Abating Abbas

Palestinian Arabs lack a civic culture that would support a healthy regime and their political culture is, not surprisingly, sick. On the one hand, we have the colleagues and descendants of Yasser Arafat in Fatah. On the other hand, we have the genocidal maniacs of Hamas. As George Wallace might have put it, there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between them.

Although Fatah and Hamas are themselves profoundly undemocratic, they seem roughly to reflect Palestinian public opinion. Thus the depressing survey data that Daniel Polisar has recounted at Mosaic in recent essays here and here.

Khaled Abu Toameh is the respected Arab Israeli based in Jerusalem (and certainly the bravest journalist I have ever met). As he put it in a column for the Gatestone Institute: “Palestinians: The message remains no and no.”

One symptom of the sickness that permeates their politics: under Palestinian laws passed in 2004 and amended in 2013, Palestinian and Israeli Arabs who are convicted of attacks in Israel (“participation in the struggle against the occupation”) are entitled to monthly “salaries” commencing with their arrest (and continuing for life for men who serve at least five years and women who serve at least two), along with additional cash grants and priority civil-service job placements upon their release.

Thane Rosenbaum summarizes the arrangements in a good Washington Post column:

In this lethal logic, the longer a prison sentence — really, the more deadly an attack — the more profitable the payout. Even toward the lower end of the scale, the salaries are more lucrative than most West Bank jobs. In accordance with Palestinian Authority Government Decision No. 32 of 2010, those imprisoned for three to five years, for instance, get $570 a month. And those committing crimes that result in prison sentences of at least 30 years receive salaries of more than $3,400 a month — 20 times the per capita income in the West Bank. Of course, some prisoners are sentenced to multiple life terms and will never be released. But those who are can expect a lump-sum payment of as much as $25,000 — like a bonus for bad behavior.

Palestinian officials show little compunction defending these practices. Killing Israelis is part of the popular resistance, and those who serve as “martyrs” should be compensated for their sacrifice. A spokesman for the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Commission of Prisoners and Released Prisoners’ Affairs, Hassan Abd Rabbo, said that “it is the right of all of the prisoners and martyrs who have struggled and sacrificed for Palestine to receive their full salaries from the PA.” The Palestinian prime minister, Rami Hamdallah, has stated that inmates are “prisoners of war” and that “their cause is the cause of all of us.”

Rosenbaum’s column goes into more detail on the legal incentives offered for the terrorist murder of Israelis.

What kind of a regime makes such arrangements? It is sick, sick, sick.

Rosenbaum comments: “[I]incentivizing the murder of civilians is barbarism, and it happens to offer a career path for ardent and enterprising Palestinians. The ‘lone wolves’ who perpetrate stabbings, shootings and car-rammings are not really acting alone — they are a people’s army recruited to kill by their government.”

Can we all get along? Answer: no.

Taylor Force is the former U.S. Army officer who was murdered while in a Vanderbilt University tour group last year in Jaffa. The terrorist attack that took his life left 10 others wounded. Rosenbaum’s column supports the Taylor Force Act that would put an end to American foreign supporting the Palestinian murder program. Along with Rosenbaum, Doug Feith and Sander Gerber support adoption of the bill in a NRO column that makes you wonder why it hasn’t happened long before now.

Foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority of course supports the murder program. As it has threatened their funding, Fatah officials have used their creativity to spring to its defense. At Palestinian Media Watch, Itamar Marcus reports: “Fatah is now arguing that donor countries should welcome the PA’s paying salaries to terrorists with their money, since this practice promotes peace by keeping the Palestinian terrorists from joining ‘ISIS or any other extremist party… [We] say to the donor states [whose money goes to terrorists] that your donations help the PA bring peace to the Middle East.'”

The antiwar movement fostered the slogan “kill for peace” as a gibe against the Pentagon back in the day. With a straight Palestinian spokesmen now offer a variant in support of their murder reward law.

UPDATE: As of this morning Itamar Marcus has added more here.

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