Posted tagged ‘Taylor Force Act’

Congress, Trump Admin Push Cutting Off U.S. Aid to Palestinians, Iranian-Tied Terrorists

November 15, 2017

Congress, Trump Admin Push Cutting Off U.S. Aid to Palestinians, Iranian-Tied Terrorists, Washington Free Beacon, November 15, 2017

(How, if at all, does the legislation mesh with Hamas – Palestinian Authority reconciliation? — DM

Palestinian members of the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas movement / Getty Images

In addition to the Taylor Force Act, House lawmakers on the Foreign Affairs Committee approved a new bill that would require the U.S. government to expose the identities of foreign states, individuals, and other actors who have provided material support to Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups.

The proposed legislation—which would pave the way for the United States to suspend aid and seize the assets of any foreign entity found to be financially helping these terror groups—is said to be part of an effort to combat Iran’s efforts to forge closer ties with Hamas, Hezbollah, and other anti-Israel terrorist actors.

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Congressional leaders advanced several key pieces of legislation on Wednesday that would cut off U.S. taxpayer aid to the Palestinians and crackdown on Iran’s financial support for the terror group Hamas, legislative efforts that are being helped along by the Trump administration, according to multiple U.S. officials who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon.

 The House Foreign Affairs Committee, in a bipartisan vote, approved three pieces of legislation that will cut off U.S. aid to the Palestinian government and help prevent American businesses from doing business with Hamas and other Iranian-tied terror groups.

One of the bills, the Taylor Force Act, which would slash U.S. aid to the Palestinians until they stop using the money to pay salaries to imprisoned terrorists and their families, received support from the White House, which is said to have played a central role in ensuring the proposed legislation garnered bipartisan support.

The new bills are said to be part of a larger effort by congressional leaders to shutdown longstanding U.S. aid programs that have supported terrorist fighters and organizations across the Middle East. The advancement of the Taylor Force Act and these other bills is meant to send a message that the United States will no longer keep its coffers open to those who enable terrorism against Israel and U.S. allies in the region.

The Taylor Force Act, which has been working its way through Congress for some time, has become the centerpiece of the joint effort by Congress and the Trump administration to rein in Palestinian intransigence, U.S. officials told the Free Beacon.

“The Trump administration strongly supports the Taylor Force Act, and the White House has communicated that support to Congress and in public statements,” Victoria Coates, a senior White House National Security Council member who played a central role in pushing the legislation, told the Free Beacon.

Coates said that recent reports alleging the Trump administration sought to water down the bill in order to avoid upsetting the Palestinian government and negatively impacting diplomatic efforts to restart the Israeli-Palestinian peace process are false.

“Reports to the contrary, including that anyone at the White House tried to water this legislation down, are false,” Coates maintained. “Palestinian Authority payments to terrorists and their families that incentivize violence are unacceptable, and must stop.”

Cutting off U.S. aid that helps support Palestinian terrorists is just one part of an effort by the Trump administration to help reform the Palestinian government and legitimize its leaders.

“We also believe that economic development in the West Bank and Gaza Strip can play an important role in preparing the region for a lasting peace agreement,” Coates aid.  “To this end, we have invested and encouraged other partners to invest in critical infrastructure that will underpin economic growth, including through partnerships with local governments, the private sector, and a wide range of other partners.”

The Trump administration reprogrammed $13 million last month to help support a waste-water treatment facility in the Palestinian-controlled city of Jericho, according to Coates, who said this money will help Palestinian farmers support their crops.

“At the president’s direction we want to continue this important work,” Coates said. “But all of our partners must be engaged in building a foundation for peace, not for continued incitement and violence.”

In addition to the Taylor Force Act, House lawmakers on the Foreign Affairs Committee approved a new bill that would require the U.S. government to expose the identities of foreign states, individuals, and other actors who have provided material support to Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups.

The proposed legislation—which would pave the way for the United States to suspend aid and seize the assets of any foreign entity found to be financially helping these terror groups—is said to be part of an effort to combat Iran’s efforts to forge closer ties with Hamas, Hezbollah, and other anti-Israel terrorist actors.

A third bill that made its way out of the committee seeks to crackdown on Hamas’ use of human shields in battle. The legislation would, “hold Hamas and its sponsor, Iran, accountable for this monstrous practice,” according to Rep. Ed Royce (R, Calif.), the committee’s chairman.

Rep. Brian Mast (R., Fla.), a U.S. combat veteran and architect of the bill to expose Hamas’ financial backers, told the Free Beacon that Congress is pursuing every avenue to strangle Iran’s financial lifelines.

“A lot of the impetus is Iran,” Mast told the Free Beacon.

“The term often used is Iranian proxies. But that’s the wrong term to use. It really needs to be classified as Iranian colonization of the Middle East,” Mast said, explaining that Iran’s presence can be seen among every bad actor in the region. “This is colonization. They have a very long-term view. Hezbollah has been at this for 30 plus years. They have a long term goal and its colonization.”

Mast also expressed support for the Taylor Force Act, which he said does not go far enough in cutting off U.S. aid to the Palestinians.

If Mast had his way, “there wouldn’t be resources going towards Palestinians labeled aid or anything else.”

“To think we’re going to take a dollar out of somebody’s pocket here and send it over there to somebody’s family because they went out there and bombed a boss of shot somebody, or ran somebody over with a car, that goes way beyond the realm of common sense,” Mast said.

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R., Colo.), another backer of cutting U.S. aid that helps Palestinian terrorists, expressed optimism about the prospect of the full Congress passing the legislation.

“I am very pleased that the House Foreign Affairs Committee was able to pass the Taylor Force Act with bipartisan support,” Lamborn said. “This is an important first step in stopping U.S. tax dollars from funding Palestinian terrorism.”

“The next step is to bring it to the House floor and ultimately send it to the president’s desk,” Lamborn said. “Passing the Taylor Force Act is the moral and right thing to do in a world that is riddled with terrorism, it sends an important message to the world: America will not tolerate foreign entities that receive U.S. aid to finance terrorism.”

Funding Terrorism to Fight Terrorism

July 18, 2017

Funding Terrorism to Fight Terrorism, Front Page Magazine, Daniel Greenfield, July 18, 2017

AIPAC hasn’t gotten behind the Taylor Force Act. Instead it’s holding out for some “revised” version that would make it meaningless while attracting bipartisan support. Meaningless pro-Israel measures that pass with huge majorities are AIPAC’s bread and butter. They’re its political Potemkin villages.

The ideal Taylor Force Act, according to AIPAC, most Democrats and some Republicans, would condemn terrorism without cutting a cent in foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority. It would contain a national security waiver and plenty of gimmicks that would actually increase funding for terror.

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Master Sgt. Haiel Sitawe, the father of a newborn baby, and Kamil Shnaan, who was newly engaged, were murdered in an Islamic terrorist attack in Jerusalem. The two Israeli police officers were members of the Druze community in Israel. The terrorists who shot them were killed by other police officers.

While Israel will compensate the families of the dead police officers, the Palestinian Authority will compensate the families of the terrorists. And American taxpayers will compensate both.

This is typical of a foreign policy in which we fund both the terrorists and the terrorized.

Sooner or later, we are going to have to choose a side.

This mad policy is facing its biggest threat with the Taylor Force Act. The bill, named after a murdered Afghanistan and Iraq War veteran stabbed to death in Tel Aviv, would strip funding from the Palestinian Authority unless the terror state stops giving money to terrorists and their families for their crimes.

The Taylor Force Act has plenty of support in Congress. But the Palestinian Authority has made it abundantly clear that it will not stop paying terrorists to kill Israelis. PA terror boss Abbas is gambling that our politicians will blink first rather than stop sending him hundreds of millions of dollars.

And the tragedy of it is that he appears to be right.

Everyone condemns the Palestinian Authority’s policy of funding terrorists. Typical adjectives include “abhorrent” and “abominable”. But don’t expect them to actually cut off the cash.

Senators are scurrying to neuter the Taylor Force Act. There are dire warnings that if we stop funding the biggest Islamic terrorist group in Israel, it will collapse and make way for more terrorism.

If we don’t stop giving Islamic terrorists money to commit terrorism… the terrorists will win.

This sums up the insanity of our foreign policy in which we fund terrorism to fight terrorism, and in which the “moderate” Islamic terrorists of the Palestinian Authority and the Muslim Brotherhood are our best hope for restraining the really scary “extremist” Islamic terrorists of ISIS and Al Qaeda.

Senators have been complaining about the act’s “All or nothing” approach. All or nothing means that the Palestinian Authority would have to stop funding terror or lose funding. And since the Palestinian Authority won’t stop funding terror and they don’t want to cut its funding, they hate all or nothing.

AIPAC hasn’t gotten behind the Taylor Force Act. Instead it’s holding out for some “revised” version that would make it meaningless while attracting bipartisan support. Meaningless pro-Israel measures that pass with huge majorities are AIPAC’s bread and butter. They’re its political Potemkin villages.

The ideal Taylor Force Act, according to AIPAC, most Democrats and some Republicans, would condemn terrorism without cutting a cent in foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority. It would contain a national security waiver and plenty of gimmicks that would actually increase funding for terror.

Instead of the Taylor Force Act, the call is on for a “Taylor Force like” bill that would be like it the way that a $25 Rolex being peddled from a wheelbarrow outside Central Park is like a real Rolex.

There are calls for a more “targeted” bill that would go after some, but not all of the PA’s funding.

But what would a targeted bill actually target? There are calls to exempt humanitarian aid. Never mind that much of the humanitarian aid really finds its way into the pockets of PA and Hamas leaders. Then there is the “security assistance” that enables the terrorists to pretend to fight terrorism.

And then there’s all the institutional support to maintain the corrupt authoritarian institutions of the PA while still providing all of the social services that the PA is supposed to provide, but doesn’t. We have to build roads and schools, and provide electricity and fund hospitals for our worst enemies.

If we can’t cut social services to the biggest terrorist welfare state in the world or security assistance to its terrorist armies, what can we cut?

You guessed it. Nothing.

Cut social services and we’ll just “radicalize” and “embitter” them further. Cut security assistance and they’ll have no choice but to resort to more terrorism. What can we do except give them more money?

A Taylor Force like bill will just move money around. And nothing will change. Senators will pat themselves on the back. And the State Department will see to it that the terror funding continues.

Just to make a madly irrational policy even more absurdly insane, critics of the Taylor Force Act claim that ending funding for terror will undermine Israeli security. The basis for this claim comes from what is usually described in umpteen news stories as a coalition of retired Israeli military officers.

But Caroline Glick has already exposed Commanders for Israel’s Security as a left-wing group with links to Obama and Soros. CIS holds positions that undermine Israeli security. And it’s part of a pattern of recruiting retired Israeli security personnel and military people as fronts for anti-Israel agendas.

Prime Minister Netanyahu supports the Taylor Force Act. As do top former military officials. The first name on the list belonged to former Defense Minister Ya’alon; no friend of Netanyahu. The letter concludes by noting that, “The Knesset is considering passage of a law calling for deducting the amount the PA pays terrorists from the money Israel transfers to the PA. It is legislation sponsored by members of all parties, except the far-left Meretz and the Joint Arab List.”

And yet we have politicians and pundits who insist that “we should listen to the Israelis” and keep on funding the PLO. The “Israelis” they want us to listen to are not the country’s elected government and its voters, but a fake organization with an agenda and links to Israel’s opponents.

And so here we are funding terrorism to fight terrorism and listening to Israelis by ignoring them.

Sarah Yerkes of the Brookings Institution and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace argues that threatening to defund the PA unless it stops funding terrorism could lead to it refusing to change its policy of funding terrorism. If the PA doesn’t stop financing terror out of the goodness of its heart, we’re utterly helpless to do anything except keep shoving more money into its dirty and bloody hands.

The consequences of not funding terrorism are too terrifying to contemplate. What else can we possibly do except nothing?

Cutting off money to the terrorists would just lead to more terrorism. That’s the sum of all the arguments. And there’s a word for it. Blackmail.

We can’t figure out how to stop paying blackmail money to Islamic terrorists. The most powerful nation on earth can’t stop writing big checks to one of the oldest active Islamic terror groups on the planet.

But it’s easy. You just stop sending the checks.

You stop worrying about stability, further radicalization and an imaginary peace process. You can’t buy stability by paying the biggest terrorist group to keep the smaller ones down. If you’re going to do that, you might as well start subsidizing the mafia to keep other criminals in line.

The PA, Fatah and the PLO constantly promote and celebrate Islamic terrorism. They’re not as bad as ISIS, but does that mean we should be funding every Islamic terrorist group less terrible than ISIS?

Finally, if the PA won’t stop funding Islamic terrorists who kill Israelis decades after signing what was supposed to be a peace accord with Israel, talk of a peace process is hollow nonsense.

The United States shouldn’t need a special bill to defund an Islamic terrorist group that has murdered many Americans over the years. We can’t end terrorism tomorrow. But we can at least stop funding it.

If only we can figure out how to stop writing the checks.

Peace is light-years away

July 14, 2017

Peace is light-years away, Israel Hayom, Ruthie Blum, July 14, 2017

(Israel: give, give, give. Palestinians: take, take, take. But no peace. — DM)

So far, however, all Abbas has done is call the shots on the venue of a meeting ‎between his honchos and Trump’s team, agree to water and electricity deals that ‎benefit the PA and give the White House cause for false optimism. Undoubtedly, ‎he has already figured out how to get around the Taylor Force Act, if and when it ‎passes. A revised, bipartisan version of the bill, in particular — geared toward ‎guaranteeing that ordinary Palestinians are not robbed of humanitarian services ‎as a result of their leaders’ violations — will provide him with sufficient loopholes ‎to keep his “martyrs” in clover.‎

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If the leaders of the Palestinian Authority had invested as much time, energy and ‎other people’s money in building a flourishing society as they do in the pursuit of ‎death and destruction, there would be no need for outside efforts to broker ‎peace between them and their Israeli counterparts. It takes only about 30 minutes ‎to drive from the Muqataa compound in Ramallah to the Prime Minister’s Office in ‎Jerusalem. Yet it is still easier for dignitaries from the United States and Europe to ‎spend hours on flights to Tel Aviv for the purpose of talking about a two-state ‎solution than it is for PA President Mahmoud Abbas to budge in any direction ‎other than backwards. ‎

Take this week, for instance, which began with the Palestinians’ refusal to host ‎U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman — whom U.S. President Donald Trump ‎has included in his Mideast peacemaking team, along with advisers Jason ‎Greenblatt and Jared Kushner — in Ramallah. Friedman is too pro-Israel, as far as ‎Abbas is concerned. As a result, the meeting between American and Palestinian ‎officials on Tuesday took place at the King David Hotel in west Jerusalem. ‎

On Thursday, Greenblatt joined fellow envoys of the Middle East Quartet — the ‎U.S. (which he represents), the European Union, the United Nations and Russia — ‎in Jerusalem “to discuss current efforts to advance Middle East peace, as well as ‎the deteriorating situation in Gaza.”‎

Also on Thursday, Greenblatt announced that Israel had agreed to sell the PA 1.2 ‎billion cubic feet of water. This, he said, in addition to an electricity deal reached ‎between Israel and the PA on Monday, will improve the Palestinians’ standard of ‎living.‎

Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, the Senate Foreign Relations ‎Committee conducted a hearing on the proposed Taylor Force Act, named after ‎the former U.S. Army officer who — while on a trip to Israel in March 2016 — was ‎stabbed to death by a knife-wielding Palestinian on a rampage in Tel Aviv. The bill, ‎co-sponsored by Senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Dan Coats (R-‎Ind.) and Roy Blunt (R-Miss.), aims to halt American aid to the PA until it ‎stops paying salaries and stipends to imprisoned terrorists and the families of ‎those “martyred” while murdering Israelis. ‎

Testifying before the committee on behalf of the bill, Senior Fellow for Middle ‎Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations Elliott Abrams — who served as ‎deputy assistant to the president and deputy national security adviser in the ‎George W. Bush administration — railed against the “Palestinian practice of ‎making payments to individuals convicted of acts of terror, and their families or ‎survivors, in accordance with the severity of their acts and the length of their ‎sentences.” The “predictable effect of this practice,” he said, “is to reward and ‎incentivize acts of terror.”‎

Pointing to the billions of dollars that the U.S. has poured into the PA since its ‎establishment in the 1990s, Abrams said, “As long as the Palestinian government ‎is in effect rewarding terror, we need to be sure we make our objections — our ‎condemnation — known, and that cannot be merely in words. Our assistance ‎program must reflect our feeling of repugnance.” He then proposed a revision to ‎the bill that would enable the U.S. to continue funding hospitals and other ‎projects that benefit the Palestinian people, while preventing the money from ‎lining the pockets of corrupt bureaucrats.‎

Whether this carrot-and-stick approach to the PA was purposeful or inadvertent ‎is unclear. What is certain, however, is that the PA president is not turning over a ‎new leaf. Earlier this month, as Palestinian Media Watch reported, Abbas ‎was quoted on Fatah’s official Facebook page as proclaiming: “Even if I have to ‎leave my position, I will not compromise on the salary of a martyr or a prisoner, ‎as I am the president of the entire Palestinian people, including the prisoners, the ‎martyrs, the injured, the expelled and the uprooted.”‎

This sentiment was echoed recently by PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah. ‎Hamdallah — who launched the first-ever Palestinian-owned power substation in ‎Jenin with Israeli National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources Minister ‎Yuval Steinitz on Monday, and signed the electricity deal touted by Greenblatt — ‎vowed last month to continue rewarding terrorists.‎

On June 16, according to PMW, the official PA newspaper quoted Hamdallah ‎announcing: “On behalf of … Abbas and our Palestinian people, I salute all of the ‎martyrs’ families … [and] emphasize to them that their rights are protected. … We ‎remember the sacrifices and struggle of the pure martyrs, guardians of the land ‎and identity, who have turned our people’s cause into a historical epic of struggle ‎and resolve.”‎

Hamdallah’s reassurance came on the heels of U.S. Secretary of State Rex ‎Tillerson’s claim that the PA’s “intent is to cease the payments to the families of ‎those who have committed murder or violence against others.” Ironically, both ‎Israeli and Palestinian officials were incensed by the statement, and Tillerson was ‎forced to modify it. Washington and Ramallah — he said the following day — are ‎engaged in an “active discussion” on the matter.‎

So far, however, all Abbas has done is call the shots on the venue of a meeting ‎between his honchos and Trump’s team, agree to water and electricity deals that ‎benefit the PA and give the White House cause for false optimism. Undoubtedly, ‎he has already figured out how to get around the Taylor Force Act, if and when it ‎passes. A revised, bipartisan version of the bill, in particular — geared toward ‎guaranteeing that ordinary Palestinians are not robbed of humanitarian services ‎as a result of their leaders’ violations — will provide him with sufficient loopholes ‎to keep his “martyrs” in clover.‎

Ramallah may be a mere 10 miles from Jerusalem, but it — ‎like peace — is light-years away.‎

Obama’s Anti-Israel Diplomats Want to Gut Taylor Force Act

July 2, 2017

Obama’s Anti-Israel Diplomats Want to Gut Taylor Force Act, The Point (Front Page Magazine), Daniel Greenfield, July 2, 2017

It was only a matter of time.

The Taylor Force Act, which demands that the PLO stop funding terror or lose US taxpayer cash, is picking up steam. So the usual anti-Israel crowd is crawling into action.

Obama’s errand boy to Israel, Dan Shapiro and Ilan Goldenberg, who describes himself as a “former deep stater” on his Twitter profile, have a call to neuter it in Foreign Policy. The game plan is everything you would expect.

Warn about “instability” if the terrorists don’t get their cash. Cite Israeli lefties who warn against it. And then suggest a “national security waiver”. That waiver is why the embassy still isn’t in Jerusalem.

Also there are warnings that the US wouldn’t be able to provide “humanitarian aid” to Gaza the next time Hamas gets bombed. And, worst of all, the terrorists might stop accepting our money to train their terrorists.

This is an actual argument that Shapiro and Goldenberg make.

“But if security assistance is the only U.S. support that remains, and no other economic benefits for the Palestinians materialize, then it becomes politically much more difficult for the Palestinian leadership to accept these funds and continue the program.”

If we don’t give the terrorists more money to shove into their Swiss bank accounts under the guise of “improving life for Palestinians”, they won’t take our money to train their terrorists.

This isn’t an argument. This is a Monty Python skit. But what else would one expect from the author of “Why Israel’s Settlement Construction Must Be Stopped” and “How Israel Brought U.N. Resolution on Itself With Irrational Settlement Push”

The PLO’s IDF Lobbyists

June 27, 2017

The PLO’s IDF Lobbyists, Front Page MagazineCaroline Glick, June 27, 2017

(The Israeli deep state? — DM)

CIS is a consortium of 260 left-wing retired security brass. It formed just before the 2015 elections. CIS refuses to reveal its funding sources. Several of its most visible members worked with the Obama administration through the George Soros-funded Center for a New American Security.

Since its inception, CIS has effectively served as a PLO lobby. It supports Israeli land giveaways and insists that Israel can do without a defensible eastern border.

Last Wednesday CIS released a common-sense defying statement opposing the Taylor Force Act.

The generals mind-numbingly insisted the US must continue paying the terrorism-financing PA because Israel needs the help of the terrorism-incentivizing PA to fight the terrorists the PA incentivizes. If the US cuts off funding to the PA because it incentivizes terrorism, then the PA will refuse to cooperate with Israel in fighting the terrorism it incentivizes.

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How radicalized Israeli generals are furthering the cause of Palestinian terrorists.

Originally published by the Jerusalem Post

Should the United States pay Palestinian terrorists? For the overwhelming majority of Americans and Israelis this is a rhetorical question.

The position of the American people was made clear – yet again – last week when US President Donald Trump’s senior envoys Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt met with Palestinian Authority chairman and PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas and repeated Trump’s demand that the PA cut off the payments.

Not only did Abbas reject their demand, he reportedly accused the presidential envoys of working as Israeli agents.

Abbas’s treatment of Kushner and Greenblatt was in line with his refusal to even meet with US Ambassador David Friedman, reportedly because he doesn’t like Friedman’s views.

The most amazing aspect of Abbas’s contemptuous treatment of the Trump administration is that he abuses Trump and his senior advisers while demanding that Trump continue funding him in excess of half a billion dollars a year, and do so in contravention of the will of the Republican-controlled Congress.

Abbas’s meeting last week took place as the Taylor Force Act makes its way through Congress.

Named for Taylor Force, the West Point graduate and US army veteran who was murdered in March 2016 in Tel Aviv by a Palestinian terrorist, the Taylor Force Act will end US funding of the PA until it ends its payments to terrorists and their families – including the family of Force’s murderer Bashar Masalha.

The Taylor Force Act enjoys bipartisan majority support in both the House and the Senate. It is also supported by the Israeli government.

Given the stakes, what could possibly have possessed Abbas to believe he can get away with mistreating Trump and his envoys? Who does he think will save him from Congress and the White House? Enter Commanders for Israel’s Security (CIS), stage left.

CIS is a consortium of 260 left-wing retired security brass. It formed just before the 2015 elections. CIS refuses to reveal its funding sources. Several of its most visible members worked with the Obama administration through the George Soros-funded Center for a New American Security.

Since its inception, CIS has effectively served as a PLO lobby. It supports Israeli land giveaways and insists that Israel can do without a defensible eastern border.

Last Wednesday CIS released a common-sense defying statement opposing the Taylor Force Act.

The generals mind-numbingly insisted the US must continue paying the terrorism-financing PA because Israel needs the help of the terrorism-incentivizing PA to fight the terrorists the PA incentivizes. If the US cuts off funding to the PA because it incentivizes terrorism, then the PA will refuse to cooperate with Israel in fighting the terrorism it incentivizes.

If you fail to follow this logic, well, you don’t have what it takes to be an Israeli general.

Moreover, if you fail to follow this logic, and you defy the position of Israel’s retired generals, then you may well endanger Israel.

After all, they know what’s best even better than the Israeli government because they are retired Israeli generals.

The CIS group would be bad enough for Israel on its own. But unfortunately, the radical politics of its members – and their anonymous funders – are all too resonant inside of the IDF itself.

And just as CIS members use the ranks they received in the past to undermine the powers of the government today, so the current crop of serving generals use their positions to advance policies that are contrary to the expressed position of the government.

This is nowhere more evident than in the behavior of the Civil Administration in Judea and Samaria.

Until Israel formed the PLO-controlled PA in 1994, the Civil Administration was responsible for governing Judea and Samaria as the governing arm of the military government that Israel set up in the area after the Six Day War.

In 1996, Israel transferred all Palestinian population centers in Judea and Samaria to the PA. Since then, the Civil Administration has been responsible only for Area C where all Israeli communities are located and where between 100,000 and 200,000 Palestinians also live.

The question of what the ultimate disposition of Area C will be is the top issue on the national agenda today. The majority of government ministers and the majority of the public support applying Israeli law to all or parts of the area.

Yet while the government debates the issue and formulates policies to advance whatever policies it adopts on this issue, the Civil Administration has for the past several years been acting independently to undermine and constrain the government’s ability to make strategic decisions relating to Area C.

Among other things, the Civil Administration has been independently initiating Palestinian settlement projects in Area C that undermine Israel’s ability to govern the areas. By the same token, the Civil Administration has used its powers to scupper, delay and prevent Israeli construction projects in the area.

The story of the Civil Administration’s rogue policymaking was catapulted to the headlines last week when Channel 2 reported that it was advancing a plan to massively expand the Palestinian city of Kalkilya into Area C. Among other things, the plan endangers Israeli communities whose territory abuts the expanded boundaries of Kalkilya advanced by the plan.

Channel 2 reported that the Netanyahu government’s security cabinet had given the Civil Administration a green light to begin construction.

The story caused a political outcry not only from Likud voters but from the security cabinet members themselves. Led by Minister Ze’ev Elkin, the Likud ministers insisted that they had been misled by the Civil Administration which deliberately hid the nature of the plan from them when it brought it to the cabinet for approval.

The ministers’ protests ring true because the Civil Administration has a history of acting in this manner.

In 2008 for instance, the Civil Administration initiated a building scheme in the Jordan Valley that would have taken land from Moshav Tomer to build Palestinian settlements.

The head of the local council complained to the government only to discover that the ministers had no idea what he was talking about. The Civil Administration had undertaken the plan, which undermined Israel’s control over a strategically vital area, without government knowledge or approval.

In contrast, and again against the wishes of the government, the Civil Administration has repeatedly acted to block Israeli construction in Area C. For instance, the IDF insists that no land deal between Israel and Palestinians is final until the IDF approves it. The policy harms Israeli construction in two ways.

First, it gives the Civil Administration the power – which it uses – to delay Israeli construction indefinitely.

Second, by forcing parties to land deals to come forward publicly, the Civil Administration intimidates Palestinian land sellers. They know that if their land deals with Israelis become public they will face execution by the PA.

Returning to Abbas for a moment, the PLO chief may have overplayed his hand by insulting Trump and his senior envoys. All the politicized retired and currently serving Israeli generals together cannot convince Trump to send US tax dollars to a terrorism supporting leader who trashes him and his senior officials. Consequently, there is every reason to believe that the Taylor Force Act will soon be signed into law and the US will end its financing of Palestinian terrorism.

But even if Washington cuts off funding to the PA, Israel is still left to deal with its radicalized generals who exploit their rank to undermine the government.

The best way to end this situation is for the government to shut down the Civil Administration and get the IDF out of the governing business in Judea and Samaria. So long as the government continues to empower unaccountable generals to administer civilian areas instead of its accountable, civilian bureaucracy, we will continue to be confronted with the surreal spectacle of Israeli generals lobbying for Palestinian terrorists.

If the government applies Israeli law to Area C, it can still negotiate with the PLO, just as it has negotiated about the Golan Heights and Jerusalem. But in the meantime, it will remove one of the most corrupting and corrosive forces preying on our generals and our democracy for the benefit of the Israeli and Palestinian residents of Area C alike and indeed for Israel as a whole.

Taking sides on terrorism

June 4, 2017

Taking sides on terrorism, Israel National News, Att’y Stephen M. Flatow, June 4, 2017

Members of Congress are preparing to cast their votes on legislation that is intended take a strong and clear stand against terrorism. The Taylor Force Act would stop U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority if the PA continues paying salaries to terrorists and their families. Named after an American murdered by Palestinians in 2016, the law is long-overdue. It would take a real stand against the PA’s outrageous sponsorship of terrorists.

So far, all 41 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives, and all 10 co-sponsors in the Senate, are Republicans. That concerns me. At a time when even the United Nations is denouncing the PA’s glorification of terrorists, there is simply no good reason for Democrats not to support the Taylor Force Act just as much as the GOP. No matter how much ill-will there is right now between Republicans and Democrats on other issues, the fight against terrorism is an issue on which the two parties should be able to unite without the slightest hesitation.

And maybe then even Europe will wake up and realize that all terrorists are colleagues.

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Stephen M. Flatow, a vice president of the Religious Zionists of America, is an attorney in New Jersey. He is the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995

We all remember President George W. Bush’s powerful declaration when he spoke at a joint session of Congress on September 21, 2001, shortly after the 9/11 attacks: “Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make,” he said. “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.”

When it comes to Palestinian terrorists and their colleagues, unfortunately, much of the world has for too long shied away from taking a clear-cut stand. But that is beginning to change. Perhaps the 6 dead on London Bridge will do the trick.

The United States finally seems to be abandoning the old tried-and-failed policy of ignoring the Palestinian Authority’s incitement and support of terrorism. According to media reports, when President Trump recently met PA leader Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem, he “accused Abbas of supporting incitement and terrorism with the salaries paid to prisoners” and said Abbas was “personally responsible for incitement” to violence.

This would represent a very significant change from the previous U.S. administration. President Obama and secretaries of state Clinton and Kerry looked the other way when the PA paid terrorists and incited violence by praising terrorists as “heroes” and “martyrs.”

And America is not alone. In a remarkable break from West European appeasement of the PA, the government of Norway last week demanded that Abbas return Norway’s donation to a Palestinian women’s center that the PA named in honor of mass-murderer Dalal Mughrabi. She led the terror gang that carried out the 1978 Tel Aviv Highway massacre of 37 Israelis (including 13 children) and American nature photographer Gail Rubin, the niece of U.S. Senator Abraham Ribicoff.

Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende was unequivocal: “The glorification of terrorist attacks is completely unacceptable, and I deplore this decision in the strongest possible terms. Norway will not allow itself to be associated with institutions that take the names of terrorists in this way. We will not accept the use of Norwegian aid funding for such purposes.” Even the United Nations (!), under new secretary-general Antonio Guterres, has denounced the naming of the center after Mughrabi as “offensive” and removed its name from the facility.

So the United States, Norway, and even the United Nations are standing against Palestinian terrorism.

Who’s on the terrorists’ side? British opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn is. The Daily Mail revealed that Corbyn, leader of England’s Labor Party, took part in a ceremony honoring Palestinian terrorists, including one of the key planners of the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre. At the ceremony, which was held in Tunisia in 2014, Corbyn placed wreaths on the graves of terrorists, including Munich mastermind Atef Bseiso, and wrote about the “poignant” event in the British radical newspaper Morning Star.

Who else is lining up on the side of the terrorists? The city of Barcelona, Spain last week hosted and subsidized a book fair at which one of the featured speakers was the unrepentant Palestinian hijacker Leila Khaled. The mayor and city council members should be ashamed of themselves.

Meanwhile, back in Washington, Members of Congress are preparing to cast their votes on legislation that is intended take a strong and clear stand against terrorism. The Taylor Force Act would stop U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority if the PA continues paying salaries to terrorists and their families. Named after an American murdered by Palestinians in 2016, the law is long-overdue. It would take a real stand against the PA’s outrageous sponsorship of terrorists.

So far, all 41 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives, and all 10 co-sponsors in the Senate, are Republicans. That concerns me. At a time when even the United Nations is denouncing the PA’s glorification of terrorists, there is simply no good reason for Democrats not to support the Taylor Force Act just as much as the GOP. No matter how much ill-will there is right now between Republicans and Democrats on other issues, the fight against terrorism is an issue on which the two parties should be able to unite without the slightest hesitation.

And maybe then even Europe will wake up and realize that all terrorists are colleagues.