Articles, Opinions & Views: Palestinians Find the Aid Cupboard is Bare By Hugh Fitzgerald

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In A Foxhole
“When you're left wounded on

Afganistan's plains and

the women come out to cut up what remains,

Just roll to your rifle

and blow out your brains,

And go to your God like a soldier”

“We are not retreating. We are advancing in another direction.”

“It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it.”

“Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.

“The soldier, above all other people, prays for peace,

for he must suffer and be the deepest wounds and scars of war.”

“May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won't .”
“The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.

“Nobody ever defended anything successfully, there is only attack and attack and attack some more.

“Fixed fortifications are a monument to the stupidity of man."
“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died.
Rather we should thank God that such men lived.

The Soldier stood and faced God

Which must always come to pass

He hoped his shoes were shining

Just as bright as his brass

"Step forward you Soldier,

How shall I deal with you?

Have you always turned the other cheek?

To My Church have you been true?"

"No, Lord, I guess I ain't

Because those of us who carry guns

Can't always be a saint."

I've had to work on Sundays

And at times my talk was tough,

And sometimes I've been violent,

Because the world is awfully rough.

But, I never took a penny

That wasn't mine to keep.

Though I worked a lot of overtime

When the bills got just too steep,

The Soldier squared his shoulders and said

And I never passed a cry for help

Though at times I shook with fear,

And sometimes, God forgive me,

I've wept unmanly tears.

I know I don't deserve a place

Among the people here.

They never wanted me around

Except to calm their fears.

If you've a place for me here,

Lord, It needn't be so grand,

I never expected or had too much,

But if you don't, I'll understand."

There was silence all around the throne

Where the saints had often trod

As the Soldier waited quietly,

For the judgment of his God.

"Step forward now, you Soldier,

You've borne your burden well.

Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,

You've done your time in Hell."

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Palestinians Find the Aid Cupboard is Bare By Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, April 24, 2022

Cash is King

Robert Spencer : In 2015, as the donor nations began to insist on an end to the colossal corruption in the PA, and made the momentous decision to cut their aid until “accountability and transparency” were instituted, they steadily turned down the spigot of aid until, with the PA still unable or unwilling to come clean about its finances, by 2021 the PA was receiving only 10% of what it had been getting just seven years before. And now, one-third of the way through 2021, the PA has received no aid from foreign donors.

A donors’ conference, scheduled to be held on May 5 in Brussels, will attempt to garner international support for the Palestinian treasury, and the Palestinians hope to convince attendees to pressure Israel to stop reducing tax revenues in the amount that the Abbas regime uses to pay terrorists and their families, which is a significant portion of the PA budget. In 2021, the PA paid some $270 million as rewards to terrorists.

“Obliquely alluding to the well known corruption in the PA that has prompted the huge drop in aid, Salameh added, “”We are implementing a comprehensive reform plan, especially in the financial and economic sectors.”

Which they have said for many years.

First, the conference in Brussels on May 5 will be taking place when all eyes will be on Ukraine, and the tens of billions of dollars it needs to continue to fight its war, which may go on for months, and for humanitarian aid — housing, medicine, food — needed to support the five million Ukrainian refugees who have already fled the country at this point, with millions more expected in the coming months. Donor countries will be thinking about the Ukrainians, who are genuine refugees, and comparing them to the Palestinians in both Hamas-run Gaza and in the PA-run parts of Judea and Samaria, who have been living off the international dole for decades, and clearly believe it is their due to be supported indefinitely — an assumption that now infuriates donors. 

The drop in aid began in 2014 when the tales of massive corruption in the PA began to spread. By now everyone knows that Mahmoud Abbas, with his two sons Tareq and Yasser, has amassed a $400 million fortune, but it took quite a while for that information to leak out to the Western donors and be confirmed by them. Then there are the lesser sums, measured in the millions of dollars, of aid money to which Abbas loyalists have been allowed to help themselves. There is also rampant nepotism, with extravagantly-paid sinecures provided to the relatives of those loyalists, and that too has become better known as complaints by ordinary Palestinians themselves reach the West. The same corruption, on an even grander scale, has taken place in Gaza, where two Hamas leaders, Khaled Meshaal and Mousa ibn Marzouk, have managed to acquire at least $2.5 billion apiece, while 600 “Hamas millionaires” live in grand style in Gaza, away from the prying eyes of the impoverished populace. No wonder there is no longer any enthusiasm for pouring money into the pockets of the Palestinian leaders, who take so much for themselves, or to support ordinary Palestinians, who have become the welfare queens of international aid.

Another reason for the drop in aid from the United States is the Taylor Force Act, passed by Congress in 2018, which prohibits aid being given to the P.A. as long as its “Pay-For-Slay” program remains in force. That program commits to the PA to giving large monthly stipends to imprisoned terrorists and to the families of terrorists who died while committing their attacks. The Bidenites in 2021 sent some money to the PA by describing it as “humanitarian aid” and therefore exempt from the Taylor Force Act, but has not done so in 2022, perhaps calculating that a Congressional challenge to its continuing to give aid to the Palestinians would be risky in an election year.

Then there is the EU, which for a long time has been a generous supporter of the PA, but no longer. For the last several years, the EU has demanded that the PA remove the antisemitic and violent content from its schoolbooks. The PA promises to do so, without fail, and then, year after year, does nothing. At some point the EU was bound to stop the farce, and in 2022, that is what has happened. No money has yet been sent this year by the EU to the PA, and the EU has vowed no money will be sent, until the revised or replaced textbooks have appeared in the schools. 

The Palestinian spokesman lamenting the lack of foreign aid doesn’t dare to mention that all the PA has to do to satisfy the EU, and have the tap of its aid turned on again, is to remove the antisemitic hate from those schoolbooks. So simple, and yet, so impossible a task for those raised up in such hate themselves, and whose raison d’ėtre is the destruction, by degrees, of the Jewish state. So far, the EU has given no signs of backing down on conditioning any more of its aid to the PA on the revision or replacement of those schoolbooks. After so many years of massive corruption within the PA, and of its failing to deliver on its solemn promises to clean up its textbooks, the EU no longer sees the PA as a worthy recipient of its aid. Besides, the EU is now overwhelmed by the immediate and enormous need to help Ukrainians, both those who have lost their homes but remain, displaced, inside the country, and those who have fled Ukraine altogether.

The Gulf Arabs have also slashed their aid to the PA – down to nothing – for other reasons. They have grown sick of the constant whining by the PA for more aid. In 2018, when Mahmoud Abbas was het again complaining to the Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman (MbS) of the need for more aid being given to the PA, an exasperated MbS told Abbas “just accept whatever deal the Americans offer you.” In other words, stop holding out for the impossible, and stop bothering me with your demands for more money. The Saudis feel they have done enough.

The other Gulf state that has been a major donor to the Palestinians, the UAE, has been similarly disenchanted with the PA. The Emiratis were furious when the PA bitterly criticized them for joining the Abraham Accords in 2020, and since then has withheld its formerly generous contributions. Bahrain another donor to the PA, has also cut off its aid for the same reason – the criticism directed at it by the PA for joining the Abraham Accords.

These are the varied reasons why the Americans, the Europeans, and the Gulf Arabs have chosen to cut their aid to the PA down to zero in 2022. A donor’s conference on renewing aid to the PA is be held on May 5. I doubt if much will come of it. The PA is not going to end its corruption and nepotism; that’s the glue that keeps the PA together. It is not going to change its textbooks as it has promised the Europeans it would do so over many years. Where would the Palestinians be if they stopped inculcating antisemitic attitudes in their young? And the Palestinians will never reconcile themselves to the Abraham Accords and those who have joined it. Renewed aid from the Gulf Arabs is a Palestinian pipe dream.

Perhaps this is the year that Mahmoud Abbas will finally end the PA’s Pay-For-Slay program, in order to have Israel transfer to the PA the tax money it has been withholding in an amount equal to what the PA spends on its “Pay-For-Slay” program. That will bring in a few hundred million dollars. It’s a start. But the really good times for the PA, in the years leading up to 2014, when billions of dollars in aid were flowing in, from America, from Europe, from the Gulf Arabs, will not come again. And the Palestinians must know it.

posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 12:05 PM  
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