Crime and Punishment?

For some, work goes against the grain of nature. On a weekday morning, the sun rises and with it, the inexorable global trudge to work, whether it is to an office, a farm, or a jumbo jet. Work also carries with it the promise of financial reward. Some earn more than others, but money is the currency of existence and, barring a lottery windfall, it is difficult to see how else money will wend its way to your door. Or to your bed if you’re feeling skittish about the banks.

There is, though, an exception. You see, I’ve recently learned, with increasing intrigue, that you don’t have to work to earn cash. Omar is only 19 and he’s set to receive over $1 million from his government over the next thirty years. That equates to $3,000 per month, which is a few hundred dollars shy of the average American salary. Nice work if you can get it. But Omar didn’t work to earn this. Instead, he committed an act of grotesque barbarism and slaughtered three Jews in their home on a Friday night, while they were celebrating Shabbat and the arrival of a new grandson and nephew.

The agony of how the Salomon family met their deaths has been pored over by the media in ghoulish detail, but what has escaped the mainstream media is the aftermath, in particular, Omar’s ‘salary’. Omar Al-Abed al Jalil is a 19 year old boy who, by the time he is nearly half a century, will continue to reap the rewards of his terrorism. I say ‘boy’ deliberately. Though in most countries, the age of 18 confers the rights and responsibilities of adults onto individuals, Omar has been, along with generations of young Palestinians, indoctrinated to hate, to loathe, to denigrate, to deny and to destroy the Jewish people and the Jewish State. Instead, the boy and his generation need to be educated.

Instead of the Palestinian National Fund (the PLO’s financial arm) allocating over $150 million for the tiresome “struggle against Zionism“- just under half of the foreign aid received by the Palestinian Authority- why don’t they invest it in education. In infrastructure. In providing their people with dignity, to live autonomously. To learn not to hate, and to co-exist. But such learning cannot take place if the Palestinian Authority is deaf to the pleas of its own people. According to the former director general of the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs, Yossi Kuperwasser, “the amount of welfare support per family under the poverty-line is much smaller than salaries provided to terrorists and terrorists’ families“.

Israel has always been an aspirational nation: its anthem, Hatikva, literally means “the hope”. What sort of hope do Palestinians have – those who wish to have their own land, while their leaders squander aid along with hundreds of millions of dollars? What sort of value system can the Palestinian Authority espouse, whereby attacking or murdering somebody earns reward? How can it be right or just? What can it teach children other than if you kill someone and violate the natural order of things, you will receive praise and not turpitude; reward and not punishment?

And if Palestinians choose to die as ‘martyrs’ – a base besmirching of a religious ideal- then their families will be duly recompensed. A whopping 7.6% of the Palestinian Authority’s total budget is dedicated to assisting families of terrorists. That is more than $300 million. And, if you’re wandering around Gaza and are slightly bored and fancy a stint in an Israeli prison, well, you’ll get a monthly stipend: this had been enshrined in Palestinian law for over a decade. Be a terrorists and get paid for the pleasure. That is what the Palestinian Authority trumpets.

Advertisements by well-meaning NGOs advocate donations to the Palestinian Authority. But over 20% of the annual foreign financial age received is dedicated to the ‘salaries’ of imprisoned terrorists as well as those who are released from prison (who also receive a military rank based on the number of years served in prison). The system is warped, repugnant. Until payment for acts of terror stop altogether, then how can there be a viable partner for peace? How can Israel ever hope to see a change in her fortunes?

The payments must stop. It is not only Israel who loses out: the Palestinians’ own identity and lives are cheapened at the expense vituperative ideology and greed. By rewarding terrorism, by crudely debasing what it is to work and to earn money, the Palestinian Authority promotes and champions terrorists while blithely breaching the agreements reached in the oft-forgotten Oslo Accords.

But it seems that the only piece of Scandinavia the Palestinian Authority respects is one of Abba’s hit songs: “Money, money, money. Must be funny in the rich man’s world“.

Where the rich are those who kill and maim, nobody laughs.

About the Author
Andrew Freedman is a communications consultant from London. Prior to embarking on a career in public relations, Andrew practised as a solicitor for a couple of years. Before that, Andrew read Classics at Oxford. He is a member of the World Jewish Congress Jewish Diplomatic Corps and is also active on behalf of several Jewish charities within the UK.