To the leaders of War on Want, Christian Aid, World Vision, UNRWA and the long list of other non-governmental organizations purporting to work for the benefit of the Palestinian Arabs:
As parents of a child murdered in the name of jihad, we try to focus our energies on educating people about the dangers of jihadism and other forms of terror, while trying to stay out of politics. But it's hard for us to ignore your endless and frequently shrill criticisms of Israel and Israelis as the source of all evil in the lives of Palestinian Arabs. They're galling to those, like us, who see the Middle East conflict as a multi-dimensional conflict involving complex issues of religion and national self-determination. We yearn for a better deal for them and for us Israelis; as we view things, the two are closely inter-connected.
For decades, you have marketed an image of the Arabs on the other side of our borders as living lives rendered miserable because of us. You raise money from well-meaning churchgoers and university students in Europe, Australia, the United States, Canada and elsewhere on the premise that the absence of proper health facilities, decent education and adequate housing and industry are matters that need outside funds.
We don't seek to persuade you to share our outlook on what's going on in and around our country and our neighbourhood. That's politics. We do however demand that you begin to take public account of some of the less-known aspects of this conflict. And particularly that you internalize and respond to the matter of massive financial corruption among the leadership of the people you cast as pathetic, powerless and poor.
Financial aid to the Palestinian Arabs is a serious industry. One study says that between 1994 and 2004, the US (alone) provided the Palestinians with $1.3 billion, the EU $1.1 billion, and Japan $530 million. Lots of palms are greased as this cash works it way through the channels. As recently as 2006, the US earmarked $234 million in aid to the Palestinian Arabs. The European Union and its member nations annually earmark about $615 million.
Barely a month ago, a meeting in Paris of some of the world's wealthiest nations raised $7,400 million in additional gift money for the people who rule Palestinian Arab society. Tony Blair co-hosted the conference in his role as envoy for the Middle East Quartet (the United Nations, the United States, the European Union and Russia) and made clear that this phenomenal windfall was for spending here and now: as one report put it, for the "short-term priorities for the Palestinians".
We're writing this today because this morning, the courageous and well-connected Palestinian Arab journalist Khaled Abu Toameh published an article revealing that one of the most influential of the kleptocrat terrorists in the Fatah hierarchy says $2 billion disappeared from Fatah's coffers after the death of Arafat. Five of Fatah's leaders are alleged to be responsible; the very strong implication is that the five include Mahmoud Abbas, the chairman of the PA and the head of Fatah and its terrorist arms. (See "Fatah leader wants probe of missing $2b.)
Now we realize that these claims are probably, as Abu Toameh points out, connected to a general conference of Fatah due to take place in March. It's part of a political process that might result in Fatah elections. Or not, since their last elections took place 18 years ago.
To be clear: though we're aware of the stupendous sums of money missing over the years from the Arafat-controlled coffers of the Palestinian Arabs, and we know - as you do - of the unimaginably lavish lifestyle lived in Paris by his wife/widow, funded by Gaza's impoverished masses, we're not in any position to confirm or deny that $2 billion has gone missing. But then neither are you.
Unlike us, however, you keep taking money from well-intentioned, humanitarian donors and giving it to the people who are being accused. And you do so on the basis that the problems are created and perpetuated by Israel.
The reality, as most Israelis know, is the opposite. We know that if the Palestinian Arabs had more to protect in their lives (health, homes, jobs, a future for their children), their interest in making painful compromises for peace would be greatly enlarged. But their leaders ensure they don't. And UNRWA sucks billions of dollars of governmental foreign aid in the quest to perpetuate Palestinian Arab misery, and not (as many erroneously believe) to solve it.
The issue is not an academic one; it's literally a matter of life and death. A new study which we mentioned here last month (see "Giving foreign aid to terror-dependent regimes is an unbearably expensive deal") and which none of you has seen fit to draw to the attention of your constituencies, demonstrates some deeply disturbing trends. By analyzing data on Palestinian homicides and foreign aid to Gaza and the West Bank, Stephen Stotsky shows that (1) as aid increased to the Palestinian regime, so too did the numbers of people, both Israeli and Palestinian Arabs, killed by Palestinian Arab terrorists and (2) there is an inverse correlation between an increase in foreign aid and Palestinian economic growth. In other words, the more foreign aid given to the Palestinian Arabs, the less their economy grows. Astonishing and appalling - and yet hidden from public scrutiny and ignored by you.
(By the way, if any of you has studied the full 2005 report of the EU's money watchdog, OLAF, dealing with Palestinian Arab misapplication of European aid funds, would you mind sharing it with us? The brief official summary of the report spoke rather cryptically of "consistent indications to support the hypothesis that... some of the assets of the PA may have been used by some individuals for other than the intended purposes." The full text of the report, as far as we know, has never been released. The report is frequently quoted as evidence that EU funds were not applied to Palestinian Arab terror, but we believe the exact opposite is the case; the fact that the report has never been released is disturbing, to say the least.)
We ask you to express concern - to be just a little worried - about this latest claim of another missing couple of billion dollars. Before you go back to your donors, tell them and us what steps you are taking to verify that past, present and future funding has been spent as you claimed it was spent. Tell them and us why it doesn't seem to matter that Fatah, an organization that openly engages directly and indirectly in terror right up until today and that has an unelected leadership, even has two billion dollars to lose.
Where do you imagine that money came from? And if you don't care to know, tell us and your supporters that too.
Frimet and Arnold Roth - Jerusalem