New York Times' sob story on underfunded Palestinian school misses the big problem
Golda Meir famously observed that Arab-Israeli peace will arrive only when the Palestinians start loving their children more than they hate the Israelis.
That time has not yet arrived — which is an obvious, though not the intended, message of New York Times' report titled "A Rundown School for Palestinian Children Awaits U.S. Aid."
Here is the gist: upon Biden's election:
Residents of the tiny hilltop village of Jaba ... hope the new American president will restore funding to a project to transform a rundown school in their village into a modern facility by adding an impressive three-story building with a library, a new science lab, more classrooms, an office for social workers and a shaded basketball court. Work on the project stopped in 2019 after the Trump administration effectively ended aid to the Palestinians. ... It would have allowed it to increase its student body from 80 to 250, including 50 girls. "We hope Biden will find a way to rectify the cruel decision to halt funding to the school," said Jaba's mayor, Diab Mashala, sipping coffee in his spacious living room. "It is vital to the future of our children."
It gets even more interesting from that point on. Why did cruel Americans turn off the spigot of Palestinian funding? Because "bipartisan legislation known as the Taylor Force Act, signed into law by President Donald J. Trump in 2018 ... restricts the U.S. government's ability to disburse aid that 'directly benefits' the Palestinian Authority as long as the authority pays salaries to families of Palestinian security prisoners and slain attackers [which I guess is New York Times–speak for 'Palestinian terrorists']."
This raises an obvious question — if educating boys (and girls — in between his sips of coffee, Mr. Mashala explained that "for a handful of girls, the school project embodies their only hope to obtain an education. Several religiously conservative families in the village refuse to allow their daughters to study in other towns, forcing them to drop out before completing high school. ... Giving these girls the option to complete their studies could be transformative for them.") — why not prioritize children's education over killing Israelis?
After all, Mr. Adam Rasgon of the New York Times could have suggested that Mayor Mashala pick up the phone while "sipping coffee in his spacious living room" and dial P.A. president Mahmoud Abbas's office, saying, "Mr. Abbas, in 2016, the PA paid out about US$303 million in stipends and other benefits to the families of so-called 'martyrs.' Can you get us a few hundred thousand out of that 'Martyrs Fund' to enlarge our school, so our boys and girls could get an education?"
Apparently, it did not occur to Mr. Rasgon to suggest that course of action — and getting in the process the answer to a bigger question of whether Palestinian love of their children started to exceed their hate of Israelis. (That answer is obvious from the fact that what Israelis call "pay-per-slay payments" isn't going anywhere, children's education be damned: "The Palestinian Authority hasn't announced plans for any significant reforms to its highly popular payment system in the coming months.")
Clearly, educating Palestinian children is a distant second — or two hundredth — priority for the P.A. in comparison to killing Israelis. For Palestinians, the cost of educating their children should fall on America. With disarming innocence, "Mr. Mashala, who has been mayor since 2017, questioned the logic of holding students accountable for policies they had no part in developing. 'Our kids have nothing to do with politics,' he said. 'They are totally innocent. Why should they pay the price for something they have nothing to do with?'"
Mr. Rasgon of the New York Times as innocently uses this quote as a punch line of his report. It obviously does not occur to Rasgon that the responsibility for political decisions rests with the adults like Mr. Mashala and Mr. Abbas, and children's "total innocence" is no defense against their parents' failure to act in the interest of their children, altering their politics of hate for the benefit of their children's future. That a New York Times correspondent and editors could be so childishly (or rather, idiotically) innocent as not to know that responsibility for children falls on the adults is simply beyond belief.
Nothing changed since Golda Meir's time — Palestinians love their children enough to wish to educate them, but not so much as to stop wanting to kill Israelis. By publishing the simpering drivel that is the "Rundown School for Palestinian Children," the useful idiots of the New York Times are not helping to bring about this much needed change in the Palestinian mindset.
Image via Max Pixel.