Palestinians: No Way to Help

(New York Post) Abby Wisse Schachter - * When President Bush meets in Washington with Palestinian leader Abbas on Oct. 20, look for Abbas to encourage the U.S. to help his people by offering them millions in U.S. greenbacks. * Bush should first consider the saga of the greenhouses. Jewish settlers had built and operated some 4,000 greenhouses, a serious moneymaking enterprise with nearly $100 million a year in revenue. James Wolfensohn, who was tapped by the Quartet to monitor the Israeli pullout from Gaza, wanted the Palestinians to use the greenhouses to kick-start Gaza's new economy and bought the greenhouses for the PA with private funds. When Israeli troops left the area, Palestinians began looting and destroying the greenhouses, while the PA security services stood aside, not lifting a finger to stop the destruction. Some even joined in. * Since even before the 1993 Oslo peace accords, idealistic donors have given the Palestinians what they thought they wanted, and the Palestinians have either been unable or unwilling to take advantage and build on what they're given. * By some estimates, Yasser Arafat and his henchmen stole half of the $7 billion in foreign aid sent to the Palestinian Authority between 1994 and 2000. And, like the greenhouses, dozens of charitable projects have been destroyed by the very people they were designed to help. * Clearly, the Palestinians' concept of winning has little to do with state building and more to do with taking what they are given (like Gaza) and claiming it was won through violence and terrorism (as Hamas and Islamic Jihad have proclaimed). * Meantime, do-gooders like Wolfensohn might just stop trying so hard to help. And governments providing foreign aid might want to beware as well. Until the Palestinians show some ability to build rather than destroy, to create rather than tear down and burn to the ground, the funding tap really should be turned off.

2005-10-11 00:00:00

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