Our World: What the PA buys with American money
Two weeks ago, a Palestinian from Bethlehem was arrested by the US-financed and trained Palestinian Authority security forces. He was charged with “carrying out commercial transactions with residents of a hostile state.”
No, he was not buying uranium from Iran. His purported crime was purchasing wood products from an Israeli community located beyond the 1949 armistice lines.
Denied bail by the US-funded PA magistrate’s court in Bethlehem, he has been remanded to custody pending the conclusion of his trial.
This man’s arrest is part of what the unelected, US-supported Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has touted as his “National Honor Fund.” The goal of this project is to ban all economic contact between Palestinians and Jews who live and work beyond the 1949 armistice lines. As far as the supposedly moderate Fayyad is concerned, those Jews and Israel generally comprise the “hostile state,” that the Palestinians under Fayyad’s leadership are being compelled to boycott.
Speaking to The Jerusalem Post, Palestinian Labor Minister Ahmed Majdalani said the PA hopes that by the end of the year all the thousands of Palestinians who are employed in Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria will quit their jobs. What he didn’t mention is that if they don’t quit, they will be arrested.
According to PA Economics Minister Hassan Abu Libdeh, since the start of Fayyad’s campaign, the PA has confiscated $1 million worth of Israeli products including foods, cosmetics and hardware from Palestinian stores.
Fayyad’s measures come on top of previously enacted PA measures like imposing the death penalty on Palestinians who sell land to Jews. Less than two months ago, the PA reaffirmed that it will continue to execute any Palestinian who commits this “crime.”
That represents the background. Now, disturbingly, we see the U.S. involvement:
There is no way to credibly claim that these actions advance either the cause of peaceful coexistence or Palestinian economic prosperity. Yet it is precisely in the hope of advancing these goals that the US government funds the PA.
DESPITE HIS campaign to boycott Israel and punish Palestinians with economic ties to the Jewish state, Fayyad is the US’s favorite Palestinian. Since PA President Mahmoud Abbas appointed Fayyad to lead the rump Fatah government in Judea and Samaria after Hamas took over the Gaza Strip, US aid to the PA has increased by more than 700 percent. Most of this aid has gone to propping up Fayyad.
The US directly finances his budget. It funds and trains a Palestinian military. And it subsidizes his programs to build governmental institutions that loyally carry out his anti-Israel policies.
Last Wednesday, during a joint press conference with Fayyad, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the US will give the PA an additional $150 million in aid to supplement the $400 million in financial assistance that President Barack Obama pledged in June. This supplement comes in response to Fayyad’s claim that he needs $500 million to close his budget shortfall.
According to the Congressional Research Service, the PA is the largest recipient of foreign assistance in the world. According to Bloomberg, it received $1.2 billion in 2009 and will receive $1.8 billion by the end of the year.
The US provided the PA with $500.9 million in 2009 and, before Clinton’s announcement, was scheduled to provide it with $550 million in 2011.
Thats a lot of money, to say the least. Now we see how the U.S. military are helping to train PA "forces":
Concerned about the threat these forces pose, particularly in light of Fayyad’s rejection of Israel’s right to exist, earlier this year OC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Avi Mizrahi warned that these US-trained forces constitute a qualitative jump in the Palestinians’ war fighting capabilities against Israel.
Indeed, there is little reason to believe that these US-trained forces will not join forces with Hamas and turn their guns on Israel in the future. Since 1996, PA security services have taken a leading role in the terror war against Israel.
There is much more, but two of her closing paragraphs are worth repeating:
Finally, the simple truth is that it is impossible to prevent US budgetary assistance to the PA from financing Hamas, in contravention of US law. Each month Fayyad transfers funds to Hamas-controlled Gaza to pay the salaries of PA employees there. Fayyad has argued that this assistance cannot be considered material aid to Hamas, since the employees are employed by the PA. But this is nonsense.
In truth, given the PA’s refusal to recognize Israel’s right to exist or take sustained, decisive action against terrorism, there is really no way for the US to continue funding it without breaking its own laws. But acknowledging this state of affairs would involve admitting that the peace process is a lie and that any Palestinian state that is formed today will be a terrorist state at war with Israel.
The incoming Congress might want to consider these basic truths before it approves further aid to Fayyad and his moderate government.
Amen to that.