Thursday, October 23, 2014

Poor Palestine

Lost in all the news yesterday involving the terrorist attack in Canada was another terror attack in Jerusalem that claimed the life of a 3 month old baby. That young child, Chaya Zissel Braun, was an American citizen who was in a stroller on a light rail station's platform when a car driven by a young man with ties to Hamas plowed into a crowd of people during rush hour.

Hamas praised the young man who killed the baby as a "hero".  The young terrorist was shot and killed by Israeli security forces as he attempted to flee the scene.

In a Facebook post translated by Palestinian Media Watch, Sultan Abu-Einen hailed "the heroic martyr, Abed El-Rahman Idriss al-Shaludi," and that the terrorist, whose surname has also been spelled "Shaludeh" in English, was released from an Israeli prison in December 2013 after serving a 16-month sentence for previous terror offenses.

It does make you wonder a little bit about Hamas, doesn't it?

I ran across something else interesting about Hamas involving a recent gathering they held in Cairo seeking support from international donors to help rebuild Gaza after the recent "war" with Israel.

It seems that the Palestinians was recently looking for other nations to give them $4 billion to "fix the damage caused by the Israelis during Operation Protective Edge."

How much did they receive?

How about $1.4 billion more than they asked for---a total of $5.4 billion.

The United States pledged $212 million.

Qatar pledged $1 billion. Saudi Arabia $500 million. United Arab Emirates $200 million. Germany $63 million. France $50 million.

What I really found interesting is that the United States has given close to $5 billion to the Palestinians since the mid-1990's along with untold billions from other nations.  Much of this has been funneled through the United Nations.

The obvious question is what have we gotten for that money other than terror tunnels and rocket launchers to attack Israel?

Let me also provide a little more context to that amount of aid that has been provided to the Palestinians.

After World War II the United States developed an initiative called the Marshall Plan to provide economic support to help rebuild the European economies that had been devastated in the war. The funds were used to rebuild war-torn regions, modernize industry and make Europe prosperous again.

$17 billion was provided to the Europeans over fours years beginning in 1948. That would be around $170 billion in today's dollars. If you are paying attention, the United States has just pledged more money to rebuild Gaza than we spent in total on the Marshall Plan!

If you look at the money we have given the Palestinians since the mid-1990's and compare it to the Marshall Plan, you really have to wonder where all the money is going? Timon Dias of the Gatestone Institute provides some additional context on that question.

The Palestinian people, according to a recent study by the Jerusalem Institute of Justice, have received per capita, adjusted for inflation, 25 times more aid than did Europeans to rebuild war-torn Western Europe under the Marshall plan after the Second World War. 
The Palestinians have received 25 times the money that was provided to rebuild Europe after World War II in per capita terms and they are complaining that Israel is standing in the way of their people's progress?

Of course, despite all of this aid over the years, the average Palestinian lives in a state of poverty. New roads aren't built. Utilities are lacking. Economic infrastructure is non-existent. Much of the money seems to go for the tools of terror, salaries for Hamas leadership and teaching the next generation of Palestinians to hate Israel and the Jews for their plight of poverty.

Dias quotes from a 2003 book by German sociologist on a fundamental problem in the West's aid to Palestine through the United Nations Relief Fund for Palestine. (UNRWA).
D]espite claiming that it wants to bring peace to the region, the West continues to make the population explosion in Gaza worse every year. By generously supporting UNRWA's budget, the West assists a rate of population increase that is 10 times higher than in its own countries. Much is being said about Iran waging a proxy war against Israel by supporting Hezbollah and Hamas. One may argue that by fueling Gaza's untenable population explosion, the West unintentionally finances a war-by-proxy against the Jews of Israel.
If we seriously want to avoid another generation of war in Gaza, we must have the courage to tell the Gazans that they will have to start looking after their children themselves, without UNRWA's help. This would force Palestinians to focus on building an economy instead of freeing them up to wage war. Of course, every baby lured into the world by our money up to now would still have our assistance.
In the end, it is all about incentives as I have written about before.  Human beings will do what is in their best interest. Period.

Incentives drive the world. If the incentives for people are properly aligned, you will get the result you want.  If the incentives are not properly aligned, you will get poor results.  Whenever you get a poor result it is likely that you will find that the underlying incentives were not aligned properly.

Therefore, despite spending 25X what was spent per capita to rebuild Europe's economy, the people of Palestine are still poor and their leaders still wage war. And it does not appear that anything will change with another $5 billion having just been deposited into Hamas' bank account.

How much will go to actually build something productive that will actually help the Palestinian people? I would bet on more rocket launchers rather than roads and more terror tunnels than transformers for the utility grid.

I could not say it better than Dias does.
If the entire Palestinian Authority leadership lives off an international welfare check that arrives only because the conflict still exists, there isn't much incentive for ending the conflict.
Amen to that. And amen to the memory of an innocent 3-month baby who knew nothing about hate but lost her life because of it.

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