Diplomacy

TIP CEO: By Rejecting U.S. Aid, PA Chooses Terror over Well-Being of Palestinians

With the rejection of all U.S. financial assistance over a new anti-terror law, the Palestinian Authority “has chosen terror over the wellbeing of its own civilian population,” TIP CEO & President, Joshua S. Block, said in an op-ed published in JNS on Wednesday.

The PA announced earlier this month that it will renounce all U.S. aid in protest of the Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act (ATCA), which takes effect on Thursday and increases the PA’s exposure to U.S. anti-terrorism lawsuits. The act empowers Americans to sue foreign aid recipients in U.S. courts over complicity in terrorist activities.

“It’s important to understand the context of this development for the PA can be expected to blame everyone but itself for the dire consequences of the decision,” Block said, warning that the $60 million cut in annual funding “could affect the delicate coordination between Israeli security forces and the PA in the West Bank.”

Block argued that, “All it would take for the PA to avert the crisis is to do what should be expected of any political enterprise with a serious aspiration to build its own nation: renounce terror.” However, he observed, “not even the loss of so much money has moved the PA to reconsider its amoral tactics.”

The PA spent about $360 million, or 7 percent of its revenues, on the so-called “Pay-to-Slay” scheme last year under which Palestinian terrorists and their relatives receive generous financial rewards for killing Israelis. “To the Palestinian leadership, the “Pay-to-Slay” scheme is not a mere act of defiance against the U.S. It is a matter of patriotism,” Block said.

He cited a quote from PA President Mahmoud Abbas from July 2018 in which the Palestinian leader remarked, “Even if we have only a penny left, we will give it to the martyrs, the prisoners and their families.” Abbas called them “planets and stars in the skies of the Palestinian struggle.”

Block argued that, rather than being a right-wing talking point pushed by the Trump administration, the PA’s incitement “is a reality that the left has also acknowledged.”

Two Labour lawmakers, Dame Louise Ellman and Joan Ryan, introduced draft legislation in the British parliament in January in which they warned that Palestinian children are “being poisoned” with anti-Jewish hate. Block also pointed out that both Israel and the U.S. passed similar legislation, including the Taylor Force Act in March 2018.

“Often Israel is told that it must make sacrifices for peace,” Block concluded. “In this instance, the PA is making a sacrifice so that it doesn’t have to make peace. Understanding the PA’s decision makes clear on whom the onus falls for the failure to give peace a chance.”

[Photo: Αλέξης Τσίπρας Πρωθυπουργός της Ελλάδας / Flickr ]