2023 looks on track to be the deadliest year in Israel since 2015, under Obama, and the bloodshed is an eightfold increase in Israeli deaths since Trump’s last year in office.
The Biden administration restored Obama’s old policies and doubled down on them. And the death toll in Israel looks the way that it did under Obama. Under Biden, Israelis are dying at similar rates to the way that they did under Obama, but not at all as they did under Trump.
The foreign policy establishment claims that the Trump administration’s foreign policy toward Israel was a failure. And yet during Trump’s last year in office, when all the pro-Israel policies had been implemented, the fewest Israelis were killed in at least a generation.
In one of the least reported events in the region, the violence had all but ended with only three Israeli deaths in 2020. By contrast under Biden, 7 Israelis were killed in just January 2023.
Twice as many Israelis died in one month of Biden than in one year of Trump.
What was the secret to peace that had eluded every previous administration? Simple.
The Trump administration stopped funding terrorists.
And the terrorists stopped killing people.
This is not speculation. All anyone has to do is look at the death toll year by year.
Photo: Lucy Dee and daughters Hy"d shot in cold blood while driving on the Jordan Valley Road
The killings in Israel mostly held steady from Obama’s final year in office to Trump’s first year in office, but fell 18% in 2018 as the Trump administration began to pull away from the old failed policies of the Democrats and the Bush Republicans.
That was also the year that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo replaced Rex Tillerson and a Republican congress cut foreign aid to the PLO terrorists and the effects were obvious.
In 2018, Congress passed the Taylor Force Act: named after an Iraq War veteran studying in Israel who was stabbed to death by a terrorist in Jerusalem. The Taylor Force Act cut off a good deal of foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority which limited its ability to fund terrorist attacks.
In 2019, President Trump went even further with a nearly total cutoff of aid to the Palestinian Authority. And the number of terror victims in Israel declined by nearly a quarter.
Not only Israeli deaths were sharply reduced, but casualties among the ‘Palestinian’ Arab terrorists and their human shields fell by more than half from 2018 to 2019.
In 2020, the first year that the cutoff was truly felt, only 3 Israelis (each an entire world...) were killed.
And only 30 casualties were experienced by the terrorists and their populations.
The Trump and congressional Republican cuts to foreign aid to the PLO terrorists and their political entity had sharply reduced the violence and saved lives on both sides.
Fewer Israelis and Arab Muslims living under Palestinian Authority rule were killed in 2020 than at any time since Obama took office. It wasn’t peace, but it was the closest thing to it.
What should have become a model for moving forward was instead ridiculed and discarded.
Photo: Asher Menachem and Yaakov Yisrael Paley Hy"d, murdered in a terrorist ramming attack on the Ramot Road
When Biden took office, he violated the Taylor Force Act and massively ramped up foreign aid and political support for the terrorists occupying parts of the 'West Bank' and Gaza. And the number of deaths shot up from 3 to 17. Since then deaths from terrorist attacks have increased every year under Biden: nearly doubling by some accounts from 2021 to 2022.
As many Israelis were killed in the first two months of 2023 as in all of 2018. By April, as many Israelis had been killed as in all of 2017: the deadliest year under the Trump administration. As of now, more Israelis have been killed in 2023 than in all of 2018 and 2019 combined.
These numbers show what happens when you fund terrorists and when you stop funding them.
Beyond the raw casualty figures, the number of significant terrorist attacks increased 59% from 2021 to 2022. The number of shooting attacks shot up fourfold by over 200% (while stabbing attacks declined) indicating terrorists who were better armed and prepared.
But even as the bodies piled up, the Biden administration has doubled down on death.
In 2022, Biden met with PLO leader Mahmoud Abbas and boasted that, “when I came to office, I reserved the policy — I reversed the policies of my predecessor and resumed aid to the Palestinians — more than a half a billion dollars in 2021.” And promised over $300 billion more.
Money is the engine behind the violence and the Biden administration is providing the cash.
The PLO’s ‘Pay-to-Slay’ or ‘Martyrs Fund’ program rewards terrorists, regardless of their formal affiliation, including ISIS and Hamas members, with salaries and payments for their families.
Terrorists are paid based on the length of their prison sentence. That means successful killers can earn $2,000 to $3,000 a month in a part of the world where the average salary is around $700 a month. It’s five times more profitable to be a terrorist than a teacher.
“We will neither reduce nor prevent [payment] of allowances to the families of martyrs, prisoners and released prisoners, as some seek, and if we had only a single penny left, we would pay it to families of the martyrs and prisoners,” PLO leader Mahmoud Abbas had insisted.
“You sent a report to Congress that officially certified that the Palestinian Authority and the PLO… have not met the legal requirements for ‘terminating payments for acts of terrorism against Israeli and US citizens,’” Senator Ted Cruz challenged a State Department official.
“They are paying for terrorists to murder Americans and to murder Israelis. And nonetheless, this administration is bringing those terrorist leaders to Washington, is bringing them to cocktail parties to wine and dine political leaders.”
“We are working to bring pay-to-slay to an end,” Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf insisted.
The way to end pay-to-slay is to stop sending money to terrorists. Any foreign aid sent into areas controlled by terrorists, whether in Afghanistan or the 'West Bank' or Gaza, finances terrorism. And if you doubt that, just count the money and then count the bodies.
The Trump administration proved that cutting off money to the terrorists ends the violence and the Biden administration demonstrated that restoring the money also brings back the violence.
Peace in the Middle East is not a dream. Just stop funding terrorists and it might even be a reality.