Friday, June 26, 2009

While You Were Watching Iran, Part II: Palestinians and Our Money

JINSA Report #: 900
June 23, 2009

JINSA has frequently expressed concern that the United States is training Palestinian security forces without a clear picture of:

a) To whom the force will, ultimately, be loyal - as the Abu Mazen's Palestinian Authority (PA) government is overdue for elections and his popularity is in the low single digits; and

b) What the disposition of any future Palestinian government will be toward America's friend and ally Israel.
Frankly, we are concerned that Lt. Gen. Keith Dayton and his people may be giving Palestinians skills that will be turned against Israeli citizens. While the PA is currently working with the Government of Israel in a variety of ways, both Hamas and Fatah believe the creation of Israel was a mistake by the international community and restitution for the "European Holocaust" - a misconception to which President Obama's speech in Cairo gave credence. And remember that Abu Mazen is a Holocaust denier from way, way back.

Nevertheless, included in the FY2009 Supplemental Appropriations Bill is $109 million for training Palestinian Security Forces, and Congress is considering an administration request for an additional $100 million to continue and expand the training in 2010. There is no indication of what would happen to the troops, training or money if Hamas wins the next Palestinian election, or if Hamas doesn't wait for an election to take power, or if Hamas has infiltrated Fatah forces and/or if Palestinian security forces are "sharing" their training with others.

According to both Israeli and Palestinian sources, one reason the Fatah military force collapsed so quickly in the Hamas-Fatah civil war of 2007 was widespread Hamas infiltration into Fatah units. Gen. Dayton himself has said that the failure of his predecessors to properly vet recruits to the Palestinian Security Forces was the reason many of them used their U.S.-supplied training against Israel during the so-called "second intifada."

Keeping in mind his assurances that things are better now, last week, Palestinian security sources announced that they had arrested an officer from Fatah's National Guard unit caught training Hamas cells on the West Bank. We are skeptical of statements by the PA government, including its security forces, knowing that they often settle private scores under the guise of public policy. These are the forces Gen. Dayton has vetted and in whom he appears to have confidence, however. We are not reassured at any level.

And when we are not supplying money to Palestinian "soldiers," we are supplying UNRWA - which has employed members of Hamas and serves as a shill for Palestinian radicalism while imprisoning multiple generations of Palestinians in "refugee camps" in various Arab countries (In April, the U.S. supplied $311,500 to replace a clinic providing services to 19,000 Palestine refugees living in a camp in Syria.) In 2008, the U.S. government provided $185 million to UNRWA; in 2009 the figure thus far is $154.5 million - separate from the additional $900 million the U.S. is planning to provide to the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza largely through the corrupt Fatah government in the West Bank and UNRWA.

Somewhere in that welter of money, the Obama Administration and Congress should be asking the fundamental question - what are the Palestinians doing with American taxpayer dollars that American taxpayers would actually want done? None of our largesse has produced the slightest indication on the part of Palestinian leadership - loosely defined - that there are civic, social, cultural and security requirements incumbent upon them when they take money we are increasingly hard-pressed to hand out.

"Change we can believe in" is clearly called for here.

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