Ethics now get short shrift nearly everywhere, and what was once normal behavior is regulated only by moral ambiguity. But murder, whether by an angry spouse, street hoodlum or terrorist driven by religious fanaticism, still has no sanction. There’s no justification for outbursts of butchery, and cash doled out to Palestinian terrorists and to their families is blood money, and it’s to the shame of the U.S. government that some of that blood money is lifted from the pockets of Americans.
The practice of paying for murder is front and center now following the execution-style shootings of two Israeli Druze policemen at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City. The families of three Israeli Arabs who carried out the attack are eligible for money from the Palestinian Martyrs Fund, as well as the families of the attackers who stabbed an Israeli policewomen at the Damascus Gate in June.
The Palestinian Authority, in its 2017 budget, allocates $355 million to “direct terror funding expenditures,” according to Palestinian Media Watch, and of that $158 million goes to “salaries” for imprisoned terrorists, an increase of 13 percent above last year. Another $197 million is paid to the families of “martyrs,” as terrorists slain in the act are called, an increase of 4 percent. Rather than encourage productive citizens, the Palestinian leaders encourage acts of terrorism, including murder, as a way of life.
More than 20,000 Palestinian families receive monthly payments, according to the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, and another 500 families of “martyrs” are eligible for a free religious pilgrimage to Mecca, paid by Saudi Arabia. It’s a telling indicator of where the powers that be place their priorities, that peaceful families with incomes under the poverty line receive smaller welfare payments than killers of Jews.
Despite the flow of blood money to these killers of Jews, the U.S. State Department seems to regard Israel as the primary villain in what was once called the Holy Land. In its 2016 human rights report, the department plays down Palestinian violence and abuse. In a July 20 letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Rep. Peter Roskam, Illinois Republican, says “the report wrongly insinuates Israeli security measures on the Temple Mount and a stalled peace process as key forces behind terrorism.” Citing a wave of recent attacks, Mr. Roskam observes that “President Abbas, who deemed this wave a ‘peaceful uprising,’ was a key supporter of these heinous attacks.”
The United States sends an average of $400 million annually to the Palestinian Authority, a sum more than enough for President Abbas to give $355 million to terrorists dedicated to the extermination of Israel. The Taylor Force Act, named for a U.S. Army officer fatally stabbed by a Palestinian in Israel, would prohibit such assistance until the Palestinian Authority has done something about eliminating such terrorism. Congress should act. The geopolitics of the Middle East may be complicated, but the morality of terrorism is not. It’s evil and U.S. dollars should not pay for it.