Originally published under the title “No Reason to Fear PA Economic Collapse.”
The Palestinian Authority is refusing to accept any funds transferred from Israel because Israel has begun deducting the value of stipends the PA pays to terrorists and their families, commonly known as “pay for slay.”
The PA’s refusal has added to its chronic budget crisis. International financial support to the PA has declined in recent years, and the Palestinian economy has deteriorated accordingly. As a result, the PA is now telling the world it faces economic collapse.
The Palestinian strategy is clear. PA President Mahmoud Abbas is trying to scare Israel and the world community into believing the relative stability in the West Bank will come to an end, leading to chaos and terror. The PA leadership is emulating Hamas’s behavior by threatening that a humanitarian disaster will ensue unless more financial aid is rendered. Hamas has been playing this same game for years in Gaza. Israel and other international actors (the United States is a sober exception) seem to fall repeatedly for these Palestinians schemes.
The PA and Hamas both tell the world that humanitarian disaster will ensue if more financial aid isn’t rendered.
It is true that a certain level of economic prosperity in the PA is conducive to stability. Hungry neighbors always pose trouble. Unfortunately, poverty is often cynically employed by authoritarian regimes such as Hamas and the PA as a foreign policy tool to gain attention and financial aid. In fact, the Palestinian leadership needs a certain number of hungry subjects as a precondition for continuous international support. And Palestinian leaders are far less susceptible to economic difficulty than responsible leaders are. Palestinian elites eat well in any case.
Abbas will soon be facing the “deal of the century” proposed by an American administration that is very critical of Palestinian policies. Washington has reduced its financial support for the PA and eliminated all aid to UNWRA.
Trump’s envoy to the Middle East, Jason Greenblatt (left), has encountered unremitting rejectionism from Palestinian Authority leader Mahmud Abbas (right).
In response, the Palestinians have announced their rejection of any plan coming from the Trump administration. One way to reject the American peace proposal and yet not be blamed for its failure is to engineer an economic crisis that diverts attention from continuous Palestinian intransigence regarding any and every attempt at peacemaking.
Fortunately for the PA, the economic crisis can always be attributed to Israel, which serves as a constant and historic villain in the Palestinian narrative. Attention to Palestinian economic ineptitude and corruption can also be diverted by blaming the high-handed Israelis. And finally, Israel’s insistence on not financing terrorist activities can mobilize some much-needed political support at home for the unpopular Abbas. All polls show a gradual loss of legitimacy for Abbas among Palestinians.
Fears of the PA’s imminent collapse serve to force the Palestinian issue back to the top of the world’s agenda.
Fears of an imminent collapse of the PA – long a darling of the international community – also serve to force the Palestinian issue back to the top of the world’s agenda. For a while the world has been busy with other more burning issues, such as Iran. Indeed, the Iranian threat has lowered the interest of most Arab states in the Palestinian issue, as well, and brought them closer to the Israeli position – which basically considers the Palestinians a strategic nuisance. The conclusion reached by many Arab and other actors is that in the absence of a Palestinian leadership ready to make difficult decisions, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict can, at best, be managed for the medium term.
It should be noted that Israel is doing more than its share to bolster the Palestinian economy – providing jobs to Palestinians in the Israeli work market; supplying water, electricity and health services to Palestinians; and keeping Hamas from overthrowing Abbas’s PA. Moreover, it is active in raising funds internationally for the PA.
Abbas and his coterie will not kill the goose that lays golden eggs.
And thus, nobody should cave to Palestinian blackmail. While it is best for all concerned to ensure a decent standard of living for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, it is highly unlikely that the PA will economically collapse. After all, the PA is a very good business for the kleptocratic leaders of the regime in Ramallah. Marked by corruption and nepotism, the PA is source of significant income for Abbas and his coterie. This gang will not kill the goose that lays golden eggs. As dysfunctional as the Palestinian national movement has become, it has excelled in perpetuating the pork barrel born in Oslo.
Efraim Inbar is president of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security and a fellow at the Middle East Forum.
Related Topics: Arab-Israel conflict & diplomacy, Israel & Zionism, Palestinians | Efraim Inbar
A 2018 demonstration against antisemitism in Berlin. Photo: Reuters / Fabrizio Bensch.
A slight drop in the number of antisemitic incidents in Berlin during the first half of this year is no excuse for complacency, the city’s antisemitism commissioner emphasized on Thursday following the publication of statistics for hate crimes targeting Jews in the German capital from January-June 2019.
“Antisemitism remains a serious problem that we cannot tolerate in Berlin,” Lorenz Korgel — the city’s commissioner for combating antisemitism — told local news outlet Berliner Morgenpost. “The number of antisemitic incidents remains at a high level. ”
People wear kippas at a demonstration in front of a Jewish synagogue denouncing an antisemitic attack on a young man wearing a kippa, in Berlin, Germany, April 25, 2018. (photo credit: FABRIZIO BENSCH / REUTERS)
The population of the State of Israel has increased 2.1% since last year, according to a report released in time for Rosh Hashanah by the Central Bureau of Statistics.
Today, there are 9.1 million citizens of Israel, of which some 6.7 million (74%) are Jewish, the report shows. The country’s citizens also include 1.9 million Arabs (21%) and 0.4% of “others,” including Christians and those of other minority groups.
A women holds up a sign against anti-Semitism at a rally in New York City on Sept. 22, 2019. Photo: Rhonda Hodas Hack.
JNS.org – Hundreds of demonstrators rallied in front of City Hall in New York on Sunday, calling on New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and other municipal leaders, as well as those on the national level, to act against antisemitism and the wave of antisemitic hate crimes taking place against the Orthodox Jewish community.
The beach in Tel Aviv, Israel, May 17, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Ammar Awad.
On the eve of the holiday of Rosh Hashanah, ushering in the Jewish year of 5780, Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics released its traditional end-of-the-year findings.
Israel’s population now stands at 9.092 million people — 6.744 million (74.2 percent) of whom are Jews, with 1.907 million (21 percent) Arabs and 441,000 (4.8 percent) listed as “other.”
Drew Seigla and Stephanie Lynne Mason. Photo: Instagram.
Drew Seigla and Stephanie Lynne Mason play Pertshik and Hodl, whose love story takes them all the way to Siberia in the award-winning show by the National Yiddish Theatre.
Oct 25, 2019 0People arrive at a polling station to vote in the federal election in Beauce, Quebec, Canada, Oct. 21, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Mathieu Belanger. A top Jewish advocacy group said on Friday it...
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“There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.” — Sherlock Holmes, The Boscombe Valley Mystery
“Israel must, in the most blunt and clear way possible, illustrate to Washington that the prosperity of Jordan is a first-rate Israeli security and strategic interest.” — Former head of Mossad Ephraim Halevy at “Between Jerusalem and Amman: 25 Years Since the Signing of the Peace Agreement Between Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan,” Institute for National Security Studies, Sept. 25, 2019.
A thought came to mind the other day.
For all the bluster about Judaism and anti-Semitism in America, I am not convinced that far-out-left and liberal young Jews, who have been very strident and even threatening on Israel-related issues and local American political battles, have done much on the ground to confront and quash, one way or another, attacks on Jews. They have portrayed themselves as gliding along a moral highway but have permitted immoral actions to exist quite close to home, far from Gaza (did any of them recite a public Kaddish in the town square for murdered and injured Jews, or their damaged and desecrated property)?
One of the hallmark features of Yom Kippur are the communal sins which we need to repent for. Most Jews focus on what we have done personally towards G-d and towards others. Little thought is given to how we could be better as a community. Or the sins we bear as a community.
However, the communal recitation of the Al Chet, repeated over and over on Yom Kippur is to drive the point home that we are responsible for one another
Incoming freshman Member of Knesset from the leftist, Democratic Union list, Yair Golan, did it again. Golan’s constant delegitimization of his political opponents on the right, smacks of the same delegitimization that tyrants, dictators, demagogues and assorted totalitarians always use, just before the Putsch.
In that regard, he’s right when he said recently, “I’m reminding people that the Nazis came to power democratically, so we have to be careful, very careful, so that radicals with a messianic view won’t exploit Israeli democracy to replace the system of government.” Think “
As Israeli frustration mounts about violence coming out of Gaza, the idea of a ground invasion, and once and for all to finish with Hamas aggression, becomes more appealing. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has endorsed this approach, saying, “There probably won’t be a choice but to topple the Hamas regime.” While sympathetic to this impulse, I worry that too much attention is paid to tactics and not enough to goals. The result could be harmful to Israel.