Greenblatt calls on donor countries to reconsider aid to PA

Outgoing US envoy: Hamas and the PA are squandering opportunities to ensure better lives for Palestinians.

Ben Ariel ,

Jason Greenblatt
Jason Greenblatt
Marc Israel Sellem/POOL

Outgoing US Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt, in an op-ed published on the Fox News website, is calling on donor countries to reconsiders raising money for Palestinian Arabs since Hamas and the Palestinian Authority are not taking advantage of those funds to ensure a better future for Palestinian Arabs.

The op-ed was published ahead of the meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) which met on Thursday to discuss international donor assistance for the Palestinians.

“Palestinians are among the largest recipients of donor assistance per capita in the world today. Yet despite decades of work, billions of dollars, euros, shekels, and dinars donated, life continues to get worse in Gaza and in what some call the West Bank and others call Judea and Samaria,” wrote Greenblatt.

“Hamas has driven Gaza to a state of utter desperation. With unemployment at nearly 50 percent (the highest in the world), Hamas’ decade-long experiment in governance is an utter failure.”

“The West Bank has fared better, but efforts there are frustrated by the Palestinian Authority’s self-made budget crisis, its continued diversion of funding to reward terrorists, and an anti-normalization movement that delegitimizes Palestinians who do business with Israel,” he noted.

“Donor countries must ask themselves why they should keep struggling to raise money when everyone can plainly see the Hamas regime and the Palestinian Authority are squandering the opportunities that donor money provides for a better future for all Palestinians,” wrote Greenblatt.

“Just this week Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said, ‘We won’t deduct one penny from the salaries of our prisoners, martyrs and the injured.’”

“Is that where donor countries want their limited tax dollars to go? Many of the recipients of these salaries murdered, or attempted to murder, Israelis in terrorist attacks (or the money is given to the murderers’ families if the murderer has died).”

“Peace requires that we acknowledge the basic reality of the situation on the ground, where policies have worked, and where they have failed,” wrote Greenblatt.

He asserted that the “conventional approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict”, as he put it, has brought us no closer to a final peace agreement. “It has not ensured the security of the people of Israel. It has not delivered the Palestinians the dignity and prosperity they deserve. And ultimately, it has led to the Israelis and Palestinians being let down again and again,” he pointed out.

“We cannot afford another quarter-century of overpromising and under-delivering. We need a new approach. Rather than recycling the same policies and talking points that have brought us no closer to peace, we have looked at the reality on the ground with fresh eyes and in a realistic manner,” continued Greenblatt.

He pointed out that the US “determined that our aid dollars could provide more benefit to other parts of the world. We will not continue to invest in temporary solutions that only prolong the cycle of suffering and violence.”

Greenblatt also noted that the PA boycotted the Bahrain summit in June, in which the US laid out the economic portion of its peace plan, while it attends the donor conference, and added, “It is time to demand more of the Palestinian leaders.”

“This past week I met with some Palestinians and they were exceedingly clear that they want investment and not donations. They want real opportunity, a real economic future. They want this now. They expressed serious gratitude about our efforts. Their expressions of gratitude, friendship and support of our efforts were extremely moving to me,” he continued.

“The many Palestinians I meet want the opportunities we are seeking for them. They may disagree with some (in some cases all) of our political positions and policies, but they understand we are also trying to improve their lives.”

“Palestinians deserve greater dignity, greater opportunity and greater freedoms, none of which will be accomplished through maintaining the status quo of donations. It won’t help in the West Bank and it certainly won’t help in Gaza,” wrote Greenblatt.

“It’s time to help Palestinians live better lives. And in that process, hopefully we will also achieve peace,” he concluded.