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Global Islamism Monitor - No. 50

Edited by Ilan Berman and Jacqueline McCann
February 26, 2018


RESPONDING TO THE PA'S TERRORISM RACKET
The Palestinian Authority (PA) has made terrorism into a lucrative business in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Israel's Defense Ministry has charged. According to official PA records obtained by Israeli government and presented to the Knesset, the government of PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas paid some $346 million to terrorists and their families last year alone. The scheme, moreover, offers incentives for severity of crime committed against Israel. Thus, those extremists who commit attacks meriting 20-35 years in prison receive an average of NIS 10,000 ($2,900) per month, while those serving prison terms of only 3-5 years receive a monthly stipend of just NIS 2,000 ($575). Further allocations are added for incarcerated terrorists who are married or have children, while being an "Israeli terrorist" merits a further financial incentive.

Israeli officials are now moving to counter this practice. Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman has proposed a new bill that would "deduct the equivalent amount to what the PA pays terrorists and their families, from taxes and tariffs Israel collects for the PA." The Israeli bill is inspired by a similar measure recently passed in the United States, known as the Taylor Force Act, which withdraws U.S. aid allocated to Palestinians in response to the PA's post-incarceration financing of terrorists. (
Jerusalem Post, January 9, 2018)

PAKISTAN'S TACTICAL COUNTERTERRORISM

Is it possible for Pakistan to become a more constructive partner in the "War on Terror"? The Trump administration isn't so sure. Over the past several months, the new White House has taken a markedly firmer line toward the South Asian state than did its predecessor, scaling back financial aid and proposing that the country be placed on the Financial Action Task Force's terror-finance watchlist. These moves have generated some new momentum in Islamabad in the arena of counterterrorism. But U.S. officials say that Pakistan's efforts have been, in the main, "reversible, superficial, and steps that we have actually seen them take in the past, in periods of high pressure."

"We have been very specific and detailed in what we expect Pakistan to do, in our numerous visits of senior officials as well as several phone calls between senior military officials on both sides," one administration official has told reporters. "So I think Pakistan understands what we are looking for. Unfortunately we have not seen the strategic shift in behavior that we are seeking..." In fact, Pakistan appears to be moving in the wrong direction, the official said, pointing to the recent release of Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Muhammad as evidence. (Chennai
The Hindu, February 22, 2018)

HOW ISRAEL HELPED THWART AN ISIS AIRLINE PLOT

Australia faced various terrorist attempts on its airports and aviation last year, but collaborating with Israel helped the Australian government to foil a major terrorist attack by the Islamic State. "The cooperation with the Israeli intelligence community allowed for the transfer of information to the local security authorities and led to the arrest of the suspects, who were in the advanced stages of preparations and close to executing the attack," the Israeli Defense Forces said in a formal statement that acknowledged the assistance for the first time. The foiled plot in late 2017 involved the planned use of an improvised explosive device aboard an Etihad Airways flight bound for Sydney. The plot's two suspects additionally intended to release poison gas into the Sydney airport. (
Jewish News Syndicate, February 21, 2018)

SQUEEZED IN IRAQ AND SYRIA, ISIS HEADS EAST

Former Islamic State members that were pushed out of Iraq and Syria have fled to the Philippines, where they have begun to recruit and have announced planned attacks, a local separatist leader has warned. According to Ebrahim Murad, head of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, fighters from a multitude of countries, including Indonesia, Malaysia, and assorted Middle Eastern states, have been entering the Southeast Asian nation and recruiting in remote Muslim communities. "Based on our own intelligence information, foreign fighters who were displaced from the Middle East continued to enter into our porous borders and may be planning to take two southern cities - Iligan and Cotabato," Murad has told reporters. The cities are close to Malawi, the southern town that pro-ISIS militants captured and held for five months last year, resulting in more than 1,100 casualties. According to Murad, whose group sees the new presence as a threat, ISIS operatives are currently focused on building up their presence in the country - and creating a hospitable environment there. "These extremists are going into madrasas, teaching young Muslims their own version of the Koran, and some enter local universities to influence students, planting the seeds of hatred and violence." (
Reuters, February 20, 2018)


Related Categories: Terrorism; Radical Islam; Iran Freedom Initiative

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