When U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with PLO leader Mahmoud Abbas last month, he boasted of the over one billion dollars in aid that the Biden administration had programmed for the terrorist territories.
That aid has come with a very heavy price.
In Feb. 2019, President Trump’s total cutoff of aid to the Palestinians became official. That year, 10 Israelis or people in Israeli controlled areas were killed in stabbings, shootings, rocket and other attacks, down from 12 the previous year, 15 in 2017 and 16 in 2016.
In 2020, however, only three Israelis were killed.
These numbers reflected the diminished capacity of the Islamic terrorists. The reduction in numbers was not due to the pandemic. The year still saw attacks, including firebombings, rocket launches and stabbings, but the success and lethality rates for these attacks were lower.
The numbers turned around dramatically once again in 2021.
In April 2021, the Biden administration restored aid to the PLO. Terror incidents, reflecting attack attempts, shot up sharply, from 91 in February and 89 in March to 130 in April.
By May, major fighting had resumed, with 13 Israelis, including two children, killed.
By the time the year was over, 17 people in Israeli areas had been killed. The over 400% increase in deaths was only the beginning. In 2022, 31 Israelis or people in Israeli areas were killed, up from only three in 2020, for a massive 900% increase in casualties since the restoration of foreign aid to the terrorists. This was the worst death toll since 2015 under Obama.
But in January and the first half of February, 10 Israelis have already been killed, including a 6-year-old boy and his 8-year-old brother.
Three times as many have been killed in the past month and as in all of 2020. That’s a 233% increase over 2020 in just a fraction of a year, but it’s also a marked month-to-month escalation from 2022, which featured no attacks at all in January or February. More people have already been killed by terrorists in 2023 than through most of March 2022.
What a difference a billion dollars makes.
While the media has tried to portray the terrorism as “lone wolf” attacks, they’re crowdsourced violence of the kind that Al Qaeda and Islamic State helped innovate. But the PLO’s version is unique through its ‘Pay-to-Slay’ program, which rewards terrorists, regardless of their formal affiliation, with salaries and payments for their families.
Terrorists are paid based on the length of their prison sentence. That means successful killers can earn $2,000 to $3,000 a month in a part of the world where the average salary is around $700 a month. It’s five times more profitable to be a terrorist than a teacher.
The Palestinian Authority calls for the murder of Jews, praises it and then rewards it.
Muhammad al-Lahham of the Fatah Revolutionary Council, which runs the political movement behind the terrorists of the P.A., was caught on video praising the “patriotic conscience” of a terrorist who had killed a rabbi taking his two-year-old son for a walk in 2022.
The Trump administration cut off aid to the PLO’s P.A. and Congress passed the Taylor Force Act, banning funds from going to finance Pay-to-Slay.
Throughout all this, PLO leadership have been consistent in refusing to stop financing terrorism.
“We will neither reduce nor prevent [payment] of allowances to the families of martyrs, prisoners and released prisoners, as some seek, and if we had only a single penny left, we would pay it to families of the martyrs and prisoners,” Abbas had bragged. By “martyrs,” he meant those Islamic terrorists who were killed while carrying out terrorist attacks.
Despite this, the Biden administration restored aid and rebuilt diplomatic relations. Biden and Blinken have met with Abbas. And while they have attacked Israel over everything from letting Jews pray on the Temple Mount (due to Jewish prayers offending Muslim sensibilities) to democratic judicial reform that will limit the unilateral authority of pro-terrorist judges, Biden and Blinken have had nothing to say to the terrorists about the program funding the murder of Jews.
“The Biden Administration is well aware that the P.A. pays Palestinian terrorists to injure or kill innocent Americans and Israelis in Israel. Yet, in blatant violation of the Taylor Force Act, a federal law that prohibits the government from sending American taxpayer dollars to the P.A. until it stops supporting terrorism, President Biden and Secretary of State Blinken have resumed payments to the P.A. after the Trump Administration had stopped these payments in compliance with the Taylor Force Act,” America First Legal declared..
“The Taylor Force Act, named after our son, was passed by Congress and signed by President Trump to stop this Pay to Slay. Yet the Biden Administration has resumed payments to the P.A. notwithstanding its Pay to Slay program,” said Stuart Force, Taylor’s father.
The Biden administration’s decision to fund the P.A. has consequences beyond Israel. Islamic terrorism is a global threat and has been a reliable killer of Americans abroad.
“Robbi and I call upon President Biden to stop sending fungible taxpayer dollars to the P.A. that will end up funding terrorism,” Stuart Force appealed.
And the latest wave of violence shows just how “fungible” that money is.
The massive uptick in successful terrorist attacks is not a coincidence. The numbers become more significant when we distinguish between so-called “lone wolf” attacks, which are most directly impacted by Pay-to-Slay, and rocket attacks by other terrorist groups. Fourteen people were killed in direct terrorist attacks in 2018. That number dropped to five in 2019, the year Trump cut off aid to the PLO. By 2020, it fell to three, in 2021, the year Biden restored aid, it rose to four and then shot up to 32 in 2022, reflecting the “slow burn” effect of fungible aid money being taken away and then restored within a government bureaucracy, even if it’s run by and for terrorists.
As the Biden administration continues pumping money into the terrorist entities occupying parts of Israel, the violence is drastically increasing. 2023 is already on track to top 2022, which had the worst numbers since 2015. The level of Islamic terrorism is returning to that of the Obama administration, and that means that we can expect an even higher death toll in Israel.
The billion dollars in aid is a factor, but an even bigger factor is that the Biden administration, like its Democrat predecessor, has made no secret of its support for the P.A. And the Biden administration has gone even further with its diplomatic support for the PLO regime and its pressure on Israel. The latest murders are the work of a terrorist group that knows that Washington, D.C., has its back and will intervene to protect it from Israel.
The Biden administration’s decision to appoint Hady Amr, an open supporter of Islamic terrorism and opponent of the Jewish state who was “inspired” by the intifada, as its key liaison to the PLO, has consequences, and dead bodies in Jerusalem are among the most obvious.
Islamic terrorism runs on money and foreign support. The Biden administration has provided both. The Palestinian Authority spends hundreds of millions of dollars a year on Pay-to-Slay.
The pipeline of terror may end with a six-year-old boy lying dead on a Jerusalem street, but it begins with cash coming out of Washington, D.C. The attacks of Sept. 11 cost Al Qaeda about half a million dollars. The cost to the PLO of killing that little boy, his brother and a newly married man going to spend the Sabbath with his wife’s family probably comes out to about $30,000 a year. Or $10,000 per dead Jewish person. That’s a fraction of the millions of dollars in foreign aid which could be used to finance hundreds and thousands of more murders of Jews.
$10,000 to kill a six-year-old boy, another $10,000 to kill his 8-year-old brother. Thanks to the financiers of murdering Jews in the Biden administration, the terrorists have the cash.
And we’re the ones providing it.
Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical left and Islamic terrorism.
This is an edited version of an article first published by FrontPage Magazine.