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  • Attack Israel, Collect $400 Million

    Posted by Jonathan on June 10th, 2010 (All posts by )

    The USA promises a new financial aid package for Gaza, which means Hamas:

    Obama described the situation in Gaza as “unsustainable”, saying a better approach was needed and calling for a “new conceptual framework” for Israel’s blockade. A White House statement said the new funds “represent a down payment on the United States’ commitment to Palestinians in Gaza, who deserve a better life and expanded opportunities, and the chance to take part in building a viable, independent state of Palestine, together with those who live in the West Bank”.
     
    The money will go towards infrastructure projects in both Gaza and the West Bank, including $10m for the construction of new UN schools. It did not explain how the schools will be built while Israel maintains its embargo on construction materials entering Gaza, claiming they could be diverted to make weapons and build underground bunkers.
     
    Earlier this week the UK government promised an extra £19m in aid. Israel today announced extra items it would allow into Gaza, including crisps, canned fruit, packaged hummus and shaving foam.
     
    “They will send the first course. We are waiting for the main course,” the Palestinian economy minister, Hassan Abu Libdeh, was quoted in the Israeli media as saying. “We are waiting for this unjust siege to end.”

    When you subsidize something you get more of it. This new subsidy package effectively rewards Israel’s enemies for their recent 4GW attack. Further attacks are now even more likely than they would be otherwise (i.e., our initial weak response could only embolden the Iranian-Syrian-Turkish-Palestinian axis, an actual cash payoff will embolden them further).

    The Turkish government is no doubt anticipating its own fat envelope, courtesy of US taxpayers.

    Note also the Palestinian economy minister’s attitude of entitlement. Keeping the Palestinians on welfare helps to maintain their hostility to Israel. If they had to work for a living they might be forced to be more accommodating. (Martin Kramer makes a related argument.)

     

    7 Responses to “Attack Israel, Collect $400 Million”

    1. Ginny Says:

      I used to think that whole “enabling” stuff was a way not to take responsibility – in some cases, however, we really do need to ask exactly what kind of behavior we are encouraging and enabling. One of my daughter’s friends is an immigration lawyer working with refugees. She said (this may be an exaggeration) that well over half of political refugees end up in our system. (Her work is primarily with Bosnians brought here by our government and Catholic charities.) I muttered something about the UN’s policy; not surprisingly she hasn’t heard much praise of it among her clients. Certainly, the difference between these people who have in a relatively short period set up restaurants and coffee shops, begun working in a variety of trades – in the mid-west, I might add – next to the lives that have been spent by several generations under the care of UN aid – is dramatic. But I’m not surprised – I was surrounded by Cuban, Latvian, Lithuanian immigrants in my youth – who were melding into the great melting pot of the plains.

      Besides, exactly how does Obama think he is going to help the people in Gaza get jobs? He’s doing such a great job here.

      It isn’t just if “they had to work for a living” – it is that working for a living gives purpose, forces people to develop some virtuous habits (honesty, the kind of altruism that is necessary to imagine what others might need or want that you can provide, a sense of purpose, a place where energy can be expended in a productive way). The seduction of bitterness and anger, of living dependently on the dole used to be not seen as a sign of victimization but sloth & immaturity. That is because we once knew that these should be discouraged – not just for the sake of the people that had to provide for such dependent others but for the sake of the dependent others themselves.

      I feel sorry for the people of Gaza when I hear of the “solutions” to their situation. First, these solutions are evil (or sufficiently close to evil for government work): they often endanger the lives and even the future of the Israelis. But these proposals also make lives in Gaza less productive, mature, energetic, happy.

    2. Tatyana Says:

      First,
      thank you for the this term: “Iranian-Syrian-Turkish-Palestinian axis”. I had for some time been looking for concise and exact expression for this new development.

      Second,
      from many posts, photos and links by my Israeli online friends I know that Gaza inhabitants are not only NOT starving, they live pretty good. At the moment, for instance, there is a construction boom there; the price of concrete skyrocketed due to high demand. Gaza government is demolishing buildings built illegally on a public land (what? I thought only evil Israelis built “illegal” settlements?) and plans to construct public housing in their place. Gaza opened their 1st Olympic pool.
      Also, to those with a mental image of poor oppressed Palestinian Arabs jackbooted by arrogant Israelis: desperate, starving, seating purposelessly all day in their ram-shackled cabins among dust, sand and devastation – please look at this picture and article in NYTimnes. It’s an advertisement for a hotspot international destination in Ramallah, West Bank.
      That’s where your money (very, very tiny part of the whole deal) have been going.

    3. Michael Kennedy Says:

      Speaking of starving in Gaza, look at the video.

    4. Zenpundit Says:

      The USG does not “get” (or want to “get”)what has happened in Turkey or what Ergodan and the AKP intend to do. Ergodan is a non-buffoonish Islamist Hugo Chavez and when SECDEF Gates reached out to the Turks this week, Ergodan made an especial effort to verbally slap away his hand in a pointedly nasty way. The AKP is a mix of Islamists and pan-Turkic extremists whose only saving grace is they caught on that free market policies make for better GDP growth than Turkey’s traditional statist ones.

      The Turks, except for their Army, stopped being our ally ten years ago. Their newspapers and TV programs are virulently anti-American and we are less popular there than in Gaza. Yet we stupidly continue treating the Turks as if this were 1985. Or 1958.

    5. Tatyana Says:

      Zen: I was reading reactions to Endorgan’ speeches by Armenians and they are outraged: this man dares to accuse somebody of genocide and oppression! What, nobody in teh world is brave enough to bring a mirror to his face?!

    6. Bob Amerson [Fred Lapides, troll extraordinaire] Says:

      But Hiller’s logic — that foreign aid indicates where Obama’s loyalties truly lie — in no way leads to her own conclusion. According to a 2009 report prepared by the Congressional Research Service, Obama “requested $2.775 billion” in foreign military financing for Israel for fiscal year 2010. Yet Hiller would have us surmise that a fraction of that amount is a stronger indicator of where Obama’s loyalties lie — that Obama is “with” Gaza at Israel’s expense; that Obama is telling Israel to “get the hell out of Palestine.”

      Moreover, Hiller’s line of reasoning presupposes that the U.S. has not previously contributed financial aid to Gaza and the West Bank. But history proves her wrong here. The United States Agency for International Development has provided $2.9 billion in aid to the people living in the West Bank and Gaza since 1994 — making the U.S. “the leading provider of bilateral economic and development assistance to the Palestinians.” A February 2009 New York Times article detailed how the Obama administration was “following the lead of the Bush administration” in crafting a policy of providing aid to the Palestinians:

      By seeking to aid Gazans but not Hamas, the administration is following the lead of the Bush administration, which sent money to Gaza through nongovernmental organizations. In December, it said it would give $85 million to the United Nations agency that provides aid to Palestinian refugees in the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.

    7. Jonathan Says:

      On the contrary. For Obama to announce now, immediately after the Turkish/Hamas flotilla operation against Israel, that he will reward Hamas (which is who will control how the money gets spent no matter who the nominal recipients are) makes his sympathies crystal clear.

      The Bush administration was foolish to give money to Hamas. But note that in his second term Bush (or the people to whom Bush delegated policy after he gave up) followed a policy similar to that of Obama, though much less hostile to Israel. It didn’t work then either.