By Michael Kuttner
For far too long, terror groups and those associated with them have been awash with funds provided by Governments which deliberately ignore the consequences of their generosity.
This scandalous state of affairs has been continuing over many years and in recent times has assumed grotesque proportions. Now all of a sudden an American President has decided to do something about it and all hell is breaking out. Belatedly Israel is also talking about becoming serious in shutting off the flow of money and services, which successive Governments have only half heartedly tackled. The screams of outrage from those affected can be heard locally and internationally.
As discussed many times the funding of UNRWA which perpetuates permanent refugee status unto the thousandth generation should have been suspended years ago. Now a monstrous UN agency employing over 30,000 staff, this bloated organisation provides a never-ending source of money all paid for by taxpayers of donor nations, including Australia and New Zealand.
Its schools are run by Hamas supporters, its textbooks teach hate and incitement and the number of persons it looks after increases every day. Not one country which pours taxpayers’ money into its bottomless bucket has been willing to stand up and declare that this charade must stop. UNRWA needs to be shut down and the “refugees” transferred to the UNHCR for immediate resettling in host countries. None of this of course is likely to happen because those providing the money are too far gone in their appeasement policies. At the slightest hint of the tap being turned off threats of violence and impending catastrophe are enough to scuttle the move.
At long last however the USA has had enough of this hypocrisy and never-ending refusal to solve the problem. The resultant uproar merely illustrates the double standards and moral cowardice now prevailing.
Another reason for the cacophony of outrage now emanating from Ramallah is the prospect of Washington also reducing or cutting off funds to the PA. The invective, incitement and threats being hurled at the Trump administration increase with every passing day. Finally those being abused have had enough of this nonsense and quite rightly are questioning why they should continue to financially prop up those whose main objective is to deny and rewrite Jewish history.
One has to question as to what previous billions in aid have achieved. What is there to show for it all? Have the lives of PA citizens improved and have positive efforts been made to advance democratic values, human rights and genuine peace?
The answer, plain for all but the most blinkered to see, is that these billions have certainly enriched the lives of a few at the top while the masses continue to wallow in abject misery. Fed by lies and fuelled by incitement from Mosque and media alike the prospect of real peace recedes at a rapid pace. This claim of eternal entitlement may go down well in the corridors of Scandinavia, Europe and the UN but it looks possible that the spigots are about to be turned off and Uncle Sam is no longer willing to be an eternal mug.
Israel is also guilty of waking up far too late. For too long our own political leaders have been terrified at the thought that acting resolutely might precipitate terror. Well, terror against Israelis has been a constant constituent of Palestinian Arab behaviour. Showing some “tough love” is long overdue. Hamas is in a declared state of war with us and the PA rewards and promotes terror and murder.
In light of the above realities can anyone explain why we have restored the full flow of electricity to Gaza? An elementary school child knows that building terror tunnels requires electricity. In light of the fact that electricity we supply is not being used to create better living conditions, improved health care or an education system geared towards peace and tolerance, but is instead channeled towards creating poisonous minds, our gestures will once again be used against us.
The prophets of doom and hallucinators of brotherhood maintain that punishing Hamas ruled Gaza will only make the inhabitants more violent and initiate terror. My contention is that appeasing those whose sole aim is to wipe you off the map only encourages more frenzied efforts at achieving these aims. Thus it has always been and that is how it is playing out at the present time.
The White House has finally woken up to the fact that paying stipends to those murdering Israelis can no longer be tolerated. Abbas and his colleagues maintain that continuing these payments, using aid provided by the hypocritical international community, is a national duty and necessity. Until recently Israeli Governments soft pedaled this scandalous situation not wanting to cause too many waves in the face of Obama/Kerry and UN refusal to acknowledge it. At long last the message is finally getting through and now that Trump is seriously reviewing the situation reality is slowly dawning.
Proposed legislation in the Knesset would require the Israel Government to deduct from taxes collected by Israel on behalf of the PA the amount paid by them to murderers and terrorists and their families. This proposal has naturally generated a storm of opposition not only from PA political spokespersons but also from the usual suspects from the left, domestic and foreign. The same question arises as in the case of providing electricity to Gaza. Why on earth would any self respecting country be expected to contribute towards rewarding the murder of its own citizens? The answer seems so simple yet when it comes to Israel the world gets into an uproar.
In order to exactly understand how much aid money is being used here is a summary of the remuneration dished out as reported within the last week by the PA itself.
In 2017, the Palestinian Authority paid prisoners and freed prisoners over NIS 550 million, while families of killed or wounded terrorists received some NIS 687 million. This constituted some seven percent of the PA’s overall budget.
Prisoner jailed in Israel for 3 to 5 years receives 2,000 NIS per month.
Prisoner jailed in Israel for 20 to 35 years receives 10,000 NIS for life.
A married terrorist receives an additional 300 NIS per month.
A terrorist with children receives an additional 50 NIS for each child.
A terrorist from Jerusalem receives a bonus of 300 NIS per month.
An Israeli Arab terrorist receives a bonus of 500 NIS per month.
The average wage in the West Bank is just a little over NIS 2,000 a month.
Donor countries which pour billions into the bottomless coffers of the PA should be recoiling at this disgusting situation. Instead they prefer to avert their gaze, call emergency conferences at which the USA and Israel are condemned and appeal for increased funding. It is about time we called a halt to this farce once and for all.
As Albert Einstein said: Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Michael Kuttner is a Jewish New Zealander who for many years was actively involved with various communal organisations connected to Judaism and Israel. He now lives in Israel.
[This article was originally published on J-Wire and is reproduced here with permission from Michael Kuttner.]
ALSO: Here’s what the Israel Institute of NZ has to say about UNRWA: https://israelinstitute.nz/2018/01/nz-must-reconsider-unconditional-support-of-unrwa/