Since Israel’s unilateral disengagement from Gaza in 2005, the standard of living for the Palestinian people in Gaza has steadily declined even though Israel gifted the Palestinians with thriving agricultural lands, productive greenhouses and beautiful beachfront communities.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s priorities are not geared toward helping his people, but on maintaining his grip on power, privilege, and finagling foreign aid.
The PA’s increased payments to terrorists and their families to $403 million a year, from $347 million last year are a stark incentive to violence and murder. Some apprehended attackers confessed to committing terrorist acts so as to clock enough prison time “to financially set their families for life,” said Eric Mandel, Middle East Political and Information Network director. Why bother with a PhD or vocational training when all you need is a kitchen knife and a few innocent bystanders?
U.S. President Donald Trump recently tweeted a clear, long overdue message to Mahmoud Abbas; in effect: you can’t have it both ways.
Offended by Trump’s December speech, which clearly left Jerusalem’s final boundaries to be negotiated by both sides, Abbas overreacted with trademark false accusations, and a huffy rebuttal of the U.S. role as peace broker.
Like the proverbial farmer sawing off a tree limb but forgetting he’s sitting on it, Abbas overlooked the billions in U.S. aid funneled to the PA since the mid-’90s, which last year alone totaled more than $730 million in all sectors—economic and humanitarian, security and justice, and UNRWA. Abbas’s tantrum backfired. It’s payback time.
President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel skirted the question of the city’s final boundaries under Israeli sovereignty, leaving them to be determined by final-status negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. His stance is in line with the Oslo Accords, to which both parties agreed amid fanfare and a White House lawn ceremony.
But despite the Palestinians’ signatory acceptance of Jerusalem’s disputed status, their disregard for international law and diplomacy has consistently undermined peace efforts.
With all the attention supposedly now focused on negotiations and “peace talks” between the Israelis and the Palestinians, why is most of the attention going to the ending of the building of new residences on land in towns and villages rightfully belonging to Israel?
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently addressed the United Nations General Assembly, strongly defending the existence of the state of Israel, and stressing that the Jewish state "will live forever." He also warned the nations of the world that a nuclear armed Iran will be a great threat not only to Israel and the Middle East, but also to all the world.
He started his speech by saying that he was happy to be addressing the UN General Assembly, which was being presided over by the Israeli Ambassador to the UN. Then the first item on his agenda was to stress the long existence of the state of Israel and to defend its present existence. "Three thousand years ago," he said, "King David ruled over a nation called Israel, and from a capital called Jerusalem." He added, "Today we are happy to have a modern Jewish state that will live forever."