Diplomacy

Trump to Abbas: “Peace Can Never Take Root in an Environment Where Violence is Tolerated”

In a joint appearance with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem on Tuesday, President Donald Trump rebuked the PA’s widely-criticized policy of paying salaries to terrorists and their families.

“Peace can never take root in an environment where violence is tolerated, funded and even rewarded,” Trump said as he stood next to Abbas. “We must be resolute in condemning such acts in a single unified voice.”

Trump has often voiced his opposition to the PA’s practice of financially incentivizing terrorism. When Abbas visited Washington earlier this month, Trump told the Palestinian president that there would be “no lasting peace”with Israel “unless the Palestinian leaders speak in a unified voice against incitement to violence.”

A day later, Nabil Shaath, a top adviser to Abbas, told Israel Radio that it would be “insane” for the PA to stop paying prisoners who had been convicted of terrorism or their families.

When Trump hosted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in February, the president said that “Palestinians have to get rid of some of that hate that they’re taught from a very young age.” He also called on Palestinian leadership to “acknowledge” Israel.

Trump made the same point during his 2016 speech at AIPAC:

You cannot achieve peace if terrorists are treated as martyrs. Glorifying terrorists is a tremendous barrier to peace. It is a horrible way to think. It’s a barrier that can’t be broken. That will end and it’ll end soon, believe me. In Palestinian textbooks and mosques, you’ve got a culture of hatred that has been fomenting there for years and if we want to achieve peace, they’ve got to go out and they’ve got to start [sic] this educational process. They have to end education of hatred. They have to end it and now.

The Wall Street Journal‘s editorial board argued in November that payments to Palestinian terrorists “are an official incentive program for murder that in any other context would be recognized as state sponsorship of terror.”

Eli Lake wrote in Bloomberg View in July that offering salaries to Palestinians who kill Israelis “encourages” terror attacks “as a legitimate act of resistance.”

An investigation in the Mail on Sunday in March 2016 found that Amjad Awad, a Palestinian man who in 2011 helped massacre five members of the Fogel family in their West Bank home, has already received some $23,000 from the PA as compensation. (In 2012, PA television called Awad and his cousin, who also participated in the killings, “heroes.”)

Another terrorist on the PA’s payroll is veteran Hamas bomb-maker Abdallah Barghouti. Barghouti is serving 67 life sentences in an Israeli jail over his role in numerous bombings, including at the Hebrew University cafeteria in 2002, the Sbarro restaurant in Jerusalem in 2001, and a Rishon Lezion nightclub bombing in 2002, which killed 66 people. He is believed to have received over $150,000 for his efforts thus far.

The “cash-strapped PA relies on foreign aid for nearly half its budget,” the Mail on Sunday observed. “Yet it gives [$102] million a year to prisoners locked up in Israeli jails, former prisoners and their families.”

Since the amount of money awarded to Palestinian terrorists correlates to the amount of time they’re serving in prison, “the more gruesome the terrorism, the more money will be paid,” The Jerusalem Post reported in 2015.

[Photo: The White House / YouTube ]