By Melody Sucharewicz
The European Union and its member states are the largest single donor bloc financing the PA.
A Palestinian child can walk to school along a street named after Abu Jihad, who planned a bus hijacking that killed 38 Israelis, including 13 children, spend the day learning in a school named after Hamas founder Ahmad Yassin, and end the day in a youth center named after terrorist Abu Iyad, responsible for killing the Israeli Olympic athletes in Munich.
“Do you think it is beautiful?” a male host asks an 11-year old girl on a popular Palestinian TV program.
“Shahada is very, very beautiful,” answers the girl. “Everyone yearns for Shahada. What could be better than going to Paradise?”
“Every Palestinian child aged, say 12, says ‘O Lord, I would like to become a shahid,’” says another girl.
Children from an early age are taught to identify with the Islamist death culture of shahidism, catalyzed by Goebbels-style antisemitic memes that forge irreversible hatred toward Jews and Israel.
Over the past decade, entire volumes of examples depicting a reality of hard-core incitement in mainstream culture and schoolbooks have been published by international media and civil society, exposing this choreography of hate. None of this is new.
Neither is the Palestinian leadership’s material incentivizing of terrorist attacks against Jews by paying special stipends to terrorists or their families in return for the atrocities committed. In 2018 alone, the Palestinian Authority’s terrorist salaries amounted to around €180 million, based on a perverted progressive formula: the more Jews you kill, the more money you get.
On October 4, 2003, Palestinian terrorist Hanadi Jaradat walked into Maxim Restaurant on the Haifa-Tel Aviv coastal road, blew herself up and killed 21 Israelis, among them the family of 10-year-old Oran Almog. He was blinded, splinters cut through most of his body. Jaradat’s family has earned tens of thousands of dollars in reward for their daughter’s suicide attack. Her two accomplices have earned over $500,000 in total terrorist payments.
Fourteen years later, Oran Almog, by then a young entrepreneur, flew to New York to speak at the UN, asking donor countries to demand an end of the PA’s “pay for slay” policy. To no avail. The European Union and its member states are the largest single donor bloc financing the PA. In 2018 alone the EU transferred €370m., the largest chunk stemming from Germany. Thirty percent of that money goes to terrorist salaries.
For over a decade, European politicians have known that their taxpayers are involuntary coproducers of a systematic theater of radicalization. They know that the culture of hate they blindly fund is fueled by ideas and symbols of antisemitism and radical Islam. They know that many of the “cultural” and “human rights” NGOs they generously support are affiliated with terrorist groups, promote Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions and bring everything but a better future to Palestinians.
They also know that turning a blind eye harms not just Israel’s security and chances for peace but also the very principles guiding the EU’s external relations, “which have inspired its own creation, development and enlargement, and which it seeks to advance in the wider world: democracy, the rule of law, the universality and indivisibility of human rights and fundamental freedoms, respect for human dignity…” (Art. 21 TEU).
And yet, beyond occasional lip service and a toothless resolution in 2017, the EU accepts its role. The PA keeps radicalizing generations of Palestinians, the EU keeps paying.
Attempts to encourage reforms of curricula have been met with outrage and dismissed as “an attack against the Palestinian people, its history and its struggle” (official statement on PA website, 13.4.2017). An EU-commissioned report that was meant to investigate the textbook incitement turned into a major embarrassment, mistakenly studying east Jerusalem textbooks under the supervision of Israel’s Education Ministry, yielding accordingly reassuring results – instead of Palestinian ones.
For several months, the PA refused to accept the overall $750 million in tax money Israel collected on its behalf as a punitive measure against the annexation that never happened, asking the EU to cover the consequent deficit. The latter refused, but missed another opportunity to condition further payments to an end of the PA’s rejectionist and destructive dogma.
So long as this dogma prevails, peace and prosperity for Palestinians are impossible. And as long as Europe keeps financing this dogma, there will be no change.
It is high time that Europe stop this vicious cycle and embrace interests – and reality-based paradigm that peace-seeking Arab states like the UAE and Bahrain have adopted.
THIS PARADOXICAL pattern of a foreign policy that sells the very values Europe so bitterly fought for reminds of the appeasement vis-à-vis the Iranian regime.
Nuclear ambitions, ballistic missiles that can reach Europe (missile testing was doubled after the JCPOA was signed), regional aggression, financing of terrorist proxies, human rights atrocities against the Iranian people like last month’s horrific execution of wrestler Navid Afkari, terrorist plots on European soil, open antisemitism culminating in another Holocaust competition upcoming soon, and ongoing threats to wipe Israel off the map – accepting all of this dangerously compromises not only the values Europe stands for, but its own strategic interests.
The ayatollahs give Europe a 60-day ultimatum to ensure the continued flow of petrodollars after US President Donald Trump quit the JCPOA. Shortly after, Germany’s foreign minister sits on a plane to appease Tehran – the same foreign minister who without a doubt sees himself as a true friend of Israel and says he entered politics because of Auschwitz.
The ayatollahs celebrate the 40th anniversary of the human-rights bashing, world-peace endangering Islamic Revolution – Germany’s federal president rushes to send his congratulations, the same president who, just days ago, pledged his country’s commitment to the unconditional fight against antisemitism and protection of universal values.
This paradoxical pattern – some may call it hypocrisy – is an enigma to many commentators and experts trying to make sense of Europe’s behavior, especially in light of the immensely constructive role it could play in the Middle East.
Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results amount to what Einstein called insanity. Europe is not insane in the clinical sense, but its foreign policy in the Middle East doesn’t burst with high political IQ. There are blind people who politically see more.
Melody Sucharewicz is a German-Israeli communication and strategy consultant and a former foreign affairs adviser to Alternate Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benny Gantz.
This op-ed was first published by The Jerusalem Post.