Just days after President Obama left Israel, we learned that his administration quietly gave the green light to giving nearly $500 million in taxpayer-funded aid to the Palestinian Authority.
The administration’s memory must be short.
Roughly four months ago, the Palestinian Authority defied the Oslo Accords – and the U.S. – by seeking and gaining non-member observer state status at the United Nations.
Just weeks ago – right before President Obama’s visit – the Palestinian Authority’s ruling Fatah party met with representatives from Hamas to implement the long-promised Palestinian “unity government” that would render the Palestinian people formally and officially terrorist-led.
Taken together with President Obama’s recent gift of $250 million to Muslim Brotherhood-led Egypt, America’s taxpayers are now on the hook for three-quarters of a billion dollars in sequester-era stimulus for radical foreign governments with recent records of defying America and breaking treaties.
It is difficult to overstate the absurdity of these gifts. The Palestinian Authority’s hostility to Israel stretches back to its founding – and before. In fact, the PA’s founding father, Yasser Arafat, had a record of terrorism and bloodshed unmatched until Usama bin Laden burst onto the scene in the late 1990s.
Among his many transgressions, Arafat was involved in the 1972 Munich Olympic Massacre and the 1973 attack on the U.S. Embassy in Sudan, where the U.S. Ambassador was murdered. His reign of terror against Israel killed more Israeli civilians – on a per capita basis – than were killed during Bin Laden’s 9/11 terrorist attack against the U.S.
Yet President Obama spoke to Palestinians while standing under a banner featuring Arafat’s portrait.
The modern Palestinian Authority certainly became less violent once Israel erected the West Bank fence and militarily crushed its worst terrorist elements during the Second Intifada, but it still celebrates suicide bombers and draws its own maps and monuments without reference to Israel. Palestinian textbooks are famous for their anti-Semitism, and entire generations of children are brought up to hate Jews.
In other words, they still haven’t given up the dream of destroying Israel.
The pattern of American foreign aid now becoming clear: We borrow billions from China to subsidize and even prop up regimes that defy us at every turn.
Egypt and the Palestinian Authority defy the U.S., beg for money (with the implicit threat that conditions will grow even worse if aid is withheld), then defy the U.S. again. That’s not an alliance; that’s a protection racket.
Defy, beg, and defy some more – all while Americans tighten their belts here at home, and we’re led to believe that there’s not enough money even for tours of the White House.
Two weeks ago, Senator Marco Rubio introduced an Amendment requiring that explicit conditions be placed on aid to Muslim Brotherhood-led Egypt, and – critically – these conditions required that the government of Egypt take concrete actions, not merely make promises.
Similar conditions should be placed on all U.S. aid, not just aid to Egypt. Let’s sequester terrorists before we sequester Americans. It makes no sense to continue funding hostile governments.
And, it’s past time for America to call the Palestinian’s bluff. There should be only one path to American aid – the path to peace.
Twice in the last twenty years the Israeli government has offered to establish a Palestinian homeland with a capital in East Jerusalem, and twice the Palestinians have rejected that deal – once with guns, rockets, and suicide bombs.
Before the Palestinian Authority gets a single dime from American taxpayers, it must give up its dream of destroying Israel – in words and deeds, to the world and – crucially – to its own people. Stop teaching hate. Sever all ties with the terrorist thugs of Hamas. Come to the peace table without preconditions and without even a thought of destroying the nation of Israel.
In other words, act like an ally. Then, we’ll think about aid.
Jay Sekulow is Chief Counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which focuses on constitutional law. He is a New York Times bestselling author. Jay's latest book is "UNDEMOCRATIC: How Unelected, Unaccountable Bureaucrats Are Stealing Your Liberty and Freedom" (Howard Books May 19, 2015). He hosts "Jay Sekulow Live"-- a daily radio show which is broadcast on more than 850 stations nationwide as well as Sirius/XM satellite radio. Follow him on Twitter @JaySekulow.