Middle East: Washington is handing out $150 million in direct aid to help the Palestinian Authority with its budget deficit. This would be asinine even if we didn’t have profound budget problems of our own.
The funds will come out of a $200 million aid package — part of an even larger $900 million lump of aid — that the Obama administration plans to send the PA during the fiscal year that just began.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday proudly said that the advanced aid shows the U.S. is standing “with our Palestinian friends even during difficult economic times as we have here at home.”
Or maybe the White House is just trying to shuttle to the West Bank as much aid as it can before the House turns Republican in January and the GOP starts asking the administration questions about its Palestinian aid plans.
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen from Florida has a record of opposing aid to the Palestinian Authority, which she considers a terrorist sanctuary, and is likely to be the next chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Ros-Lehtinen sees the Palestinian problem with a clear eye. Instead of talking emptily of America’s “Palestinian friends,” she thinks the U.S. should demand that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and the Fatah party “reform their charter, renounce and combat violent extremism, stop using Israel-free maps, and recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state.”
At one time, the Palestinians were the world’s biggest recipients of foreign aid. From sources all over the world, each of them received a yearly average of $300, according to Daniel Pipes, president and founder of the Middle East Forum and a Hoover Institution fellow.
Aid ended briefly when Hamas, the unrepentant terrorist group with direct ties to Iran’s radical regime, defeated the Fatah Party in the Palestinian Legislative Council elections in 2006. Aid resumed in 2007.
Humanitarian reasons exist for helping Palestinians who’ve suffered under poor leadership. But sending money to the PA is not the same as sending money to Haitians who have been devastated by an earthquake.
Aid poured into PA coffers might as well be addressed to Hamas, which recognizes neither the state of Israel nor, as Ros-Lehtinen noted in her statement, its right to exist.
The Fatah Party, the Hamas rival founded in 1959 by the late Yasser Arafat and Abbas, is no better alternative. It may not be recognized by the CIA as a terrorist group, but it too is dedicated to Israel’s destruction.