The Palestinian Authority’s payments of salaries to convicted terrorists or their surviving family members constitutes a violation of the Oslo Accords, a former Israeli general wrote this week in a research paper for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, the former Director General of the Israel Ministry of Strategic Affairs and head of the Research Division of IDF Military Intelligence, wrote that the payments are made as a result of the Palestinian determination to establish a “state over all of Palestine commits them to struggling against Zionism in a wide variety of ways, including terrorism.” The payments to terrorists, including to members of Hamas, are made legal due to legislation passed by the PA, which dubs the terrorists “fighters.” This shows, Kuperwasser argued, that the PA’s leadership doesn’t view the agreements it made at Oslo to be a “deviation from or an end to the battle against Zionism.”
Palestinian leaders have seen the timid international response to their payments as “as a green light to continue the solicitation of terror through the payments as well as other kinds of incitement, hate indoctrination, and delegitimization of Israel,” Kuperwasser wrote. He proposed solutions to this issue:
The way to handle this problem is primarily becoming aware of Palestinian ideology and its institutionalization through the payments for salaries for “fighters,” and then clarifying to the Palestinians through legal, economic and political means that this ideology and the policy of paying salaries to terrorists is unacceptable and must change. This should be a condition for assisting the Palestinians, and it is the only way to promote a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. Sticking to the policy of ignoring the salaries would just allow the [Palestinians] to increase their support to terror and lead to the eternalization of the conflict, with all the harsh consequences that follow.
The PA’s incentivizing of terror was recently in a Wall Street Journal editorial on Sunday. The Journal urged Congress to pass the Taylor Force Act, which would end American aid to the PA unless it stops rewarding terrorists. Force was a U.S. Army veteran who was stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist in March while he was visiting Israel. Not only did Abbas refuse a request from U.S. Vice President Joe Biden to condemn the attack that killed Force, but Fatah, the party that Abbas heads, hailed the terrorist who killed Force as a “heroic martyr.”
The Journal argued that the payments to terrorists “are an official incentive program for murder that in any other context would be recognized as state sponsorship of terror.” While the editorial doubted that the bill will be taken up during the lame-duck session, it urged the incoming administration and Congress to “send a powerful message” by passing the bill.
The United Kingdom suspended aid payment to the PA last month, following an investigation in the Mail on Sunday in March and a report by the Overseas Development Institute think tank in June that British aid money was being used to encourage Palestinian terrorism. Germany’s Foreign Ministry acknowledged last month that its own aid money to the PA is likely being used to provide funds to terrorists and their families.
While Abbas does not deny that his government pays salaries to terrorists and their families, the PA claims that the funds come from the Palestine Liberation Organization, not its own budget. However, Yigal Carmon, the president of the Middle East Media Research Institute, testified to Congress in July that in order to mislead donor countries who were pressuring the PA to stop rewarding terrorism, the Authority simply transfers the funds to the PLO before they are dispersed to jailed terrorists or their surviving family members. The PA is still the source of the funding, and the official overseeing the payments remains the same.
Palestinian non-governmental organizations have also been accused of giving their funds to terrorists. In the past four months, the UK, Australia, and Germany have suspended donations to the charity World Vision after Israel arrested the director of the group’s Gaza branch, who confessed to funneling millions of dollars to Hamas.
[Photo: AFP news agency / YouTube ]