Follow the Money

A big Art Buchwald fan in my younger years, I’d expectantly scan the editorial pages for his usually hilarious, syndicated column that parodied some of the ridiculous aspects of current events. I thought of the late Mr. Buchwald recently and wished I had his skill when I read that Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas is angry because the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted to cut all Palestinian funding unless the PA stops rewarding Arab terrorism by paying salaries to murderers and their families.

The nerve of the United States! How dare we consider defunding an entity that prays for our demise and wants to obliterate our trusted ally, Israel? We should be ashamed of ourselves. How unfair of us to refuse to underwrite the paychecks of Arabs jailed in Israel for slashing the throats of Jewish infants asleep in their beds, ramming Israelis with cars as they shop, and stabbing innocent Jewish bystanders on the streets of Jerusalem.

The Palestine Liberation Organization Executive Committee has condemned the senators, calling the Taylor Force anti-terrorism bill “an unacceptable act that will negatively affect everything that is connected to the Palestinians’ rights, and particularly their right to life and protection from the occupation army’s [Israel Defense Forces’] violations.”

Now there’s a mouthful, particularly because it’s coming from an entity that routinely diverts for military purposes funds given for humanitarian aid; forces children to dig terror tunnels into Israel; and uses women and children as human shields. Several years ago Israeli soldiers rescued a mentally challenged Arab boy whom Palestinian terrorists were planning to blow to bits with a cellphone detonator after they rigged him with explosives. Right to life? What right to life?

According to The New York Post, “The Palestinian Authority is now using half of its foreign aid to reward terrorism.” That’s money, the Post said, “that’s not going to build roads or hospitals.”

How much money are we talking about? Millions. Abbas reportedly spends $355 million a year paying terrorists and their families.

How much do Palestinians receive in international foreign aid? Billions. Since the 1990s, the United States alone has provided more than $5 billion in aid. In 2016 the Palestinians received more than $357 million in American taxpayer money; and “the US contributed $355,177,827 to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), of which $95 million was earmarked for the West Bank and Gaza,” reported The Times of Israel.

“UNRWA also operates Palestinian refugee camps in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. In total, therefore, the US gave around $712 million in aid to Palestinians in 2016, and is the world’s largest supplier of such aid,” the Times said.

But that’s not all. According to the World Bank, the West Bank and Gaza received $27.3 billion in international aid from 1993 to 2013. Yet, unlike Israel, they still have inadequate infrastructure. They have not built desalination plants. They do not treat their sewage, which flows into streams and into Israel, contaminating the aquifer. They are not developing new water sources, and they depend on Israel for water and electricity.

But they have a massive network of sophisticated terror tunnels. Those they build.

Abbas’s anger at the senators should come as no surprise. When North Korea’s Kim Jong-un threatened the United States with war in August, Abbas demonstrated his loyalties by congratulating him for his “solidarity” in opposing Israel and for North Korea’s “sacrifices” for the sake of “freedom and dignity.”  What freedom? North Korea treats its citizens like slaves and is considered the worst nation in the world for extreme persecution of Christians, according to the 2017 World Watch List. The Palestinian territories rank 23rd out of 50 on the list.

Politics may make strange bedfellows, but some of us still prefer not to be useful idiots who braid the ropes that eventually hang us.

by Lorna Simcox

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