by Hugh Fitzgerald
I confess I have never understood why the American government feels it has some kind of duty to support the Palestinian Arabs. They are not our friends. They do not wish us well. They are not democrats. They are not part of the West. They believe that Muslims are the “best of peoples” and non-Muslims “the most vile of created beings.” They support terrorism and honor terrorists. They are antisemites. Yet decade after decade, with both our direct aid, and our generous contributions — we are the largest donor — to UNRWA, we remain the biggest financial supporters of the Palestinians. Why is it our duty, and not, say, that of the rich Sunni Arab states of the Gulf, whose people share a language, a faith, a culture, with the Palestinian Arabs?
The previous administration ended American contributions to UNRWA. It decided to stop funding the farce of ever-longer lists of “Palestinian refugees,” the result of treating the Palestinian Arabs – as distinct from all other refugee groups – as being able to pass down through the generations that refugee status, to their children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and so on, world without end. UNRWA claims there are “five million Palestinian refugees.” But if we apply the normal definition of a refugee, as someone who “is forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster” there are fewer than 30,000 refugees still alive who left Mandatory Palestine and Israel just before, during, and after the 1948-49 Arab-Israeli war.
A second reason for the previous administration ending contributions to UNRWA was the continued appearance of antisemitic passages in the schoolbooks UNRWA uses in its classrooms, despite its repeated promises to revise those texts. The Americans simply got tired of hearing the same false assurances from the practiced liars at UNRWA. They didn’t want to continue to fund antisemitism. Does the Biden Administration think they were wrong?
The Trump administration also decided to end its aid to the PA. The Palestinians continue to support the “Pay-For-Slay” program that provides generous subsidies to the families of dead and imprisoned terrorists. In fact, Washington was legally required to end such aid, as mandated by the Taylor Force Act of 2018, an Act of the U.S. Congress to stop American economic aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) until the PA ceases paying stipends through the Palestinian Authority Martyr’s Fund to individuals who commit acts of terrorism and to the families of deceased terrorists.
The Biden Administration wants to restart aid to the Palestinians as “quickly” as it can. A report on that misplaced eagerness is here: “Biden Administration Confirms Will Look to Resume Aid to Palestinians ‘Very Quickly,’” i24 News, February 3, 2021:
US State Department spokesman Ned Price on Tuesday evening confirmed Washington’s intent to restore humanitarian aid “very quickly” to the Palestinians.
“The suspension of humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people has not led to political progress,” Price said in a statement, referring to the previous administration, “nor has it made it possible to obtain concessions from the Palestinian leadership.”
“It only harmed innocent Palestinians,” the official added.
Since money is fungible, what the State Department spokesman described as “humanitarian aid” will only free up other moneys the PA and Hamas have, to spend on terror tunnels, weaponry, and the Pay-For-Slay program. And some of that aid will also go to fill the coffers of a handful of grasping rulers. There is a long history of mismanagement and colossal corruption by both Hamas in Gaza and the PA in the West Bank. Two leaders of Hamas, Khaled Meshaal and Mousa Abu Marzouk, have each amassed fortunes of at least $2.5 billion. The PA’s President-For-Life Mahmoud Abbas has accumulated a nest egg of $400 million. Why does the State Department now think it will be abe to prevent such massive diversion of its aid in the future, since it was unable to do so in the past? Has it put in place some new safeguards, given that the Palestinian leaders are world champions at such grand theft?
The cuts in aid, we are assured, “only harmed innocent Palestinians”? Nonsense. That previous cutoff in aid has especially harmed, or harmed to a greater degree, the rapacious leaders who now have less aid money from which to steal.
“The United States will resume its leadership in the humanitarian field and call on the international community to fulfill its humanitarian obligations, including towards the Palestinian people,” Price stressed.
Would it not be better for the United States, given the hundreds of billions of dollars in aid money that around the world is stolen by assorted despots and oligarchs, not to “resume its leadership in the humanitarian field” – which only means we give away the most money, to the deserving and undeserving alike – but to assume a different kind of leadership, in making sure that aid money goes only to those states and groups whose leaders are not thieves, and whose regimes do not provide lifetime stipends to terrorists and their families? If the Biden Administration is eager to “quickly” give out money, why not start with the truly needy, who do not support terrorist murderers, and do not have leaders who grab much of the aid money for themselves? Why not give more to the people of Nepal, or to Bolivia, or to Ethiopia, or Laos, or South Sudan, instead of to the Palestinian Arabs who, for 72 years, have been the spoiled children and past masters of what, in their case, is less about “humanitarian aid” and more about a long-running refugee-aid racket?
How does the Biden Administration plan to deal with scandal-ridden UNRWA? Will it contribute to that agency even though its schoolbooks remain full of antisemitic passages? Isn’t withholding funds the best way – the only way – to eventually bring about the removal of texts which would not be out of place in the Third Reich? And does the Administration intend to resume aid to UNRWA without discussing the preposterous definition of a “Palestinian refugee” that has been foisted on the world? How will there ever be an end to the “Palestinian refugee” bloat if their numbers are uniquely allowed to keep growing, for reasons no one can either articulate or understand?
And how does the Biden Administration intend to get around the Taylor Force Act, which forbids the American government from aiding the Palestinians as long as they continue giving subsidies to terrorists and their families through their “Pay-For-Slay” program? Does President Biden think he has found a way to ignore that law? Or is Mahmoud Abbas, who knows full well that, as Muhammad said in a famous hadith, “war is deceit,” planning to disguise those subsidies as something else – say, simply “aid to poor families,” their poverty a result of their major breadwinner being either dead or imprisoned for life? That might get by with some, but it won’t pass muster in Congress. The Taylor Force Act is not an executive order that Biden can easily undo. It’s a law.
Haste, unseemly haste. Makes all kinds of waste. Don’t rush to offer financial solace — sorry, “humanitarian aid” — to Mahmoud Abbas. But do ask him how he’s enjoying his $13 million palace in Ramallah, and his $50 million jet parked nearby, and the $400 million fortune — some say he now has more than $500 million, but who’s counting? — he’s acquired, and the money he continues to receive from foreign donors that is sent directly to his office, and from there is transferred into foreign bank accounts that have been opened in the names of his grandchildren. He’s a doting grandfather. I’m sure he’d love to talk about them.
First published in Jihad Watch.