The US is the number one enemy of the Palestinians because it supports Israeli “oppression” against the Palestinians, Tawfik Tirawi, a senior member of the Fatah Central Committee, said on Sunday.
Tirawi, former commander of the Palestinian Authority’s General Intelligence Force in the West Bank, also said that Fatah has not abandoned the armed struggle option against Israel. “Fatah hasn’t thrown the rifle aside,” Tirawi told thousands of university students during a rally in Hebron.
Tirawi’s anti-US remarks came only days after a Palestinian protester tossed a shoe at US diplomats who arrived in Ramallah to attend a cultural event. The Palestinians were protesting against US President Barack Obama’s refusal to back the PA’s statehood bid at the UN and US threats to cut off financial aid to the PA.
I have certainly not held back from criticizing the Obama Administration, which I think has significantly shifted the US position away from Israel’s and closer to the Palestinians’. But this is not good enough for the Palestinians, who feel betrayed because the US did not facilitate their strategy of gaining territory and statehood without negotiating with Israel.
The US Congress has held up the transfer of $200 million to the Palestinian Authority (PA) because their action violates previous agreements, because of their cooperation with Hamas, and because they refuse to recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people (the administration is doing its best to pressure Congress to release the money before the pipeline dries up).
Some other reasons that our representatives may or may not have taken into account include the fact that the PA pays a monthly ‘salary’ to 5000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, even those who have been convicted of murder. This includes members of Hamas, as well as Fatah! They also pay their ’employees’ in the Gaza Strip — in particular, ‘security’ personnel. Since Gaza is entirely controlled by Hamas, either these employees are doing nothing or they are working for Hamas.
In addition, there is a huge amount of corruption in the PA, with cronies of powerful politicians reaping benefits from PA-sponsored monopolies, etc. And if Fatah decides to ‘pick up the rifle again’, no doubt international aid will pay for it.
Now the EU has decided to allocate another 100 million Euros (about $133 million).
It seems to me that the greatest obstacle to peace between the Arabs and Israel is not Israeli settlements. It is not even Arab rejectionism — although perhaps that is the proximate cause.
No, the biggest obstacle is Western meddling, which has enabled a corrupt terrorist organization like the PLO to obtain and cling to power, and which has encouraged them to think that it will help them kick the Jews out of the Middle East.
The West has also prevented Israel from dealing with Hamas, a group which deserves no more or less than to be wiped off the face of the earth. Yet Israel has had to walk a tightrope between doing nothing and engaging in highly limited military operations, always prepared for accusations of war crimes coming from European-funded NGOs. Even an economic strategy to bring down Hamas was short-circuited by the US after the Mavi Marmara affair.
Under UN protection, Hizballah has rebuilt itself to an even better strategic position than prior to 2006. And whether or not you think Israel has the ability to knock out the Iranian nuclear program, there is no doubt that pressure from the US is one of the greatest obstacles that would have to be overcome to do so.
Here is my two-step plan to solve the Israeli-Arab conflict:
- Stop funding, supporting, catering to, protecting, coddling, and pretending to not understand the real intentions of the PLO, Hamas, Hizballah, etc. Stop funding anti-Israel NGOs, too.
- Understand that Israel’s self-defense and Western interests are aligned, and allow Israel to do what it needs to do without interference.
This plan is both inexpensive — it saves hundreds of millions of dollars — and would result in both a secure Israel and a possibility that the Palestinian Arabs can develop leadership that is more interested in improving the lives of Arabs than in killing Jews.
The longer we wait, the more it will cost — in money and lives.