Monday, October 24, 2011

Tobin - Abbas to Pay Released Murderers’ Pensions With U.S. Aid Money

Jonathan S. Tobin
23 October '11

It is no secret that Hamas was strengthened by the conclusion of its ransom deal with Israel in which over one thousand Palestinian terrorists were freed in exchange for the safe return of Gilad Shalit. But its Fatah rivals are not taking this triumph lying down. In the wake of the announcement that Hamas will be paying each of the released killers, almost all of whom are either directly or indirectly responsible for the murders of Jews, a bonus of $2,000, the Palestinian Authority has also decreed that it will be paying every one of the murderers a separate honorarium though the amount was not specified. That PA leader Mahmoud Abbas, the man that is supposed to be Israel’s peace partner, will pay this cash reward for murder, is an irony that is lost on an Obama administration that continues to urge the Jewish state to make concessions to the PA.

This is of more than passing interest to American readers since hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. taxpayer funds are transferred to the Palestinian Authority every year. That makes Uncle Sam is paying a subsidy to mass murderers. That’s a not insignificant point to remember when Congress decides whether or not to continue the flow of aid to the PA.

While the Shalit deal highlights this practice of official Palestinian support for terrorism, it is, in fact, nothing new. The PA has been paying pensions to every Palestinian serving time for terrorism in Israeli jails for years. And its official media and other government organs continue to lionize these killers, treating their bloodthirsty crimes as a form of heroism and their imprisonment as an injustice. When you consider that the PA has abandoned the peace process via their United Nations gambit as well as cozying up to Hamas in a unity deal, it all adds up to unassailable case for an end to U.S. aid to this noxious entity.

There will be those, including some in Israel, who will argue that a U.S. aid cutoff will create chaos or harm the chances for peace. The answer to that there is no chance of getting the PA to come to its senses without a credible threat of a cutoff of funds. The Palestinians have come to believe that they can act with no fear of the consequences. That is as true in their Western-supported government in the West Bank as it is for their Islamist independent state in Gaza.

The Obama administration and Congressional Democrats have opposed the efforts of Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the House Foreign Relations Committee chairwoman, to impose conditions on the continuance of U.S. aid to both the PA and the UN agencies that facilitate their misconduct. These latest events ought to mobilize concerned Democrats to reach out to both the White House and Congressional Democrats to get them behind Ros-Lehtinen’s bill.

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