By Earl Cox, Israel Always

When President Donald Trump met Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at the White House, Trump requested that Abbas halt the PA’s overt incitement to violence and terrorism against Israel, and its $137.8 million in annual payouts to jailed terrorists and suicide bombers’ families. Abbas insisted, “We are raising our youth, our children, our grandchildren on a culture of peace.” This double-speak not only denies well-documented evidence; it’s consistent with Islamic ideology which condones deceiving non-Muslims to advance Islam’s political interests. But a highly ranked—and rankled—PA official spoke more to the point. Senior foreign-policy adviser Nabil Shaath said: “It’s absurd to request that we stop paying the families of prisoners. That would be like asking Israel to stop paying its soldiers.” The PA insists that Palestinians being held in Israeli prisons for committing acts of terror are not terrorists but rather “freedom fighters” and therefore are entitled to receive salaries. The PA also claims that these payments are a type of social welfare to help the families of the prisoners although the prisoners are under no obligation to give any portion of their “salaries” to their families.

Shaath’s response is a window into the Palestinian mind—specifically, how it perceives its “army.” The Palestine Liberation Organization was founded in 1964 to oppose Israel. It consisted of Palestinian refugees under Fatah leader Yasser Arafat. Abbas, a PLO co-founder, and former Arafat deputy, is currently PLO chairman.

The PLO charter, on which the PA Constitution is based, calls for Israel’s destruction; declares “armed struggle” as “the only way to liberate Palestine”; and describes armed “fedayeen (paramilitary and terrorist) action as the nucleus and “protective force” of the “Palestinian war of liberation.” The Constitution calls for training all Palestinians to “prepare them for the battle of liberation.” Training for this battle begins in kindergarten, with teachers inciting children and teens to hate, violence and murder against Israelis.

Though the PA has diplomatically softened the language of its original charter, the politically appealing word “liberation” in its founding documents literally means Israel’s total destruction and the Palestinian takeover of its “homeland” which they consider all of Israel, Jerusalem and the West Bank. That’s why the official PA/PLO map of Palestine, draped in the PA flag, depicts Israel plus the West Bank as its future Palestinian state. To lay a contrived “legal” groundwork for “liberation,” the charter states “claims of historical or religious ties of Jews with Palestine are incompatible with the facts of history”; and the 1947 partition of Palestine, Israel’s establishment, the Balfour Declaration and the Palestine Mandate are “entirely illegal” and “null and void” because they are “contrary to the will of the Palestinian people.” So much for international law and recorded history.

For those who respect democratic values, what’s most startling about Shaath’s retort is his stark equation of the “protective force” of terrorists who blow up buses, stab women, and ram cars into pedestrians with a legitimate army like the Israel Defense Forces. The IDF was forged in 1948 to defend its citizens and borders after pan-Arab attacks attempting to eradicate the fledgling Jewish state. In line with Israel’s moral code which cherishes life, every recruit studies the IDF code of ethics which states: “The soldier shall always bear in mind the supreme value of human life,” and must limit the “use of force… to prevent unnecessary harm to human life and limb, dignity and property.” It’s important to note that the IDF code of ethics refers to ALL human life as being of supreme value and this includes the Palestinians.

The U.S. House Appropriations Committee is examining the PA’s siphoning of foreign aid to its “army of martyrs.” These salaries violate American laws that prohibit U.S. aid from benefiting terrorism. Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.) said, “There cannot be peace if children are raised with hatred” and that she’ll work to end the program. “Abbas’ denial of the reality of incitement is something that we need to continue to strongly look into,” she said. Trump’s visit to Israel offers a timely opportunity for Americans to appeal to Congress.

Considering the Palestinian mindset and its goal to destroy Israel, a paper agreement that Arab states will “recognize Israel’s right to exist” should be a precondition for negotiations—not the ultimate goal. The right deal should enforce a complete, properly monitored end to Palestinian incitement to violence and terror, and should include strenuous safeguards and penalties against such attacks.