A senior Palestinian official’s recent statements fly in the face of decades of US aid to his people, totaling billions of dollars.
By: Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News
In an interview with London-based newspaper Al Quds Al Arabi published Saturday and translated by Palestinian Media Watch, Fatah Deputy Chairman Mahmoud al-Aloul declared that “the entire Palestinian leadership” is of the opinion that American administrations – all of them — “have not given the Palestinians anything of substance but rather worked in order to pull the rug out from under their feet by exerting pressures on them, and that with all their might they support [the Palestinians’] enemy.”
Al-Aloul also discounted any future relationship with the US, saying, “We assessed that nothing good will come from them for the Palestinian people and the nation, and this is completely clear.”
According to the website of the US Consulate General in Jerusalem, the Americans have provided the Palestinian Authority (PA) with over $5.2 billion through USAID since 1994 – the year Israel and the PA signed the Oslo Accords. Among other things, this money pays for infrastructure development, support for debt relief, governance, sanitation, education and essential humanitarian assistance to the Gaza Strip.
Education and humanitarian assistance are the two main areas in which the US helps the Palestinians through their annual contributions to the United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA), which assists Palestinian refugees in Arab countries and their descendants, as well as Palestinians in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.
America has been the organization’s largest donor by far, giving approximately $1.5 billion in the last four years alone, although President Trump recently declared a moratorium on America’s largesse until major changes are made in UNRWA policies.
The US Treasury also sends tens of millions of dollars every year to support law and order in the PA, to pay for training and equipment for PA security forces, police, firefighters, courtrooms, and judicial and legal needs.
Angered by President Donald Trump’s recent recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the Palestinians have broken off all public contact with the American administration, declaring that the US can no longer be a fair mediator in any peace talks and asking the European Union or other countries to take its place. They also refused to meet Vice President Mike Pence when he came to Israel this week on a short Middle East tour.
Al-Aloul also used his platform to encourage the Palestinians to “strengthen the popular resistance” against Israel, stressing that it “is being carried out on a permanent basis,” incited by Fatah, the PA’s ruling party. This call to violence is in direct contravention of the Oslo Accords. It also calls into question statements made by Palestinian leaders that the PA supports only peaceful protests against the Jewish state.
As vice president of the Palestinian Fatah movement and a supposedly popular figure within the party, Mahmoud al-Aloul could very well be a front-runner to succeed PA President Mahmoud Abbas, who is 82 years old and not in good health.