ZOA Opposes One-Sided 4-6 Month Israeli Building Freeze and Helping PA Finances while PA Increases Rewards to Terrorists
News Press Release
March 21, 2023

Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) president Morton A. Klein released the following statement:

In 1920-1921, 1929, and 1936-1939, when Arabs brutally slaughtered hundreds of innocent Jews in the Hebron massacre, Nebi Mussa massacre, pogroms in Jerusalem, and other massacres, the British Mandatory overlords didn’t punish or restrict the Arabs. Instead, the British illegally restricted Jewish immigration into Israel (dooming millions of European Jews to death), disarmed Jews, and stopped other Jewish rights – even including preventing Jews from blowing the Shofar at the Western Wall.

Today, Israel is supposed to be a sovereign nation. But we are deeply concerned that, perhaps under pressure from the Biden administration, Israel just reportedly entered into a one-sided agreement: that rewards the increasing Arab terror with a 4- to 6-month settlement freeze that only restricts Jews while Arabs continue their massive illegal building on Jewish lands. The agreement also dangerously calls for “significantly enhancing” the Palestinian Authority’s finances – despite the fact that the PA just increased its rewards to Arab terrorists, including building luxury villas for terrorists; affirms PA legal rights over security in Area A – which could impede Israeli security; and more.

This new agreement appears to reiterate an agreement for a 4- to 6-month settlement freeze reportedly made at a quintet summit in Aqaba in February. At that time, the Israeli government stated that it did not agree to a settlement freeze and that there will be no change in Israel’s unanimous decision (made in response to an Arab terrorist murdering seven innocent Israelis in front of a Jerusalem synagogue) to legalize nine communities and to build 9,500 housing units in Judea and Samaria. We hope it is still the case that Israel will continue with these legalization and building plans.

Israel appears to be getting nothing from the latest deal; while giving up tangible rights. We had hoped that the new Israeli government would do much better than this; and would not make any concessions to Arab terrorists, regardless of Biden administration pressure.

The Joint Communique (published by the U.S. State Department and Roya (Jordanian) News) describing the agreement reached by Israel, the Palestinian Authority, the U.S., Egypt, and Jordan (the “quintet”), at a summit in Sharm el Sheikh, on Sunday, March 19 states that: 

  • Israel commits “to stop discussion of any new settlement units for 4 months and to stop authorization of any outposts for 6 months.”

This one-sided agreement contains no similar freeze on the PA’s massive illegal building. The last time Israel agreed to a freeze, the freeze did nothing to enhance peace. Freezing the building of Jewish homes moreover sends a dangerous, false message that Jews have no right to build homes in the Jewish homeland and that Arab murders of Jews are rewarded. 

  • The parties reaffirm the “legal right of the Palestinian National Authority to carry outthe security responsibilities in Area (A) of the West Bank.”

Area A is rife with terrorist hotbeds, including Jenin, Nablus, Tulkarem, Qalqilya, Huwara, and Ramallah, as well as Bethlehem and Jericho. Many of the Arab terrorists who murdered 43 innocent Israelis including Jewish babies and children during the last year, and who injured additional innocent Jews, are from Jenin and other towns in Area A.

Throughout the 30 years since the Oslo accords, the PA has failed to carry out its security responsibilities. Instead, the PA has actively fomented, incited, and rewarded terror. Israel thus has needed to be able to undertake security operations, to protect Israelis from planned Palestinian Arab terror attacks, and pursue and arrest Arab terrorists who already perpetrated attacks. However, the Biden administration has been pressuring Israel to not respond to terror emanating from these terror strongholds in the PA.

We are very concerned that this agreement could restrain Israeli security from effectively combating terror.

This agreement is even more worrisome in light of the Biden Administration’s separate unconscionable, extremely dangerous plan to require Israel “to sharply curtail IDF counterterror operations,” and to provide U.S. commando training in Jordan to a 5,000-man Palestinian-Arab army of terrorists or future terrorists; and to then equip and deploy this Palestinian-Arab commando army in Judea/Samaria, along with foreign and U.S. forces. Every time the US has funded, armed, and trained Palestinian militias, the target has invariably ended up being Israeli citizens, not fellow Palestinian Arab terrorists. (See “ZOA: Stop Biden/Blinken/Amr Unconscionable Plan to Establish Army of 5,000 Palestinian-Arab Terrorists plus U.S./Foreign Forces,” Mar. 17, 2023

  • The Parties “agreed to establish a mechanism to take the necessary steps towards improving the economic conditions of the Palestinian people, per previous agreements, and to significantly enhance the fiscal situation of the Palestinian National Authority.”

It is wrong and dangerous to “significantly enhance” the PA’s fiscal situation when the PA continues spending $400 million per year to pay Palestinian Arab terrorists and their families lifetime generous pensions for murdering Jews. The PA also recently began building 100 luxury villas in Samaria for convicted Arab terrorists and their families (at a strategic location overlooking route 60, often used for terror attacks against Jews). (See Palestinian Authority Building Luxury Town for Terrorists,” Israel Nat’l News, Mar. 17, 2023.) The PA’s officials have moreover repeatedly vowed to continue paying the Arab terrorists who murder Jews, even to the last cent in the PA treasury.

The way to curb terror is to abide by the Taylor Force Act, and to stop all payments to the PA, and to Palestinian Arabs that benefit the PA and other terror groups, at least until the PA ceases all payments and rewards to terrorists and terrorists’ families.

  • Theparties “reiterated the commitment of upholding unchanged the historic status quo at the Holy Sites in Jerusalem, both in word and in practice, and reaffirmed in this context the importance of the Hashemite Custodianship/special role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.”

Jordan and the PA have abused the so-called “status quo” and Jordan’s “special role” on the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site: to build new mosques there (thereby drastically changing and destroying the status quo); to destroy hundreds of tons of Jewish artifacts; to discriminatorily prevent Jews and Christians from entering eleven out of twelve gates; to harass, intimidate and prevent Jewish and other non-Muslim prayer and visits on the Jewish people’s holiest site; to attack visitors from the UAE and other nations who made warm peace with Israel; to enable terrorists to store weapons in the Al Aqsa mosque; and to pelt Jews praying at the Western Wall below the Temple Mount with rocks and boulders.

  • “The two sides agreed to establish a mechanism to curb and counter-violence, incitement, and inflammatory statements and actions, which will report to the quintet leadership in April, in a resumed session of the meeting in Sharm El Sheikh.”

It is already obvious what needs to be done to curb violence and incitement: The PA needs to stop inciting terror, including with PA dictator Mahmoud Abbas’ statements, repeatedly rebroadcasted on PA media, urging Palestinian Arabs to spill blood and become martyrs to remove Jews’ and Christians’ “filthy feet” from Al Aqsa and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. The PA needs to stop teaching children to hate and murder Jews. And the PA needs to stop honoring and paying terrorists huge lifetime pensions (and awards of luxury villas) to murder Jews, and the PA needs to fulfill its Oslo obligation of collecting and destroying weapons. The PA is already obligated to do all of this under the Oslo agreements but refuses to do so.

The latest agreement – which merely speaks of setting up unspecified “mechanisms” does nothing. The PA should be forced to finally live up to its prior commitments; and Israel must continue to have the freedom of action to protect her citizens from terrorists, wherever the terrorists are found.

Our Mission
The ZOA speaks out for Israel – in reports, newsletters, and other publications. In speeches in synagogues, churches, and community events, in high schools and colleges from coast to coast. In e-mail action alerts. In op-eds and letters to the editor. In radio and television appearances by ZOA leaders. Always on the front lines of pro-Israel activism, ZOA has made its mark.
  • Center for Law & Justice
    We work to educate the American public and Congress about legal issues in order to advance the interests of Israel and the Jewish people.
    We assist American victims of terrorism in vindicating their rights under the law, and seek to hold terrorists and sponsors of terrorism accountable for their actions.
    We fight anti-Semitism and anti-Israel bias in the media and on college campuses.
    We strive to enforce existing law and also to create new law in order to safeguard the rights of the Jewish people in the United States and Israel.