Reality Check: Facts about the Palestinian Authority

A few weeks ago, President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. While the Jewish people do not need the international community’s recognition to know that Jerusalem, David’s City, is our capital. Though, the President did the State of Israel a great service. Following his lead, Guatemala, Honduras, and Panama, announced that they would move their embassies to Jerusalem when the United States did.

Recently, President Trump made more declarations regarding Israel and the Middle East. Doing so via Twitter, the President responded to the  administration’s decision to withhold $255 million in aid for Pakistan this year. He spoke about the billions of dollars wasted in foreign aid to Pakistan due to the lack of cooperation and honesty on important matters. Comparing the situations, the President then threatened to cut millions of dollars in aid that the United States gives to the Palestinian Authority. The United States should not tolerate countries taking advantage of its good will, would you get the whole bill every time you go out with your friends? I personally would not invite someone who speaks ill of me to my daughter’s wedding.

This acknowledgment was long overdue! Even though many countries give aid to the Palestinian Authority, the United States gives the most. This aid is mainly to keep the Palestinian Authority at bay and somewhat under US influence. While in recent years, the Palestinian Authority has been looked at as a relatively more moderate Palestinian entity with to negotiate, this is when compared to Hamas, the Islamist terrorist organization that rules over the Gaza Strip. This is a move that has been failing since the 1995 Oslo Accords; today, the Palestinian Authority is just as rogue, unwilling to accept any type of Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel, and still feeds off internal societal struggles.

It is time for a reality check in the Middle East, cutting foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority is the right move by the United States. The Palestinian Authority has become infamous for paying Palestinian families large salaries for their family member’s brutal act of terrorism against innocent Israeli civilians, these cash sums are above $3,000 a month, a nice bonus to most Palestinian families. Not to mention the well-documented mass amounts of corruption and money laundering by leaders for the Palestinian Authority as well as leaders in Hamas, the ruling party of the Gaza Strip. The notorious terrorist, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat at his death has a net worth as much as $11 billion at his death. Mahmoud Abbas, the current Palestinian Authority President who also wrote his thesis (“The Other Side: the Secret Relationship Between Nazism and Zionism“) on delegitimizing the Holocaust, has at least $1 billion in the bank, a fact that haunts Palestinians especially since they have not been able to elected their leaders in twelve years.

The Palestinian Authority is also known for educating young Palestinian Arabs with hatred-inciting lessons, that act against any kind of peace with Israel and encourages more cycles of violence. This and a long-time unwillingness to come to the table and develop any kind of trust with the Israelis caused President Trump’s announcement to possibly cut aid to the Palestinian Authority. It is time to do what previous President’s have rejected doing in the past—hold the PA accountable for their actions. There is much precedent for cutting aid to the Palestinian Authority, Denmark cut funding to Palestinian NGOs that Israel presented evidence that these NGOs had worked to support terrorism against Israelis and boycotts against Israel.

In the last year, we have seen the Trump Administration take new and innovative steps to solve the Arab-Israeli conflict. As we have also seen in the last few decades, the process has severely stalled due to weak diplomacy, which has championed flawed peace negotiations as the way to move the process forward. In the future, bold moves such as taking Jerusalem off the table, will move the process forward. It is finally time to lay down pressure on the Palestinian Authority for their incitement and sabotage in Palestinian society, and end the redundant cycle of putting the blame on Israel, who forever reaches her hand out for peace.

About the Author
Since 1982, Jeff Seidel has introduced thousands of Jewish college students to their first Shabbat experience as well as offered free tours and classes through his Jewish Student Centers at Hebrew U in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv University, Ben-Gurion University in Beersheba, and IDC in Herzliya. He has lived in Jerusalem’s Old City for over thirty years and connected tens of thousands to the Land of Israel. He has also authored “The Jewish Traveler's Resource Guide,” which lists Shabbat placement programs around the world.
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