There's chaos surrounding Israel. With the threat of violence and terrorist activity coming from every direction, Israel is the only democracy in the area. If Israel was to be removed from the Middle East as their enemies desire, Patrick Dunleavy, Senior Fellow at the Investigative Project on Terrorism indicates, "We'd wind up with what the Gaza strip looks like now. People without jobs. People without money. Violence would increase between sectarian organizations, and the common people would be the ones getting hurt."
To understand what happening in that area, we have to understand exactly what Hamas is trying to accomplish. Outside of attempting to show their strength to defend themselves against the Israelis, Dunleavy exposes, "They are exploiting charities to get funds for humanitarian needs in Gaza. Finances are raised and humanitarian aid is sent, yet it doesn't make it to the people. Hamas is simply taking the money from the people and using it to finance weapons, tunnel construction, and more."
He continues, "At one point, they were even caught stealing electricity from a Gaza powerline of the Palestinian Authority—who is supposed to be the governing authority in that area." The Palestinian Authority has proven itself to be incapable of governing there. "Hamas would very much like to be the military arm and not have to run the government, because they don't know how to take care of people," notes Dunleavy.
"We've seen the giving of money to family members for an individual's terrorist attack."
Although Hamas has the resources to conduct large-scale military exercises and continue to make threats against Israel, they don't have the resources to care for their own people and infrastructure. "Water is undrinkable," Dunleavy says. "There's raw sewage in the area. They struggle with power failures that threaten hospitals. Medical supplies are dwindling. They're not using money for these kinds of things. Instead, they're taking it from their own people."
It's disheartening to realize the United States has been part of the problem, especially under the former Obama administration. What could have been used for humanitarian aid to the people in previous years, has actually been used to strengthen Hamas and the Palestinian Authority (PA) themselves.
The Taylor Force Act, if properly implemented and monitored, will help put an end to our past mistakes. Dunleavy explains, "The Taylor Force Act was named after an American citizen who was killed by a Palestinian terrorist in 2016. We provide humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian Authority. It's done through the United States as well as through various organizations of the United Nations."
The Taylor Force Act will prohibit the Palestinian Authority from using any of the financial assistance for "violence against U.S. and Israeli citizens perpetrated by individuals under its jurisdictional control." The PA will have to condemn acts of violence and cease its payments to individuals and the family members of those who commit violence and terrorist attacks.
"We've seen the giving of money to family members for an individual's terrorist attack," Dunleavy describes. "For instance, a Palestinian terrorist kills an Israeli, blows himself up to kill them, drives a vehicle into them, or stabs them with a knife, and subsequently, that terrorist is killed—then the Palestinian Authority pays a stipend to the family members for life. The terrorist becomes the gift of their family. They take U.S. aid and pay terrorists to commit acts of violence while taking care of their families for doing such. The Taylor Force Act prohibits this."
Mahmoud Abbas, President of the PA, has vowed to continue the terrorist-supporting payments, and blames Israel for the deaths of Gazans. If the PA is not able to control Hamas and other terrorist groups operating and committing acts of terror in their jurisdictional territory, the United States is going to cut off their funds. In this day and age, severing their ties to money seems to be one of the only responses terrorists understand. Thank God we now have a President who also understands this. If we terminate their funding, terrorist groups like Hamas cannot function quite as successfully as they have been in years past.
"If we go back on this ludicrous Iranian deal," Dunleavy also agrees, "we can neutralize groups like Hamas and Hezbollah. If we go back on the absurd deal that provided hundreds of thousands of dollars to Iran, we can hit them where it hurts. We need to throw it out. It wasn't a treaty. It was never passed by Congress. If we consider the deal null and void, and start to put more pressure through sanctions on Iran, we'll see the pipeline for resources that go to Hamas and Hezbollah strangled. That would actually provide a double effect alongside the Taylor Force Act."
Hamas has always been one of the most powerful groups in the Middle East, going back to the 1980's when they first formed out of the Muslim Brotherhood. Let it not go unnoticed, Israel has to defend their border with Lebanon where Hezbollah is also being given equipment and resources by Iran. Dunleavy emphasizes they are actually the greater military threat to Israel than Hamas.
He also reveals, "Groups like ISIS have actually started to infiltrate the area, particularly over the Sinai, and are starting to get holds and recruitment in the Palestinian population. The Egyptians are very concerned because the Sinai Peninsula has a lot of illegally built tunnels to get resources to Hamas. Now, you have ISIS taking ahold in there. If they start to control the tunnels, and become more powerful than Hamas, that's going to take all these things up a notch."
Rest assured, if this happens, it is something Israel absolutely will not stand for and she will take her place among the nations without an inkling of hesitation to a powerful response.
J.M. Phelps is a Christian activist and journalist based in the Southeastern U.S.