Monday, July 18, 2011

Congress Gets Tough on Palestinian Authority; Obama Administration Doesn’t

General Dayton trains Palestinian "security" forces ...

By Barry Rubin
The Associated Press reports:
“American aid to the Palestinians is in jeopardy over their ties to the terrorist group Hamas, unwillingness to restart negotiations with Israel and push for statehood at the United Nations over U.S. resistance, congressional Republicans and Democrats warned on Tuesday.”

But why is Congress taking the lead on this threat? Because the Obama Administration supports continued aid no matter what happens:
“Senior Obama administration officials insisted that the assistance — some $550 million requested this year — is critical to peace and stability in the Mideast and to boosting Palestinian security forces and the economy. They cautioned that cutting off aid would have serious repercussions.”
That does make sense in principle. But shouldn’t an aid cut-off be used as leverage to:
–Stop the Palestinian Authority (PA)-Hamas merger deal? Yes, it will probably fall apart on its own but without the U.S. government making a serious attempt to stop it.
–Stop the PA from throwing away all of its previous commitments and putting the United States in a corner by insisting on going to the UN with a unilateral independence proposal? If Obama vetoes it, this will be very damaging for U.S. standing in the Middle East and if Obama doesn’t veto it, the same applies.
–The refusal of the PA to negotiate seriously with Israel for 2.5 years?
“Our assistance to the Palestinian people is an important building block of our efforts to achieve a comprehensive peace in the Middle East that will allow all people there — Israelis, Palestinians and others — to live their lives in peace, in dignity and in security,” Jacob Walles, deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs, told a congressional committee.
Yes, that’s absolutely true. But what happens when the assistance gets in the way of those goals because the PA refuses to negotiate on a comprehensive peace and systematically sabotages that effort? Shouldn’t the Obama Administration use some threats and leverage to win on the three points above?
Of course, this is typical, if you don’t protect your interests and merely give concessions then your interests will be trampled. As of now, the refusal of the administration to pressure or criticize the PA’s behavior is an important road block of “our efforts to achieve a comprehensive peace in the Middle East.”
Meanwhile, the Palestinian leadership blames the United States for everything wrong in the Middle East. So let me make it simple:
 The Palestinians blame the Obama Administration; the Obama Administration blames Israel and protects the Palestinians from criticism.
Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center, editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal, and Middle East editor and a featured columnist at PajamasMedia His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). The website of the GLORIA Center is His articles published originally in places other than PajamasMedia can be found at

"Boosting the Palestinian security forces and its economy" ... What economy?!  They live off the monies contributed to them from the United States, U.N. and a few Arab countries.  Without financial support, there would no longer be a Palestinian problem in the ME - they would have to begin a process "foreign" to them i.e. supporting themselves; of course, that would mean stop acting like bottom feeders at the bottom of the ocean, picking themselves up by the boot straps, and actually developing ways in which they could become independently responsible for their survival.
"Boosting security forces" i.e. General Dayton and U.S. military training Palestinians.  And how does this enter into any picture of America's best interest?  Does supporting militarily those who teach hate, murder Israelis in their beds, set fires to the forests, destroy the very land they live in, and shoot rockets off day and night into Israeli cities sound like a good way to "boost" security?  Does training those who are simply an organization of ragtag Arab Muslims how to shoot weapons sound like a good idea while they in return, shoot Israelis?!  There's a fool born every minute ... !!  We train them against the best interests of the State of Israel - how's that for incompetence and good judgment!
What it sounds like is a great deal of irresponsibility on the part of the U.S. and a great lack of common sense.  Even the Arab countries can see that supporting these PA's is like pouring money into a pit, and they are refusing to fulfill their promise to "aid" the PA's  - apparently, they recognize the Palestinians are a bottomless pit.  Teach the PA's how to support themselves - you might get a better return than rockets.
Bee Sting