The United States government may be sinking deeper into debt than at any time in recorded history, but that hasn’t stopped President Obama from reaching down into the pockets of American taxpayers and grabbing some more funds to hand over to the Palestinians.
On June 9, with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas at his side, Obama announced his latest spending spree, which will see hundreds of millions of hard-earned American tax dollars going straight into the coffers of the Palestinians.
After reiterating to reporters his determination to carve up the Land of Israel and create a Palestinian state, the president declared that “the United States – which is already the biggest humanitarian aid donor in Gaza – is going to be announcing an additional $400 million in assistance for housing, school construction, business development – not only in Gaza, but also in the West Bank.”
This support comes in addition to the $900 million the administration was already planning to give this year, bringing the total American aid package to the Palestinians for 2010 to a whopping $1.3 billion.
Incredibly, Obama’s announcement came on the very same day that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke went before Congress to warn that America needs to rein in its deficit, declaring the country’s current financial trajectory to be “unsustainable.”
“The risk,” Bernanke told the House of Representatives’ Budget Committee, “of ongoing deficits is the potential loss of confidence in markets and the way to reassure the markets is by creating a plausible plan for medium-term stability in the fiscal situation. Obviously you can’t run deficits of 10 per cent of GDP forever.”
Try telling that to Obama, who seems to have few qualms about taking out the federal checkbook and making yet another generous gift to the Palestinians.
And just what, you might be wondering, is the reason for this largesse, particularly at a time when most Americans are busy tightening their belts?
Well, according to Obama, it is really very simple: “We think it’s important for us to reaffirm once again our commitment to improving the day-to-day lives of ordinary Palestinians.”
So even though, by the president’s own admission, the U.S. is “already the biggest humanitarian aid donor in Gaza,” he nonetheless feels the need to “reaffirm” it to the tune of $400 million.
Aren’t there more inexpensive ways of doing so?
Worse yet, Obama is essentially rewarding the Palestinians for refusing to negotiate directly with Israel.
Indeed, despite repeated calls by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to launch direct bilateral negotiation without preconditions, the Palestinian chairman has instead preferred to limit exchanges to the indirect proximity talks being administered by U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell.
And even as Washington is lavishing praise and funds on Abbas, the Palestinians openly continue to incite violence against the Jewish state with wild abandon.
In the aftermath of the Gaza flotilla incident, for example, it was Abbas himself who labeled Israel’s actions a “massacre” and “state terrorism,” paving the way for the harsh international response that quickly followed.
But rather than holding Abbas accountable for this, Obama prefers to stuff his account.
Hamas, too, stands to benefit from America’s infusion of capital, half of which will reportedly go to projects in the areas under its control in Gaza.
Even if safeguards are put into place, and Hamas doesn’t succeed in siphoning off some of the aid money, as it has been wont to do in the past, it will still boost the terrorist group’s standing among the Palestinians living under their rule.
In short, this is a “lose-lose” proposition no matter how one looks at it. Obama is giving away money America cannot afford to leaders who do not deserve it for a cause that will only strengthen the radicals.
With congressional elections less than five months away, now would be a perfect time for American citizens to stand up and say: “Enough! We don’t want our tax dollars going to support Israel’s enemies!”
Each and every one of you reading this newspaper should contact your local senators and congressmen and politely but firmly express your opposition to sending further aid to the Palestinian Authority.
As taxpayers and voters you have the right, and the obligation, to ensure that your money is not going to fuel still more anti-Israel extremism.
So raise your voices and declare that while you want to see your tax dollars put to good use, there are plenty of better ways to do so than by giving Mahmoud Abbas and Gaza another unnecessary boost.
Michael Freund, whose Jewish Press-exclusive column appears the third week of each month, served as deputy director of Communications & Policy Planning in the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office under Benjamin Netanyahu from 1996 to 1999. He is founder and chairman of Shavei Israel (www.shavei.org), which reaches out and assists “lost Jews” seeking to return to the Jewish people.