Lost for Words

It is rare that I am lost for words.  I am a lawyer and so my working day is made up of me writing letters and e-mails promoting my client’s position or doing the same on the telephone.  When I saw the dreadful news about the murders of Maia and Rena Dee I was stuck.  It was a vicious attack – the terrorists shot at and forced the car off the road and then drove back and shot at the two sisters and their mother again.  An execution, as one of my sons described to me.

I wanted to put together a press release on behalf of the Zionist Central Council in the UK and struggled to find the words.  It was only after I heard that the mother – Lucy Dee – had died of her injuries that I started to put together some idea of what should be said.  I was reminded of the murder of Eli Kay, in November 2021.  Eli served in the IDF, volunteered on a left-wing kibbutz and after his army service worked as a guide in Jerusalem as he was interested in educating people irrespective of who they were or their background.

His death operated as a push for me to bring the truth of Israel to a wider audience through the Zionist Central Council, a group of which I am president which does just that – supports and defends the democratic state of Israel.

Rabbi Leo Dee asked that we should post on social media a picture of the Israeli flag, to show our unity as a people, to show that the fact that Pesach Easter and Ramadan have come together for the first time in 30 years must have some meaning for the betterment of the world.  Now these murders have pushed me again.  This time to make as many people as possible aware of the financial reward paid by the Palestinian Authority to those terrorists who kill Israeli Jews.

The Palestinian Authority martyrs fund operates to pay terrorists or their families an income if they are imprisoned in an Israeli prison.  The monthly pay exceeds that paid to Palestinian people needing social support payments.  The money to meet the social support payments comes from the EU (including the UK) and by making these payments, it allows the Palestinian Authority to spend additional sums on making payment to terrorists who kill Jews.

This policy, known colloquially as pay-to-slay, has been running for some years and for reasons which I simply cannot grasp the UK Government doesn’t seem that bothered about it.  If they were, then surely they would suspend all payments to the Palestinian Authority until the pay-to-slay policy was brought to an end.  And there lies the root of the problem.  For as long the policy remains in place and the funds keep flowing then there is no reason for the Palestinian Authority to change anything.

How the British Government can continue to fund a regime that pays killers of Jews and supports those who give out sweets as celebration when this happens is not only a mystery, it is a disgrace. By ignoring this evil conduct, the UK Government is effectively condoning these murders.  Either the Government is content to ignore the policy or do something about it since there is no middle way. Paying money to the Palestinian Authority knowing that this will enable indirectly payments to be made to terrorists who kill Jews is nothing short of tacit approval of this hideous practice.

To make matters worse, the UK is going through a difficult time financially, with prices soaring and demands on the public purse continually rising.  To make payments to a murderous regime from public money, taxpayers money, just makes no logical sense at all.

The murderers of Lucy Dee and two of her daughters should receive no benefit from their crime, that is my goal.  The Israelis are constantly blamed for lack of progress in the peace process, yet it is the Palestinian Authority who have repeatedly said no.  The pay-to-slay policy is as big a ‘no’ as there is.  I do not believe that an entity which pays killers of Jews a pension is at all serious about peace.  It is that fact which needs to be brought to the attention of the UK Government and opposition.

I wish Rabbi Dee and his family long life and may the memories of his wife and two daughters be a blessing.  Their loss will certainly push me and as many others as I can encourage to attack a policy which needs to be brought to an end.  Even the slightest success will help the peace process and in doing so will preserve the memories of those cruelly taken from us.

About the Author
Robert Festenstein is a solicitor based in Manchester with considerable experience in Court actions. He is active fighting the increase in anti-Semitism in the UK and is President of the Zionist Central Council, an organisation devoted to promoting and defending the democratic State of Israel.