Pity the poor Palestinians!
September 28, 2018
By Mel Pearlman
This has been a rough year for the Palestinian Arabs. First they lost the diplomatic battle for Jerusalem. Then they lost the battle to prevent the relocation of the U.S. and Guatemala embassies to Israel’s declared capital city.
On March 23, 2018, President Trump signed into law The Taylor Force Act. The Act is named for an American college student who was stabbed to death in Jaffa in 2016 while on an educational tour of Israel as part of his studies at Vanderbilt University. His killer, a Palestinian from the territories, was awarded compensation by the Palestinian Authority for committing this crime.
The legislation requires the Federal government to reduce the U.S. annual aid allocation to the Palestinian Authority by the same amount paid by the Palestinian Authority’s Martyr Fund to the families of terrorists killed or imprisoned by Israel. Over the years, instead of using donated U.S. funds for the intended purposes of education, housing construction and economic development, the Palestinians have paid from their foreign aid package hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation to these terrorists and their families. Several other western countries have followed the lead of the U. S. in cutting off funding which ends up in the P. A. Martyrs Fund.
In the last few months, U.S. funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which since 1950 has supported an increasing population of descendants of the original Palestinian refugees, was first reduced and now has been eliminated.
The cries from UNRWA that withdrawal of U.S. financial support will impede the education and summer camp experiences for Palestinian children are crocodile tears. What it really means is that Hamas and the P. A. will have more difficulty in perpetuating the curriculum taught to Palestinian children which includes hatred and dehumanizing of Jews; and that it is a religious duty to martyr themselves for the sake of the Palestinian cause.
Summer camps for Palestinian children are not comprised of swimming, playing sports, singing happy songs and learning arts and craft. Summer camps in Gaza are military boot camps for children who are taught how to use knives, and other weapons of convenience to harm or kill Jews. This is not a syllabus that promotes the idea of peaceful co-existence. It is about time America and all other nations stopped funding this despicable U.N. agency.
And most recently, the Trump Administration has cut off all other aid to the Palestinian Authority because of its refusal to return to the negotiating table with Israel. If only we could persuade other countries to do the same. A clear message must be sent to the Palestinian Arabs that their continuing futile pursuit of making the Jewish people disappear from the Middle East and the world will only create suffering and impede progress for future generations of their own people.
Let us also not forget that hundreds of millions of the billions of dollars of aid already given to the Palestinian Authority and to UNRWA for housing, education and economic development have been skimmed off by Palestinian leaders for their own enrichment, and stolen by Hamas to build their terror tunnels and to fund their rocket attacks and other terrorist activities while completely ignoring the needs of their own people who continue to wallow in poverty.
Hopefully, there will arise among the Palestinian Arabs, leaders who will not know Arafat, Abbas or the other terrorist leaders of the past; and who will lead their people onto the path of reconciliation, peace and mutual existence with the Jewish state and with the Jewish people throughout the world. Until this happens, pity the poor Palestinians, but do not blame Israel for their plight!
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Mel Pearlman has been practicing law in Central Florida for the past 45 years. He has served as president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando; on the District VII Mental Health Board, as Special Prosecutor for the City of Winter Park, Florida; and on the Board of Directors of the Central Florida Research and Development Authority. He was a charter member of the Board of Directors and served as the first Vice President of the Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center of Central Florida, as well as its first pro-bono legal counsel.