Three-and-a-half years have passed since the Arabs of Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem launched their wave of lone-wolf terrorist attacks, and the list of murdered Israelis is truly unspeakable. Since September 2015, 78 citizens and soldiers have been butchered with knives, killed by stones, rammed by cars or shot—all ending their lives in the same horrific manner as 19-year-old Ori Ansbacher just did.
The soul cannot find peace, and the State of Israel cannot find a solution.
The Shin Bet and other security forces thwart hundreds of terrorist attacks, but when there’s no terrorist organization pulling the strings and giving directives, Israel’s sophisticated intelligence apparatuses cannot prevent the lone knife-wielding terrorist from enacting his evil deed.
Only one thing hasn’t been tried throughout this entire cursed period of time. Just one simple measure hasn’t been implemented, among other things because of objections from the defense establishment: putting an end to terrorist salaries doled out by the Palestinian Authority.
Due to the fact that our security agencies work with the P.A. to thwart terrorist attacks, and because the Israel Defense Forces and Shin Bet are concerned about the collapse of P.A. leader Mahmoud Abbas’s security forces, our own agencies, incredibly, have balked at deducting the amount paid by the P.A. to terrorists from the taxes Israel collects on its behalf.
The same defense establishment—again, incredibly—has dragged its feet on compiling data about the phenomenon, as required by the law passed with great effort by Knesset members Avi Dichter and Elazar Stern.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, it must be said, is torn between the position of the defense establishment and basic common sense that demands punishing the Palestinians for this industry of murder. Although Netanyahu has routinely acknowledged the severity of the phenomenon of terrorist salaries, to this day he hasn’t claimed a single shekel from Abbas because of it.
Indeed, esteemed prime minister and security agency leaders—after three years and dozens of murdered Israelis, the time has come to try the only leverage we have yet to apply, and that is deducting the terrorist payments from the P.A.’s taxes.
This is the bare minimum requirement if we want to stop the lone-wolf attacks. As for the P.A. and its security forces: If they encourage lone-wolf attacks, why is it so important for us to protect them?
Ariel Kahana is a diplomatic correspondent for Israel Hayom.