Why is the U.S. Government Rushing to give the PA More Aid / Prof.B.Rubin

The U.S. government is rushing an additional $150 million to the Palestinian Authority (PA) so that it can have a balanced budget. Funny, the United States doesn't have a balanced budget and the same government doesn't think that's a problem.

Moreover, the PA doesn't really tax its own people. The U.S. taxpayer is thus subsidizing its free services at the rate of about 50 cents per American. Since the PA actually rules a little over two million people (since it doesn't control either the Gaza Strip or east Jerusalem), this aid infusion alone provides each Palestinian there with about $75.

As if that isn't enough, though, one of the reasons the PA has run out of money is that it is spending $3.4 million for a museum to Yasir Arafat, a man who--among other things--once ordered the murder of the U.S. ambassador and deputy chief of mission in the Sudan and also rejected peace with Israel, destroying President Bill Clinton's heroic efforts to achieve a solution to the conflict. Arafat and his colleagues also stole hundreds of millions of dollars previously paid by U.S. taxpayers. Maybe the PA should collect that money if it needs additional funds.

For more on Arafat see here. One can easily imagine what this museum will say about terrorism (endorsing), Israel (hating), and America (reviling).

I'm not advocating a cut-off in U.S. aid to the PA. Such assistance is indeed in the U.S. (and also Israeli, for that matter) interest. Having Hamas overthrow Fatah to take control of the PA would be a step for the worse and it is better if the West Bank's economy develops and living standards there are raised.

But it is not so clearly productive to be rushing to give the PA even more money despite its high levels of corruption and mismanagement; paying a lot of the money into the Gaza Strip which (whatever the intentions) strengthens Hamas rule there, refusal to negotiate with Israel or reduce incitement to violence and extremism. The administration seems most willing to use U.S. aid as leverage to get concessions from Israel but never seems to consider this in regard to the PA.

Like this administration's efforts toward a number of hostile countries, the U.S. government gives the impression that the PA is doing the United States a favor by taking its money. [For a broader view on this problem, see this article by Bret Stephens.] Here it is November 2010 and after almost two years the Obama Administration can't even get the PA to negotiate with Israel yet at a moment of financial crisis in America is eager to subsidize that regime to the extent that it doesn't even have to tax its own citizens.

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). The website of the GLORIA Center is at http://www.gloria-center.org and of his blog, Rubin Reports, http://www.rubinreports.blogspot.com.

Turkey: No More (Or Not Much) Free Media

Posted: 16 Nov 2010 09:44 AM PST

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By Barry Rubin

Soner Cagaptay, perhaps the world's best analyst on contemporary Turkey, writes:

"Independent media outlets [in Turkey] receive daily calls from the prime minister's office to adjust their coverage to favor the AKP [the ruling Islamist party], lest they face punitive fines. Self-censorship is so rife that outlets now "clean up" their acts without the need for AKP interference.

''A recent incident involved Oktay Eksi...who served for three decades as chief columnist of the country's most influential daily, Hurriyet. After writing an unbecoming column about the AKP leaders, Eksi was forced to "resign" when AKP chair and Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to "fight back." Hurriyet's owner, the Dogan Group, faces a $3.3 billion tax fine for anti-government activity--a sum larger than Dogan's net worth; another fine may finish it off. So much for independent media."

Step by step--in the schools, media, control over courts, and every other aspect of life--the AKP regime is moving toward imposing a semi-dictatorship, something that's going on virtually unnoticed in official Western circles.

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal.


Okay. To which nation did the land upon which Israel ctcsorunted suburbs of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv belong? If the answer is to none, then the reality is that Israel had the right both the claim the land and to build upon it. There is a false assumption that what was not recognized as being part of Israel pre-1967 was therefore taken away from a Palestinian State. There was no Palestinian state to take it from. Israel took the land from Jordan which later ceded it. That everyone else in the world, it seems, wants that land to be a part of Palestinian state today does not mean that it WAS part of a Palestinian state then. The ONLY legitimate place to begin negotiations on any topic is with the status quo. To have negotiations begin with the false assumption that there WAS a Palestinian state and that the Palestinians have the ability to negotiate AS IF that land belonged to a Palestinian state is ludicrous. The negotiations are truly between Israel and the Arab League for the creation of something that has never previously existed, well two things, a Palestinian state and peace between the Arab nations and a Jewish state. THAT is what negotiations should be about and the only assumption should be the status quo because everything else is but vanity.Meanwhile, the REALITY is that there are hundreds of thousands of Jewish Israelis on the other side of those lines. We can argue about the sanity of the decision to build isolated settlements, but some of the areas settled are legitimate suburbs of major population centers and other areas are legitimately security concerns. Negotiations have to deal with that reality.

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