The Truth About the Palestinians
The West Bank doesn't belong to the Palestinians, and it never has. The argument that Israel is "occupying Palestinian territory" is a complete fabrication, but that doesn't prevent Israel haters from buying it.
Danny Ayalon, Israel's deputy foreign minister, recently posted a YouTube video in which he laid out the facts. It's titled "The Truth About the West Bank." If you watch it, the truth will amaze you, but you'll be even more astonished when you learn the truth about the Palestinians.
A few days ago, Al Arabiya News, hardly an ally of Israel, ran an article by Omar Rahman titled "Economic Crisis Looms as Palestinians near UN Push in September." Rahman points out that the Palestinian Authority faces a "massive budget shortfall" and that it has already reached its debt limit, so borrowing is becoming increasingly difficult. Why? What's the problem?
According to Rahman, it's because of the Palestinian statehood initiative in the UN. It seems that pushing ahead unilaterally with its plan to declare an "independent" Palestinian state has caused individual donors and donor states to withhold their monetary support to the Palestinians. Things are so bad that even big spenders in the US Congress are threatening to cut off aid to the would-be country. In fiscal year 2011, the US gave the Palestinians more than $550 million - not an insignificant sum and certainly enough to make the hotheads in charge of the Palestinian Authority stop and take notice.
Problem is, there is no Palestinian economy. They don't have a government either. What they have are two warring factions, Hamas and Fatah, posing as governments, and almost 5,000,000 people, most of whom earn their livings by working in Israel where a real economy and a real government exist, or working for rapidly imploding counterfeit Palestinian governments.
Saying that Palestinians are addicted to aid is a colossal understatement. More than 30% of the Palestinian GDP is a direct result of foreign aid, and an overabundance of NGOs (non-governmental organizations) that are flush with cash have set up shop in the West Bank and Gaza where they pour out money on the Palestinian people. It's the modern-day equivalent of payola, and it has accomplished the same thing among the Palestinians that the US welfare system has achieved -- generational welfare dependence. It's a form of slavery, and it hides the ugly truth. Palestine isn't a state, and it's not even on the road to statehood as we know it.
When you see headlines such as "Biggest Mall in Gaza Opens Its Doors," keep in mind that the Palestinian people who flock to their favorite retail establishments to buy things are reliant on gifts that can dry up in a heartbeat and a strong Israeli economy that provides jobs for Palestinians who are willing to work. The Palestinian Authority and Hamas can't even afford to provide what we consider to be basic necessities for their people -- things like hospitals for instance. Turkey had to step in to help solve the Gazan health care problem by building a hospital.
Palestinian leaders would have rejected Turkey's token contribution if they had a sense of shame. Given the huge sums of money that Hamas spends on mortar shells and rockets, you would think that they could at least make a minimal effort to take care of the basic needs of their people. But they would rather use their money to launch unprovoked attacks against Israel.
Palestinians are trying to kill the goose that lays golden eggs while they beg ignorant donors around the world for money so they can set up an independent state whose sole purpose is to annihilate Israel. If that's not an example of stupidity, I don't know what is.
A few days ago, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that Palestinians need a state so that they can treat Israel as equals. What is he talking about? In what sense are Israel and "Palestine" equal? Comparing the State of Israel with a would-be Palestinian state is like comparing Warren Buffett with the millions of Americans who hunger for wealth but are unwilling to do the simple things that lead to financial independence --- things like saving and investing. It's an absurd argument.
Abbas thinks that he can shame the world into giving him what he wants because the Palestinian people have such low self-esteem. It's a desperate appeal for sympathy that's totally void of substance. Will it work? Maybe, but if it does, it will only make the situation worse for Palestinians than it is already.
Neil Snyder taught leadership and strategy at the University of Virginia for 25 years. He retired from UVA in 2004 and is currently the Ralph A. Beeton Professor Emeritus at UVA. His blog, SnyderTalk.com, is posted daily.