Obama administration officials have praised Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as someone with whom Israel can do business.
Yet he recently chose to do business with those committed to Israel's destruction.
Abbas struck a deal with Hamas making the U.S.-designated terror group part of a united Palestinian government.
Although that unity deal may soon be dead following Hamas's alleged kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers, Abbas's initial embrace of the terror outfit raised serious questions about his commitment to peace.
Financing the Flames
"Peace doesn't have a chance because peace doesn't pay," said award-winning investigative journalist Edwin Black. "Because anytime that they want some income, all they've got to do is commit an act of terrorism."
In his latest book, Financing the Flames, the New York Times bestselling author details how the Palestinian Authority rewards terrorists who have killed Israelis.
"As soon as a terrorist commits an act of terrorism against an innocent civilian in Israel -- whether that's cutting the throat of a child or stabbing a man standing at a bus or blowing up a building," Black said. "As soon as that man does that, he goes on a special salary from the Palestinian Authority, under Palestinian law -- a law known as the Law of the Prisoner."
The more Israelis killed, the bigger the financial reward.
"He gets a graduated salary depending on how heinous the crime is," Black continued. "If he kills five people and gets five years, he gets one salary. If he kills double that number and gets double the sentence, he gets double the salary. And so this actually incentivizes the misery, mayhem, and carnage that the terrorists commit."
Black told CBN News this is a long held policy. He spent time on the ground interviewing Israeli and Palestinian officials and found that the PA does not hide this cash-for-killers program.
"There's an entire ministry, called the Palestinian Ministry of Prisoners, that actually oversees the distribution of this money and there is its counterpart in the civilian sector known as the Prisoner's Club," Black explained.
"Now this money constitutes some of the best salaries in the Palestinian Authority," he continued. "So you can literally go from poverty to wealth in the Palestinian Authority by committing an act of terrorism."
"This amounts to about 6 percent of the Palestinian budget," he said. "This money is paid on a priority basis. You can make as much as $3,000 or $4,000 a month while in prison just for committing this act of terrorism."
US Footing the Bill?
According to Black, some of the money can be tracked back to American taxpayers because the U.S. currently provides $400 million per year to the Palestinian Authority.
"There's a law against any of our money benefitting terrorism," Black said. "But in point of fact, approximately 6 percent of all the money we fund to the Palestinian Authority is probably diverted by them to fund terrorists' salaries."
"The money comes. It goes right to the prisoner. The prisoner signs a P.O.A. -- a power of attorney. He transmits that money to his bank account, to his lawyer, to his girlfriend, to his family, to his mother, to his organization," he explained.
"And this is the system we have in place. Our State Department knows it. Our administration knows it," Black told CBN News.
In the wake of Abbas's deal with Hamas, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., introduced legislation that would cut funding to the Palestinian Authority.
The Obama administration, however, plans to continue engaging the PA -- meaning more terrorist salaries paid for, in part, by U.S. taxpayers.
"They would rather starve than see their prisoners, who are their heroes, go without remuneration for the acts of violence that they have committed against innocent civilians, homes, buses, trains," said Black. "It's an astonishment. And I think it's time for America to wake up."
Erick Stakelbeck is the national security correspondent for CBN, from where this article is adapted.