The Palestinians Lurch From Failure to Failure

A catalogue of the failures of the various Palestinian factions can be found here: “Palestinian Society Sinks into Shambles,” by James Sinkinson,, August 10, 2023:

…Last May, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) spent days bombarding Israel with rockets, forcing the Jewish state to retaliate. Hamas refrained from fighting, yet did not prevent PIJ from attacking Israel—demonstrating the Hamas rulers were either unwilling or unable to curb rival terrorists.

Hamas sees the PIJ as consisting of hotheads who do not consider the consequences of their actions against the more powerful Zionists. Hamas cannot control the PIJ, and will not be dragged into war by its rival terror group, preferring to see the PIJ badly bloodied by the IDF, while Hamas remains unscathed.

The failure of both the PA and Hamas to effectively control their respective territories—and prevent their use as terrorist bases to attack Israel—proves convincingly the Palestinians are unprepared for statehood.

A nation-state must have reasonable economic independence—yet both the PA and Hamas are bankrupt, entirely devoid of sustainable industries and utterly dependent on international welfare.

Both Hamas in Gaza and the PA in the West Bank are completely dependent on massive amounts of donor aid given either directly, or through UNRWA. Neither has been able to create a sustainable economy. The jobless rate is close to 45%% in Gaza and 16% in the PA territories, for an overall rate of 25%. The PA debt is now close to ten billion dollars. And the only bright spot in the economies in Gaza and the PA territories has been due to Israel: that is, the steep rise in the number of work permits — now more than 200,000 — that Israel has provided to Palestinians so that they may work in Israel and the settlements, earning wages that are from two to five times what they would earn at home.

Between 1994 and 2020, the Palestinians received more than $40 billion in aid. About a third came from the West—18.9% from the European Union and 14.2% from the United States….

Why, then, haven’t the billions in aid improved the lives of ordinary Palestinians? One reason is that much of it goes toward terrorist activities. For example, the PA spends between $170 million and $283 million yearly on its “pay-for-slay” policy—rewarding with generous monthly salaries Palestinians who murder Jews. Abbas has obstinately gone on record saying, “If we had only a single penny left, we would pay it to families of the martyrs and prisoners.”

In fact, the amount spent by the PA on its “Pay-For-Slay” program is much larger, nearly $350 million per year, while far less — $220 million — is spent on all of its other welfare programs for the rest of its citizens.

Another reason is economic corruption. The PA is a cesspool of insider family- and tribal-business deals. Abbas’s millionaire sons control huge businesses. In Gaza, a leading German newspaper Die Welt reported in 2021 that Hamas has a secret investment portfolio worth $500 million, which, according to the World Bank, could have repaired all the physical damage in the Gaza Strip from the terror group’s war with Israel in 2021….

That secret investment portfolio is money that Hamas leaders have available for their personal benefit. Had that half-billion dollars been used, instead, to help the general population in Gaza, it would have been enough to repair the damage done to the Strip’s infrastructure in the 2021 war. We do not know how much money is now being siphoned off — stolen — at present by Hamas leaders, but we do know that in the past just two of them — Khaled Meshaal and Mousa bin Marzouk — managed to each squirrel away $2.5 billion. This is a scarcely believable level of corruption. No wonder that only 19% of the Palestinian population supports Hamas.

Notwithstanding numerous attempts at reconciliation between the PA and Hamas in order to reunite the autonomous Palestinian territories, all attempts have failed. Most recently, in Egypt last month, Hamas insisted on violent resistance to Israeli occupation of the region, whereas Abbas advocated “peaceful” resistance, despite his regime’s generous incentives to murdering terrorists.

The PA is itself not a terror group, preferring to use nonviolent means to pressure Israel to agree to be squeezed back within the 1949 armistice lines, which if achieved would leave the Jewish state with a nine-mile-waist from Qalqilya to the sea and stripped of its defenses against an invasion force coming from the east. Should that happen, the Arabs would again be able to again assault Israel. Meanwhile, the PA uses its “Pay-For-Slay” program to reward past, and incentivize future, terrorists.

Above all, neither the PA nor Hamas has a strategy to achieve statehood, preferring their hopeless quest to destroy Israel over peaceful coexistence. Hamas continues to reject any recognition of the Jewish state, while the PA occasionally pays lip service to the two-state solution. But in reality, the PA also rejects Israel’s existence….

While Hamas has made clear its goal of destroying the Jewish state “from the river to the sea,” the PA has turned down several generous territorial offers made by Ehud Barak to Yassir Arafat in 2000, and by Ehud Olmert to Mahmoud Abbas in 2008. It is clear that the PA is unwilling to agree to any compromise; it wants just as much as Hamas not a “two-state solution,” but an end to the Jewish state.

Despite constant demands from its donors, especially the E.U., to clean up the antisemitic content in its textbooks, and the PA’s repeated promises to do so, nothing has changed: the crude antisemitism in its schoolbooks remains, and manages to insinuate itself into the most unlikely contexts, including problems in arithmetic. Palestinian children’s programs show tiny tots lisping sweetly their desire to “kill Jews” as they make stabbing motions with their pretend knives. Terrorist murderers, like Dalal Mughrabi, are lionized as heroes and heroines worthy of emulation. The PA continues its “Pay-For-Slay” program, which provides generous lifetime subsidies to imprisoned terrorists, or to the families of terrorists who died while engaged in their attacks. None of this prepares Palestinians for possible peaceful coexistence with the Jewish state.

A half-dozen terror groups now vie with one another for power in both Gaza and the West Bank. The PA’s control has crumbled in Judea and Samaria. In Gaza, Hamas faces a serious challenge from the PIJ, which sees itself as the most effective enemy of the Zionist state. Both Hamas in Gaza and the PA in Judea and Samaria are essentially bankrupt, reliant on donor aid that keeps decreasing. Much of that aid continues to be siphoned off to the corrupt leaders of both groups, or — in the case of Gaza — spent on weapons and on expensive terrorist infrastructure, such as a network of terror tunnels, that Israel then destroys. The Palestinians’ reason for being is not to build a state, but to destroy one — to make Israel disappear from “the river to the sea.” The Palestinians lurch from failure to failure, militarily, politically, economically, and of course morally. There is no end to this.

August 16, 2023 | Comments »

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