Still the priority of the Palestinian Authority: ‘Pay for Slay’
In an American court of law, when a plaintiff wins a case that includes punitive damages, they constitute a moral recognition of the position of the the plaintiff. The plaintiff may have suffered an injury that no amount of money can repair, but the next best solution is financial compensation.
The Palestinian Authority has utterly reversed this moral calculus, turning it on its head.
In the moral universe of the Palestinian Authority, it is the perpetrator of the injury whose moral status is recognized by financial compensation. It is the criminal who wins the case in the court of Palestinian law.
Case in point: Khalil Jabarin, 17, who murdered an Israel, Ari Fuld, by stabbing him in the back, literally., on Sept. 16, 2018. It was an act of cold-blooded murder — what else do you call a stabbing in the back with a 30-inch blade?
To establish Jabarin’s moral status, the bureaucratic wheels of the Palestinian Authority wasted no time. The PA assigned Jabarin $400 monthly for the next three years as financial compensation for murdering Ari Fuld.
The Palestinian Authority acted under its “Prisoners and Liberated Prisoners” law. If you are a Palestinian imprisoned by Israel for murdering an Israeli, your imprisonment deserves the moral recognition that comes with financial compensation. This disordered moral and legal universe has been summarized in three words that capture its disfigurement of justice: Pay for slay.
Pay for slay is not only compensatory, it is heuristic. Its intent is not only to reward the criminal, but to encourage more crime of the same slime: premeditated murder. In an economy in which development is defined by how much money it can extract from donors rather than by how much it can produce, pay for slay stands out beyond its criminal calculus. It is, quite simply, a quick buck, an easy income, a rapid social advancement, a windfall. Specifically in this sense, it is a hindrance to peace because it derails the hard work of economic development.
JTA reports that two-thirds of the Democrats in the US Senate have signed a letter to President Trump urging him to reinstate assistance to the Palestinians, saying the cuts will exacerbate tensions in the region.
The Democrats are almost entirely right in saying that “eliminating funds for programs that provide clean water, food, education and medical services for Palestinians will exacerbate poverty, fuel extremism, further reduce the chance of a future peace agreement and threaten Israel’s security.”
The Democrats are “almost” entirely right because the cuts will not “fuel extremism.” That is already accomplished by the Palestinians themselves directly, poignantly, effectively and continually via the “Prisoners and Liberated Prisoners” law that rewards premeditated murder by Palestinians of Israelis.
That aside, the Democrats’ rationale for restoring the cuts is incomplete. It does not address the moral corruption of the potential recipient of restored funding, the Palestinian Authority. To point out the material deprivation of the Palestinians that Trump’s cuts entail without confronting PA policy is to ignore the primary cause of the lack of a peace agreement. No peace made with those who idealize and incentivize murder will last, no matter how much funding the US provides to the Palestinians.
Israel agrees with the Democrats that restoring funding to the Palestinians is important. That is because Israel is long inured to the cynicism and moral corruption of the Palestinian Authority. Israel is stuck in the realism of a Palestinian society that, whatever it might say about peace, acts contrary to peace. Israel has no hope that pay for slay will go away. The Trump administration, however, is not directly burned by this PA policy and thus can take a more aggressive and comprehensive approach. By withholding funds from the PA, the Trump administration forces the PA to confront the consequences of its pro-criminal “justice” system in a way that Israel cannot.
The Israeli method of feeding the Palestinians without hope of changing their anti-norms has not worked. Let’s see whether the very different method of the Trump administration will work.
The Democrats don’t think so. They write, “We are deeply concerned that your [Trump’s] strategy of attempting to force the PA to the negotiating table by withholding humanitarian assistance from women and children is misguided and destined to backfire. Your proposed cuts would undermine those who seek a peaceful resolution and strengthen the hands of Hamas and other extremists in the Gaza Strip, as the humanitarian crisis there worsens.”
Who are “those [Palestinians] who seek a peaceful resolution”? The Democrats do not identify them. This is because they do not exist, aside from a few well meaning individuals. Those who seek peace do not constitute a political force, whether in Hamas or in Fatah. The idea that if only the US supported the moderate Palestinians has been tried at least since 1993 without success. Trump is saying: Try something different.
The Taylor Force Act is a beginning. It addresses the moral corruption in PA policy by cutting funds that directly subsizide a Palestinian murderer of an American citizen, such as Ari Fuld.
As for the humanitarian crisis, the continued supply of goods that in whole or part are commandeered for terrorist tunnels in Gaza exacerbates this crisis as much as a US-funding cutoff. If countless tons of humanitarian aid for decades have not advanced peace, why should more of the same advance peace now?
The idea that pay for slay should be left alone in the name of humanitarian aid, much of which ends up in the hands of terrorist organizations, is pragmatically ineffective, morally repugnant and meets the classic definition of insanity: Do the same thing twice and expect a different result.
Copyright © 2018 by the Intermountain Jewish News