Posted tagged ‘Palestinian economy’

The end of an era

January 4, 2018

The end of an era, Israel Hayom, Dr. Reuven Berko, January 3, 2018

Most of the Palestinians in Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip are waking up. The sparsely attended “days of rage” Hamas and the PA initiated over the issue of Jerusalem signal a disappointing finale because the city used to be an issue that would light up both the Palestinians and Arab nations.

The Gazans are sick of Hamas, and in Judea and Samaria they are tired of the corruption in the PA, and once again an interim government devoted to economic issues that would have Israel’s blessing is being discussed. Some reject the militant candidates for Abbas’ position (Majid Faraj and Mohammed Dahlan) as representatives of the same old organizational approach and would prefer Salam Fayyad, who has already proven his ability to make the vision of a flourishing Palestinian society a reality. That might work well for us.


In the late 1990s, author and political commentator Fouad Ajami published his book “The Dream Palace of the Arabs: A Generation’s Odyssey,” in which he laid out the failures in the worldviews of Arab leaders and their self-criticism as the reason for their lack of achievement.

Two decades later, as 2017 was drawing to a close, the Palestinians’ dream palace sustained three serious blows in quick succession. First, U.S. President Donald Trump declared that the U.S. recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. This was followed by the Likud Central Committee’s decision to annex the settlements and the Jordan Valley. Finally, the Knesset passed a law that removes the teeth from any future peace deal involving Jerusalem (by requiring a special majority of 80 MKs to vote in favor of handing any part of the city over to any foreign government).

If the Palestinians were to look at them in a sober light, they would see that the U.N. resolutions that followed Trump’s announcement were meaningless. In light of the continuing historic drama that began with the landmark Balfour Declaration, the U.N. resolutions condemning Trump’s announcement carried no operative significance and merely served as a faint echo of the detached institution’s fading anti-Israelism.

The latest provocations from Hamas are not a lust for battle, but an expression of how desperate and lost – operatively, politically, and ideologically – the organization is. This beaten and battered group made an immense investment in missiles and attack tunnels, at a heavy cost to its people. These have become a pointless burden. Hamas is currently in a political situation in which the world is sick of Islamism, and the entities that aid and abet it (Qatar, Iran, and Turkey) are bogged down in their own domestic troubles.

The Palestinian Authority is at the end of an era. PA President Mahmoud Abbas is trying fruitlessly to use a diplomatic atmosphere that is hostile to Israel to wring concessions out of it, while simultaneously avoiding direct negotiations with Israel or recognizing it as a Jewish state. The PA is wasting time trying to paint Israel as an apartheid state through a South Africa-style boycott movement, while continuing to coordinate on security because it is afraid of Hamas.

The Israeli convoy is moving on while the PA is gritting its teeth over absurd demands (Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital and a “right of return” for Palestinian refugees), not realizing the effect the processes at work in the world are having on their delusional dreams. Indeed, Islamist terrorism, the Iranian threat, the breakdown of many countries in the region, the masses of Muslim refugees into sinking Europe, the persecution of Christians in the Middle East – these are the factors that have sidelined the Palestinian problem, which was never the cause of the regional unrest.

As these developments take place, Abbas is claiming that the U.S. is sponsoring an Israeli strategy to eradicate the Palestinians and their irrefutable right to kill off the peace process. A range of voices in Fatah and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Hamas – responded to Trump’s declaration and Israel’s decision about Jerusalem and the settlements with the language of a declaration of war that demands that they revoke any recognition of Israel and the peace process and resume resistance (the armed struggle).

Most of the Palestinians in Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip are waking up. The sparsely attended “days of rage” Hamas and the PA initiated over the issue of Jerusalem signal a disappointing finale because the city used to be an issue that would light up both the Palestinians and Arab nations.

The Gazans are sick of Hamas, and in Judea and Samaria they are tired of the corruption in the PA, and once again an interim government devoted to economic issues that would have Israel’s blessing is being discussed. Some reject the militant candidates for Abbas’ position (Majid Faraj and Mohammed Dahlan) as representatives of the same old organizational approach and would prefer Salam Fayyad, who has already proven his ability to make the vision of a flourishing Palestinian society a reality. That might work well for us.

Palestinian journalists frustrated with inability to cover PA corruption

January 13, 2017

Palestinian journalists frustrated with inability to cover PA corruption, al-Monitor

"PalestinianPalestinian journalists take part in a protest in front of the Reuters office, Gaza City, Gaza, Apr. 22, 2008. (photo by REUTERS/Ismail Zaydah)

Palestinian journalists in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are closely following the unfolding case of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu allegedly receiving favors or gifts. Their interest is not prompted only by glee at the possible downfall of the Israeli leader they despise, but also by appreciation and envy of Israeli democracy and press freedom that enable the questioning of the prime minister under caution and the investigative reporting against him by the media.

No journalists in Gaza — no matter how senior — would even think of criticizing the leaders of Hamas, and in the Palestinian Authority (PA), criticism of any kind against President Mahmoud Abbas, or exposure of corruption in the PA, could result in the journalist’s arrest.

“We all known there’s terrible corruption in the PA,” a senior veteran journalist from Ramallah, the seat of the PA in the West Bank, told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity. “We know hundreds of stories about senior PA officials and about Abbas’ sons, but we can’t publish them or even talk openly about them.”

According to various reports, the PA has for years been plagued by corruption. The governmental structure put in place by the late Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) leader Yasser Arafat did not include control and supervision mechanisms. Every Palestinian in the West Bank and Gaza knows full well that those closest to the seat of power often enjoy a lifestyle incompatible with the salary of a PA official.

“We saw PLO activists who arrived [in the West Bank and Gaza] from Libya and Tunisia [in the 1990s] with only the clothes on their backs, and a few months after the PA was established they were already driving around in Mercedes cars, wearing Italian suits and building ostentatious villas,” the journalist claimed. “To this day they are all rich, taken care of and no one can say a word or even ask where such wealth came from.”

European Union states that donate hundreds of millions of dollars in humanitarian aid to the PA have tried to establish supervisory mechanisms over the funds they provide, but according to Palestinian journalists who spoke with Al-Monitor, the top PA levels were more devious than all the oversight mechanisms, and they found loopholes through which to funnel some of the money into their own pockets.

The criticism discussed behind closed doors does not relate only to past malfeasance. A senior journalist who works for an Arabic language media outlet notes in a conversation with Al-Monitor that the sons of the Palestinian president are also mentioned among those making a fortune out of their family connection to Abbas.

Tareq Abbas, for example, is the director of a company that in the past employed Mohammed Rashid, a close confidant of Arafat and his moneyman, who was subsequently convicted by a Ramallah court of stealing millions of dollars from a Palestinian investment fund and from the PLO coffers, and transferring the money to bank accounts in various places around the world. Since the “cleaning of the stables” after Arafat’s death in 2004, Abbas’s son Tareq has been serving as a director in the Palestinian investment fund that manages hundreds of millions of dollars, so that his father has almost complete control over the fund without anyone in the PA being allowed to express opposition or question its management. In 2012, Foreign Policy ran a story about the fortunes of Abbas’ sons in which the investigative reporters wondered whether there was any connection between the wealth they were accumulating and their family connection.

“We know the answer,” a Palestinian journalist told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity. “Everyone knows that Tareq and Yasser Abbas immediately win every bid they put in, whether directly or through straw men.”

The journalist said that reporters have learned not to ask “unnecessary” questions, lest they lose their jobs, at best, or are sent to jail in a worst-case scenario. The media learned the limits of what was permissible and what was not in the affair of Mahmad Hadifa, an independent journalist who published a series of investigative reports about the goings on in the Palestinian Ministry of Economy in Ramallah. Hadifa was arrested by Palestinian security forces after the stories ran and was threatened, even though no one claimed his reports were false. On the contrary, he touched on issues troubling Palestinians in the West Bank and exposed irregularities in the most important economic office in the PA.

“Sometimes you can see criticism against Abbas’ sons or senior PA officials on social media,” another journalist told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity. “But never in a way that might disclose the identity of the writer. Usually the critics are cautious and they ask rhetorical questions, but everyone knows what they mean.”

Only few such investigative reports were published — for instance investigative stories about corruption in the PA were published by Reuters and The Associated Press. The Palestinian researchers and reporters who helped to compile these stories were not named. In 2009, Reuters reported that firms run by Abbas’ sons won US government aid contracts to repair roads in the Palestinian territories, and AP published leaked documents in 2015 allegedly exposing corruption by senior PA officials.

None of the people mentioned in the reporting were questioned or lost their jobs; coverage of the reported affairs in the Palestinian media was limited on orders from high up.

Many Palestinians who have been exposed to Israeli reporting about the investigations into Netanyahu’s alleged wrongdoing — which play prominently in the Palestinian media — are asking whether receiving gifts such as cigars and champagne constitute sufficient cause for his indictment, conviction and resignation. Some of the journalists with whom I spoke claim that receiving gifts is standard practice in the PA and is not considered a criminal offense.

“If we were able to talk about each and every present, and this were to result in an investigation and conviction,” said a senior journalist in the PA on condition of anonymity, “we wouldn’t have a functioning Palestinian Authority because everyone would already be in jail.”


Israel in Wonderland

October 7, 2016

Israel in Wonderland, Algemeiner, Martin Sherman, October 7, 2016

obamaatfunderalUS President Barack Obama speaking at the funeral of former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres on September 30. Photo: YouTube screenshot.

The demise of Shimon Peres unleashed a tidal wave of mendacity and hypocrisy that underscores the dominance the delusional dictates of political correctness have over political discourse in (and on) Israel…On Friday, the world proved that what it really wants is to embrace Israel. Oslo, the disengagement and Peres were enough for the world to carry Israel aloft…But Israel repeatedly bites the outstretched hand, pushes the world to detest it… — Gideon Levy, “Shimon Peres’ funeral proved that anti-Semitism is dead,” Haaretz, October 2, 2016.

…No Israeli government has made any efforts in the past decade to move the peace process forward… — Lior Ackerman, former division head of the Shin Bet, “Wanted: Two courageous leaders,” Jerusalem Post, October 3, 2016.

Alice in “Alice in Wonderland”


It would be so nice if something would make sense for a change.

In the past two and half decades — almost a quarter-century — truth has always been, at best, incidental to much of the manner in which the political discourse in, and on, Israel has been conducted. More often than not, political truth was surrendered as sacrificial offerings on the altar of the omnipotent deity of political correctness — regardless of how far the precepts of the latter diverged from those of factual correctness.

Appeasement as a yardstick for statesmanship

However, in the past 10 days, since the sad demise of former Israeli President Shimon Peres, it seems the floodgates of falsehood and fabrication have been opened even wider than usual, resulting in a veritable deluge of drivel that distorts the nation’s past, disregards present perils it faces and dismisses its future prospects with prophesies of impending doom.

Every endeavor at appeasing Palestinian-Arab demands, no matter how gruesome the results it precipitated, was applauded as far-sighted statesmanship. Any show of resistance to such demands was disparaged as short-sighted political partisanship; any skepticism as to the consequences of complying with them was denigrated as narrow-minded nationalism; any warning that caution should be exercised before accepting them was disparaged as radical right-wing rejectionism; any suggestion that the risks entailed in acceding to them should be thoroughly assessed was dismissed as extremist scare-mongering.

On the one hand, the discourse has been dominated by an approach that insists on making future Israeli concessions — no matter how fruitless (indeed, counter-productive) past concessions have proven. Moreover, it persists in trivializing all past concessions — no matter how far-reaching these have been, and no matter how calamitous the consequences in which they have culminated. On the other hand, the intransigence of the Palestinian Arabs, and their naked Judeocidal bloodlust, whose lethal consequences have hitherto been constrained only by the physical limitation on their practical capacity to murder and maim Jews, have been met with expansive understanding — even empathy — and are seldom, if ever, mentioned as the cause of conflict.

Indeed, in the dominant political discourse in/on Israel, it would appear that abject appeasement has become the sole yardstick for statesmanship — at least, where Israel is concerned.

Eulogizing the imaginary

Much of this mindset — the need for Israeli consideration for its enemies’ positions, coupled with total disregard for their incandescent anti-Israel hated — was reflected in the eulogies at Peres’ funeral last Friday.

Thus, Barack Obama claimed, “I don’t believe he [Peres] was naïve,” when it is clear that “naïve” is the most charitable characterization of the policies Peres forged in the last quarter-century of his life that proved so disastrously detached from reality.

Obama continued to say that Peres “understood from hard-earned experience that true security comes through making peace with your neighbors” — seemingly oblivious to the reality that nearly all previous land-for-peace endeavors have left Israel in a more precarious position than before, and its civilian population commensurately more exposed to attack, despite the fact that the prospect of a conventional military threat has receded significantly.

The president went on to cite a prime example of latter-day “Peresian” pathos, recalling Peres’ remark regarding Israel’s wars: “We won them all…But we did not win the greatest victory that we aspired to: release from the need to win victories.”

Indeed, this is such an illusionary, rather than visionary, pipe dream that even Peres’ protégé and devoted acolyte, former MK Einat Wilf (a dedicated two-state adherent herself) recognized that Israeli victory, or at least Palestinian defeat, is a precondition for peace.

Illusion not vision

In a recent Haaretz op-ed, “When Palestinians acknowledge defeat to Zionism, peace will follow,” published just days prior to Peres’ passing, Wilf wrote, somewhat remarkably:

The Zionist left wants to see the defeat of the Palestinian national movement just as badly as the right wing does. Only when it admits that, will the Left be able to lead the state of Israel to a peace deal, if and when that becomes feasable. That is because a peace agreement based on dividing the land will be possible only when the Palestinian nationalist movement acknowledges its defeat to the Jewish nationalist movement – Zionism.

Sadly, however, it seems the iron grip of political correctness can obfuscate the perspective even of the most sober pundits. Thus, in a piece written on the day of Peres’ demise, Wilf, after crediting Peres for helping ensure “that the Jews fighting a war of annihilation…had the weapons they needed to ultimately prevail,” went on to claim, “When decades later he recognized that the region might be turning somewhat less hostile, he grabbed the opportunity and brokered careful understandings between former sworn enemies.”


The region was “turning somewhat less hostile”?  With the Sunni Islamic State, on the one hand, and the Shia Islamic Republic, on the other? True, the conventional threat from several Sunni state actors had diminished, for the time being, only to be replaced by the arguably even more menacing specter of fanatical non-state actors, with quasi-state capabilities and global reach, as well as the Obama-facilitated threat of a nuclear Iran.

Peres “brokered careful understandings between former sworn enemies”? Hmm, one wonders what “careful understandings” those would be. The Oslo Accords? And which “former sworn enemies”? Hamas? Hezbollah? Arafat?

Eulogies (cont.): prattle on peace

Of course, in the labyrinth of contorted rhetoric and distorted polemics that comprise the political discourse in/on Israel, “peace” is no more than a code-word for Israeli capitulation to Arab demands, and the “peace process” an encrypted synonym for “Israeli withdrawal.”

Accordingly, when Obama lauded Peres in his eulogy, declaring, “He understood the practical necessity of peace. Shimon believed that Israel’s exceptionalism was rooted not only in fidelity to the Jewish people, but to…the precepts of his Jewish faith: ‘The Jewish people weren’t born to rule another people,’” the allusion is clear — to achieve peace, Israel must withdraw from the ancient homeland of the Jewish people. As if Arab or Muslim enmity began only in 1967, and the desire to annihilate the Jewish state was fueled only by the “occupation” of Judea-Samaria and not by an implacable Arab refusal to countenance any expression of Jewish sovereignty in any territorial configuration whatsoever.

Then, of course, there was famed author Amos Oz, the ever-eloquent “oracle” of the obsessive dovish Left, who in a 2000 Haaretz interview promised: “The minute we leave south Lebanon we will have to erase the word Hezbollah from our vocabulary, because the whole idea of the state of Israel versus Hezbollah was sheer folly from the outset. It most certainly will no longer be relevant when Israel returns to her internationally recognized northern border.”

Of course, the realities today, long after “Israel return[ed] to her internationally recognized northern border” and the bloody 2006 Second Lebanon War, demonstrate just how wildly inaccurate Oz’s prognosis was, proving he is far more adept in the world of fanciful fiction than that of cold political realities.

Amos Oz: “Peres, a banal hawk”

Past errors, of course, have never swayed Oz’s absolute belief in the infallibility of his political credo, no matter how often and how incontrovertibly it has been disproven in the past. This should be kept in mind when assessing Oz’s remembrance of Peres. Just prior to the funeral, Oz disparagingly dismissed earlier periods of Peres’ political life, saying, “In the early ’70s, he was, in my eyes, a banal hawk. Supporting settlers, a settler lover, a security man, the more land the better, the more power the better.” Having reduced Peres’ more impressive security successes as a hawk to the “banal,” Oz then enthusiastically gushed over Peres’ later failed fiascoes as a dove, saying, “He changed before my eyes…into an enthusiastic and stubborn believer in Israeli-Palestinian peace.”

In Oz’s graveside eulogy, he proclaimed that, despite naysayers who believe peace is impossible, “Peace is not only possible, it is imperative and inevitable.” But then he elaborated with a simplistic — the less charitable might say puerile — analogy, which revealed that what Oz envisaged was not really a harmonious peace, but (unsurprisingly) Israeli withdrawal and separation from the Palestinian Arabs. Relating to the Jewish homeland as innate real estate, he declared: “Since Israelis and Palestinians cannot suddenly become one happy family, there is no alternative to dividing this house [Israel] into two, and converting it into a duplex building.”

Of course, nowhere in this silly, shallow analogy is there any reference to the fact that the “their” apartment will abut a hostile Islamist neighborhood, whose belligerent inhabitants are very likely to turn it into a base from which to launch deadly attacks against “our” apartment and its vulnerable tenants.

But hey, why let pesky details impede a noble vision?

Where are Peres’ successors?

Convinced with cult-like conviction, despite all the evidence to the contrary, of the absolute truth of his ideological creed, Oz pontificated dogmatically: “In their heart of hearts, all sides know this simple truth. Where are the brave leaders who will stand up and make these things a reality? Where are Shimon Peres’ successors?” Indeed, one can only marvel with stunned amazement at this callous (or is that masochistic?) nostalgia for “successors,” who will lead us back into the horrors of charred buses, mutilated bodies and bombed cafes that were the hallmark of the Oslo-ian “peace process” that Oz perversely yearns for.

This call for “brave leaders” was echoed in a particularly inane and incoherent article by Lior Ackermam, titled “Wanted: Two courageous leaders” in the Jerusalem Post(see introductory excerpt), a publication that, since the departure of editor-in-chief Steve Linde, seems to have adopted a dramatically more leftist (and anti-Netanyahu) line.

In it, Ackerman bewails the continued dire conditions under which the Palestinian Arabs live under the regime of the Abbas-headed Palestinian Authority, suggesting that this has understandably precipitated the latest wave of so-called “lone-wolf” terror. He warns that the only thing preventing “total anarchy or a Hamas takeover” is the hard work of the Israeli security forces. But he raises the outrageous claim that “no Israeli government has made any efforts in the past decade to move the peace process forward.”

From the inane to the insane

I guess he must be unaware of Ehud Olmert’s wildly concessionary offer to Abbas in 2008, which the latter flatly rejected. Or the unreciprocated steps Netanyahu took, cutting sharply across the grain of his political base, to coax the Palestinians back to negotiations: the building freeze in Judea-Samaria; the implicit agreement to have the pre-1967 borders serve as a point of departure for negotiations; the release of convicted terrorists with “blood on their hands.”

I could go on and elaborate on the array of patently useless, self-contradictory, already-tried-and-failed “remedies’” that Ackerman proposes to ameliorate the situation until such adequately “courageous leaders” emerge, but that would take more than the remaining space in this essay…

Instead, allow me to conclude with the buffoonish comments of Haaretz’s Gideon Levy. In a delusional piece entitled “Shimon Peres’ funeral proved that anti-Semitism is dead” (see introductory excerpts), he wrote, “On Friday, the world proved that what it really wants is to embrace Israel. Oslo, the disengagement and Peres were enough for the world to carry Israel aloft…But Israel repeatedly bites the outstretched hand, pushes the world to detest it…” He added, “Every Israeli could be proud of being Israeli and not have to hide it out of fear and shame. How much Israel’s fate is in its own hands depends on its behavior. If it wants, it can be admired.”

The world according to Gideon Levy

So, dear Israelis, there you have it — the world according to Gideon Levy. All you have to do to be admired is to endorse fatally flawed and failed formulae that leave your streets strewn with dead bodies and the world will love you.

Simple, isn’t it?

As Alice in Wonderland sighed: “It would be so nice if something would make sense for a change.”

Ending the Palestinian Exception

September 27, 2016

Ending the Palestinian Exception, Front Page MagazineCaroline Glick, September 27, 2016


Originally published by the Jerusalem Post

Ahead of Monday night’s first presidential debate, Rudolph Giuliani – former New York mayor and Republican nominee Donald Trump’s current adviser – spoke at the Israeli American Council’s annual conference. Four days of intense debate preparation with Trump preceded the talk. Giuliani insisted the time has come for the US to “reject the whole notion of a two-state solution in Israel.”

It can only be hoped that regardless of who prevails in November, Giuliani’s statement will become the official position of the next US administration.

In his speech before the UN General Assembly last week PLO and Fatah chief and unelected Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said many things to drive home the basic point that he is not interested in peace with Israel. He is interested in destroying Israel. But one particular demand stands out.

It stands out not because it is new. It isn’t new.

Abbas says it all the time and his advisers say it all the time. They say it to Palestinian and international audiences alike, and it always is met with support or at least sympathy.

Abbas demanded that Israel stop arresting Palestinian terrorists and release all Palestinian terrorists from its prisons. That is, he demanded that Israel allow thousands of convicted terrorists to walk free and refrain from doing anything to interfere with terrorists engaged planning and carrying out the murder of its citizens.

The overwhelming majority of Palestinians support this demand. And so does the US government.

During US Secretary of State John Kerry’s failed peace process in 2013-14, President Barack Obama and Kerry embraced Abbas’s demand that Israel release 104 terrorist murderers from its prisons as a precondition for agreeing to negotiate with the Jewish state.

Bowing to US pressure, Israel released 78 terrorists from its jails in three tranches. Ahead of the fourth scheduled release, Abbas and his advisers bragged that they would cut off talks with Israel as soon as the last group of terrorist murderers were released.

That is, they admitted that the negotiations, such as they were, were nothing more than a means to achieve the goal of freeing murderers.

Rather than condemn Abbas and his colleagues for their cynical bad faith and repulsive immorality, the Obama administration chastised Israel for refusing to play along. When Israel responded to their statements by refusing to release the last group of 26 convicted terrorists, the administration accused Israel of breaching the terms of the negotiations.

Obama, Kerry and their advisers held Israel responsible for the talks’ failure.

It’s important to consider what Abbas’s demand for free-range terrorists says about him. It is important to ponder what the fact that the overwhelming majority of Palestinians are partners in this demand says about them as a society.

And it is worth pondering as well the strategic rationality and moral stature of a US government that supports this position.

As far as Abbas and the Palestinians are concerned, their refusal to view mass murderers as criminals tells us a great deal about who they are and what they want.

The Palestinian national movement they have come to embody was never about a deep-seated desire for national liberation. It was never about building “Palestine.”

From the time it was created by Amin el-Husseini in 1920, Palestinian identity has been about the negation of the Jewish national liberation movement – Zionism. And since Israel achieved independence in 1948, the Palestinians have defined themselves by their collective dedication to annihilating the Jewish state – hence their support for terrorists who kill Jews.

Husseini’s heir Yasser Arafat shared his view that terrorism was a both strategic goal in and of itself and a means to achieve the ultimate end of the Palestinian movement – that is, the violent eradication of Israel.

As the heir to both men, Abbas, like his sometimes partners and sometimes rivals in Hamas, has never been interested in building anything. And indeed, he hasn’t.

Consider what is loosely referred to as the “Palestinian economy.”

In an article published this week by the Hebrew-language online journal Mida, economist Uri Redler showed that the Palestinian economy isn’t actually an economy. It is an extortion racket.

Using World Bank data, Redler showed that the Palestinian economy is an optical illusion. In its 22 years of existence, the PA has almost entirely destroyed the private sector in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Seventy-five percent of its tax income comes from indirect taxes that Israel collects for it on imports. Forty percent of its budget comes from donors. Only 18% of it income comes from direct taxation. And most of that comes from deduction at source of PA employees.

Since Operation Protective Edge in 2014, only 15% of foreign aid toward the reconstruction of Gaza has been used for reconstruction projects. The rest of the money has been used as discretionary funds by Hamas. Seventy percent of the funds have come from American and EU taxpayers. This means that the US and the EU have been directly funding Hamas terrorists.

It is not surprising that the aid has been diverted.

And it is not surprising that the US and the EU have continued to provide money they know is being diverted by Hamas.

Hamas, like Fatah, has no interest in developing a Palestinian economy. Economic development doesn’t bring in the money. Terrorism does. Palestinians with economic freedom won’t be dependent on the likes of Abbas and his Hamas counterparts for their livelihoods. So they block all independent paths to prosperity.

Rather than build roads, the PA and Hamas pay people to kill Jews. The more Jews you kill, the more money you receive.

They can maintain this policy because the US and Europe pay them to do so. The more terrorism they commit, the more headlines the Palestinians receive. And the more headlines they receive, the more money they are paid by the UN and Western governments – to advance the cause of the “twostate solution.”

This then brings us to the US and Europe, and their unstinting support for Palestinian demands for the release of terrorists. What are they thinking? Earlier this month Prof. Eugene Kontorovich of Northwestern University Law School and the Kohelet Forum published a paper on the international community’s general interpretation of paragraph 49(6) of the Fourth Geneva Protocol from 1949. The relevant clause states that an “Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.”

As Kontorovich noted, this clause the forms the basis of the international community’s constant refrain that Israeli communities built beyond the 1949 armistice lines in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria are illegal.

In other words, it forms the basis of the West’s case against Israel and, by extraction, for the Palestinians’.

Just last week during his speech before the UN General Assembly, Obama attacked Israel for its continued settlement activity.

Kontorovich investigated the same international community’s view of communities built by citizens of a dozen other states in lands occupied by their governments in armed conflicts.

He noted that the activities of Moroccans in the Western Sahara, of Turks in Northern Cyprus, of Indonesians in East Timor and of other nationals in multiple other territories are legally indistinguishable from Israel’s activities in the areas it took control over from Jordan in the 1967 Arab-Israel war.

In none of these other cases, however, has the US, EU, UN or any other international or national authority ever invoked the Fourth Geneva Convention or otherwise claimed that those activities are a breach of international law. In other words, the legal basis for the criminalization and political condemnation of Israel in relation to the Palestinians is entirely specious and discriminatory.

In other words, US support for the so-called two state solution, like the international community’s support for it, is really just a means of discriminating against Israel. It does not advance the cause of peace or justice, for Israelis or for Palestinians. It merely empowers terrorist gangsters to kill Israelis and extort both the Palestinians and the international community.

So again, Giuliani is absolutely right.

Palestinians: The “Mountain of Fire” Erupts Against Abbas

August 25, 2016

Palestinians: The “Mountain of Fire” Erupts Against Abbas, Gatestone InstituteKhaled Abu Toameh, August 25, 2016

♦ The Palestinian Authority is now paying the price for harboring, funding and inciting gang members and militiamen who until recently were hailed by many Palestinians as “heroes” and “resistance fighters.”

♦ Hamas’s dream of extending its control to the West Bank now seems more realistic than ever — unless Mahmoud Abbas wakes up and realizes that he made a big mistake by authorizing local and municipal elections.

♦ The blood pouring out in Nablus and other Palestinian towns is proof that Abbas is on his way to losing control over the West Bank, just as he lost Gaza to Hamas in 2007. In an emergency meeting held on August 25 in Nablus, several Palestinian factions and figures reached agreement that it would be impossible to hold the vote under the current circumstances.

Hours after his security officers lynched a detainee, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas urged Palestinian businessmen living abroad to support the Palestinian economy by investing in the Palestinian territories. The Palestinian Authority (PA), he asserted, was “working to provide security and safety to encourage investment.”

According to Abbas, “The Palestinian territories are living in a state of security stability, which we are working to provide for residents and investors alike by enforcing the rule of law and enhancing transparency and accountability.”

It must be nice to create your own reality, especially if your true reality is that of the 81-year-old Abbas.

In his speech before the businessmen, Abbas neglected any reference to the latest wave of “security chaos” in PA-controlled areas in the West Bank, specifically Nablus, the largest Palestinian city.

Five Palestinians, including two PA police officers, were killed in the worst scenes of internecine violence to hit the West Bank in recent years. Abbas was either playing the businessmen for fools or hoping that they share his deaf and blind state.

The violence in Nablus did not come as a surprise to those who have been monitoring the situation in the West Bank in recent months.

In fact, scenes of lawlessness and “security chaos” have become part of the norm in many Palestinian cities, villages and refugee camps — a sign that the PA may be losing control to armed gangs and militias. Palestinians refer to the situation as falatan amni, or “security chaos.” An article published in Gatestone in June referred to the growing instances of anarchy and lawlessness in PA-controlled areas in the West Bank, first and foremost Nablus.

Palestinians refer to Nablus as the “Mountain of Fire” — a reference to the countless armed attacks carried out against Israelis by residents of the city since 1967. Current events in Nablus, however, have shown how easily fire burns the arsonist. The Palestinian Authority is now paying the price for harboring, funding and inciting gang members and militiamen who until recently were hailed by many Palestinians as “heroes” and “resistance fighters.” Unsurprisingly, most of these “outlaws” and “criminals” (as the PA describes them) are affiliated in one way or another with Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction.

Nablus, the so-called Mountain of Fire, is now threatening to turn into a volcano that is set to erupt in the face of Abbas and his PA government.

The situation in Nablus the past few days raises serious questions about the ability of the PA to perform basic security measures and rein in armed gangs and militiamen. Moreover, the unprecedented violence has further shattered Palestinian confidence in the PA and its leaders ahead of the local and municipal elections, scheduled to take place on October 8.

Hamas’s dream of extending its control to the West Bank now seems more realistic than ever. Under the current circumstances, Abbas would be offering the West Bank to Hamas on a silver platter — unless he wakes up and realizes that he made a big mistake by authorizing the local and municipal elections.

And the businessmen who met with Abbas? One might guess that they are sophisticated enough to avoid a doomed investment. Nablus will no doubt do the trick: they are likely to go running from the mayhem of the PA-controlled territories.

Things lately began to unravel when on August 18, in the Old City of Nablus, two Palestinian Authority security officers, Shibli bani Shamsiyeh and Mahmoud Taraira, were killed in an armed clash with gunmen.

Hours later, PA policemen shot dead two Palestinian gunmen who were allegedly involved in the killing of the officers. The two were identified as Khaled Al-Aghbar and Ali Halawah. The families of the two men accused the PA of carrying out an “extrajudicial” killing, and claimed their sons were captured alive and only afterwards shot dead. The families called for an independent commission of inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the killing of their sons. Palestinian human rights organizations have also joined the call for an inquiry into the killings.

1809On August 18, two Palestinian Authority policemen were killed in an armed clash with gunmen in Nablus (left). In April of this year, a fierce gun battle erupted between Palestinian Authority policemen and members of the Jaradat clan in the refugee camp of Jenin (right). The clash started during an attempt to arrest a clan member.

In June, two other PA security officers, Anan Al-Tabouk and Uday Al-Saifi, were also killed in a shootout with gunmen in Nablus. The PA claimed that “outlaws” were behind the killings and vowed to punish the culprits.

Tensions in Nablus reached their peak on August 23, when scores of PA policemen lynched Ahmed Halawah, a former policeman suspected of leading a notorious gang belonging to Abbas’s Fatah faction. Halawah was beaten to death by PA policemen shortly after he was arrested and taken to the PA-run Jneid Prison in Nablus.

The PA leadership, which has since admitted that Halawah was lynched by its policemen, says it has ordered an inquiry into the case. Its leaders have described the lynching as an “unacceptable mistake.”

The lynching of the detainee sparked widespread protests throughout the West Bank, with many Palestinians calling for an immediate inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the case and demanding that those responsible be brought to trial.

The Palestinian Bar Association issued a statement strongly condemning the lynching of Halawah as a “crime and a human rights violation.” The Association called for holding those responsible, adding, “The regrettable and painful events, including the crime of killing Ahmed Halawah, do not serve the interest of the citizen or homeland and deepens divisions in our society.” It also called on the PA and its security forces to abide by the law and honor the human rights of the Palestinians and their public freedoms.

Alarmed by the widespread condemnations of the lynching of Halawah, some Palestinian Authority officials began issuing direct and veiled threats against Palestinian critics.

Palestinian lawyer Wael Al-Hazam, who called on Abbas to “withdraw” his security forces from Nablus, was visited by unidentified gunmen who sprayed his house with 14 bullets. The attorney and his family members were not hurt in the shooting attack, which was clearly designed to send a warning message to anyone who dared to raise his or her voice against human rights abuses by the PA security forces. And in this instance, the message arrived.

Shortly after the attack on his house, the lawyer issued a statement in which he said, “14 bullets are enough to silence me. I’m a man of the law and I cannot face bullets. My pen and voice are the only weapon I have. I do not possess armed militias to defend myself.” The attack on his house came shortly after PA security officers threatened the lawyer, warning him against appearing on a TV show to discuss the latest wave of violence in his city.

The turmoil in Nablus has prompted many Palestinians to call on Abbas to make a decision to postpone the upcoming municipal election in their city. In an emergency meeting held on August 25 in Nablus, several Palestinian factions and figures reached agreement that it would be impossible to hold the vote under the current circumstances.

Sarhan Dweikat, a senior member of Abbas’s Fatah, said that an election delay was needed, to

“protect the social fabric and preserve our national project, which is facing an existential threat in light of the security chaos and anarchy in Nablus. … Conditions in Nablus do not provide a positive climate for holding elections.”

It is hard to see how Abbas, delusional as he appears to be, would heed the calls to postpone the local and municipal elections. His pathetic attempt to persuade Palestinian businessmen to invest their money in PA-controlled areas at a time when the flames are engulfing his backyard is yet another sign of the man’s refusal — or inability — to see the reality on the ground.

This is the same president who claims that he is seeking to lead his people toward statehood and a better future. Incredibly, Abbas can probably continue to fool world leaders into believing that he and the Palestinian Authority are prepared for statehood. Yet the blood pouring out in Nablus and other Palestinian cities and villages is proof positive that Abbas is on his way to losing control over the West Bank, just as he lost the Gaza Strip to Hamas in 2007. If until now it seemed that Hamas posed the biggest threat to Abbas’s rule over the West Bank, it is now obvious that that is not so. The real threat, as brought home in blood in the West Bank, is coming from Abbas’s homegrown loyalists-turned-rebels.