Trump Cutting Palestinian Funds for Terror
By Rachel Ehrenfeld
Monday, September 17th, 2018 @ 3:33PM
Left: PA President Abbas Curses Trump: ‘May Your House Be Destroyed’ (Credit: Palestinian Media Watch)
The Trump administration has denied reports it offered $5 billion to entice the Palestinian Authority to negotiate a new peace plan with Israel and has also cut its aid to the PA.
Why would the Trump administration offer anything to the PA? After all, President Trump and his national security team, including his National Security Advisor, John Bolton, and State Secretary Mike Pompeo, have vociferously criticized President Obama’s “pre-bonus” of $1.7 billion to Iran for participating in the Geneva talks, which purported to curb Iran’s nuclear weapons program. Iran took the money, but never signed the agreement. Moreover, it used the money not to improve its economy, but to increase its terrorist activities in the region and beyond. And despite IAEA reports, Iran has boosted its uranium enrichment capacity.
When President Trump hosted PA President Mahmoud Abbas at the White House, on May 3, 2017, he promised he’ll do “whatever is necessary” to mediate peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Used to successive U.S. presidents pledging to broker “peace in the Middle East” by throwing money at the Palestinians – especially when increasing their terrorist activities against Israelis – Abbas expected that Trump’s “whatever is necessary” would mean more, not less funding. He ignored Trump’s statement that“Peace can never take root in an environment where violence is tolerated, funded or rewarded,” referring to the PA’s payments to Palestinian terrorists in Israeli jails and their families. But Abbas failed to recognize there was a new Sherif in the White House, especially because Trump’s then State Secretary, Rex Tillerson, was easy to fool. He assured the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on June 13, 2017, that the Palestinians“ have changed that policy and their intent is to cease the payments to the families of those who have committed murder or violence against others,” Tillerson said. “We have been very clear with them that this [practice of paying terrorists] is simply not acceptable to us.”
By December 2017, Abbas was virulently denouncing President Trump’s decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. He called back the Palestinian envoy from Washington. In reaction, Trump threatened to cut off the United States aid to the Palestinians for their refusal to come to the negotiating table. “That money is on the table, and that money is not going to them unless they sit down and negotiate peace,” he said. Still, the Palestinians did not take him seriously. After all, other U.S. presidents have threatened to stop aid the PA, and even stopped funding them for short periods of time, but the American money-spigot was never shut off. Until Trump took office.
So, in January 2018 when Trump threatened to cut off U.S. funding to the PA and UNRWA because the PA stopped negotiations with the U.S., Abbas retorted to cursing Trump, saying: “May your house be destroyed,” as the Palestinian Media Watch video shows.
In May 2018, shortly before the opening of the U.S.embassy in Jerusalem the Israeli daily Maariv reported thatJohn Kerry sent a “message to Abbas and ask him to “hold on and be strong,” according to Hussein Agha, a close associate of PA President Mahmoud Abbas, who met the former US secretary of state in London. Kerry told Agha, to tell Abbas, “that he should stay strong in his spirit and play for time, that he will not break and will not yield to President [Donald] Trump’s demands.” Not surprisingly, Abbas vowed not to engage in any peace talks negotiated “by the US “in any way, shape or form.” And his chief negotiator Saeb Erekat declared“The world needs real leaders, and those [White House officials] are real estate dealers, not leaders.” This sounded much like John Kerry’s criticism of President Trump on all his policy decisions.
But the Trump administration reviewed the failed U.S. policy towards the PA and decided to change it.
Rewarding Palestinian terrorism began in earnest in September 1993 with the Oslo Accords. At that time, Britain’s National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS) reported: “The conglomeration of Palestinian movements under the umbrella of the Palestine Liberation Organization, is the richest of all terrorist groups. It is estimated that they have worldwide assets approaching 8-10 billion U.S. dollars and an annual income of about $1.5 – $2 billion U.S. dollars from “nations, extortion, payoffs, illegal arms dealing, drug trafficking, money laundering, fraud, etc.” The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), estimate at that time was a bit higher. And according to Israeli sources, Arafat had a stash-fund of some $1.3 billion.” The NCIS report warned at that time that the PLO was also “financed and assisted by maverick states,” and concluded that PLO criminal activities and support from radical states “will continue.” And as we have witnessed over the years that was an excellent prediction.
The riches of the PLO have not kept Mr. Arafat, and his successor Mahmoud Abbas, from demanding billions of dollars to increase their terrorist activities and anti-American, anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic propaganda machine. And it did not stop Western leaders promising, and giving billions of dollars more as a reward for PLO concessions towards “making peace with Israel,” always claiming that billions of dollars were needed to build up the economy of the gestating Palestinian state. But “building up the economy” was always a guise, allowing the PLO leadership, before and after the Oslo Accords, to amass huge wealth, and to fund terrorism. They used the lack of economic development in Gaza and the West Bank – due to their mismanagement and corruption – to demand and get more money. And for the past twenty-five years, they got what they wanted. The U.S. assistance to the PA “Since 1994 has totaled more than $5 billion, and [U.S.] contributions to UNRWA since 1950 have totaled more than $6 billion.
The Trump administration should be commended for its decision to stop throwing money in support of the Palestinian bluff. It has wasted enough.