Condition Reopening Washington PLO Office on Ending PA's "Pay to Slay" Program

(Arab News-Saudi Arabia) David Pollock and Sander Gerber - The Biden administration is contemplating reopening the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) mission in Washington and restoring direct aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA). However, instead of diving headfirst into another diplomatic dead-end with the PA/PLO, President Biden should attach real and substantial conditions to any reopening. The State Department shut down the PLO mission in Washington in October 1987 in response to the PLO's involvement with various acts of terror. Congress passed the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1987, which declared the PLO to be a terrorist organization and prohibited the opening of PLO facilities on U.S. soil. Yet Congress allowed for the president to issue a waiver on his own accord. Another U.S. law, the Alien Tort Claims Act, could hold the PLO responsible for terrorist damages if it resumes a presence in American jurisdiction. It would behoove the Biden administration to place conditions on the PLO for reopening its mission or receiving any new direct aid. A starting point would be to demand the PLO end its "pay to slay" program, in strict accordance with a third U.S. law, the Taylor Force Act. A credible Palestinian opinion poll from last year shows 2/3 of West Bankers agree that the PA should "stop paying extra bonuses and benefits to prisoners or 'martyrs' families." At the same time, polls show that 2/3 of West Bankers and Gazans now say that, even if an independent Palestinian state is established, "the conflict should not end and the struggle should continue until all of historic Palestine is liberated." This violates every tenet of U.S. policy. David Pollock is a fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Sander Gerber is a fellow at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

2021-04-29 00:00:00

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