Talk quietly and wave a big stick

President Trump is using a similar strategy with Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas that he is currently successfully using with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. In both cases, he has not been afraid to talk quietly and wave a big stick. In the case of Abbas he has quietly frozen American aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) pending review.

Those who criticise this action that they might describe as blackmail need to consider the following:

  1. Abbas has rejected  Trump’s plan to rehabilitate the Gaza Strip using up to one billion dollars donated from the Gulf states, (primarily Saudi Arabia and Qatar).
  2. Abbas has told these countries and others not to cooperate because he claims Trump’s goal is a “plot” to cause a separation between Gaza and the West Bank and will lead to concessions on Jerusalem and the holy sites.
  3. Abbas has made it clear that he refuses to negotiate peace terms stating, “There is no state in Gaza and there is no state without Gaza.”
  4. Abbas has had the same demands and speaking points since he took power. He has proved himself to be unwilling to negotiate in good faith.

Freezing American aid to the Palestinian Authority follows the Taylor Force Act from two months ago which aims to force the Palestinian Authority to terminate its ‘pay-for-slay’ policies. Currently, the Palestinian Authority rewards convicted terrorists as well as the families of dead terrorists by providing them with a generous regular income. Quote:

The act orders that US assistance to the West Bank and Gaza “that directly benefits the PA” be suspended unless the Secretary of State certifies that the Palestinian Authority has met four conditions:

  • terminating these payments to terrorists,
  • revoking laws authorizing this compensation,
  • taking “credible steps” to end Palestinian terrorism,
  • and “publicly condemning” and investigating such acts of violence. End of quote.

The United States has been the world’s largest financial supporter of the Palestinian Authority. It has contributed huge amounts for humanitarian projects in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank as well as sending funds to the United Nation’s Palestinian refugee agency. Taking away this financial support is really going to hurt and as we have seen with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un the carrot and the stick can work more effectively than anyone could have possibly imagined.

The total aid budget for 2018 and 2019 was $215 million annually and the fact that it has been frozen means that the four conditions have not been met. Abbas has tried to say that the payments are America’s ” social responsibility.” Quite an irony from a man who spent aid money on a private luxury jet and allowed it to be funnelled into terror tunnels and rockets rather than into building infrastructure for the good of his people.

The Palestinian Authority in 2017 spent $345 million on terrorists and their families which is half of the international contributions to their entire budget! The more severe the crime committed the more money the terrorist or their family gets. It is obscene that charitable funds are being spent in this way.

Even if the big stick strategy does not force Abbas to the negotiating table it is an action that should have been taken by America a long, long time ago.

 


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