How (and Why) Palestinian Leaders Scare the World: Khaled Abu Toameh, Gatestone Institute, Jan. 15, 2016— What do you do when your home has become hell?
Demise of the Palestinian Authority is Only a Matter of Time: Avi Issacharoff, Times of Israel, Dec. 17, 2016 — Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas tried this week to explain the motives behind the unprecedented phenomenon — referred to by many as the “third intifada” — that we have been witnessing over the past two and a half months.
Where Does All That Aid for Palestinians Go?: Tzipi Hotovely, Wall Street Journal, Jan. 24, 2016— One often-cited key to peace between Israel and the Palestinians is economic development.
A Lonely Palestinian Moderate: Machla Abramovitz, Mishpacha, Dec. 28, 2016 — Dr. Mohammed S. Dajani Daoudi started his adult life as a Fatah activist in Beirut.
Palestinians Ponder Succession After 11 Years of Abbas: Mohammed Daraghmeh & Karin Laub, National Post, Jan. 6, 2016
Two More Middle East Martyrs: Jonathan S. Tobin, Commentary, Jan. 18, 2015
New Report on Palestinian Anti-Semitism Reveals Intense Jew-Hatred and Incitement: United With Israel, Jan. 14, 2015
Luxury Alongside Poverty in the Palestinian Authority: Isi Leibler, Candidly Speaking, Jan. 20, 2016
Khaled Abu Toameh
Gatestone Institute, Jan. 15, 2016
What do you do when your home has become hell? If you are Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, you divert attention from the mess as fast as possible. For a start, Abbas is trying to scare the international community into believing that without increased pressure on Israel, the Palestinian Authority (PA) will be forced to resort to unilateral measures, such as attempting to create new "facts on the ground" in the West Bank.
Next, Abbas is threatening to renew the Palestinian call for convening an international conference for peace in the Middle East and to step up rhetorical attacks against Israel. Finally, Abbas has perfected the art of financial extortion. Every Monday and Thursday, as it were, the PA president has threatened to resign and/or dissolve the PA. This tactic has a twofold aim: cold hard European and American cash and a gaze directed away from the PA's turmoil. Abbas wants the world's eyes on Israel — and Israel alone. That way, the fierce behind-the-scenes battle for succession that has been raging among the top brass of the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank will stay far from the limelight.
This week, Abbas's spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudaineh, announced that the Palestinian Authority was coordinating with Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan in order to create "facts on the ground" to establish a Palestinian state. This announcement was designed to tighten the international screws on Israel. The threat to "create facts on the ground" was a direct message to the US and the EU that they had better push Israel farther — and faster — or the Palestinians would be left with no recourse but to build in Area C of the West Bank, currently under exclusive Israeli control. Yet Palestinian building in Area C is not just a threat. In fact, and thanks to the financial and logistical aid of the EU, Palestinians have already begun building that project in some parts of the West Bank.
What the PA wants is the following response from the international community: "Oh my God, we must do something to salvage the peace process. We need to put even more pressure on these Israelis before matters get out of hand." The PA seeks a solution imposed upon Israel by the international community. This has been quite clear for some time, but the PA spokesman's recent announcement leaves no room for doubt. Abbas has no incentive whatsoever to return to the negotiating table with Israel. Why negotiate when Western powers are prepared to do everything to see Israel brought to its knees?
As part of this strategy, Abbas last week renewed his call for an international conference to discuss "ways of solving the Palestinian cause." According to the PA president, the international community that has reached understandings that Syria, Libya and Iran should be able to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This is nothing but an Abbas scare-tactics redux. Radical Islam and terrorism, so we are to believe, will be conquered by solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The president of the PA desires to implant in the minds of the West a direct link between the Islamic State terror group (ISIS) and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
But Abbas might have done well to check in with his sources. ISIS and the other terror groups currently destroying the Arab world do not give a damn about Israeli settlements or checkpoints. Nor is a two-state solution on their docket. These groups have a different agenda — to conquer the world and establish an Islamic empire. En route to achieving their aim, the Muslim terrorists will kill "apostates" and "infidels" including Abbas and other Arab leaders.
"President Abbas's call for an international conference reflects the state of confusion and wallowing he is in," remarked former Palestinian cabinet minister Hassan Asfour. "The appeal is designed to search for an unclear and jellied formula and it has no legitimacy." Asfour noted that there was no need for such a conference, in light of the fact that the UN already recognized a Palestinian state in 2012. So what exactly is Abbas trying to achieve? For the most part, Palestinian political analysts are convinced that the eighty-year-old president, who is about to enter the eleventh year of his four-year term in office, is simply seeking to hold onto the reins of power. The best way to do so, they argue, is by keeping up the buzz about international conferences and potential Palestinian unilateral moves on the ground.
In order to run the Palestinian show until his last day, Abbas needs to divert attention from the battle of succession that has hit the spotlight in the past few days. Top Fatah officials have been pushing him to appoint a deputy president, in the hope of forestalling a power vacuum upon his departure from the scene for one reason or another. These officials have long censured Abbas for running the PA as if it were his private fiefdom. Among the critics are Jibril Rajoub, Tawkif Tirawi, Mohamed Dahlan, Salam Fayyad and Yasser Abed Rabbo — all of whom regard themselves as potential successors to his seat.
Meanwhile, Abbas's preferred candidate for deputy president appears to be none other than Saeb Erekat, the PLO's chief negotiator who was recently upgraded to the post of PLO Secretary-General. This choice, however, is not going down well with Fatah officials, many of whom have expressed their opposition to the attempt to pave the way for Erekat to become the next Palestinian president. A direct link does exist, then, but it is not, as Abbas contends, one between ISIS and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The true direct link is between the urgency Abbas feels at home to prop up a crumbling empire and his intimidation of the international community. In other words, when Abbas feels the heat, Israel is thrown into the fire.
Times of Israel, Dec. 17, 2015
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas tried this week to explain the motives behind the unprecedented phenomenon — referred to by many as the “third intifada” — that we have been witnessing over the past two and a half months. To date, more than 130 terrorists have taken part in attacks or attempted attacks against Israeli targets. If you add the number of terrorists who have carried out attacks to those who were arrested preemptively by the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli security services, you get to a quick estimate of around 200-250 Palestinians who were ready to die in order to kill Jews — in the short period of 75 days.
So, a rough average of around three terrorists a day — a figure that is both unimaginable and deeply dangerous. Abbas has claimed that despair about the Israeli occupation and the dashed prospects of a two-state solution brought these youngsters to do what they did; Israel blames incitement. Prime Minister Netanyahu this week rushed to attack Abbas and quoted surveys carried out in the West Bank that show the Palestinian public’s opposition to a two-state solution. He did not note that the Palestinian Authority itself prevents attacks of all kinds against Israelis almost every day.
The problem is that neither Abbas’s explanation (“the occupation”) nor Netanyahu’s (“the incitement”) fully sheds light on this sick phenomenon. It may also be that through our Western eyes, we can never really understand how hundreds of youngsters are willing to die without a second thought in order to stab Israelis.
Taha Katnani, the father of Ashrakat, a 16-year-old terrorist who last month tried to stab Jewish passersby at the Hawara checkpoint near Nablus (she was run over by Gershon Mesika, who was passing by chance, and then shot dead by security forces), is a known figure in the Islamic Jihad terror group. In recent years, he’s been the imam of one of the mosques in the Askar refugee camp on the outskirts of Nablus. In an interview with a Palestinian TV station identified with Islamic Jihad, he said that his daughter had told him before she died that in the event she was killed (“martyred”), “if the occupiers try to barter with my body, don’t agree to it.” He went on to describe a subsequent meeting he had with Israeli security officials at Hawara. “They tried to understand if there had been a crisis, if she had been in a crisis, or I had, or [aunt] Yassin… In other words, they tried to understand the motive.”
“But the occupiers don’t understand,” the father added, tearfully. “They’re deluded. Ashrakat lived in her home, with a high standard of living, doing what she wanted. Whoever knows us — everyone knows the warm relations between myself and my children. Everyone is moved when they see my approach and my relationship with them,” he added. In short, Ashrakat presumably grew up in a home and an environment profoundly hostile to Israel, but did not have family or psychological problems.
Many commentators had warned of a blow-up but none of them predicted the way this “third intifada” would develop. Certainly not the Israeli political echelon, which continues to exist in its bubble, waiting for the storm to pass… and it is refusing to pass. The withholding of terrorists’ bodies, and the threat to destroy their families’ homes, are supposed to prevent the next terror attack. But these techniques don’t stand up to the reality test.
The flood of attacks isn’t letting up for a moment. It’s emphatically not always related to family crises, or to what emerges as a psychological problem. It is at least partly an expression of despair and frustration, as Abbas said, but it also relates to the Palestinian Authority and all the Palestinian factions and even to the older generation in general, which has disappointed the younger generation. A large majority of the attackers have not belonged to any kind of organization, were not known to the security services, and had not received an order to carry out their attack.
Most of these young people come from the Palestinian cities, some are more religious and some less, most are single. They are not simply fed incitement from the social networks and certainly not only from the Palestinian Authority’s official media networks. They also get their hatred almost intravenously, in the internet cafes, the mosques, the billiard clubs, from the family — in almost every place. And for such a phenomenon, it’s difficult to find one single convincing explanation — or a solution that will stop the epidemic. On the Israeli side, there is no credible plan for calming the tensions. During a meeting between senior Israeli and Palestinian security personnel, the Palestinians demanded a “political road map” that they argued would bring about calm on the streets. The Israelis demanded that the PA first stop the violence.
Dramatic political moves may be essential to achieve long-term calm. But what are the Palestinians demanding within the framework of a “road map” ahead? A freeze in settlement building and an agreement in principle to negotiate on the basis of creating a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders. These are unrealistic in light of the current coalition makeup in Israel and the policy of the person at its head. It’s an impasse: The Palestinian Authority isn’t capable of calming the street without dramatic political steps that Israel has no intention of taking.
What does this say for the PA and Abbas? That in all likelihood, they’re living on borrowed time. Or, as a senior figure from the Authority said in his office in Ramallah, “The game is over.” Does this mean the dismantling or crumbling of the PA in the near future? It seems so. Security cooperation is wearing thinner with each passing day — after each Palestinian terror attack, and each Israeli security operation in the field (such as the operation Tuesday night in the village of Qalandiya, during which Israeli forces looking for terrorists killed two Palestinians who, in separate incidents, tried to ram their cars into Israeli soldiers). It’s like a countdown whose end is hard to predict but which will clearly stop at some point. Thus the demise of the PA is a question of when, not if…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Wall Street Journal, Jan. 24, 2016
One often-cited key to peace between Israel and the Palestinians is economic development. To that end, there seems to be broad agreement about the importance of extending development aid to help the Palestinians build the physical and social infrastructure that will enable the emergence of a sustainable, prosperous society. But few have seriously questioned how much money is sent and how it is used.
Such assistance will only promote peace if it is spent to foster tolerance and coexistence. If it is used to strengthen intransigence it does more harm than good—and the more aid that comes in, the worse the outcome. This is exactly what has been transpiring over the past few decades. Large amounts of foreign aid to the Palestinians are spent to support terrorists and deepen hostility.
For years the most senior figures in the Palestinian Authority have supported, condoned and glorified terror. “Every drop of blood that has been spilled in Jerusalem,” President Mahmoud Abbas said last September on Palestinian television, “is holy blood as long as it was for Allah.” Countless Palestinian officials and state-run television have repeatedly hailed the murder of Jews. This support for terrorism doesn’t end with hate speech. The Palestinian regime in Ramallah pays monthly stipends of between $400 and $3,500 to terrorists and their families, the latter of which is more than five times the average monthly salary of a Palestinian worker.
According to data from its budgetary reports, compiled in June 2014 by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the PA’s annual budget for supporting Palestinian terrorists was then roughly $75 million. That amounted to some 16% of the foreign donations the PA received annually. Overall in 2012 foreign aid made up about a quarter of the PA’s $3.1 billion budget. More recent figures are inaccessible since the Palestinian Authority is no longer transparent about the stipend transfers.
Embarrassed by public revelations of the misuse of the foreign aid, in August 2014 the Palestinian Authority passed the task of paying stipends to terrorists and their families to a fund managed by the Palestine Liberation Organization, also led by Mr. Abbas. Lest there be any doubt as to the purely cosmetic nature of the change, Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah made assurances as recently as September 2015 that the PA will provide the “necessary assistance” to ensure these terror stipends. This procedural ruse apparently calmed the consciences of donor governments that continue to transfer aid. It is difficult to think of another case in which such a forgiving attitude would be taken regarding foreign aid to an entity that sponsors terror.
This situation is particularly disturbing given the disproportionate share of development assistance the Palestinians receive, which comes at the expense of needy populations elsewhere. According to a report last year by Global Humanitarian Assistance, in 2013 the Palestinians received $793 million in international aid, second only to Syria. This amounts to $176 for each Palestinian, by far the highest per capita assistance in the world. Syria, where more than 250,000 people have been killed and 6.5 million refugees displaced since 2011, received only $106 per capita.
A closer look at the remaining eight countries in the top 10—Sudan, South Sudan, Jordan, Lebanon, Somalia, Ethiopia, Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo—is even more alarming. CIA Factbook data show that these countries have a combined population of 284 million and an average per capita GDP of $2,376. Yet they received an average of $15.30 per capita in development assistance in 2013. The Palestinians, by comparison, with a population of 4.5 million, have a per capita GDP of $4,900.
In other words, though the Palestinians are more than twice as wealthy on average than these eight countries, they receive more than 11 times as much foreign aid per person. The Democratic Republic of Congo is a case in point: Its 79 million people have a per capita GDP of $700, yet they receive only $5.70 in aid per person. Between 1993 (when the Oslo Process began) and 2013, the Palestinians received $21.7 billion in development assistance, according to the World Bank. The Palestinian leadership has had ample opportunity to use these funds for economic and social development. Tragically, as seen in Hamas-run Gaza, it prefers to use the funds on its terrorist infrastructure and weaponry, such as cross-border attack tunnels and the thousands of missiles that have rained down in recent years on Israel…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Mishpacha, Dec. 28, 2015
Dr. Mohammed S. Dajani Daoudi started his adult life as a Fatah activist in Beirut. But after experiencing the generosity of his supposed Israeli “oppressors,” he began to question his assumptions. Now he’s trying to do what might seem impossible: reform Palestinian society from the inside…
Dr. Dajani, a secular Muslim and founder of American graduate studies at Al-Quds University in east Jerusalem who now lives in Washington DC, made headlines last year when he took Palestinian graduate students on a study tour of Auschwitz. The idea was to expose Palestinian students to the attempted Nazi genocide of the Jewish People, something standard Palestinian education promotes as exaggerated at best, mythological fantasy at worst. But Dr. Dajani couldn’t have anticipated the outrage that followed. He lost his job at Al-Quds, and Palestinian critics torched his car and threatened his life. Despite these personal setbacks, he remains steadfast in his determination to establish a model for peace and reconciliation between Palestinians and Jews.
“We, as a generation, have inherited this conflict, so it is important that we leave for our children a peace inheritance. We seek reconciliation in the midst of conflict,” he told Mishpacha. “The idea is that moderation leads to reconciliation; reconciliation paves the way for negotiations with good spirit and good will, which leads to conflict resolution, which will lead to democracy and prosperity.” Professor Dajani Daoudi spoke candidly to Mishpacha about what Palestinian society teaches its children about Jews, and how his own personal experiences with Jewish doctors changed his outlook on the “enemy.”
Yet despite his moderate views, it was a difficult conversation at times. On one hand, Dajani sacrificed his career as a professor due to the backlash against his university trip to Auschwitz. In an era when the head of the Palestinian Authority wrote his doctoral thesis on Holocaust denial and Palestinian schoolbooks are replete with racial incitement against Jews and Israel, Dajani’s trip was courageous step in the name of academic freedom and in search of the truth. On the other hand, his language is sprinkled with the terminology referring to Israel’s capture of parts of its ancestral homeland as the “occupation” and to Israel’s Independence Day as the “Nakba” the Arabic word for catastrophe. It’s part of the Arab-Palestinian narrative that doesn’t fade or soften with time, despite all of the positives Dajani says he has experienced in his relations with the Jewish state and the Jewish people.
While thousands of people take tours of Auschwitz on a regular basis today, Dr. Dajani’s group was unusual because both he and his students grew up in a society that denies the Holocaust. “In school we studied the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and were taught that Israelis were our enemies and that the Holocaust was simply Zionist propaganda to justify Jews coming to Palestine to take over our land,” he explains. “I believe this is a myopic and immoral view: myopic in that it is wrong to see the Holocaust exclusively through the lens of Palestinian suffering, and immoral in that it denies history and betrays the memory of the victims, a betrayal that is inherently unjust.”
Professor Dajani hasn’t relinquished his dream of Palestinian statehood, but he has recalibrated his attitude toward the accepted Palestinian narrative. Perhaps it’s in his blood. He comes from a long line of political movers, some of whom refused to toe the party line. The 69-year-old Dajani hails from a centuries-old Arab family, and the honorific “Daoudi” was added to the family name way back in 1563, when Sultan Suleiman appointed the Dajani family as custodians of King David’s Tomb (although many Jews believe King David is buried elsewhere). Two Dajanis served as mayors of Jerusalem in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and Hassam Sidiqqui Dajani, a relative, was assassinated on the orders of Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, for calling for reconciliation and a binational state for Jews and Palestinians.
Dajani found himself suffering from the same intolerance.
“I anticipated some criticism for taking 27 students to Auschwitz, since this had never been done before. What I hadn’t anticipated was the furor that ensued not only within academia, but throughout Palestinian society,” he says. “Our trip was discussed and dissected on the streets and reported and analyzed in newspapers and on television. Social media was ablaze with indignation and cruel invectives directed against me and my students. I was called a ‘normalizer,’ someone who wants to normalize relations between Palestinians and Israelis, which in Palestinian parlance is equivalent to being a traitor. My life was threatened and my car was torched.”…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Palestinians Ponder Succession After 11 Years of Abbas: Mohammed Daraghmeh & Karin Laub, National Post, Jan. 6, 2016—Unpopular after 11 years in power, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas is starting to face some open machinations from would-be successors, as his dream of negotiating Palestinian statehood lies in tatters. One likely contender is believed to be behind recent claims — swiftly denied by Abbas' camp — that the 80-year-old's health is failing, while another has complained of a "real leadership crisis" in rare open criticism of Abbas from within his Fatah movement.
Two More Middle East Martyrs: Jonathan S. Tobin, Commentary, Jan. 18, 2015—The last thing the Middle East needs is another two martyrs. But that’s what it got on Sunday night as a result of a horrifying crime that took place in a West Bank settlement. The incident isn’t likely to generate the kind of headlines that terror attacks in the West have gotten.
New Report on Palestinian Anti-Semitism Reveals Intense Jew-Hatred and Incitement: United With Israel, Jan. 14, 2015 —Since the Palestinian Authority (PA) was established, and continuing throughout 2015, it has systematically used anti-Semitism to indoctrinate young and old to hate Israelis and Jews. The PA has actively promoted religious hatred by demonizing Judaism and Jews and spreading libels that present Jews as endangering Palestinians, Arabs and all humanity.
Luxury Alongside Poverty in the Palestinian Authority: JCPA, Nov. 5, 2015—In communities throughout the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, a surprising degree of luxury exists alongside the poverty. This study includes “A Photo Album of Palestinian Luxury in the West Bank,” offering a more complete picture of living standards there. The truth is that alongside the slums of the old refugee camps, which the Palestinian government has done little to rehabilitate, a parallel Palestinian society is emerging.