The Palestinian Authority under President Mahmoud Abbas has a longstanding law that provides financial incentives to murder Jews. This law, often nicknamed “pay-to-slay,” is perhaps the most heinous anti-Semitic law since the Nazi era. Under it, the P.A. budgets and disburses more than $350 million to terrorists who have killed Jews and Americans. The more people a terrorist murders, the more money he and his family receive. Yet the Biden administration now lauds Abbas’ pathetic condemnation of the recent wave of terror attacks in Israel, even as he makes his real views known through financial rewards to the attackers and their families, and continues to extol Palestinian terrorists as heroes in P.A. media.
It is not a surprise that Israel is again faced with a wave of terrorism, given that the Biden administration has made it clear that the P.A. will suffer no consequences for the “pay-to-slay” law. Instead, the administration has increased aid to the P.A. to the tune of around $400 million, which reverses the Trump administration’s total cancellation of such aid after Trump signed the March 2018 Taylor Force Act. This law, named for an American victim of Palestinian terror, required a significant reduction in aid to the P.A. due to the “pay-to-slay” law. The Biden administration has chosen to circumvent the Taylor Force Act, ignore its basic requirements and provide the P.A. with funds forbidden under the law.
Indeed, the administration has not criticized the P.A. over the “pay-to-slay” law. Instead, it criticizes Israel for the construction of houses for Jews in Judea and Samaria. The administration ripped into Israel for that decision, though it did not criticize Israel for the construction of houses for Arabs. Despite the fact that the State Department under Trump’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared that settlements are not in violation of international law, the Biden administration ignored the legality of settlement construction and criticized it regardless of location.
The U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Thomas Nides, said the administration even opposes Israeli construction in its capital of Jerusalem despite the fact that the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995—under which the U.S. recognized a united Jerusalem as the capital of Israel—is now U.S. law, and after the Trump administration moved the U.S. embassy and the ambassador’s residence to the city. Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated that the Biden administration wants to have a U.S. Consulate to the Palestinian Authority in Jerusalem despite Israel’s opposition and the fact that it is against U.S. law under the Embassy Act.
The administration claimed that they would reverse former President Barack Obama’s policy of attacking Israel in public, but that commitment has not been kept. Its public criticism of Israel has only escalated despite the wave of terrorism. It is not a coincidence that in the last two years of the Trump Administration there were only 12 Israelis killed in terror attacks, fewer than have been murdered just in the past few weeks. The Trump administration’s decisive support for Israel led to the Abraham Accords, in which four Arab countries recognized Israel and a warm peace developed between Israel and the UAE, Bahrain and Morocco. It is not a surprise that no other countries have joined the Abraham Accords since the Biden administration took office and reinstated the failed policies of the Obama administration.
Abbas is a lifelong anti-Semite and anti-Zionist. His Ph.D. thesis questioned the number of Jews murdered in the Holocaust, and he has reiterated this lie over the last few years. He was Yasser Arafat’s right-hand man in the PLO for more than 30 years. He financed the Munich Olympics massacre and hailed its mastermind Abu Daoud as a hero. He has extolled numerous terrorists as heroes, and names schools and public squares after them. Moreover, under his control, P.A.-produced television shows encourage Palestinian youth to follow in their path. It is no surprise that the Anti-Defamation League found that the Palestinians are the most anti-Semitic people in the world, with more than 90% expressing anti-Semitic views. Abbas has supported anti-Semitism and the murder of Jews his entire adult life.
The Biden administration has ignored all these facts. Instead, it chooses to believe that Abbas wants peace with Israel and supports a two-state solution. But Abbas has never wanted peace and like the late PLO leader Yasser Arafat, educates his people to believe that the Jewish people have no right to Israel and that all of Israel should be a Palestinian Arab state.
The consequences of the Biden administration policy have been violent escalation and failure. The policies of the Trump Administration in the Middle East, by contrast, were an extraordinary success. The Biden administration should change course, because it is hard to fathom a more immoral policy than subsidizing the Palestinian Authority while it incentivizes terrorism. When your policy lacks a moral basis, as is the case with the current administration, it is not a surprise that the policy only makes things worse.
Farley Weiss is Chairman of the Israel Heritage Foundation (IHF) and former president of the National Council of Young Israel, as well as an intellectual property attorney for the law firm of Weiss & Moy. The views expressed are the author’s and not necessarily representative of NCYI.