I am a simple American taxpayer. I take the deductions to which I am entitled, I make what limited charitable donations I can, and at the end of the day, I pay the amount the government says I owe.
I live in Texas, so I do not pay a state income tax, but, believe me, the state makes up for its absence in the form of a ludicrous system of property taxation.
But like many of my fellow Americans, particularly those of us who grew weary with the never-ending litany of redistributive lectures emanating from the government over the last eight years, there is a sense that there should be no guilt associated with expressing one’s opinion about where that money is best invested.
Many would agree, I think, that the highest and best use of their tax dollars – aside from defending the country, of course – is taking care of those who have volunteered to do that very thing. I would gladly increase my contribution to the Treasury if I knew it would be used solely for the benefit of these men and women.
Unrestricted, lifetime access to medical care, housing assistance for those who require it, free access to higher education (our undocumented immigrants should be in line well behind our veterans) and a liveable pension for those who may have suffered life-long physical or emotional injuries are minimal benefits. This country should be doing everything in its vast power to ensure those who served it are not driven to end their lives in desperate acts of suicide.
Enough. Stop This Madness.
With that as an all too brief back story that scratches the surface, I no longer wish to spend a nickel of my money supporting the Palestinian Authority or UNRWA.
Are there any words to rationalize the fact American taxpayers have contributed $442 million to the Palestinian Authority during FY2016? Do our citizens receive some benefit from this investment? Is our country somehow more secure? Does this assist our allies in some way that escapes me?
In the FY 2016 budget, the Palestinian Authority paid $137.8 million to Palestinian prisoners and their families that are incarcerated in Israeli prisons for various offenses. I do not pretend the Israeli judicial system is perfect as it adjudicates offenses for which Palestinians are charged, but how might an Israeli Jew be treated by a Sharia court?
The Palestinian Authority’s 2016 budget also provides for payments of $172.5 million to the families of “martyrs”. We all know for President For Life Abbas that there is only one definition for “martyr”: it is a cold-blooded murderer of a Jew.
Let’s Call President For Life Abbas, Shall We?
Someone – anyone – should get on the phone tomorrow and place a call to Ramallah and ask whether President For Life Abbas is available. He will, of course, answer the phone and he should be told: you know that meeting you have scheduled with President Trump on May 3? Well, that meeting is not going to happen and you will not be receiving another dollar from American taxpayers if you do not announce publicly in English and Arabic that those payments will be terminated at the end of the fiscal year, and that you accept now and forever the existence of the State of Israel as the permanent homeland of the Jewish people.
Otherwise, save yourself the embarrassment of flying to Washington on May 3 because you may be meeting with others, but you will not be seeing the President. The Palestinian Authority cannot function without the nearly half billion dollars it receives from American taxpayers, and I cannot rationalize keeping the spigot open.
UNRWA is slightly more complicated, but it was established by the United Nations only for the benefit of Palestinian refugees. Its budget is $1.2 billion per year and it supports nearly 5.6 million refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and Gaza. American taxpayers pick up $380 million of this budget to lend assistance to people who hate us. Syria has graciously donated $29,000. They probably spend more on sarin gas.
The Russian Federation is not on this list. It does not provide $1.
Of course, Assad and Putin may have driven out or killed a significant portion of the 591,000 refugees out of Syria already, and I would argue to the extent they possess a shred of decency remaining, the least they could do would be to pick up a little extra coin.
There are just under 500,000 refugees in Lebanon, and given the huge donations of cash and arms provided to Hassan Nasrallah by the Iranians and the IRGC, perhaps a small portion could be rededicated to the welfare of the people rather than control of the state.
I’ll have to concede that Jordan probably needs as much assistance as possible with 2.2 million refugees, provided it backs off this nonsensical claim that Jerusalem returns to 1967 demarcations and The Western Wall be overseen by the Ministry of Awqaf.
Abbas Uses American Cash to Squeeze Hamas? What?
Lastly, the West Bank and Gaza. Is there anything more absurd than President For Life Abbas threatening to not pay Israel with American taxpayer funds so Israel will cut power to Gaza because the President For Life is trying to wrest control of Gaza and consolidate his power before his May 3 trip to Washington. All with American Taxpayer Funds!
In the greatest of bizarre twists, Israel will have to divert some of the President For Life’s collected customs taxes to Hamas (!) so they can pay some of their power bills to keep Abbas from fratricide.
Parade for Nikki Haley
On the hopeful side, I have been pleasantly surprised by the statements and chutzpah of Nikki Haley, our Ambassador to the United Nations who, unlike Obama’s demigoddess Samantha Power, who professed to be the “voice” for the silent victims of genocide and was never heard from again, really speaks uncomfortable truth to power.
She speaks of Putin and Assad as war criminals in the Security Council, she accuses Putin of offering cover for Assad’s chemical attacks and she has adamantly placed the blame for the Middle East crisis on Iran, not Israel. She doesn’t use the polished language of diplomacy when she addresses the Council. She is a breath of fresh air and speaks of leaders and countries in a way no one else would dare.
While we need to keep Abbas at bay, when Haley visits Israel in June, she should get a ticker tape parade.