There was a curious set of events after the 9/11 attacks. The enormity of the attacks and their brazen execution sent the world community into shock. In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, the UN quickly attempted to create a binding definition of terror that would allow for prosecutions similar to those related to the internationally-recognized standards for war crimes and crimes against humanity. UN representatives worked overtime to nail down the seemingly obvious definition of a terror attack, but there was a problem. Some of the Arab states balked at the idea that blowing up a pizzeria in Tel Aviv could somehow be considered the same as shooting up a bunch of shoppers in a Western or Arab city. They wanted a definition that would punish terror unless it was directed against Jews in Israel. Needless to say these efforts went nowhere and today, over a decade after the attack, there is no international mechanism for trying a terrorist similar to the venues and procedures established for trying war criminals and instigators of genocide after World War 2.
I was reminded of this episode recently when the US State Department praised the PLO and stated that it would not support efforts by Senator Ted Cruz and 31 other members of Congress to have the PLO office in Washington shut down (here). The Congressional letter made it very clear that the PLO’s actions go well beyond incitement and include paying terrorists serving time in Israeli jails. Somewhere in Raaqa, there is somebody writing checks to ISIS terrorists; in Washington, there is someone whose organization electronically transfers funds to bank accounts of Palestinian terrorists. The former may be blown out of his shoes, while the latter will only get plaudits from a supportive White House. And thus parroting the Arabs post-9/11, the US is trying to define good and bad terrorists. When the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the PLO were found guilty in a New York courtroom earlier this year on 24 accounts related to attacks against American citizens during the second intifada, the US government did not change any of its policies towards either body. Actually, when the PA and PLO were staring down a half-billion dollar appeal bond in the same case, the same State Department argued forcefully for not requiring the Palestinian to put down any money, even though all of the plaintiffs were American citizens in good standing and the jury was unanimous on all counts. Thus, the US has chosen to throw its lot with the terrorists and their enablers. The US might drop a couple of smart bombs on Al-Qaeda or ISIS in Iraq and Syria, but it will come to aid of the PLO and PA, though the latter use American largesse to pay terrorists convicted of murdering and maiming Israeli—and American—citizens. The US transfer of $400 million to the PA every year competes with ISIS oil revenues rumored to approach $1 billion annually.
America’s mixed behavior concerning terror is not strictly an Obama phenomenon. The Bush administration was no less pro-PA/PLO and did its best to make victims of Palestinian violence miserable by supporting the Palestinians in court. Neither administration ever tried a Palestinian terrorist for the dozens of attacks in which American citizens were killed or injured in Israel, though the FBI made routine trips to gather evidence and speak with its Israeli counterparts. During the same period of time, the Department of Justice collected African pirates, Bin Laden’s son-in-law and others who harmed or supposedly harmed Americans. There are no Palestinians at Guantanamo, though there is no shortage of Palestinian terrorists from Fatah or Hamas that have more American blood on their hands in practice than some of the Afghani inmates who either supported terror or planned to harm US interests. Today, the US praises Hezbollah and effectively works with it and Iran, though both organizations actively support, encourage and participate in terror activities spanning the globe. George Bush once said that either you are with us or against us. That sounds good, but we ourselves are with ourselves and against ourselves. When the PA uses US funding to pay a Palestinian terrorist who murdered an American citizen, the US acts as a terror enabler. Others will commit terror to get those in-prison funds (several caught terrorists have stated as much). The US is actively violating its own terror funding laws.
Senator Cruz’s letter was a strong indication that not everyone in Washington likes the US choosing sides with the terrorists. The future of Western society demands the destruction of terror groups, and that includes those that the US today supports. One cannot fight ISIS and support the PLO; they are both violent terror organizations dedicated to killing and conquering territory held by democratic nations. The US cannot help the Iranians at the same time that the mullahs are actively paying and helping Hamas, Hezbollah, and other international terror groups. The time has come for the American people to choose a leader who sees terror for what it is and is willing to fight terror wherever and however it rears its ugly head. It is time for the US to realize that there is no Palestinian partner and to give the PA the State Department switchboard number as they once disgustingly did to Yitzchak Shamir: when you’re serious about peace and when you have finally outgrown your terror tendencies, give us a call. Maybe President Cruz can find some time to speak with you.