That may seem like a radical headline, but it’s not. But first let’s offer some perspective.
The U.S. government offers $400-million per year in aid to the PA. These are essentially funds that go into a hole that supports the PA, pays salaries, probably helps maintain Fatah’s favored few in the lifestyle to which they’ve become accustomed. It’s akin to the hundreds of billions we’ve sunk into Iraq, out of guilt and a false hope that money will substitute for what’s really necessary to create a functioning state. As in Iraq, our funds prop up a failed, corrupt, dysfunctional PA and its bloated bureaucracy. It’s meant to prevent a total collapse of government control in the West Bank.
Similarly, Israel collects $100-million per month in VAT from Palestinians purchasing goods abroad which move through Israeli ports. It does so according to a treaty Israel signed which directs it to refund the money to the PA. However, whenever Netanyahu has been peeved at Mahmoud Abbas he’s halted the payments. Now that Ban Ki Moon has notified UN member states that Palestine’s application to join the ICC will become effective April 1st, this is one of those moments.
U.S. legislators and Israeli rightist politicians have issued dire threats about cutting off the funds. Bibi’s lobbying his GOP pals to cut the spigot ASAP. I think they should be careful what they wish for. Further, Israel has threatened to cut off electricity to the West Bank due to alleged PA debt to Israel’s national power company. It seems that driving Ramallah into the same desperation and penury suffered by Gaza is Israel’s aim.
To me, it’s not so bad: yes, Palestinians will suffer from the cut-off of aid. But what is the alternative? To continue playing Stepin’ Fetchit in an Israeli-sponsored minstrel show? Are conditions for Palestinians so good that they’re willing to continue under Israel’s boot forever?
It’s the same argument pro-apartheid whites made in the face of the 1980s South African sanctions movement. Cutting aid and relations with the white government would hurt Blacks most. Whites will hardly suffer and the policy will fail. Actually, many factors contributed to the fall of apartheid, but sanctions were certainly one.
So will Palestinians suffer, in the short term? Yes. But in the long time it will bring the downfall of the Occupation regime quicker. How so? Unable to support itself, the world will look to Arab regimes to take up the slack. Nations like Qatar like making pledges but don’t fulfill them. That will leave the PA with little choice but to dissolve itself. And that’s a good thing. Even Palestinian leaders such as Mustafa Barghouti agree.
The world will not allow the West Bank to collapse into chaos. Not only would the subsequent suffering shame the world, it would offer a horrible photo op to contrast the relative stability of Gaza with the economic ruin of the West Bank. Though Israel would be dragged screaming and kicking to resume its administration of the territory, it would have no choice. The world would force it to.
That too is a good thing. Once Israel takes over there is no fig leaf; no PA to offer the illusion of Palestinian authority or control. The world never bought the South African claim that bantustans were legitimate independent Black states. It knew them for what they were: Potemkin villages to allow apartheid to continue. For some reason, the world has accepted the PA as a legitimate authority when it never had any.
Let’s throw the PA to the winds and make Israel pay the piper. If it wants to maintain the Occupation, let it do so not just in name only. Let’s see Israeli soldiers running civilian affairs and the entire kit and caboodle in the West Bank as they did for many years. That will give the world even less opportunity to excuse the injustice of Occupation. Israel’s own apartheid regime will fall that much quicker, giving Israelis and Palestinians the long overdue opportunity to determine their future as two states or one (though the former appears a hopeless option).
For these reasons, the Obama administration will resist the aid cutoff, in the mistaken impression that setting Palestine adrift will harm Israeli interests and cause unrest in the region. If it does manage to keep the aid intact it will be doing a grave disservice to all parties. But it wouldn’t be the first time.
“The world will not allow the West Bank to collapse into chaos.”
Wow, quite a statement I don’t agree with. Just look at Israel’s neighborhood. Once there is no PA representation, there will be no voice for Palestinians from inside Eretz Yisrael. Yes, Israel will be glad to administer the West Bank, ehh Judea and Samaria, and establish its security with iron fist. Jenin a hundredfold. Israel owns US Congress and most of the Democrats and Republicans. The US population doesn’t care and it’s the European community who is accepting Palestine as a state.
Israel’s stategy after 9/11 of the War on Terror and spreading the disease of Islamophobia has been very effective. Look at the European nations, I don’t recognize my close relatives, former friends and 25% of the Dutch, agreeing and will be voting for Geert Wilders, the Dutch Likudnik.
Look at the recent demonstrations in Dresden by PEGIDA, German abbreviation for ‘Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West’. “Germany for the Germans.” Where have we heard that before? Dresden “suffers” from Muslims … 0.4% of the regional population! In Sweden, a government that has accepted Palestine as a state … arson attacks on mosques. Today in The Netherlands after years of threats, discrimination and renewed death threats and threats to burn down mosques. The Dutch masses remain silent and indifferent. In Germany there were counter-protests, Dutch news failed to report this.
With the PA removed in the short term, no hope for the Palestinians from the Western hemisphere.
My optimism is that the diplomacy of today needs support to play out and leads to Palestinian independence ultimo 2017. During the last two years of a lame duck presidency, not throwing in a US veto at the United Nations may just be the greatest feat of Obama’s legacy.
“Israel’s stategy after 9/11 of the War on Terror and spreading the disease of Islamophobia has been very effective. Look at the European nations, I don’t recognize my close relatives, former friends and 25% of the Dutch, agreeing and will be voting for Geert Wilders, the Dutch Likudnik.
Blaming the Jews? That’s an original thought.
Read my comment carefully Figg, I spoke of the State of Israel, not of a religion nor of the Jewish people living across the globe. But I’m glad you’re not bothered by an abundance of knowledge.
○ Fear Inc.
○ Wilders a Likudnik and FM Rosenthal (VVD) used his veto power in EU
Read also Wilders’ remarks on his visit to Israel:
“Dutch MP in Tel Aviv: Palestinians Should Go Home to Jordan” and
“Partners of Wilders in US Earn Big Bucks from Jihad Watch.”
RS has written often on this topic and rightly so. See how PM Netanyahu equates Palestinians with Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, Islamic State, just to name a few. Fear, fear! Promoting FEAR and getting the backlash so the USA, France and the UK know what terror is. The coward.
[Comment rule violation: you’ve invoked the racism – anti Semitism card in an unjustified manner. A major comment rule violation. Your next violation of any sort will result in moderation.]
I’ve been cursed for being a Jew, hated for being anti-semitic, got internet death threats for independent thinking. Yours is quite original, it is well noted. LOL 🙂
To make it more complicated for you, I appreciate the Jesuit pope Francis, Jorge Mario Bergoglio.
[That does it. You’ve gone off topic and will now be moderated. Comments that observe comment rules will be approved. Those that do not will not be.]
You’re assuming the killers (at least 12 dead so far) are Muslims, but you don’t know that they are not militant Christian Scientists or Buddhists. And if in fact they are nominal Muslims, than they are not “true” Muslims, because Islam is the Religion of Peace and such actions would be in contravention of fundamental Islamic precepts.
The Winner Is: Islamophobic French Right Wing
Great essay by Juan Cole @Informed Comment!
Sharpening Contradictions: Why al-Qaeda attacked Satirists in Paris
The operatives who carried out this attack exhibit signs of professional training. They spoke unaccented French, and so certainly know that they are playing into the hands of Marine LePen and the Islamophobic French Right wing. They may have been French, but they appear to have been battle hardened. This horrific murder was not a pious protest against the defamation of a religious icon. It was an attempt to provoke European society into pogroms against French Muslims, at which point al-Qaeda recruitment would suddenly exhibit some successes instead of faltering in the face of lively Beur youth culture (French Arabs playfully call themselves by this anagram). Ironically, there are reports that one of the two policemen they killed was a Muslim.
[Comment deleted: do not play the anti-Semitism card here. It’s lazy hasbara & unacceptable here.]
Arie Brand says
Can we have some clarity of thought?
From the fact that pre-war tirades against Jews (especially in Germany) – not to speak of the crimes that followed – were unjustified does not follow that present day complaints about Israeli treatment of the Palestinians are equally unjustified.
I still detect in what you are saying the idea that whatever Israel does is justified by the holocaust. Not many people outside Israel will accept that. As Sir Gerald Kaufmann said in the House of Commons (you can see and hear it on Youtube): the fact that my grandmother was killed in her bed by a Nazi soldier does not provide a licence to an Israeli soldier to kill Palestinian grandmothers.
That it is “too late” to complain about Israel, because it calls itself the Jewish State, doesn’t appear to be factually true. In fact the complaints have increased of late. The idea that “even your countrymen” (meaning the Dutch) “don’t want to hear of that anymore” is nonsense. Holland is probably still one of the most pro-Israel countries in Europe but I have seen attitudes change greatly over the last forty years or so. The hysterical acclaim for Israel at the 1967 war, or even the Yom Kippur War, has totally gone. Don’t be fooled by Geert Wilders’ 25 % ( a poll figure that might not be sustained at the actual election) -many of his adherents are more anti-immigration and anti-Moroccan (a rather problematic group of migrants) than pro-Israel. In fact Geert’s love affair with Israel has more the character of a personal idiosyncrasy.
[comment deleted: off topic]
RE: “To me, it’s not so bad: yes, Palestinians will suffer from the cut-off of aid. But what is the alternative? To continue playing Stepin’ Fetchit in an Israeli-sponsored minstrel show? Are conditions for Palestinians so good that they’re willing to continue under Israel’s boot forever?” ~ R.S.
MY COMMENT: Apparently conditions are good enough for the Palestinian elites so that they are willing to join with the Israelis in keeping the Palestinian proles under Israel’s boot so they have no choice but to play Stepin’ Fetchit in the Israeli-sponsored, American-financed minstrel show.
EXCLUSIVE-US aid goes to Abbas-backed Palestinian phone venture
Fri Apr 24, 2009 12:53pm BST
ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://uk.reuters.com/article/2009/04/24/idUKL1783372
That`s true – the PA is in the same boat with Israel. Without it they can expect the same fate from Hamas as their (slain) colleagues in Gaza. While Israel needs protection from Hamas terror. A done deal with the US as its patron and the political show that now goes on is a convenient masking of it. But that` snot just the elite – ordinary Palestinians watching on their TV screen daily the nightmare in the region understand what`s at stake.
Richard Silverstein says
@ Cassandra: I find comments like this not just cynical, but vacuous. I don’t know what you say or mean. There’s no point of view & no substance beyond cynicism. You’re wating your time & ours in having to read this. I don’t want my comment threads filled with crap like this. I have little patience with this & further commments like this one will result in moderation.
Israel will avoid the collapse of the PA no less than it does the Hamas regime in Gaza. Regarding Gaza, Israeli leaders have said this outright: they prefer Hamas to chaos. I’m sure its measuring its steps carefully and monitoring the situation to avoid a total collapse. Abbas likes to threaten dissolution periodically, but it’s an idle threat.
Bibi is the master of reaction. As Richard says, everything he does is done dragged kicking and screaming; he doesn’t initiate anything, out of fear. This is true both domestically and internationally. He is the paradigm conservative– don’t rock the boat, things can only get worse, keep things the way they are at all costs.
Richard Silverstein says
@Yehuda: I have the same thing to say as I did about Cassandra so read what I wrote their. Cynicism masquerading as wisdom of some sort is boring & useless. It doesn’t teach or say anything and wastes everyone’s time. You’ll be moderated the next time you publish anything as useless as this.
[comment deleted: You made claims in this comment which were opinions not bolstered by fact or evidence. Do NOT make such claims again here & read the comment rules.]