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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.

Read more at Jewish News Service

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

Being a Critic of Israel Means Never Having to Explain How It Should Defend Itself

April 23 2018

The ever-worsening situation of Jews in Europe, writes Bret Stephens, should serve as a reminder of the need for a Jewish state. Israel’s critics, he suggests, should reflect more deeply on that need:

Israel did not come into existence to serve as another showcase of the victimization of Jews. It exists to end the victimization of Jews.

That’s a point that Israel’s restless critics could stand to learn. On Friday, Palestinians in Gaza returned for the fourth time to the border fence with Israel, in protests promoted by Hamas. The explicit purpose of Hamas leaders is to breach the fence and march on Jerusalem. Israel cannot possibly allow this—doing so would create a precedent that would encourage similar protests, and more death, along all of Israel’s borders—and has repeatedly used deadly force to counter it.

The armchair corporals of Western punditry think this is excessive. It would be helpful if they could suggest alternative military tactics to an Israeli government dealing with an urgent crisis against an adversary sworn to its destruction. They don’t.

It would also be helpful if they could explain how they can insist on Israel’s retreat to the 1967 borders and then scold Israel when it defends those borders. They can’t. If the armchair corporals want to persist in demands for withdrawals that for 25 years have led to more Palestinian violence, not less, the least they can do is be ferocious in defense of Israel’s inarguable sovereignty. Somehow they almost never are. . . .

[T]o the extent that the diaspora’s objections [to Israeli policies] are prompted by the nonchalance of the supposedly nonvulnerable when it comes to Israel’s security choices, then the complaints are worse than feckless. They provide moral sustenance for Hamas in its efforts to win sympathy for its strategy of wanton aggression and reckless endangerment. And they foster the illusion that there’s some easy and morally stainless way by which Jews can exercise the responsibilities of political power.

Read more at New York Times

More about: Anti-Semitism, Gaza Strip, Israel & Zionism