Israeli soldier on a Palestine street. Justin McIntosh,, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Since a reversal of long-standing American policy around the turn of the century, several American administrations have been obsessed with achieving a so-called “two-state solution” between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs for a final peace, including division of the land outside Israel’s 1949 armistice line with Jordan, sometimes incorrectly called the “West Bank.”

There have been numerous offers, all rejected by Palestinian leaders, who prefer rejectionism, terrorism and maybe Western funds instead of an end to the conflict. Their main objective remains the elimination of Israel as a Jewish state and the removal of all Jews. Thus, the signs proclaiming “Free Palestine from the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea” at Palestinian rallies. In light of conflicting goals and objectives, it is no surprise that there is no agreement.

What is a surprise, however, is that American administrations rush to reward and incentivize Palestinian intransigence and murderous violence.

President Clinton hosted a summit at Camp David in 2000 with Prime Minister Barak and PLO Chairman Arafat. Israel offered almost all of the land which it had recaptured from Jordan in 1967 plus Gaza to form a sovereign Palestinian state. Not only did Arafat reject the offer, sparking Clinton’s ire, but he launched years of terrorism and terror throughout Israel, the so-called “second intifada,” in which over a thousand Israelis were killed.

After Arafat rejected the 2000 offer, Israel made an even more generous offer in 2001. Then, in 2008, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered then-President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority the equivalent of 100 percent of the disputed territories and even part of Jerusalem.

Since then, we have given large sums of money to the Palestinians, directly through the PA and indirectly through UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency), in a vain attempt at a solution the Palestinians have repeatedly rejected, while never abandoning terrorism or their goal of destroying Israel.

Each time, rather than pressuring the party which initiated and refuses to end the conflict, our government has pressured Israel instead to make more concessions, including releasing 78 murderers and freezing housing construction upon request of President Obama, effectively rewarding the Palestinians for their intransigence and deadly violence.

The fact that the PLO, which is affiliated with the PA, has never changed its charter provisions calling for the destruction of Israel and proclaiming there is no alternative to use of terrorism has not made a difference.

The fact that Abbas told President Obama that he would never accept the core concept of the two-state solution, two states for two peoples, has not made a difference.

The fact that in 2016 the foreign minister of the Palestinian Authority declared the PA would never again negotiate directly with Israel has not made a difference.

The fact that Palestinian terrorists have murdered countless Israeli and American civilians over the years and 13 already this year through February, including West Hartford native Elan Ganeles, has made no difference.

Palestinian towns grotesquely celebrate deadly terror attacks with candy. The PA lauds terrorists as heroes. It names schools, stadiums and public squares after mass murderers. It produces textbooks which demonize Israel and Jews, glorify terrorism and deny Israel’s existence. These textbooks are also used by UNRWA, of which we are the largest supporter. We stopped funding UNRWA but resumed in 2021, making us again complicit in radicalizing Arab youth, especially since many UNRWA teachers are members of Palestinian terror groups.

The Palestinian Authority also spends hundreds of millions of dollars a year on its infamous “pay-to-slay” program. When a terrorist murders Israelis, he is rewarded with a salary by the PA. If the terrorist is killed, the PA rewards his family. If the terrorist murders more Israelis, he or his family are paid more.

Our Taylor Force Act is named after a young American murdered by a Palestinian terrorist in Tel Aviv in 2016. It prohibits assistance to the PA until it ends pay-to-slay. Most funding was terminated when the Act was passed. However, like UNRWA funding, it resumed in 2021 and has increased several times despite greater Palestinian terrorism.

We need to resume compliance with the Act. Pay-to-slay doesn’t only lead to more Israelis and Americans, including Connecticut natives, being murdered. Many terrorists themselves are killed while attacking Israeli civilians. They become martyrs, are glorified by the PA, and their example is followed by Palestinian youth.

If we want to save lives, both Palestinian and Israeli, and bring closer a Palestinian-Israeli peace, whether the so-called two-state solution or some other, perhaps more workable scenario, then ending the rewarding  and incentivizing of Palestinian rejectionism and terrorism is a necessary first step.

Mark Fishman of New Haven is President and Alan Stein, a former long-time resident of Waterbury, is President Emeritus of PRIMER-Connecticut, Promoting Responsibility in Middle East Reporting.