In asking how broke the Palestinians really are, she's taken open-source information in much the same way as the outstanding Funding for Peace Coalition have done for several years. No special insights are needed. No subscription-only information sources. No highly-placed leaks and no forensic investigations. It's all there, ladies and gentlemen, for those who care to look. For the tiny, unintimidated handful who are to look, that is.
She acknowledges the almost daily reports of a growing humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian Authority. This seems logical, she concedes. European and other donors shut down the foreign aid tap to the Palestinians after a Hamas government took over earlier this year. And since aid from the west - not, Heaven forbid, from Arab sources - has long provided most of the PA's budget, this was bad news.
As a result, the PA is broke, unable to deal with its people's needs.
The PA, as the JPost article points out, has simply chosen to use its funds for purposes other than the welfare of the Palestinians. For instance, more than twenty tons of explosives have been detected by the Israelis being smuggled into Gaza so far this year. Plus militarily significant and highly sophisticated antitank and antiaircraft missiles. While much of this has gone straight into Hamas warehouses, the terror groups connected to Fatah, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's party, have not missed out.
"The purchase price for this materiel, including the cost of smuggling it into the Gaza, could have been used to cover the unpaid salaries of thousands of PA employees - but Hamas and Fatah would both rather buy arms than feed their people. And as long as this is true, giving either group more money would be futile."
As we pointed out back in June, the Hamas government and its fellow-traveler media friends, were shedding tears all over about their inability to pay salaries to the vastly bloated ranks of PA employees. Then they announced an increase in the PA's payroll - 5,400 new employees added to the ranks of Hamas "security personnel". For 5,400 Hamas gunmen, there was a budget, and salaries. Teachers, doctors, social workers, nurses - these were shown an empty Palestinian treasury though its doubtful they bought these lies as readily as Western reporters did.
Then there's the matter of western aid. Unlike almost every other report on this subject until now, the JPost points out that funding to the Palestinians by the European Union - for years, the PA's principal source of handouts - has increased this year. John Vinocur of the International Herald Tribune says the EU's own records show $814 million being given to the Palestinians between January and October 2006, "more than it would in a normal year."
Some went to Abbas, some to NGOs, some directly to PA employees through a so-called "Hamas bypass". Bottom line: while claiming to observe a boycott of the Palestinian pro-terror regime, the EU has increased rather than decreased its contributions. We're not suggesting this increased funding went to humanitarian purposes - because we don't know. We do know that claims of a humanitarian crisis are a propaganda lie.
Then there's the matter of how effective the government of the Palestinian Arabs has been in stopping terror. the JPost puts it this way:
For years, the West has maintained that Abbas, unlike Hamas, wants to fight terror, but is incapable of doing so. Yet in fact, Abbas's forces have demonstrated exceptional proficiency in handling certain types of attacks - namely, those directed at Western journalists and aid workers. Over the past year, there have been numerous kidnappings of foreigners. Just last week, for instance, a Spanish aid worker was kidnapped in Gaza; the week before, an AP photographer was kidnapped there; two weeks before that, an American aid worker was kidnapped in Nablus. In every such kidnapping, however, the victims have been released unharmed, usually within 24 hours. And in every single case, this has been due to PA intervention - usually by Abbas's office. This begs an obvious question: How is it that Abbas's security forces are so quickly able to locate and free kidnapped Westerners, but are completely incapable of dealing with any other type of terrorist activity? Even during Abbas's 14 months in sole control of the PA, from January 2005 to March 2006, his forces failed to arrest so much as a single one of the terrorists who have launched Qassam rockets into Israel from Gaza every day since disengagement. Nor were anti-Israel terrorists of any other stripe - bomb-makers, gunmen, kidnappers - ever arrested, even when Israeli intelligence gave him information on which to act. The conclusion is obvious: Abbas's forces are quite capable of taking action when he wishes them to do so, and in the case of Western journalists and aid workers, he does. He knows that these journalists and aid workers are largely responsible for generating Western sympathy for the Palestinian cause, and it is therefore important to him that they keep coming. And since this would be less likely if they risked torture or death at the hands of kidnappers, he makes sure that kidnapped Westerners are rescued quickly and unharmed. But Abbas has no interest whatsoever in fighting anti-Israel terror, because that would be unpopular with his own public: As one September poll found, 63 percent of Palestinians support bombarding Israeli cities with rockets, 57 percent support suicide bombings against Israeli civilians and 75 percent favor kidnapping Israeli soldiers. Yet neither can he openly advocate such attacks, since that could lead to the West boycotting him like it does Hamas. The obvious solution is to plead helplessness and rely on a gullible West to swallow this plea.Western gullibility is one of the safest bets there is, and entire careers, not to mention political and propaganda campaigns, have been built around it. This is not a victimless crime, unfortunately. For as Evelyn Gordon points out:
"If the PA can enjoy Western diplomatic and material support even without amending its behavior, it will have no incentive to change. And without change, neither the conflict nor Palestinian misery will end."Palestinian misery - amazing how much it troubles us Israelis, and how little it bothers the Palestinian kleptocracy.