By Richard Mather…
One of the most powerful committees in the USA has told Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to stop the incitement against Israelis. Although the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee “remains committed” to funding the PA, congressman have raised concerns that Abbas is not doing enough to halt terrorism.
In a letter to Abbas, chairman of the committee Hal Roger asserts that US law “clearly stipulates” that the Palestinian Authority “must act to counter the incitement of violence against Israelis in order to continue receiving US assistance.”
He continues: “The use of degrading images in Fatah or PA produced media as well as inflammatory language used by you and other Palestinian leaders undermine the objectives of our support and threaten to further destabilize an already highly volatile situation.”
But should the US be funding the PA at all? Doesn’t the pogrom against Israelis in recent weeks release benefactors from their commitments to Abbas who, at best is doing nothing to curb incitement, and at worst is actively calling for the death of Jews in Eretz Israel?
Advocacy group United With Israel is calling on the US and the European Union to immediately cease funding the PA. The brutal murder of three Israeli teenagers, followed by thousands of Hamas rockets, and now the casual murder of Israelis in Jerusalem all adds to one equation: the Palestinian Authority = terror.
In the UK, the Zionist Federation is petitioning the UK government to stop bankrolling the Arab murder of Israeli citizens. As things stand, the PA provides salaries to any Palestinian who is convicted of committing terrorism offences against the Jewish state.
Donor aid accounts for 40 per cent of the PA’s budget , with the UK contributing around £33 million every year.
“These wages are directly pegged to the length of the sentence, so the more grievous the crime, the higher the salary. Since these wages are much larger than those earned by average Palestinians, they clearly reward violence, including murder, and undermine peace,” says the Zionist Federation.
Should Israel go further and pursue Abbas for war crimes? The Israel Law Center has done just that by filing a war crimes complaint with the International Criminal Court (ICC) against PA President Abbas.
The basis for the complaint is twofold: one, there are reports of Fatah-related groups assisting Hamas in the firing of rockets from Gaza into Israel over the summer; and two, Abbas is vicariously liable for Fatah’s actions.
And if the Israel Law Center is unsuccessful, it will pursue Abbas for terrorist attacks during the second intifada. This depends on whether the PA joins the ICC’s Rome Statute, which enshrines four international crimes: genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression.
Significantly, the Israel Law Center claims that because Abbas is a Jordanian citizen. He can be pursued through the courts because Jordan accepted ICC jurisdiction over its citizens over a decade ago.
The Israel Law Center – an NGO operating in the private sector, representing hundreds of terror victims in legal actions against Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah and the PA – is in a position to undertake actions that the Israeli government is unable to (formally) engage in.
“We are not constrained by political pressures, diplomatic relations, nor international treaties,” states the NGO. “As such, we are able to act unapologetically against the enemies of the Jewish State without concern for foreign retaliations.”
Whatever happens to Abbas in the ICC, it is clear that the PA president is guilty of incitement in the court of Israeli public opinion. When Abbas refers to the would-be assassin of Rabbi Yehudah Glick as “a martyr defending the rights of our people and its holy places,” then we are in no doubt that Abbas is actively inciting violence against Israeli Jews.
Prime Minister Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman and Economics Minister Naftali Bennett all blame Abbas for the synagogue massacre of four rabbis. They point to regular incitement by Abbas in person and the Palestinian Authority in general.
“This is the direct result of the incitement being led by Hamas and Abu Mazen [Abbas],” said Netanyahu after the synagogue massacre. In recent days, Netanyahu has frequently used the word “incitement” when referring to Abbas.
Whether the synagogue atrcouty will result in some diplomatic pressure on Abbas to curb incitement remains to be seen. There have been some mealy-mouthed words from John Kerry who has urged “the Palestinian leadership at every single level to condemn this in the most powerful terms.”
Sadly, it is doubtful that Abbas will be made to bear personal responsibility for the recent terror attacks in Israel. The international community is too weak to exert any real pressure and besides it is obsessively pushing Israel into making concessions as a prelude for some kind of peace agreement.
But with Abbas in power and with the PA mired in corruption, it is hard to see how Netanyahu can find common ground with the Palestinian Arabs. For now, peace is a distant dream.