Middle East

Palestinians Should Get it in Writing That the US Will Cut Aid if They Pursue Statehood


Republicans and Democrats are in a bipartisan snit over Palestinian plans to take its quest for statehood to the United Nations this week. The Obama administration is poised to veto the motion in the Security Council. But Congress also wants to cut off the $600 million or so that the U.S. gives the Palestinians in aid every year.

This will obviously not go down well on the Palestinian street, already thoroughly disenchanted with just what a dud this administration has been in promoting Middle East peace, Obama's tall promises in Cairo when he took office notwithstanding. Be that as it may, losing aid might be the best thing that might happen to the Palestinians. They are among the largest recipients of foreign aid on a per capita basis. But where has the money gone? To erect a kleptocracy with zero interest in pursuing peace. As I noted recently:

Arafat used the aid not to build Palestinian infrastructure or human capital but to put in place a patronage system. He dispensed aid money to consolidate one-man rule not the rule-of-law. Instead of transparent and accountable institutions, the Palestinians got a government whose fattening rolls, especially of its security forces, were full of Fatah Party members. Indeed, security personnel almost doubled from 44,400 in 1999 to 78,000 in 2006, comprising literally half of all government wage earners.

Giving Arafat an outside source of funds detached him from concerns about the health of the broader Palestinian economy. The private sector completely collapsed under him as companies, unable to compete with aid-subsidized government wages, folded. The upshot was a two-tier economy in which those who joined Arafat's ranks gained power and riches and those who didn't—or couldn't—grew oppressed and wretched.

But neither group acquired any economic stake in peace and development. Indeed, a 2008 study by Steven Stotsky in the Middle East Quarterly presented a series of startling graphs showing a direct correlation between periods of high-aid and high-violence. For example, one graph shows increased aid after 2000 dovetailing, as if on cue, with an increase in the murder rates of both Israelis and Palestinians a year later.

Arafat's successor, Mahmoud Abbas along with Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, have had some success in cleaning up Arafat's mess and restoring economic growth, earning kudos from the World Bank. However, a recent study found that 60 percent of West Bank's GDP still depends on foreign aid. So long as this is the case, it is hard to see how a Palestinian middle-class with a vested interest in political stability and peace could possibly emerge.

But if foreign aid has thwarted the voices of peace on the Palestinian side, the massive amounts of American military aid to Israel has arguably encouraged it to take a more hardline stance too. For the sake of peace, could Congress axe that too while it is at it?

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  1. “what a dud this administration has been in promoting Middle East peace…”
    outside of carter, no administration has sucessfully promoted mid-east peace esp the intractable israeli/palestinian conflict.

    1. becuz there has been peace in the middle east since 1979 thx to carter derp

      1. old mex – are u aware the peace treaty was bet the egyptians & israelis? and yes, those 2 nations have enjoyed peace since then.

      2. Anwar Sadat brokered the deal. Carter just threw in free money to get his name in the papers.

        1. i didnt realize camp david was in egypt

          1. We’ll add that to the extra big book of things you don’t know. And there are these newfangled inventions out now called airplanes. They even carry people from one country to another.

            1. gosh u mean like sadat & begin flew to camp david? such a world we live in

              1. You really have a weird sense of what the word “peace” means. And by weird, I mean totally fucked up.

              2. Yes they did. And Carter deserves about as much credit for the Egypt-Israel treaty as the banquet hall owner does for the act of renting his premises for a wedding reception that later turns out to be a successful marriage.

      3. Peace in the Middle East since 1979???

        Then I must have hallucinated the invasion of Kuwait. And the Gulf War. And the Iraq War. And the war between Iraq and Iran. Not to mention an intifada, suicide bombers, violent government repression of dissidents, and the leader of Syria bombing one of his nation’s own cities.

        Yes, thank you Jimmy Carter for 32 years of Middle East peace!

        1. the egyptians & israels remain at peace which was the peace treaty

          1. We’re quickly finding out now that “peace” which is dependent upon the receipt of billions and billions of sucker, oops I mean American, dollars, isn’t a real peace at all: it’s a pathetic fraud and a cruel sham.

          2. Someone calling himself o2 alleged that there has been peace in the Middle East since 1979 thanks to Carter. The Middle East consists of more than merely Israel and Egypt.

        2. Don’t forget a few Israeli invasions of Lebanon, the routine bombing of Palestinians, etc. I know where not supposed to point Israeli culpability, but those are too big to omit.

          1. of course, but let us not forget , the continued bombing and killing of those islamofucks i meant those god loving peace pacifists who shell israeli civilians for the sake of killing jews.

            Of course Israel’s response is weirdly peaceful , cause in Russia Putin almost cleansed out Chechnya ripping its heart cause couple of bombs, Turky cleansing the other “terrorists” in its own country and iran. bla bla..piehole

    2. outside of carter, no administration has sucessfully promoted mid-east peace esp the intractable israeli/palestinian conflict.

      Which in no way contradicts what was written. Looks like your reading skills match your writing skills.

      lol u guys quit being so meen to obusha derp

  2. The headline story in the September 3, 2011 edition of the Economist, found at http://www.economist.com/node/21528258, was on the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and their aftermath. Buried in the story was the following quote:

    “A poll for the Arab American Institute reported this summer that America’s standing across the Arab world is now lower than it was at the end of Mr Bush’s term.”

    So much for Obama “making the world love us again,” his Nobel Peace Prize, or his “game-changing” Cairo speech. Like so much else about this man, it was all hype without any substance at all.

    1. + 5 to Number 2

      1. Add another +5 from me.

  3. Barack Obama — Nobel Peace Prize recipient.
    That always cracks me up.


      1. I violated no clearly established precedent.

        1. I need a massage.


            1. Where can I find a good attorney? Preferably one that won’t file bogus lawsuits…

  4. Palestinians cheering in the streets as the twin towers fell, and their apologists trying to say for a decade the cheering never happened. And we send them 600M a year.

    Here’s how much I care what they think…

    1. +10

    2. You didn’t cheer when OBL was killed? (never mind it took 10 years, thousands of military casualties and billions of dollars)

      1. The two are in no way comparable.

  5. Hey, Nobel committee. No individual has received the prize twice.
    (Wink, wink.)

    1. Well, he has bombed a country illegally, because there were, you know, people he didn’t like there and stuff. But since it totally wasn’t a war, and we’ve pretty much stopped bombing now, he deserves another medal.

      Hey, it worked for Kissinger.

  6. I, for one, would have no objection to cutting aid to Israel and the Palis.

    And everyone else in the Mideast.

    And the world.

    To avoid charges of favoritism, though, we need to zero it all out at exactly the same time. I suggest midnight tonight.

    1. No, no, it’s all about taxing the rich. Did you know that they don’t pay taxes at all in this country?

    2. Why wait until midnight?

    3. I suggest midnight tonight.

      Eastern Standard Time please.

      1. It’s not Standard Time right now. It’s Daylight Savings Time.

        1. That’s great, PL. Know what? There are only 724 more pages in the contract for you to check…

    4. + 100 to R C Dean

    5. This is a global initiative, so naturally I meant GMT.

  7. Rhoemites! Draft-dodgers! Go back to Prussia, krauts!

    FDR is going to round you all up with the Japs, just wait!

    Never fear, underdouche is senile!

  8. Ah, an Israel-Palistine thread. I always enjoy a topic that brings out the rational in everyone. Trolls, I’ma let you finish, but screaming about how either A) your opponents hate the Jews or B) everything is the Jews fault are the best arguments of all time. Of all time.

    1. You mis-spelled “Palestine.”

      1. Fucking fuck. Sometimes I’m semi-literate.

        1. I only offer it as something new to argue about in a I-P thread… 🙂

          1. *Sigh* OK, let’s berate each other over who has the worst typing skills, until one of us is crying in our shame corner.

            This game always makes me feel dirty.

            1. My office is round. I have no shame corner. Your argument is invalid. I win. I win. I win.

              1. Where is this “Palestine”? Do they have good deals on tourism?

              2. My office is round.

                As one would expect from one named Lord Doomcock.

                1. I have no corner in which to piss.

      2. You mean Philistine?

        1. Palinstine.

          1. John can see it from his house.

          2. I would like to get bombed by those big hooters from Palinstine.

          3. Michael Palinstine or Sarah Palinstine?

        2. Philistine and Palestine is spelled the same unless you’re writing with the vowels and accent marks.

  9. Problem 1: Israel’s military aid from the US is not connected to the foreign aid given to the Palestinians. It’s connected to Egypt. We give them each the same amount in the name of military “parity” (even though the Israelis could overrun in Egypt in a matter of days).

    Problem 2: Which Palestinian “government” is making this push for statehood? The ones the Palestinians elected (Hamas), or the ones the American State Department gives money to (Fatah)?

    1. In spite, cutting Palestinian Fatah aid is a good idea nonetheless, mostly though not only for the reasons exposed.

  10. Funding the political machinations of a civilizationally retarded, decrepit proto-state and its wholly irrelevant (to the US) arch-enemy is one of the most unacceptable, unjustifiable things this country has ever done in the sphere of modern foreign policy.

    No more bullshit. No more cultural sensitivity. The stuff of which Palestinian society is made is a thoroughly degenerate, quasi-theocratic cesspool of medieval stupidity and immorality. We’re paying these fucking barbarians to:

    1) allow their overlords and their political machine to keep entrenching themselves deeper into the state of permanence they’ve been seeking,

    2) allow Palestinian society, as a whole, to continue skull-fucking itself into further instability and decadence, and

    3) allow Mr. Everyday American to feel good about himself. And his representative in Congress is only too happy to help him with that.

    And I’m sorry, Israel is not our concern. You do not, you DO NOT, tax Americans to finance other nation-states. Fucking PERIOD.

    1. Add “Palestine” to that list of financing other nation-states.

      Except that it isn’t one, but still.

      1. My description related to Palestine — the last sentence about Israel was the one aimed at Isreal.

        We honestly have to stop this shit. Right now. We’re not the world’s charity bank.

        1. Wow, I fucked that up badly. Complete rephrase:

          I basically meant that as a universal principle, whether it’s Israel, Palestine, or Andorra.

          1. I know… I was just pointing out there’s no such thing as a Palestinian nation-state – nor should there be, but I digress.

          2. Free Andorra from the tyranny of the Spanish and French oppressors!

            1. Free Andorra!*

              *with purchase of another Andorra of equal or greater value

            2. That was the joke!!!!!!!

    2. I seriously don’t think the average American knows that the USA gives aid to Palestine. They would never approve of it in the best of times, and it would be the first item cut in times like today.

  11. This will obviously not go down well on the Palestinian street

    Bombings by 11:00.

    1. NO! There’s peace in the middle east. Supra.

  12. I recently learned that the fight between Turkey and Kurdish separatists started in 1984 and has killed over 40,000 people so far ( http://www.kurdmedia.com/article.aspx?id=16800 ). That dwarfs the casualty count of the Israel-PA conflict for the same time period ( http://www.jewishvirtuallibrar…..total.html ). Why are we expending so much effort on the Israel-PA conflict when other similar conflicts don’t even show up on our radar?

    1. Because pretty much all the bien pensants wants the Jews to lose, and nobody cares if the Turks win or lose.

    2. A) Turkey is about 80m people, the Kurds are estimated anywhere 15m to 30m people. Each of Israel and the Palestinians are about 6m people. Therefore, any death is proportionally bigger for them.
      B) historically, all the nations in the region and all outsiders wanting to influence it (USA included) have used the Kurds to weaken one or other of the nations who divide up the Kurdish majority area. If we allowed them independence, they might be a client state of any of them, but they will no longer be useful in the former way.

      1. Ironically, the Middle Eastern area where the US is held in its highest regard is the would-be Kurdistan.

        And to paraphrase RPA, we should start our deficit cutting with foreign aid.

  13. But if foreign aid has thwarted the voices of peace on the Palestinian side, the massive amounts of American military aid to Israel has arguably encouraged it to take a more hardline stance too. For the sake of peace, could Congress axe that too while it is at it?

    I would back an elimination of all USA aid to all countries, but that isn’t the proposal in this post. USA aid to Israel balances the USA aid to Egypt and compensates Israel for giving up the Sinai Peninsula. If you want to eliminate USA aid to Israel you should also stop the annual $1.7 billion the feds give to Egypt, the $1.2 billion they give to Pakistan, the 0.7 billion they give to Jordan, the 0.3 billion they give to Lebanon, and the 0.8 billion they give to the PA.

    [Figures are from the US Census Bureau and for 2009, the most recent year available. http://www.census.gov/compendi…..n_aid.html ]

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