sides. This isn’t an ideological decision. Cynically, it is much cheaper for them to arrest terrorists themselves than to have the Israelis do so and then be required to pay pensions.

    I think Israel should recognize individual areas that generate no external terrorist activities for 1 year as Provisional Cantons with increased rights of travel and trade. They do some of this already, with these areas having significantly fewer checkpoints and military action and more work permits. But it isn’t official.

    After 2 or 3 years and the demonstration of a basic level of economic, trade and religious freedom, Israel could grant these Cantons diplomatic recognition with full free trade and functionally open borders.

    Those Cantons can choose to consolidate with others if they want to. They can choose a unified flag if they want to. But they may not want to – they have very different clan, family and historical allegiances. Israel could even support Arab areas of Israel joining these Cantons.

    Some currently Palestinian areas would never accept this – they would remain in a permanent state of war. But many would (it is one reason why some towns/cities generate almost no terror even today). And more and more Palestinians might just choose to immigrant to these Cantons.

    Piecemealing the problem would undermine the PA (unless it successfully governed peaceful Cantons) while also encouraging more moderate groups. It would also reflect the nature of the communities on the ground.

    • #14
  15. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Richard Harvester (View Comment):

    Piecemealing the problem would undermine the PA (unless it successfully governed peaceful Cantons) while also encouraging more moderate groups. It would also reflect the nature of the communities on the ground.

    Your comment is informative, interesting, and (it seems) useful.  Thanks.

    • #15
  16. Richard Harvester Inactive
    Richard Harvester
    @RichardHarvester

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Richard Harvester (View Comment):

    Piecemealing the problem would undermine the PA (unless it successfully governed peaceful Cantons) while also encouraging more moderate groups. It would also reflect the nature of the communities on the ground.

    Your comment is informative, interesting, and (it seems) useful. Thanks.

    I’ve made it into a post – with more detail.

    • #16
  17. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Rodin (View Comment):
    The PA is one of the most corrupt institutions ever. We should withdraw any support for a two-state solution and work with Israel to resolve its internal matters with rebellious citizens and work with Egypt and Jordan to provide for anyone who wants to leave Israel. It is clear that the PA only believes in the right of conquest, so on those terms there is only one state.

    Rodin, Caroline Glick makes the point in her book that if they were able to do so, many Palestinians would get out. They just don’t see the option for doing that. They don’t have the funds to relocate, and where would they go? Who would welcome them now?

    • #17
  18. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    I think @chuckles is right, about this it is hard to disentangle local corruption, waste, and ulterior motives from these kind of grants. Furthermore considering that money is fungible any money we give no matter how tightly regulated its spending is will free up funds for making these kind of payments. But, if we do leave the the West Bank regime strapped for cash do we think they will cut popular funding to pensions for “martyrs” or will they scale back on law enforcement?

    Cutting some of the funding, and offering to restore it in exchange for some sort of more proactive stance against this kind of actions seems reasonable, but I doubt it will be that effective overall. I think this bill though is more concerned with domestic politics and signaling than actual results over seas. Of course that is always the safe bet with anything.

     

    • #18
  19. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):
    Or give the PASF’s money to Israel, since the funding apparently exists to subdue terrorism and not broadly to police the country we pretend isn’t a country.

    I like all your ideas, Aaron–especially the one of giving Israel the money needed for them to partner with the PASF!

    • #19
  20. Matt White Member
    Matt White
    @

    Zafar (View Comment):
    The Palestinian Authority is Israel’s best friend in this situation. But that only works so long as it can convince its own people it isn’t a total sell out. These payments are one way it does that.

    The options are:

    1. All Palestinians killed

    2. Current lone wolf attacks

    3. The Palestinian equivalents of the Irgun and Stern Gang

    .

    Senator Cotton may make you feel better, but his actions actually make Israel less safe. Of course jmho.

    Aren’t you supposed to pretend the general population is relatively innocent and peaceful?If they favor payments for jihad against Israel then they are guilty and cannot be considered peaceful.

    • #20
  21. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):
    @Susan Why does the author of the one-state solution think that Palestinians will become non-violent when they become part of one big Israel.

    She doesn’t. She points to the evidence that those currently under Israeli governance actually like it! They can’t admit that, of course, but they like having basic services that we all appreciate, and like living in an environment where fear doesn’t reign. So she believes at first that things will be tumultuous, but that most Palestinians will come around. There will always be those who will want to cause trouble, but instead of being paid bonuses, they’ll go to jail.  You might give her a read, Henry.

    • #21
  22. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    I Walton (View Comment):
    Palestine and its terrorists are sustained by foreign donations, our share is not even the biggest and money is fungible, so we should make every attempt to end all of it. To get the world to go along at least temporarily the effort will have to follow an act of terrorism, but the debate needs to go on now and include developing information on how the donations are used to sustain Palestine as if it were still a refugee camp and did not have the potential to become a real economy. The Palestine insanity would have ended many decades ago were it not paid for by the rest of the world.

    You are right on all counts, I. It’s amazing to me that people do not see the pathetic conditions of the Palestinians (although there have been improvements in the West Bank) as a result of corruption; they prefer to blame Israel. Thanks for the comments!

    • #22
  23. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Richard Harvester (View Comment):
    Piecemealing the problem would undermine the PA (unless it successfully governed peaceful Cantons) while also encouraging more moderate groups. It would also reflect the nature of the communities on the ground.

     

    Thanks so much for weighing in, Richard. This sounds like an excellent approach. My guess, however, is that those who willing work with Israel will become victims of terrorism as well. No perfect solutions, but this one makes a great deal of sense to me.

    • #23
  24. TooShy Coolidge
    TooShy
    @TooShy

    One reason (and probably the main reason) that the Palestinian Authority co-operates with the Israelis is that the Israelis are helping them round up Hamas terrorists who represent a threat not just to Israel but to the PA itself. .

    The PA has quite fragile control over the West Bank, which is not helped by Abbas’ age (he is past eighty) and no clear succession.

    If funding were cut back, I would assume that the PA would continue to co-operate with the Israelis, as the alternative is that a civil war would break out, with Hamas the likely winner. Once Abbas dies, though, it is very uncertain what might happen next. There are not only Hamas supporters in the West Bank but also those who like al-Qaeda and ISIS. I don’t know how widespread that support is.

    If we look instead at the Gaza Strip, it is clear that there are ISIS supporters there. Hamas coexists with ISIS in the Gaza Strip in a very uneasy relationship. ISIS has an affiliate branch in the Sinai. ISIS in the Sinai helps Hamas by smuggling weapons into the Gaza Strip; in return Hamas gives medical treatment for the Sinai-based ISIS fighters who have been wounded in conflict with the Egyptians. There are also ISIS supporters within the Gaza Strip itself. But ISIS is also a rival and a threat to Hamas power. So while they may co-operate, the relationship appears to be tense.

    But if you were to ask me what we should do, I would have to say I don’t know.

    I do like Richard’s idea very much but wonder how it might work in practice.

    • #24
  25. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Richard Harvester (View Comment):
    Some currently Palestinian areas would never accept this – they would remain in a permanent state of war. But many would (it is one reason why some towns/cities generate almost no terror even today).

    Richard, is there a correlation between which Palestinian areas are peaceful and which Palestinian areas are relatively free of Settlements?  Meaning they are free to breathe, while places like Hebron are being choked.

    • #25
  26. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Matt White (View Comment):

    Aren’t you supposed to pretend the general population is relatively innocent and peaceful?

    Of course, but then they go and vote for Netanyahu.

    Point is: that’s who there is to make peace with.  You can’t dissolve the people and elect another, so best get on with it.

    • #26
  27. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    TooShy (View Comment):

    One reason (and probably the main reason) that the Palestinian Authority co-operates with the Israelis is that the Israelis are helping them round up Hamas terrorists who represent a threat not just to Israel but to the PA itself. .

    The PA has quite fragile control over the West Bank, which is not helped by Abbas’ age (he is past eighty) and no clear succession.

    If funding were cut back, I would assume that the PA would continue to co-operate with the Israelis, as the alternative is that a civil war would break out, with Hamas the likely winner. Once Abbas dies, though, it is very uncertain what might happen next. There are not only Hamas supporters in the West Bank but also those who like al-Qaeda and ISIS. I don’t know how widespread that support is.

    If we look instead at the Gaza Strip, it is clear that there are ISIS supporters there. Hamas coexists with ISIS in the Gaza Strip in a very uneasy relationship. ISIS has an affiliate branch in the Sinai. ISIS in the Sinai helps Hamas by smuggling weapons into the Gaza Strip; in return Hamas gives medical treatment for the Sinai-based ISIS fighters who have been wounded in conflict with the Egyptians. There are also ISIS supporters within the Gaza Strip itself. But ISIS is also a rival and a threat to Hamas power. So while they may co-operate, the relationship appears to be tense.

    But if you were to ask me what we should do, I would have to say I don’t know.

    I do like Richard’s idea very much but wonder how it might work in practice.

    Thank you so much for filling in the picture, TooShy. It is challenging to keep all the players in mind, especially when relationships and power keep shifting. Very helpful!

    • #27
  28. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Chris Campion (View Comment):

    Actually, it’s the actions of people who kill women and babies that make Israel less safe.

    Among other things.

    For example: the settlement enterprise makes Israel less safe.

    But thanks for the effort at clarification.

    You’re welcome.

    • #28
  29. Hypatia Inactive
    Hypatia
    @Hypatia

    Matt White (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):
    The Palestinian Authority is Israel’s best friend in this situation. But that only works so long as it can convince its own people it isn’t a total sell out. These payments are one way it does that.

    The options are:

    1. All Palestinians killed

    2. Current lone wolf attacks

    3. The Palestinian equivalents of the Irgun and Stern Gang

    .

    Senator Cotton may make you feel better, but his actions actually make Israel less safe. Of course jmho.

    Aren’t you supposed to pretend the general population is relatively innocent and peaceful?If they favor payments for jihad against Israel then they are guilty and cannot be considered peaceful.

    Yuh.  And BTW the Irgun and Stern gang was disarmed and incorporated into the country’s military when Israel became a nation.  See, that’s one of the things a successful state does:  it monopolizes the use of force. Here’s what it doesn’t do: encourage pockets of individual violence.  Oh but then: despite controlling a lot more land than Israel, the PA isn’t a state, is it? Au contraire!  Just ask Mrs. Suha Arafat, if you can catch her en route between her two residences in Paris and its erstwhile colony Tunisia.  No, it’s a private moneymaking venture, and a damned successful one!

    • #29
  30. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Richard Harvester (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Richard Harvester (View Comment):

    Piecemealing the problem would undermine the PA (unless it successfully governed peaceful Cantons) while also encouraging more moderate groups. It would also reflect the nature of the communities on the ground.

    Your comment is informative, interesting, and (it seems) useful. Thanks.

    I’ve made it into a post – with more detail.

    I recommend that everyone here go and read it and upvote it to the main feed.

    • #30

Comments are closed because this post is more than six months old. Please write a new post if you would like to continue this conversation.