Some members of the U.S. Congress are pushing Secretary of State John Kerry to close the Washington, D.C. office of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
The reason? The PLO is not only a primary source of incitement for terrorism, including murder, against Israelis, it also is a direct funder of that terrorism.
In the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1987, Congress forbade the PLO from establishing or maintaining an office in the United States. However, each year since 1994, a President has signed a waiver allowing the PLO office in Washington, D.C. to remain open.
At the end of last week Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.-11) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and more than two dozen other legislators called on the State Department to revoke the PLO’s waiver to maintain an office in Washington.
The letter was signed by 32 members of Congress (see the list at the end of this article) who cited the very careful and credible news source Palestinian Media Watch report that “the PLO funds funds terrorism by paying “salaries” to Palestinians who are put in Israeli jails as a way of rewarding and incentivizing terror attacks.”
PMW revealed that the PLO, every year, provides about $150 million to convicted terrorists imprisoned in Israel’s jails or to their families of deceased terrorists. The worse the act of terrorism and the longer the prison term, the more money is “awarded” to each terrorist or terrorist survivor’s family. At least some of that money, by the way, can be traced to American government funds (i.e. U.S. taxpayer money).
The Secretary of State and President Barack Obama have repeatedly lectured the leaders of Israel and the Palestinian Arabs to “end the incitement,” as if the two were equally engaged in that wrongdoing. In addition to the calls from this administration to cease the incitement, both Houses of Congress just this fall unanimously passed resolutions condemning continued Arab incitement. But the legislators were outraged to learn that not only does the Palestinian Arab leadership openly agitate for attacks on Israelis and glorify murderers and attempted murderers of Israelis, but they actually pay the terrorists explicitly for committing that terror.
“Our close ally Israel is enduring another wave of Palestinian terrorism in the form of car-ramming, rock-throwing, and brutal knife attacks,” Sen. Cruz said. “These horrific acts of terrorism are due to the continued incitement and glorification of violence by Palestinian leadership.
“Just last week, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called the recent attacks a ‘justified popular uprising’ following his remarks in September, in which he said, ‘We welcome every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem.’
“It is long past time for the United States to hold the PLO and its leaders accountable for engaging in such rampant incitement, for celebrating the murder of Jews, and for providing payment to Palestinian terrorists jailed in Israel and their families. We must make it clear such actions are blatantly unacceptable and close the PLO office in Washington, D.C.”
“For too long the PLO has not just tolerated acts of terrorism against the Israeli people – but incited others to commit acts of violence in the name of jihad,” Rep. Meadows said. “It goes against everything we stand for as an American people to allow the PLO to retain an office in our nation’s capital, considering its long and well-documented history of encouraging violence and terror against our Israeli allies. It’s time we send a clear signal that the United States does not tolerate extremism and demonstrate our unwavering support for our allies in Israel by revoking this waiver.”
What the legislators seek in their letter is for the U.S. government to recognize that the Palestinian Arab leadership is continuously not only verbally inciting terror, but paying people to commit the most heinous terror possible. And concomitant with that recognition must be an immediate revocation of the PLO’s waiver, and a shuttering of its U.S. office. Failing to make that acknowledgement and take the requested action makes a mockery of the U.S. government’s calls for an end to incitement and its repeated claims to be anxious to bring peace to the region.Lori Lowenthal Marcus