The United States is serious about backing Israel as an ally. That seems to be the message behind a $200,000,000 (yes, that’s $200 million) cut in direct aid to Palestine. The issue is a fund that pays widows and orphans of those who gave their lives fighting Israel known as the Martyrs Fund.
“At the direction of President Trump, we have undertaken a review of U.S. assistance to the Palestinian Authority and in the West Bank and Gaza to ensure these funds are spent in accordance with U.S. national interests and provide value to the U.S. taxpayer,” the department said. “As a result of that review, at the direction of the president, we will redirect more than $200 million … originally planned for programs in the West Bank and Gaza.”
“This decision takes into account the challenges the international community faces in providing assistance in Gaza, where Hamas control endangers the lives of Gaza’s citizens and degrades an already dire humanitarian and economic situation,” the notice said, without providing additional details.
One main issue the U.S. has had with support for the Palestinian Authority had been its stipends paid to the families of Palestinians killed, injured or jailed for attacks on Israel. Israel and the Trump administration, have repeatedly demanded that those payments from a so-called “martyrs’ fund” be halted because they encourage terrorism. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has refused to do so.
Naturally, Palestine is not happy with this decision and is protesting it.
The Palestine Liberation Organization quickly denounced the decision, calling it “the use of cheap blackmail as a political tool. The Palestinian people and leadership will not be intimidated and will not succumb to coercion.”
“The rights of the Palestinian people are not for sale,” PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi said in a statement. “There is no glory in constantly bullying and punishing a people under occupation. The U.S. administration has already demonstrated meanness of spirit in its collusion with the Israeli occupation and its theft of land and resources; now it is exercising economic meanness by punishing the Palestinian victims of this occupation.”
Back to “occupation” are we. One thing is for sure, the Palestinians will never be happy. They seem to forget Americans can do what we want with our own money. It’s a lesson that needs to be taught worldwide.