Photo Credit: Hillel Maeir / TPS
Funeral of Rabbi Raziel Shevach, z'l, in Havat Gilad, Samaria

{Originally posted to the author’s blog}

A Palestinian gunman near Nablus (Shechem) unleashed a hail of 21 bullets at an Israeli car on Tuesday – an atrocity that should prompt a thorough reassessment of how Jerusalem and Washington view the hostile entity known as the Palestinian Authority.


With the pull of a trigger, the terrorist murdered Rabbi Raziel Shevach, 35, turning his wife into a widow and his six small children – all under the age of 10 – into orphans, denying them the love of a father and destroying their innocence and childhood.

Rabbi Shevach was a mohel (trained to perform circumcisions) who in his spare time served as a volunteer medic. He committed no crime nor did he pose a threat to anyone. Shevach was a resident of Havat Gilad who was simply making his way home that night to be with his family, like men and women everywhere.

His wife will surely be haunted by his final words, uttered when he called to say he had just been shot.

And his children will grow up with a void in their lives that can never be filled.

From beginning to end the incident highlights the lethal role played by the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah. It underscores the need to impose punitive sanctions forthwith on the blood-stained regime of Mahmoud Abbas.

It is time to stop coddling Abbas and start treating the institution he heads in a manner befitting its promotion and encouragement of terrorist violence.

For months, as Palestinian Media Watch has documented, the PA and its official bodies have brazenly incited Palestinians to attack Israelis, hailing those who have done so as heroes and deliberately trying to heighten tensions on the ground.

With its constant stream of venom aimed at young and old alike, Palestinian television, radio and newspapers have become platforms for advocating violence, barbarism and brutality.

Using everything from music to visual imagery to the written word, the propagandists in Mr. Abbas’s employ continue to produce an ongoing symphony of savagery that has created an environment rife with hate.

Even more telling is what Rabbi Shevach’s murderer chose to do after he completed his dastardly act: He fled by car to PA-controlled Nablus, knowing full well he could find safe refuge there without fear of prosecution.

NOT ONLY does the PA foster attacks, it provides sanctuary to those who carry them out as well.

As if that weren’t enough, terrorists are rewarded by the PA for spilling the blood of innocent Israelis, as recently revealed in startling new statistics.

At a Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee meeting on Tuesday, the Defense Ministry disclosed that the PA paid out well over half a billion dollars to Palestinian terrorists and their families over the past two years. In 2016, it shelled out $320m., while in 2017 the figure rose to $347m.

Even more astonishing is that the PA relies on foreign aid from Europe and elsewhere, as well as on taxes and customs revenues transferred to it by Israel, for its financial survival.

After cashing the checks, the PA takes its money and doles out enormous sums to terrorists and their families, thereby signaling the priority it places on providing financial incentives for Palestinians to reach for the gun.

This moral madness must be brought to an end.

Instead of indulging Abbas and those around him, serious measures must be taken without delay to punish the PA and penalize its penchant for terror.

We need to start by calling things by their true names and label the Abbas regime “the Palestinian Terrorist Authority.”

A would-be government that goads people to violence, provides terrorists with shelter and immunity and then bestows financial gifts to them cannot and must not be considered a legitimate governing body or a possible partner for peace.

Next, it is essential that the law proposed by Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman – which would deduct the amount the PA pays to terrorists from the taxes transferred to it by Israel – be enacted as soon as possible.

Washington should also cut off aid to the Palestinians for their obstructionism and refusal to negotiate, as President Trump threatened to do earlier this month.

There is no reason for the Jewish state or American taxpayers to send money to the PA at the same time it is funneling funds to terrorists.

There has been plenty of talk over the years about such steps, but now is the time for the US and Israel to translate that talk into action.

Abbas must understand that he can no longer act with impunity while he almost literally laughs all the way to the bank.

The Palestinians will have no one but themselves to blame for the economic fallout that will follow a cutoff of funds.

The PA had a choice to make between terror and peace. Its preference is quite clear. Our resolve must be no less decisive.


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Michael Freund is the Founder and Chairman of Shavei Israel. He writes a syndicated column and feature stories for the Jerusalem Post, Israel’s leading English-language daily, and he previously served as Deputy Director of Communications & Policy Planning in the Prime Minister’s Office under Benjamin Netanyahu. A native of New York, he holds an MBA in Finance from Columbia University and a BA from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.