International Affairs

Do American taxpayers know they’re funding Palestinian terrorists?

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I wonder what the reaction of steelworkers in Pennsylvania, coal miners in West Virginia and produce workers in California would be to the news that their tax money is directly funding Palestinian terror?

It’s been known for some time now that the Palestinian Authority celebrates terror and lionizes those who perpetrate it. There was no secret made of the heroic homecoming offered by PA President Mahmoud Abbas to freed Palestinian terrorists in 2013, in which he triumphantly held up the hands of brutal thugs such as Abu-Musa Atia, who axed a 67-year-old survivor of the Sobibor death camp to death as he walked through a construction site. As for those terrorists who never made it home, they have streets, schools, parks and competitions endowed with their names.

Dalal Mughrabi was just 19 when she led the most barbaric and deadly terrorist attack in modern Israeli history, known as the “Coastal Road massacre,” in 1978. Infiltrating Israel on a boat, the young woman hijacked a bus and began to systematically murder those inside. As the bus careened down the highway, Mughrabi and her accomplices threw the corpses of her victims out of the back door of the bus, so as to obstruct the security forces which pursued her. By the time Israeli police were able to take over the bus and eliminate the terrorists, she had murdered 38 Israelis, among them 13 children – seven of whom were under the age of six.

Her reception in Palestinian government and society for such gruesome acts was – purely – applause and veneration. Two girls’ high schools, a computer center, a soccer championship, two summer camps, and a public square have since been named after her. As it turned out, one of those schools – a girl’s school in Hebron – was being directly funded by USAID. Mahmoud Abbas himself presided over a birthday celebration for what would have been her 50th birthday, one you can see for yourself on video.  

But now we’ve learned something new. The Palestinian Authority does not only celebrate terror, it actually funds it. And it does so with American taxpayer money.

{mosads}The facts are straightforward. Every year the United States gives nearly half a billion dollars to Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority. The overwhelming majority of that money, or the equivalent thereof, is used to provide the payroll for Palestinian terrorists who have murdered Israelis and Americans.


Among those murdered in the most recent wave of terror was Taylor Force, a graduate of the US Military Academy at West Point and a veteran of both wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist during a visit to Israel, while he was innocently paying a visit to the Tel-Aviv boardwalk. The man who killed him, 21-year-old Bashar Masalha, was later killed by police. But his family now receives a monthly stipend three times larger than the average annual Palestinian income – all courtesy of the Palestinian Authority and, by extension, their American benefactors.

These payments are not even hidden, rather they’re paid as a part of mandatory Palestinian law.

Just last year, Abbas – who will be in Washington this  Wednesday for a meeting with President Trump – even re-signed this pay-for-slay policy into Palestinian law. The law, moreover, dictates that the deadlier an attack, the richer the reward. The monthly income received by imprisoned terrorists and their families is directly proportional to the length of the prison sentences that they receive in Israeli courts, or – in other words – the number of people they manage to maim and kill. Those who receive sentences of over 30 years’ imprisonment are entitled to $3,400 a month – 20 times the average Palestinian income. The brutal thug I mentioned earlier, who axed a holocaust survivor to death: he’s getting that payment, too: $42,000 a year, all for one blatant and indiscriminate act of murder.

There are currently two Palestinian Government bodies, each with special office space and hundreds of civil servants, dedicated to dispersing funds to terrorists and their families. In the last year, these funds allotted $315 million, or 8 percent of the Palestinian Authority’s total budget, to this twisted system of terrorist welfare.

To put it simply: If you blow up children, disembowel pregnant women, and stab Jews and American tourists to death, you are legally entitled to an official Palestinian government stipend for the rest of your life. Even if you don’t survive your own attack, your family will thank you. They’ll get the money in your stead.

This is all official Palestinian government policy. To call it abhorrent is an understatement. But far worse, it makes every American taxpayer complicit in acts of terrorism.

That this has gone on since the Oslo Accords of the 1990s is shocking enough. But even more surprising is how successive American administrations have done nothing to stop it.

But President Trump can.

Surrounded as he is by arguably the most pro-Israel advisers of any president in memory, he must press the issue with Mahmoud Abbas in their upcoming meeting. From Jared Kushner to Steve Bannon, from Jason Greenblatt to David Friedman, Trump has surrounded himself with tremendous friends and defenders of Israel. It’s time to cut off funding to the Palestinian Authority unless it immediately takes terrorists off the government payroll.

This is not an American issue, or even a pro-Israel issue. It’s a moral issue, and it’s what the president owes the American people. It’s not acceptable to have hard-working Americans send their hard-earned money to imprisoned killers and the families of suicide bombers.

The reputation of Barack Obama will forever be stained by his Iran nuclear agreement. Not only because he allowed Iran to keep 6,500 centrifuges, more than enough to produce a nuclear weapon over the next decade. And not because he did not demand that prior to any deal the murderous mullahs first cease their genocidal incitement against Israel and America. Former President Obama actually released $150 billion to the terrorist government of Iran knowing full well, and even admitting, that some of that money would be used to murder people in terror attacks.

Allowing the Palestinians to do the same, with money that we don’t just unfreeze, but actually give them, is simply unforgivable.

Congress, under the lead of Sen. Lindsey Graham, and with support of Sens. Tom Cotton, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio, among others, is finally taking steps to cut Palestinian funding so long as they directly fund terror. It’s known as The Taylor Force Act, and its name is fitting. An American hero had his life cut short at the hand of a killer, as have far too many Israelis.

President Trump, after showing incredible leadership on striking at the murderer Bashar Assad, we look to you to reverse previous administration’s amorality of allowing hard-earned taxpayer money from going to terrorists.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, “America’s Rabbi,” whom The Washington Post calls “the most famous Rabbi in America,” is the international bestselling author of 30 books, including his most recent, “The Israel Warrior.” Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley

The views expressed by contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.

Tags Barack Obama Israel Lindsey Graham Marco Rubio Palestinian Authority Ted Cruz Terrorism Tom Cotton

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