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Saudi Funding May Make PA a Proxy State

Saudi Arabia is forking over $200 million to bail out the Palestinian Authority, whose demands are based on the Saudi Peace Initiative.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 9/20/2011, 11:56 AM

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah
Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is forking over $200 million to bail out the Palestinian Authority, whose conditions for a state are based on the 2002 "Saudi Peace Initiative.”

The official Palestinian Authority WAFA news agency reported that Saudi Finance Minister Ibrahim Alassaf called PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to inform him of the transfer of funds. The injection of money would go a long way to erase a shortfall if the United States decides to cut aid to the Palestinian Authority in response to its snubbing the American-sponsored diplomatic process and going to the United Nations for unilateral recognition.

The Palestinian Authority has been at the mercy of foreign countries, primarily the European Union, for its survival since it was established as part of the Oslo Accords. It has claimed to have built a bureaucratic framework that would allow it to operate as an independent country, but its constant shortage of funds has left it dependent on foreign donations to pay 150,000 workers.

The Palestinian Authority has reciprocated European Union funding by accepting its policies, which generally have been aimed against Israel.

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and several European countries have come into conflict over the tactic of appealing to the United Nations.

A rescue effort by Saudi Arabia could make Ramallah a direct proxy for the kingdom, which in 2002 proposed its “peace plan” in return for “normalizing” relations with Israel.

Abbas, after several years of ignoring the condition of Israel’s accepting the immigration of several million foreign Arabs, has brought it out of the closet after having won most of the other demands stated in the Saudi plan.

Saudi funding of the PA also might foster unity between Abbas’ Fatah party and the rival Hamas terrorist organization, which has received aid from the oil-rich kingdom.