Fundamentally Freund: End US aid to the PA

Why on earth should Washington continue to fund Abbas and company when they do not hesitate to frustrate the aims of American foreign policy?

By
August 17, 2011 22:33
4 minute read.
Michael Freund

Michael Freund NEW 58. (photo credit: courtesy)

Next month, the Palestinian Authority is planning to stir up a hornets’ nest. Ignoring admonitions from Washington and Jerusalem, PA President Mahmoud Abbas seems intent on seeking United Nations recognition of an independent Palestinian state.

Defying all attempts at dialogue, the Palestinian leadership prefers to bypass the bilateral negotiating process and instead take their case to the UN General Assembly.

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In light of the Palestinians’ intransigence, and new revelations about how they are spending Western aid money, it is time for the United States to cut off any further funds to the regime in Ramallah.

There is no reason the American taxpayer should continue to prop up the PA to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars each year while that very same regime actively works against US interests.

The Palestinians know all too well that going to the UN will have no meaningful impact on the situation on the ground. With the threat of an American veto at the Security Council hovering in the air, there is simply no chance that the move at the UN will bring about the establishment of a Palestinian state. It is an exercise in diplomatic futility, one that is doomed to fail from the start.

Nevertheless, while the move is of no practical consequence, it will most certainly prove to be a propaganda boon.

Country after country will line up to express their support for the Palestinian cause, and Israel will undoubtedly be portrayed as the chief villain and scoundrel for defying world public opinion.

Calls for boycotting and sanctioning the Jewish state will grow louder, and pro-Palestinian propagandists will have a field day highlighting Israel’s refusal to consent to its own demise.

It won’t matter one whit that the Palestinians are the ones who have refused to return to the negotiating table or that they rejected Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s simple and basic demand to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

Nor will even one tear be shed over the rockets that Palestinian terrorists continue to fire into the South.

The show will go on, and it is the beleaguered Jewish state that will be the target of all the venom and vitriol.

THIS PERFORMANCE at the UN is designed to turn up the pressure on Israel in order to squeeze out still more concessions. And it is a direct blow to the stated American aim of relaunching direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

Moreover, it will further harm America’s image throughout the Arab and Muslim world, as well as incite and inflame anti-Israel and anti-Western violence.

In 2010, Washington provided more than $600 million in aid to the Palestinians, including $225m. in direct budgetary assistance.

Why on earth should the US continue to fund Abbas and Co. when they do not hesitate to frustrate the aims of American foreign policy? Even more grievous, however, is the use to which the Palestinians are putting the American dollars they receive.

As the British Daily Mail revealed on August 8, the PA has introduced a new law that pays the families of suicide bombers directly out of the official Palestinian civil service budget.

In addition, some 5,500 Palestinian terrorists behind bars in Israel, including those involved in attacks involving American citizens, are also receiving monthly payments from the Palestinian regime. These outlays total 3.5 percent of the Palestinian national budget.

Terrorists serving longer sentences because they committed more heinous acts receive larger stipends, seemingly as a form of reward for having spilled more blood.

As a report on the subject released by Palestinian Media Watch put it, “the US funds the PA’s general budget.

Through the PA budget, the US is paying the salaries of terrorist murderers in prison and funding the glorification and role modeling of terrorists.”

This cannot be allowed to continue. It is an outrage, and Abbas and his associates must be made to understand that they cannot cash American checks on the one hand while undermining US interests and funding terrorists on the other.

It is time to end US aid to the Palestinian Authority.

Doing so will send a clear message to the Palestinians that their antics must come to an end.

As the leader of the free world, America cannot and must not funnel funds to such a regime. It is illogical, immoral and simply inconceivable.

At a time of tighter budgets and a ballooning federal deficit, I’m sure America can find far better uses for its hard-earned dollars than giving out pensions to Palestinian terrorists.

The writer is chairman of Shavei Israel (www.shavei.org), a Jerusalem-based organization that helps lost tribes and hidden Jewish communities return to the Jewish people.


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