Palestinian Authority prime minister Muhammad Shtayyeh on Wednesday sounded the alarm, warning: “We are in a collapsing situation.”
“It’s a very hot summer. At every level,” Shtayyeh told the NY Times. “I hope we will not reach that point.”
President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace envoy Jason Greenblatt set the record straight Wednesday night, tweeting: “PM Shtayyeh is wrong, the PA isn’t ‘in a collapsing situation,’ the PA caused the situation. Time for the PA to step-up & take responsibility for their people & the economy. The PA can’t continue to blame the US & everyone else for a situation they caused.”
PM Shtayyeh is wrong, the PA isn’t “in a collapsing situation,” the PA caused the situation. Time for the PA to step-up & take responsibility for their people & the economy. The PA can’t continue to blame the US & everyone else for a situation they caused https://t.co/pg1KTz0ZFR
— Jason D. Greenblatt (@jdgreenblatt45)
Like most economic issues in the region, the crisis in the PA—as well as in Gaza—has little to do with economics and everything to do with politics, in this case the politics of terrorism. Both Arab enclaves generate numerous terror operations, government-organized as well as individual, spur-of-the-moment terrorism, for which they are punished by Israel and, occasionally, other legitimate powers.
In the past five months, ignoring Israeli demands, the PA has insisted on paying out salaries for its terrorists who are behind bars in Israel, as well as to the families of dead terrorists. Israel has begun to offset an amount equal to those salaries from the tax and other revenues it collects on behalf of the PA – whose reaction has been to refuse those partial money transfers.
The total estimated annual revenue is $2.5 billion, the amount deducted is roughly $140 million. The PA could survive with the loss of $140 million a year, but going without $2.5 billion is a wrecking ball. As a result, the PA is now on the brink of economic collapse, having cut its own nose to spite its face.
The whole thing does not bode well for President Trump’s “deal of the century” peace plan, which reportedly offers the Arabs in the PA and, eventually, in Gaza, staggering economic benefits in exchange for their willing to curb their political expectations to attain the status of a state.
That would have worked nicely had the leadership of the Palestinian Authority not been PLO thugs whose livelihood is based on murder, robbery, extortion and protection. They have no interest in improving the misery of their vassals, in fact, they fear that a more affluent citizenry rise up and bring down their PLO lords.
Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday summed up the situation from his point of view in an Eid al-Fitr Ramadan-ending celebration: “I hope that the next Eid al-Fitr would come with us, the Palestinian people, having liberated our country from the Israeli occupation, established our independent state, with East Jerusalem as its capital, and overcome the plots contrived against the Palestinian issue, including the Deal of the Century, which will all go to hell.”
Jason Greenblatt has to be a well-grounded, strong-minded person. After all, he had Donald Trump for a client when he served as his chief legal officer. But it is highly doubtful he could succeed in convincing this band of criminals to abandon their life of crime to better the lives of their people.
Perhaps it’s time to send in the Marines.