President Trump’s decision to send millions of dollars in aid to the Palestinian Authority is a grave mistake. Although motivated by humanitarian sentiment, the aid package will serve a very different purpose—it will free up funds for the PA to continue paying salaries to terrorists.
The reason that the United States cut off economic aid to the PA in the first place was precisely because providing that aid allowed the PA to maintain its policy of paying more than $134-million to imprisoned terrorists and to the families of dead and released terrorists.
The legislation mandating the cut-off, called the Taylor Force Act, was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Trump in early 2018. The law did not cut off only aid that was used directly to pay terrorists. The law cut off all U.S. economic aid— because aid is fungible, so even aid which goes to, say, hospitals, frees the PA from having to help those hospitals, so it can use the money instead for terrorists.
And that’s exactly what’s about to happen.
The Trump Administration announced on April 16 that it will—through some legal loophole—send $5-million in American taxpayer money to PA hospitals to help cope with the Coronavirus crisis. Sounds like a kind humanitarian gesture. But it’s badly misguided.
That $5-million is money which the PA would have otherwise had to pay, since obviously, it’s not going to let its hospitals collapse, especially in the midst of the crisis. So the PA will be able to turn around and apportion another $5-million to its “Pay for Slay” program.
The PA considers the suicide bombers and other mass-murderers to be “heroes.” That includes, by the way, the terrorists who have murdered more than 150 American citizens in recent decades. Thus the PA refused to budge on paying them, even when the U.S. threatened to cut off aid.
Palestinian Media Watch revealed recently that even as the PA was making various budget cuts last year, including reducing the salaries of teachers and social welfare workers, it did not reduce the salaries it pays to terrorists. That tells you all you need to know about the PA’s real priorities.
The $14-million that the PA will pay to terrorists this month alone, could instead be used to purchase over 385,000 Coronavirus test kits, or 465 ventilators for sick patients who need them. But thanks to the Trump Administration, American taxpayers will be paying $5-million towards the test kits and ventilators, giving the PA $5-million extra to spend on bombers, shooters, and stabbers.
The news reports about President Trump’s decision stated that he hopes “that this could improve relations between the Trump administration and the Palestinian Authority, which have been essentially frozen over the last two and a half years.”
They haven’t been frozen because the U.S. government hasn’t been giving them money. The freeze came before the aid cut-off. It happened because the PA wanted the U.S. to force Israel to surrender to all of the PA’s territorial demands, and when the U.S. didn’t do it, the PA cut off all relations.
Not only did the PA suspend relations, but it regularly incites hatred against America. Just earlier this month, Palestinian Media Watch reported on a recent broadcast on official Palestinian Authority Television, which featured an Arab girl reciting a poem which called America’s president “the brother of a whore” and a “son of a dog” and threatened, “We will declare war, we will ignite it in the East and the West, we will trample your honor, wretched one!”
Certain American Jewish organizations used to be very vocal in opposing U.S. aid to the Palestinian Arabs. So far, they have been silent about the Trump Administration's $5-million gift to the PA. That’s a shame. Surely they would speak out if the U.S. proposed to give $5-million to Hamas. So why are they silent as the U.S. gives aid to the PA, which likewise is at its core a terrorist regime?
Moshe Phillips is national director of Herut North America’s U.S. division; Herut is an international movement for Zionist pride and education and is dedicated to the ideals of pre-World War Two Zionist leader Ze'ev Jabotinsky. Herut's website is www.herutna.org