Gingrich was right: US aid pays for Palestinian terror promotion
With thousands of Americans having sacrificed their lives in the wars on terror, and trillions of dollars spent, Americans may well ask: why have we given almost a billion dollars to the terror-promoters of the Palestinian Authority?
Controversy over Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich’s charge that Palestinian national identity is a recent invention has, unfortunately, overshadowed a more important point made by Gingrich, namely, that the Palestinian Authority promotes hatred and terrorism with US aid money.
If true, this raises serious questions about US Middle East policy.
According to the Congressional Research Service, US aid to the West Bank and Gaza Strip since 2008 has averaged over $600 million per year. More than $200 million of that annual sum went directly to the Palestinian Authority (“PA”) budget – over $800 million in four years. Where does the
Research by the non-profit Palestine Media Watch (“PMW”) found that the PA has a long-established practice of paying stipends to convicted Palestinian terrorists and the surviving relatives of suicide bombers.
In April 2011 the PA formalized this practice, passing a law that placed on the PA payroll, all Palestinian and Israeli Arabs convicted of terror crimes and jailed in Israel. Palestinian news media report that more than 5,500 convicted Palestinian terrorists qualify for these payments.
Hence, as also reported by Palestinian media, the PA now pays every month,more than $5 million to convicted terrorists in Israeli prisons – more than $60 million per year. The monthly pensions paid to these criminals exceed the average salaries of PA security forces and civil servants.
American taxpayers may find these facts surprising, given the media’s frequent description of the PA as “moderate.” But this description defies reality. Although PA leaders occasionally mention peace and denounce terrorism to English-speaking audiences, the PA's actual policies – stated in Arabic – continue to reject peace and glorify terrorists who murder Jews.
For example, a PMW study of the PA-ruled West Bank in 2010 identified 100 places and events named after 46 different terrorists – including such venues as schools, summer camps, sports festivals, and town squares. Effusive praise of these terrorists regularly flows on PA government TV, and in speeches by leading PA officials.
The crimes committed by these so-called “heroes” and “martyrs” are truly horrific. The oft-praised Dalal Mughrabi led a terror-team in 1978 that kidnapped an Israeli bus and murdered 37 civilians, including 12 children and 1 American.
The Palestinian “hero” Salah Khalaf, leader of the Black September terror group, planned the murder of two American diplomats, and the 1972 kidnap and murder of 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics.
The terrorist Abbas Al-Sayid, whose crime the PA recently honored by presenting a plaque to his family, planned the 2002 suicide bombing of Israeli civilians at a Passover Seder, killing 30.
This emulation of mass murderers is reinforced by a constant barrage of Israel-hatred and Jew-hatred in Palestinian schools and media. As also documented by PMW, PA schoolbooks deny the Holocaust, call Israel “the Zionist enemy,” and teach that Israel has no right to exist.
In contrast to Israel, where schools teach tolerance and respect for Arab and Islamic cultures, even children’s programs on PA TV are filled with videos urging young people to become suicide bombers.
PA TV and newspapers regularly castigate Jews as “monkeys and pigs,” “a germ among us,” a “parasitic worm,” and a “cancer” – the same dehumanizing propaganda used by Hitler on the eve of the Holocaust.
The PA media accuse the Jews of causing such global catastrophes as Communism, World War II, the 2004 Asian tsunami, and even the Holocaust itself.
Also, echoing the blood libels of the Middle Ages, the PA publicizes such false accusations as: Israel poisons the Palestinians’ wells, infects Palestinian men with the AIDs virus, kidnaps Palestinians to sell their organs, and tortures Palestinian prisoners in gruesome medical experiments.
And PA TV regularly broadcasts the calls of clerics and others to exterminate the Jews. The following examples are representative.
PA TV, October 13, 2000: “The Jews . . . are all liars. They must be butchered and must be killed.”
PA TV, April 20, 2007: “Allah, take hold of the Jews and their allies . . . kill them to the last one . . . .”
PA TV,April 3, 2009: “The time will come . . . when . . . their children will be exterminated, and no Jew or Zionist will be left on the face of this earth."
PA TV, January 29, 2010: “The prophet says, ‘You shall fight the Jews and kill them . . . .”
In sum, the PA’s investments in terror-incitement are substantial and pervasive. It honours mass murderers as heroes, rewards convicted terrorists with monthly pensions, and promotes Jew-hatred on a scale not seen since the defeat of Nazi Germany.
With thousands of Americans having sacrificed their lives in the wars on terror, and the nation spending trillions of dollars to combat terrorism, Americans may well ask: why have we given almost a billion dollars to the terror-promoters of the Palestinian Authority?
Henry Kopel is an attorney with the US Department ofJustice in Connecticut. The views here are his own, and do not reflect the views of the Justice Department
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