The Palestinian Authority, Hamas, and Foreign States Meddle in Jerusalem

Not only does the Palestinian Authority (PA) operate in Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem in ways forbidden by the Oslo Accords, but Hamas, Islamic State (IS), various other Islamist organizations, Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the EU all have a presence there. Their activities, writes David Koren, undermine Israeli sovereignty and sometimes encourage violence and unrest. Although the PA does not pose the same immediate danger as the IS cells operating in Jerusalem—which, incidentally, have mostly threatened Arab Christians—it might be the most pernicious force in the city:

The PA exerts extremely heavy pressure on parents registering their children for Israeli matriculation programs [which would qualify them to attend Israeli colleges], seeking to persuade parents to cancel the registration of their children for this program and leave them in the Palestinian matriculation program. The PA and Fatah agents thereby prevent parents and their children from freely deciding on their educational and professional future. . . .

[Moreover], the violent and aggressive discourse instigated by the PA and its agents in eastern Jerusalem against anyone cooperating with the Jerusalem municipality and the Israeli authorities is extreme and unreasonable. Even leaders in the Arab neighborhoods who are in no way “pro-Zionist” are verbally and physically attacked by PA agents for intervening with the Israel authorities in order to improve the residents’ lives. These neighborhood leaders are subjected to social and public blackballing. Such threats and intimidation have included the burning of two Jerusalem municipality community centers in eastern Jerusalem by Fatah members. . . .

As a rule, the PA takes aggressive and violent action to prevent Jerusalemite Arabs from behaving as residents with equal rights and duties. The PA wants to keep them from exercising those rights with Israeli authorities. It seeks to prevent healthy interaction with the Israeli government and its institutions and with Israeli society in general. There is no doubt that the PA ceaselessly undermines the foundations of Jerusalem’s unity and works toward de-facto division of the city by strengthening the Arab residents’ attachment to Ramallah instead of Jerusalem.

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Read more at Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security

More about: ISIS, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security, Jerusalem, Palestinian Authority, Turkey

European Aid to the Middle East Is Shaped by a Political Agenda

Feb. 18 2019

The EU’s European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations Unit dispenses millions of dollars in economic and humanitarian assistance to dozens of countries every year. Although it claims to operate on principles of strict neutrality, independent of any political motivation and giving priority to the neediest cases, a look at its activities in the Middle East suggests an entirely different approach, as Hillel Frisch writes:

[T]he Middle East is the overwhelming beneficiary of EU humanitarian aid—nearly 1 billion of just over 1.4 billion euros. . . . The bulk of the funds goes toward meeting the costs of assistance to Syrian refugees, followed by smaller sums to Iraq, Yemen, “Palestine,” and North Africa. Sub-Saharan Africa, by contrast, receives less than one-third of that amount. The problem with such allocations is that the overwhelming majority of people living in dire poverty reside in sub-Saharan Africa, India, and Bangladesh. . . . The Palestinians, who are richer on average than those living in the poorest states of the world, . . . receive over six euros per capita, while the populations of the poorest states receive less than one-eighth of that amount. . . .

Even less defensible is the EU’s claim to political neutrality. Its favoritism toward the Palestinians on this score is visible as soon as one enters terms into the general search function on the European Commission’s website. Enter “Palestine” and you get 20,737 results. Enter “Ethiopia” and you get almost the same figure, despite massive differences in population size (Ethiopia’s 100 million versus fewer than 5 million Palestinians), geographic expanse (Ethiopia is 50 times the size of “Palestine”), and degree of sheer suffering. The Syrian crisis, which is said to have led to the loss of a half-million lives, merits not many more site results than “Palestine.”

One of the foci of the website’s reports [on the Palestinians] is the plight of 35,000 Bedouin whom the EU assists, often in clear violation of the law, in Area C—the part of the West Bank under exclusive Israeli control. The hundreds of thousands of Bedouin in Sinai, however, the plight of whom is readily acknowledged even by Egyptian officials, gets no mention, even though Egypt is a recipient of EU aid. . . .

Clearly, the EU’s approach to aid allocation has nothing to do with impartiality, true social-welfare needs, or humanitarian considerations. [Instead], it favors allocations to Syrian refugees above Yemeni refugees because of the higher probability that Syrian refugees will find their way to Europe. . . . The recipients of European largesse who are next in line [to Syrians], in relative terms, are the Palestinians. [This particular policy] can be attributed primarily to the EU’s hostility toward Israel, its rightful historical claims, and its security needs.

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Read more at BESA Center

More about: Europe and Israel, European Union, Israel & Zionism, Palestinians