Written by Yoram Ettinger
Secretary of State John Kerry’s contention that a $4BN grant would revitalize the Palestinian Authority (PA), and the peace process, ignores the Palestinian track record, at least, since the 1993 Oslo Accords.
Kerry overlooks the impact of the $400MN in annual US aid which has fueled an all-time-high Palestinian corruption (Mahoud Abbas’ nickname is “Mr. 20%), hate education, terrorism, anti-US incitement, oppression, in general, and discrimination against Christians, in particular, and the Palestinian affinity toward America’s enemies and adversaries: Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Russia, China, North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba and Iran. The PA follows in the footsteps of previous Palestinian leaders who sided with the Nazis, the Communist Bloc and Khomeini.
Why don’t the Arab oil-producing countries provide $4BN to the PA, which they could easily afford in view of their robust $100 per barrel economy?
While Kerry considers the Palestinian issue to be central to Middle East
developments and the crown-jewel of Arab policy-making, the Arab oil-producing countries shower the PA with rhetoric, but no money. Arab policy-makers are primarily concerned about domestic and regional issues, resulting from the seismic stormy Arab Winter, which supersede the Palestinian issue. They are preoccupied with the threatening Middle Eastern “sandstorms,” not with “tumbleweeds.”
Furthermore, Arab regimes view the Palestinians as a potentially subversive, treacherous and destabilizing element, based upon the Palestinian intra-Arab track record since the 1950s: a trail of subversion and terrorism in Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Kuwait. For example, the Arab Gulf states do not forget or forgive the August, 1990 back-stabbing of Kuwait and the Gulf States by Mahmoud Abbas and Arafat, who collaborated with Saddam Hussein’s invasion and plunder of Kuwait. They betrayed Kuwait which hosted some 300,000 of their Palestinian allies and relatives, and transferred billions of dollars to their stashed bank accounts.
Therefore, the Arab states have been known to talk the Palestinian talk, but never walk-the-walk, while maintaining their mega billion dollar military acquisitions and lavish life-style.
On December 26, 2012, Nabil Elaraby, the Secretary General of the Arab League, criticized Arabs for reneging on their financial pledges to the PA. He divulged that “Arab countries pledged a $100 million monthly safety net to the PA, at the March, 2012 Baghdad Arab Summit, but none of it has been realized yet.”
A December 9, 2011 article by Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News highlights a World Bank report: “Arab countries have cut aid to Palestinians substantially, despite their rhetoric of supporting Palestinian rights…. Arab donors provided less than $80 million in the first half of 2011, compared to $231 million in 2010, $462 million in 2009 and $446 million in 2008…. Arab countries have committed to billions in aid in past years that never materialized…. One reason could be that the Arab world has become fed up with the Palestinian problem.”
According to a 2005 report by the Washington Institute for Near East Studies, the United Arab Emirates pledged $43 million to the PA in 2004 - compared to its 2004 oil revenue of $30 billion. The Emirates’ actual aid delivery was zero….The budget of UNRWA, which has looked after Palestinian refugees since 1950, is financed mainly by Western governments - at $127 million in 2004, the US is the largest national contributor…. Arab states pledged $999 million in aid for 2004, of which $572 million was pledged by Arab members of OPEC. Only $107 million of this aid was actually delivered [irrespective of the dramatic hike in the price of oil].”
Demonstrating the secondary role played by the Palestinian issue in the Arab order of priorities, Arab financial support of the PLO, during the 1980s, was less than 10% of Arab financial support of the anti-Soviet Muslims in Afghanistan. Arabs pledged more than $2 billion in support of the first (1987-1992) and second (2000-2005) Palestinian “Intifada” against Israel, but less than $500 million was delivered. During the October 2010 Arab Summit, Arab leaders pledged $500MN to the Palestinians, but only seven percent was delivered.
The Arab League does not discuss the 2013 Syrian retaliation against – and expulsion of - Palestinian supporters of Assad; did not interfere in 2007, when the Lebanese military demolished Palestinian strongholds near Tripoli, Beirut and Sidon which terrorized and murdered Lebanese soldiers; did not stop the 2003 Iraqi reprisals against – and expulsion of - Palestinian allies of Saddam Hussein; did not condemn Kuwait for expelling almost 300,000 Palestinians following their mega-betrayal in 1990; did not attempt to stop the PLO expulsion from Lebanon in 1982 (by Israel), and 1983 (by Syria), following the PLO plunder of Lebanon in the 1970 and 1980s; did not save Mahmoud Abbas and Arafat from the wrath of Jordan’s King Hussein in 1970following the PLO betrayal of their Hashemite host; and did not condemn Egypt and Syria for expelling Abbas and Arafat during the 1950s and 1960s.
Extending a $4BN grant - and persisting in annual aid - to the PA would reflect a determination to ignore the costly Arab lessons in dealing with the Palestinians and would repeat – rather than avoid – past traumatic mistakes.