The Palestinians spurn U.S. diplomatic requests and snub U.S. financial aid. Should we be sending them nearly a billion dollars a year?
Despite all efforts by President Obama, the Palestinian Authority (P.A.) has rejected U.S. diplomatic efforts and a negotiated peace with Israel by requesting a unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood at the United Nations. The P.A. also announced a merger with the Islamic terror group Hamas. Currently the U.S. sends some $600 million dollars annually in direct aid to the P.A., plus an additional $225 million in funding through the U.N. Is this the best use of American tax dollars?
What are the facts?
Since 1979, the United States has expended untold diplomatic capital to forge an Israeli-Palestinian peace. Yet every time peace has seemed at hand—including the U.S.-brokered Oslo accords in 1993, and Israel's historic Camp David offer in 2000 of a Palestinian state with a capital in East Jerusalem—the Palestinians have refused to make peace. In 2008, following the Annapolis summit, Israeli Prime Minister Olmert again offered the Palestinians a state based on 1967 borders and a capital in Jerusalem, but P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas walked away without a counter offer. In 2010, in order to bring the parties together for new peace talks, President Obama convinced Israel to enforce a moratorium on building in Jerusalem suburbs for 10 months. Yet for eight months, P.A. President Abbas refused to take part in talks, and when the moratorium expired two months later, Abbas walked out and has refused to return to negotiations ever since.
In addition to its diplomatic investment, the U.S. has over the decades given the Palestinian Authority more than four billion dollars in aid. Today, the United States provides some $825 million annually in direct aid and funding through the United Nations.
Yet despite this generous diplomatic support and financial largesse, Mahmoud Abbas and Palestinian Authority officials have verbally attacked the United States and snubbed U.S. aid. In June, 2011, 28 Palestinian Authority municipalities in the West Bank announced a "boycott of the American consulate, its diplomats, and the American institutions in Jerusalem," adding that Americans "cannot extort the Palestinian people and humiliate it with a bit of aid." Referring to these huge U.S. financial grants, Abbas said, "This does not mean that they [the U.S.] dictate to us whatever they want … They demanded that we should not sign the Egyptian reconciliation agreement [with Hamas], but we sent Azzam Al-Ahmed to sign it."
The Palestinian Authority did indeed reject requests by the United States not to form an alliance with Hamas terrorists in May, 2011, knowing full well that it is against U.S. law for Congress to fund any organization with terrorist ties. Remember that Hamas stands openly by its goal to conquer every inch of Palestine, cleanse it of Jews, and establish a fundamentalist Islamic caliphate. Above all, Hamas refuses to accept the state of Israel and condemns any efforts to negotiate peace.
Most recently, in September, 2011, President Abbas rejected pleas by the Obama administration and the European Union to return to negotiations with Israel and refrain from a bid for unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state at the U.N. Instead, Abbas proceeded to the U.N. and made his defiant request.
Time to stop aid to U.S. enemies. Hillary Clinton stated in April, 2011 that "We will not deal with nor in any way fund a Palestinian government that includes Hamas unless and until Hamas has renounced violence, recognized Israel and agreed to follow the previous obligations of the Palestinian Authority," In fact, annual U.S. foreign operations appropriations bills expressly forbid funding for "assistance to Hamas or any entity effectively controlled by Hamas or any power-sharing government of which Hamas is a member."
In July, 2011, both houses of Congress overwhelmingly passed resolutions that threaten withdrawal of aid from the Palestinian Authority if it persists in efforts to circumvent direct negotiations with Israel by turning to the United Nations for recognition—which it has done—and if the Palestinian Authority shares power with a recalcitrant Hamas. According to the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, "Despite decades of assistance totaling billions of dollars, if a Palestinian state were declared today, it would be neither democratic, nor peaceful nor willing to negotiate with Israel."
By allying with the terrorist group Hamas, abandoning peace talks with Israel, and taking its case for statehood unilaterally to the United Nations, it's clear that the Palestinian Authority has no respect for the interests of the United States in the Middle East. In this time of financial crisis and soaring budget deficits, isn't time for Congress to stop spending nearly a billion American tax dollars annually supporting the rogue Palestinian Authority?
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Gerardo Joffe, President