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The Palestinians’ Worst Enemy

           A recent article in the Wall Street Journal highlighted a fact that is well-known but usually ignored by the media, and in fact, by governments throughout the world. A study by an NGO that is usually notoriously anti-Israel in its conclusions regarding human rights and has in the past called Israel an apartheid state, recently concluded that the Palestinian Authority (PA) on the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza have destroyed the Palestinian community and are the greatest abusers of human rights in the area.
            Their study of the PA showed that dissent is not allowed, there is no freedom of the press or of expression, that torture is systematic in its penal system, and that the situation of the Palestinians over the 25 years since Oslo has deteriorated greatly. It seems clear that the Palestinian Authority is not interested in having a state but is only interested perpetuating itself in power and influence and in continuing to embezzle and steal the millions and millions of dollars donated by the world to the poor Palestinians. It is probably the most corrupt ruling body that exists in the world.
            Its leaders have enriched themselves from the donations given by the United Nations, the European Union, the United States, and other countries, and even from Arab countries such as Oman, Qatar, Iran, and others. This is truly the greatest obstacle towards any sort of peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is obvious to all that those who are interested only in their own personal enrichment and power are not really addressing the problems. In fact, it is these problems that enable them to remain in power and to continue to enrich themselves by the misdirected generosity of the rest of the world.
            In 2005, Mahmoud Abbas was elected president of the Palestinian Authority for a five-year term. No new elections have been held in the 13 years since he assumed power, and while paying lip service to all sorts of peace proposals, he and his cohorts have really done nothing to advance the cause of peace between Israel and the Palestinians. It is obviously not in his interest to create a more peaceful climate because Israel provides him with the sole issue upon which his power rests. In every way possible, except for open warfare, the Palestinian Authority has does everything in its power to undermine the state of Israel and to de-legitimize it in the eyes of the world.
The United States government, for decades, has poured tens of millions of dollars into the coffers of the Palestinian Authority, but with little influence or benefit derived from that largess. The current administration in Washington has changed course. It has cut off a great deal of the funding that usually goes to the Palestinian Authority and threatened even more drastic action if the PA does not exhibit some sort of goodwill towards the United States and towards its peace efforts. It is very difficult to understand why it took the American government so long to come to this logical and obvious conclusion but, better late than never. Perhaps this will have some sort of influence and help restore a semblance of rational thinking to this troubled part of the world.
            It is a question of intelligence as to why almost 70 years after the establishment of the state of Israel and the adoption of the Partition Resolution of the United Nations that there are still millions of refugees claiming to be Palestinians and demanding a return to a home and country that they never saw, and of whom there are many questions regarding pedigrees and rights. Yet, the first thing that a visitor to the United Nations headquarters in New York will see in the lobby is the plight of the Palestinian refugees. Again, it is illogical in a world that, for instance, has just witnessed over 400,000 Syrians slaughtered in a senseless civil war, that these PA refugees, all of whom have a questionable relationship to the land of Israel, should be the prime focus of world attention and of continuing financial support. Over the years, billions of dollars have been poured into the West Bank and Gaza, and there is almost no positive result to be seen from such enormous expenditures.
A more hard-headed solution and stance would be that until and unless there is a new Palestinian leadership that is willing to put its house in order, such funding should be drastically curtailed and controlled so that the funding and the food actually reaches those that need it, instead of lining the pockets of the corrupt politicians who, in every respect, want only to continue the crisis. Again, it is only the crisis that justifies their being in power, and any solution of that crisis works against their own interests. It is a sad situation, but such is the nature of tyranny and totalitarian governments. Unless this root of evil is somehow destroyed and altered, there is little hope for a lasting solution to this issue here in our area of the world. Let us hope that somehow a new leadership will arise for the Palestinians, and that that leadership will envision a better future for all.
Shabbat Shalom
Berel Wein

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