One of those Palestinians whom the U.S. State Department keeps telling us wants a two-state solution murdered yet another Israeli, this time an American citizen. Elan Ganeles, a 27-year-old in town to attend a friend’s wedding, was shot dead by a Palestinian terrorist on a highway between Jericho and the Dead Sea.
I’m not sure how many people are aware of the number of American victims of Palestinian terror. Since 1970, at least 80 Americans have been killed and 87 wounded in Israel and the disputed territories. During that time, nearly 2,300 Israelis were murdered.
Remember the Oslo Accords, which were supposed to usher in an era of peace? You know, the agreement predicated on Yasser Arafat’s recognition of Israel and commitment to renounce “the use of terrorism and other acts of violence.”
Since Oslo, more than 1,600 Israelis have been slain. Of those, 71 have been American citizens. Another 81 have been injured. The fatalities include men, women and children as young as three months.
Mr. President, you are subsidizing these killers.
How much carnage will it take before the United States wakes up to the fact that the Palestinians have no interest in any solution in which a Jewish state exists? When will the State Department recognize that Palestinians are being nurtured by hate in their homes and schools, and by the incitement of their leaders? Generation after generation has been indoctrinated with the virtue of martyrdom and encouraged to maim and murder as many Jews as possible, but the State Department makes no distinction between Israelis trying to defend their lives and Palestinians seeking to snuff them out.
Last June, 56% of Palestinians said they supported armed attacks against Israelis inside Israel, while only 28% supported a two-state solution. In December, 72% supported the formation of terror groups like the “Lion’s Den,” 55% endorsed the return of an armed intifada, and 51% believed that armed action is the most effective means of ending the Israeli occupation.
Note that these polls were before Netanyahu took office.
The Palestinian Authority rewards the killers of Americans and other Israelis with monthly stipends. This pay-to-slay policy provides incentives for murder. To give just one recent example, two murderers released from prison in January after serving 40-year sentences received nearly $100,000 each for their service to the Palestinian people.
Following the 2016 murder of Taylor Force, a graduate of West Point and a U.S. Army veteran of battles in Afghanistan and Iraq, while he was on a study trip with other students in Jaffa, Congress passed the Taylor Force Act. The law requires that U.S. assistance to the West Bank and Gaza “that directly benefits the P.A.” be suspended unless the Secretary of State certifies that the Palestinian Authority has met four conditions: terminating these payments to terrorists, revoking laws authorizing this compensation, taking “credible steps” to end Palestinian terrorism, and “publicly condemning” and investigating such acts of violence. The law includes exceptions only to fund Palestinian water projects, childhood vaccination programs and eastern Jerusalem hospitals.
Since the law was signed in December 2017:
- An American was killed running to a shelter in Ashdod during a Hamas rocket barrage on May 5, 2019.
- Five of eight people wounded when a Palestinian opened fire on a Jerusalem bus on Aug. 4, 2022, were Americans.
- At least two Americans were injured when two bombs exploded in Jerusalem on Nov. 23, 2022.
Former President Donald Trump cut off aid to the Palestinians after P.A. despot Mahmoud Abbas refused to end the pay-to-slay policy.
President Joe Biden, however, decided to restore funding, openly flouting the spirit, if not the letter, of the Taylor Force Act. The administration has already provided tens of millions of dollars and is committed to providing hundreds of millions more (not counting larger sums committed to UNRWA). The Washington Free Beacon reported this week that the State Department gave $41,000 to an organization based in the Gaza Strip that has a history of partnering with the Hamas government.
The administration has argued that it is not violating the law because it is not supplying funds directly to the P.A. Since money is fungible, any aid the United States provides allows the P.A. to save that expense and use its funds to support terror. American taxpayers are indirectly subsidizing a program that rewards Palestinians who kill Americans.
Following the murder of Ganeles, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) said he would introduce the Taylor Force Martyr Payment Prevention Act, which would restrict banks that facilitate “martyr payments” or provide services to Hamas from doing business in America or with U.S. dollars.
Instead of interfering in Israel’s domestic affairs, the administration should be focused on protecting American citizens from Palestinian terrorists. Instead, the State Department is mainly concerned with the welfare of Palestinians. The U.S. ambassador to Israel—to Israel—admitted, “I spend 60% of my time trying to help the Palestinian people.” Isn’t it his job to spend 100% of his time advancing the U.S.-Israel relationship? If he is interested in peace, why isn’t he demanding an end to pay-to-slay before offering to shower the Palestinians with more money? Why isn’t he concerned with Abbas’s autocratic and corrupt rule instead of trying to prop him up? Why isn’t he speaking out about the farcical Palestinian judicial system controlled by Abbas instead of sticking his nose into the deliberations over the future of Israel’s independent judiciary? Why does he want to add funds to the UNRWA money pit, which creates more refugees, perpetuates their misery and incubates terrorists?
Unlike Israel, which shares American values and interests, the Palestinians do neither. American taxpayers should not be asked to pay a dollar to the Palestinians. If they need help, the wealthy Gulf states can easily meet their needs. However, those countries have reduced their funding because they are fed up with Palestinian intransigence, incompetence and ingratitude. Meanwhile, the administration ignores or excuses Palestinian misbehavior, or twists itself into knots to equate it with Israel’s. One consequence is that Americans continue to die at the hands of Palestinians.
Mitchell Bard is a foreign-policy analyst and an authority on U.S.-Israel relations who has written and edited 22 books, including “The Arab Lobby,” “Death to the Infidels: Radical Islam’s War Against the Jews” and “After Anatevka: Tevye in Palestine.”