Some Reasons for Cutting Aid to the Palestinian Authority

Jan. 10 2018

The White House has recently raised the possibility of cutting funding for UNRWA, the UN agency responsible for caring for Palestinian refugees and their descendants; it has also threatened to cut direct aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) for its incitement to violence and violations of the Oslo Accords. To Jonathan Tobin, this is a reasonable approach:

Aid to the PA is seen as necessary to prop up the only available interlocutor for peace with Israel. We’re also told that funding the PA is a necessary part of its security cooperation with Israel.

There are elements of truth to these assertions. If the PA were to collapse, that would likely lead to Israel’s having to reassert direct control of the West Bank rather than the current situation in which the majority of Palestinians are governed by the corrupt Fatah party led by Mahmoud Abbas. But the PA’s need for cash to prop up its kleptocracy is exactly why the U.S. should be using its financial leverage to make clear to Abbas that a quarter-century of his organization’s holding the U.S. hostage in this manner can’t continue. Abbas’s threats of dissolving the PA are bluffs that should have been called long ago.

The same is true of security cooperation [between the PA and Israel]. Abbas relies on Israel to ensure his survival against the plots of his Islamist rivals as much, if not more, than the Israelis rely on the PA to help keep terror under control in the West Bank. . . .

American governments have tolerated [the status quo] because they felt there was no alternative. But . . . you don’t have to be a supporter of President Trump or of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to understand that [the U.S.] is right to demand that if the Palestinians want U.S. money they must, at the very least, come back to the negotiating table and cease funding and fomenting terror.

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More about: Donald Trump, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority, UNRWA

While Pursuing a Thaw with Israel, Saudi Arabia Foments Anti-Semitism at Home

July 18 2018

For the better part of this century, Jerusalem and Riyadh have cooperated clandestinely to contain Iran’s growing power. The kingdom has also increasingly aimed its diplomatic and propaganda efforts against Qatar, whose funding of Islamist groups—including Hamas—has damaged both Saudi Arabia and Israel. But, writes Edy Cohen, there’s a dark side to Riyadh’s efforts against the enemies of the Jewish state:

The [Saudi cyberwarfare agency’s] Twitter account tweets daily, mostly against Qatar and Iran. It uses anti-Semitic terminology, referring to Qatar as “Qatariel,” a portmanteau of Qatar and Israel, and claiming the [Qatar-sponsored] Al Jazeera network “belongs to the Israeli Mossad.”

“‘The deal of the century’ is a Qatari scheme to sell Palestine to the Zionist entity,’” one tweet reads, while another alleges that the “Zionist” Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, the father of [Qatar’s ruler] Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, is scheming to divide the Arab states to fulfill the dreams of the “Zionist entity” and Iran. Yet another tweet alleges that Qatar is “trying to destroy the Arab world to serve the enemies of the Muslim world: Israel and Iran.” These statements penetrate deep into the Arab consciousness and increase existing hatred toward Jews and Israel.

The Saudis, then, are playing a double game. Behind the scenes, they send the Israelis the message that Iran is a common enemy and goad them to fight Iran and Hizballah. At home, however, they say the enemy is first and foremost the state of Israel, followed by Iran. Their formula is clear: covert ties with Israel coupled with overt hostility to the Jewish state to satisfy the people, a majority of whom hate Israel.

The Saudi double game is reminiscent of the Egyptian model under President Gamal Abdel Nasser in that dozens of anti-Semitic articles are published daily, while the Israeli populace is not exposed to the phenomenon and the politicians close their ears. Following the signing of the 1994 Oslo Accords, the Palestinians asked Israel for permission to incite “moderately” against the Jewish state for “domestic needs.” This incitement turned deadly and was used as live ammunition for the boycott, sanctions, and divestment movement (BDS). We must not give in and accept the incitement against us, and that is also true when Saudi Arabia is concerned. Incitement translates into action, and that action comes at a price.

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More about: Iran, Israel & Zionism, Qatar, Saudi Arabia