The recent transfer of Terri-Lynne McClintic from a maximum-security prison to an Aboriginal healing lodge outraged many Canadians. McClintic is less than a decade into a life sentence for her role in the rape and murder of eight-year-old Tori Stafford. Ordinary citizens joined Stafford’s family in decrying the injustice of easing McClintic’s punishment in this way.
A great number of Israelis are familiar with that feeling of grave injustice. Currently, the families of over 6,000 Palestinians who were convicted by Israeli courts of terrorist crimes, or killed or wounded in the commission of a terrorist attack, are provided a monthly salary and other benefits by the Palestinian Authority (PA). These payments are mandated by official PA policy, with Ramallah’s 2018 budget publicly listing $335 million for this purpose. According to Palestinian Media Watch, the PA has budgeted about 44 per cent of the foreign aid it anticipates receiving in 2018 for such handouts to terrorists, who, in some cases, have murdered entire families.
This policy not only rewards terrorism, it also incentivizes it. Prospective terrorists know that the more “successful” the attack and longer the prison sentence, the larger the payment and the greater the benefits.
It is therefore unsurprising that Israel recently passed its anti-pay for slay law. The legislation allows Israel to deduct the amount of the terror payments from the total money it sends to the PA each month, from the taxes and tariffs it collects on the PA’s behalf.
The U.S. Congress has also taken action by passing the Taylor Force Act. The act is named after a young non-Jewish American who was murdered by a Palestinian two years ago, while touring Israel on a graduate school trip. Police killed the attacker, but the terrorist’s family is the beneficiary of a significant stipend from the PA.
The law cuts off most U.S. aid to the PA until it stops doling out monetary awards to terrorists and their families, revokes the laws enabling such payments, publicly condemns the violence and takes meaningful steps to end such acts of violence.
It would certainly seem appropriate for Canada to take similar measures, given that Canadians have also been injured and murdered by Palestinian terrorists and that Ottawa has provided hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to the Palestinians over the years.
Canada correctly does not offer direct funding to the PA, the ostensibly “moderate” entity that not only promotes terrorism but also is renowned for its corruption, incitement to violence and anti-Semitism. However, tens of millions of dollars in Canadian funds are currently being sent through various agencies and NGOs for targeted projects to benefit the Palestinians, and this needs to be scrutinized more carefully.
Can all the organizations that Canada is funding be trusted to properly manage those funds? Have any of these agencies been party to the PA’s glorification of terrorism or incitement to hatred and violence? Should Canada be entrusting the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) with a newly pledged $50 million, when it too has come under fire for supporting terrorism? And even if all of these agencies are found to be untainted and legitimate, is there reason to be concerned that Canada’s funding of these agencies is unwittingly freeing up the PA to use its own budget for compensating terrorists and incentivizing more violence?
Short of turning off the taps entirely, it is not clear how this problem should be addressed. Ottawa may need to strengthen the mechanisms by which it ensures that any money sent is not diverted to nefarious purposes. And perhaps legislation should guarantee that Canada will not offer general budgetary aid, as long as the martyr fund persists.
Ottawa needs to assess its options for doing more to ensure that its aid to the Palestinians is not enabling the PA’s “pay for slay” policy and thereby turning Canada into an unwilling partner in the promotion of terrorism.