click here to jump to start of article
  • Torah Reading: Naso
Join Our Newsletter

Get latest articles and videos with Jewish inspiration and insights​

Your Tax Dollars at Work in Gaza

Your Tax Dollars at Work in Gaza

The confusing and complex campaign for aid to a pro-terror Palestinian Authority.


Last week, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported that American officials are again pressing Congress to open up the U.S. aid pipeline to the Palestinian Authority. And then on March 19, as Reuters reported on March 19, Washington agreed to transfer $150 million in budgetary support to the PA to help Mahmoud Abbas's government, out of $550 million pledged at a donors' conference last year.

If the plea sounds familiar, it ought to. Since the 1993 Oslo Accords, Americans have been subsidizing the activities of the P.A. to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars per year.

Today, as in the past, the arguments in favor of this policy are urgent. We are told by both administration officials who are friends of Israel and by some Israelis that unless we help fund the training and the payment of Palestinian security forces, the P.A. will have no way to cope with terrorists who want to sink any chance of a two-state solution which would enable Israel to live side-by-side with a peaceful Palestinian partner.

The Only Option?

With Hamas in control of Gaza, the P.A., under the current leadership of Mahmoud Abbas, is, we are informed, the only address for creating a moderate force that will work for peace. Given the alternative of the Iranian-backed Hamas or the equally unpalatable choices of either Israel reoccupying the territories or an international peacekeeping force doing so, reinforcing the P.A. seems to make sense. But does it really?

Doubts about the wisdom of the policy have led Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Florida.) — respectively, the chair and the ranking minority member of the House Foreign Operations Subcommittee — to place a hold on a request of another $150 million in direct assistance to the P.A. It now seems to have gotten around that and has even asked the committee to okay an additional $25 million in indirect funding for the military training program.

Support by the P.A. media for attacks against Israelis, such as the slaughter of eight students at a Jerusalem yeshiva, is also reason to doubt the P.A.'s sincerity.

Both Lowey and Ros-Lehtinen rightly worry about the commitment of Abbas and his Fatah Party to peace. They cite recent statements by Abbas in which he would not rule out a return to "armed resistance" against Israel. The support by the P.A. media for attacks against Israelis, such as the slaughter of eight students at a Jerusalem yeshiva this month, as well as the ongoing blitz of southern Israel by Hamas missiles, is also reason to doubt the P.A.'s sincerity.

The P.A. also continues to honor the memory of slain terrorists as "martyrs" and, as The Jerusalem Post reported this week, plans to celebrate Israel's 60th birthday by having Arab refugees to rush Israel's borders to promote a "right of return," which is synonymous with the destruction of the Jewish State.

Supporters of aid respond that these statements do not reflect Abbas' real goals. Yet, they ignore the fact that what the P.A. has done for the past 15 years is to legitimize a Palestinian culture in which political plaudits are won only by killing Jews. Indeed, via its control of broadcast outlets, newspapers and the schools, the P.A. has solidified a mindset of hate.

Just as bad is the history of attempts to create a P.A. security force. The Oslo agreements called for the creation of a Palestinian police force that would combat terrorists. But Arafat had other ideas.

While most of the billions that came his way via aid from the European Union and the United States went into the pockets or Swiss bank accounts of Fatah officials, some of it was used to create a byzantine web of Palestinian "security" agencies whose purposes were anything but peaceful. When push came to shove as Arafat blew up the peace after the Camp David summit in 2000, it was these P.A. forces (including some who'd been trained by the Philadelphia Police Department) who committed terrorist acts against Israelis.

Adding to that sorry tale was the fiasco in Gaza in 2006 when Fatah thugs, aided and equipped by foreign sources at the specific instigation of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, sought to maintain Abbas' control of the area, even after the Hamas election victory.

As detailed in an investigative report published in the April issue of Vanity Fair magazine, the concerns voiced by some Israelis and skeptical members of Congress over that particular venture in bolstering Abbas were prophetic.

While Fatah goons tortured and kidnapped some of their rivals, neither they nor their leader Abbas had the stomach to face down Hamas, despite promises to do so. In the end, Abbas' men wouldn't fight, and the more popular Hamas seized control of Gaza. As David Rose writes in Vanity Fair, "The exact thing both Israel and the U.S. Congress warned against came to pass when Hamas captured most of Fatah's arms and ammunition — including the Egyptian guns supplied under the covert U.S.-Arab aid program."

For 15 years, critics of such expenditures have been labeled as "anti-peace," but that tag just served as an excuse for whitewashes of misbehavior by first Arafat and now Abbas.

An anonymous U.S. official told JTA that the 1,100 P.A. gunmen currently in Jordan, at American expense and with Israeli permission, are being schooled in such things as "training in riot control, human rights, and effective arrests and defensive shooting." But so were their predecessors. Left unanswered in this account is why reasonable people should think this group will behave any differently.

Painted Into a Corner

The alternatives to Abbas are frightful. He is both weak and probably not much less ill-intentioned than Hamas, but he and his loyalists are seen as a counterforce to Iran's allies.

Should American supporters of Israel therefore feel obligated to support the continued flow of funds to P.A. sources?

Propping up Fatah has not undermined Hamas, nor promoted peace.

The problem is, the peace processors have painted themselves into a corner. Having coronated first Arafat and now Abbas, they are forced to ignore or suppress the truth about them in order to maintain American support for a two-state solution.

At the same time, Israel's government takes the position that it needs a Palestinian partner who at least pays lip service to peace, as Abbas does. And no one here wants to do anything that would help create a greater "Hamasistan."

Yet experience shows that the realpolitik strategy of propping up Fatah has not undermined Hamas, nor promoted peace. Perhaps the beginning of wisdom is the recognition that it's time to stop reinforcing failure.

America's attempts to create a Palestinian peace partner have failed. No amount of money will buy us a moderate state that will accept peace with Israel if the Palestinians don't want one. If the president and the secretary of state aren't honest enough to admit this, then perhaps it's appropriate to ask Congress to turn off the spigot that sends more of our tax dollars down a Palestinian drain.

March 21, 2008

Give Tzedakah! Help create inspiring
articles, videos and blogs featuring timeless Jewish wisdom.
The opinions expressed in the comment section are the personal views of the commenters. Comments are moderated, so please keep it civil.

Visitor Comments: 6

(6) Reg Saretsky, March 29, 2008 12:10 AM

Ben K, the Rally has been delayed...

The banners that cry 'Israel's actions are worse than the Holocaust "have to be changed over to
"Israel's actions are worse than the Holocaust that we deny has ever occurred...."
which requires extra material, silk screening,& stitching over both the physical & the logical gaps...

(5) Ben K, March 25, 2008 3:46 PM

SO When Is The Rally?

Perhaps especially during Presidential election season, it is best to have a RALLY demanding no more tax payer money to an utterly inept Palestinian Authority that refers to Israeli battles against Islamic terrorists as 'worse than the Holocaust' and that has its media call a terrorist that guns down religous school students in their religous seminary as 'heroic' and that never hints at ANY COMPROMISE on all Palestinian hard line positions!

(4) IludiumPhosdex, March 24, 2008 4:26 PM

What irony!

White supremacists and racists who would not want to be caught dead supporting Israel and Zionism have this rather illogical delusion that "the enemy of my enemy is a friend of mine" to excuse support for the Palestinian cause.

This in spite of their otherwise attacking Palestinian Arabs (Muslims, for the most part) as being "inferior peoples" (howbeit in crass and vulgar terms I would rather not repeat here), not to mention a general leeriness about being seen as supporting International Terrorism by support of the Palestinian cause.

Can you spot the doublethink?

(3) Hinda, March 24, 2008 8:44 AM

Impeach Everyone and Start Fresh

Since I can remember the US has played a "big brother" kind of role with Israel. Except for a few presidents who had a clear agenda that unfortunately was hinted at when they were serving the country but clearly came in full view after they left office the leaders of the US always was pro-Israel (up to a point).

But now we have a leader as well as members of Congress who would rather give in to the terrorists then to support a true ally, perhaps in reality the only true ally ever.

This is not only a sign of being a traitor to an ally but also appeasing the well known terrorists who have been proven to be linked to major terrorist agencies around the world is a true sign of weakness.

Abu Mamzen is not in reality a man of peace he's still like his best friend Arafat in a suit. He speaks one thing in English and clearly something else in Arabic. The Oslo Accords, the many failed agreements always had proven that Israel does want to coexist but the other-side is still doing the dance of Arafat - that if one speaks of a lie long enough it too will become believable.

Why do we, American Jews stand silent and allow this to happen? What are we afraid of? Even our children's history books are using the propaganda that Arafat use to state. That Israel IS an Apartheid state -- that's from a 7th grade history book that our children are learning from.

We need to stand up and say no more. Because the true "Palestinians" do not exist - the people in these regions are Hamassvillians/Arafaters because that is clearly what they follow. And they would rather kill their own children (which they have done so already since birth - mentally) to make them shaheeds (matyrs) then even consider any alternative. Mein Kampf is taught in their schools, Mickey Mouse, Elmo (sesame street) and other children entities are teaching their young to kill a Jew first is what Allah commands, then you can go after a Christian. Reminds me of the Hitler Youth and if one does enough research - the link between Arafat's time in Nazi Europe and the modern PLO/PA/Hamass is very clear.

(2) Liora, March 24, 2008 7:42 AM

Not all Americans agree

Agree that land for peace will never work nor will appeasement and we should not be funding the PA in any way. But if we went into Iraq for the oil, why isn't the oil paying for the war? It's costing a lot of money to be in Iraq not to mention lives of the people trying to help the country get strong enough to withstand the onslaught of terrorists that would see it sink back into the mire of domination. The same domination that supports Hamas, Hezbollah, and teaches generation after generation that same dogma.

My husband served 12 years for Israel in the Gaza strip and there will never be peace there, ever. The US should not be sending money there as an ally of Israel.

The people of Gaza elected Hamas, that said volumes. They don't want freedom and a state to live in peace with Israel, they want to push the Jews into the Dead Sea and those that fund Hamas are helping them do it.

See All Comments

Submit Your Comment:

  • Display my name?

  • Your email address is kept private. Our editor needs it in case we have a question about your comment.

  • * required field 2000
Submit Comment