On Friday evening, Omar Al-Abed entered the Salomon home in Halmish, Israel, brandishing a knife. He proceeded to stab Yosef, Chaya, and Elad Salomon to death. The brutality came to an end when “a neighbor, who serves in an elite IDF unit, heard the cries and rushed over, shooting the terrorist through the window of the house,” according to The Times of Israel.
Al-Abed’s crime was barbaric — an act of purest evil – yet his family is being rewarded for it.
Tablet reports that the Palestinian Authority (PA) is set to pay the family of Omar al-Abed approximately $3,120/month as a reward for the murders:
As the Solomon family buries its dead — the community spent the day helping out by washing the blood of Yosef, Chaya, and Elad from the kitchen and the living room, and counseling those who had watched their loved ones slaughtered — the al-Abed family will enjoy a generous payday, courtesy of the Palestinian Authority, which uses the money it receives from, among other sources, American tax payers to handsomely compensate the killers of Jews. Because the payment is commensurate with the length of the terrorist’s jail sentence, and because the sentence grows heftier the more Jews the terrorist kills, the al-Abeds will be richly rewarded for Omar’s murderous spree: the monthly salary paid to the families of those sentenced to 30 years or more in prison is $3,120. Just for comparison, an average Palestinian engineer earns about $1,300 per month.
The PA has a long history of rewarding terrorists. Apologists frequently claim that the PA’s payments to terrorists and their families are not rewards for acts of barbarism, but social safety net payments. According to Sean Durns, senior research analyst for CAMERA, that’s simply not true:
The Palestinian Authority’s own Ministry of Public Affairs, in a 2010 report, noted that 63 percent of those imprisoned and receiving payments were single. Yet, they still received the same basic salaries as those with families.
Durns also cites Thane Rosenbaum, “distinguished fellow at the New York University School of Law,” who noted that “Palestinian laws passed in 2004 and amended in 2013 stipulate that convicted terrorists receive monthly ‘salaries.’ Further, cash grants and priority civil-service job placements are offered to those who carry out terror attacks. The 2004 law even specifies that the financial support is for the ‘fighting sector,’ an ‘integral part of the fabric of Arab Palestinian society.’”
Yosef Kuperwasser of Tablet broadens the picture:
The Palestinian Authority has paid out some … $1.12 billion over the past four years to terrorists and the families of terrorists who were killed while carrying out terror attacks. … The Palestinians’ own budgetary documents clearly state that these payments to the Terrorists are salaries and not welfare payments.”
The payments allegedly account for roughly 4% of the PA’s budget, according to Kuperwasser.
For a more intimate perspective on the issue, The Daily Wire spoke with Hazem Farraj, a Palestinian ex-Muslim who spent several of his formative years in Israel.
Farraj personally witnessed the culture of hate and death in Palestinian Israel:
As a Palestinian-American who lived in the Holy Land for a short 3.5 years, I’ve seen all the bloodshed and violence that I could handle. I heard the hate speech in school, in the mosque, and on television. It was as if the locals were expected to desensitize ourselves from feeling the sorrows of real people who were suffering on both sides. We were told that suffering was the result of our “Jihad.”
Even as a teenager, Farraj knew that what he was hearing from those around him wasn’t right. When the Second Intifada began, the Farraj family moved back to the United States.
Regarding the recent terror attacks in Israel, Farraj wondered: “Where is the unified voice of Palestinian leaders condemning such attacks?” He noted, however, that he wouldn’t hold his breath because the voices that are currently silent are “the same Palestinian leaders who prepped the community for Jihad.”
The ex-Muslim also spoke of how easy it is to brainwash young Palestinians into violence:
Unfortunately, it’s actually an easy case to make for many disenchanted youth who have no hope for their future. Throw the label “jihad” upon senseless bloodshed and suddenly we don’t have a terrorist any longer, we have something way more attractive. We have a hero, a shaheed, a martyr.
Speaking directly of payments made by the Palestinian Authority to terrorists and the families of terrorists, Farraj said:
If simple martyrdom didn’t pique their interest, perhaps the monthly salary from the PA would entice these desperate lost souls to become terrorists. As a Palestinian-American, this is so embarrassing to me. What’s worse is these salaries go directly to jihadis and their families. According to a report from the Jerusalem Institute of Justice, 5,500 Palestinian prisoners are receiving aid totaling over $5,207,000 per month.
This program is entirely subsidized by “foreign aid.” How is this ok? It’s not. And it needs to be addressed. Because we could use that $5,207,000 per month to reform the education system to one that teaches real history, science, and math, rather than how to make bombs.
Farraj held that while he indeed has hope that the younger generations of Palestinians may break the cycle of violence, a major step must be undertaken by world leaders:
The United States and the European Union provide most of foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority. They must take a stand and demand reform in the Palestinian Authority’s human rights record. By not doing so these donor states share responsibility for this bloodshed and are helping fund jihad.
According to the Jewish Virtual Library, while more stringent measures have been implemented in order to properly allocate aid money to the Palestinian Authority, some lawmakers and citizens are concerned that cash from the United States is being used to finance terror.
Tzipi Hotovely writes in The Wall Street Journal:
According to a report last year by Global Humanitarian Assistance, in 2013 the Palestinians received $793 million in international aid, second only to Syria.
Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs reports that “the PA’s annual budget for supporting Palestinian terrorists was then roughly $75 million. That amounted to some 16% of the foreign donations the PA received annually. Overall in 2012 foreign aid made up about a quarter of the PA’s $3.1 billion budget.”
Dov Lieber of The Times of Israel writes that despite PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah claiming the U.S. offered no assistance in 2016, “the State Department has in fact provided Ramallah with over $357 million in financial assistance in the past year , according to information given to The Times of Israel by a U.S. State Department official…”
The concern over the possible financing of terror is so great that members of the House of Representatives introduced H.R. 1164, otherwise known as the “Taylor Force Act,” in February 2017. This legislation would place even tighter restrictions on U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority.
The text reads:
Funds appropriated or otherwise made available for assistance under chapter 4 of part II of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2346 et seq.; relating to the Economic Support Fund) and available for assistance for the West Bank and Gaza may only be made available for such purpose if the Secretary of State certifies to the appropriate congressional committees that the Palestinian Authority —
(1) is taking credible steps to end acts of violence against United States and Israeli citizens that are perpetrated by individuals under its jurisdictional control, such as the March 2016 attack that killed former United States Army officer Taylor Force, a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan;
(2) is publicly condemning such acts of violence and is taking steps to investigate or is cooperating in investigations of such acts to bring the perpetrators to justice; and
(3) has terminated payments for acts of terrorism against United States and Israeli citizens to any individual who has been imprisoned after being fairly tried and convicted for such acts of terrorism and to any individual who died committing such acts of terrorism, including to a family member of such individuals.
Even with all available measures being taken, the problem of fungibility still exists. The transferability of money means that even if foreign aid is being used appropriately, the Palestinian Authority can use other funds to bankroll terror. When one coffer is filled, extra cash becomes transferable. In the end, the United States would still be providing aid to an organization that sponsors terror, even if U.S. dollars aren’t being directly spent on it.
Acts of evil are being handsomely rewarded. Even worse, it’s the norm. Something must be done differently. If we don’t change our way of thinking as it pertains to aid to the Palestinian Authority, we will remain complicit in funding terror and murder.