Through either deliberate neglect or simple ineptitude, the State Department has made U.S. taxpayers complicit in perpetuating the single greatest impediment to Middle East peace: an increasingly radical Palestinian society that despises Israel and embraces terrorism.
Despite multiple government audits and several changes enacted in the law over the past few years, the department still cannot ensure that U.S. taxpayer dollars are not enriching terrorists or underwriting terrorist propaganda in schools across the West Bank and Gaza. According to a critical report issued last week by the Government Accountability Office [link], the auditing arm of Congress, the State Department has fallen short overseeing aid to Palestinians through both the U.S. Agency for International Development and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which administers Palestinian refugee camps.This means in practical terms that many of the Palestinians who are consuming a steady diet of Islamist indoctrination and glorification of violence receive this brainwashing courtesy of the U.S. taxpayer.
Among the recommendations in the GAO report are 3 for the State Department in general, meaning that these are 3 things that the State Department has not been doing till now:
- Establishing criteria to evaluate UNRWA's efforts
- Screening the names of UNRWA contractors against lists of individuals and entities of concern to the United States
- Monitoring UNRWA's commitment that future internal audits would assess UNRWA's compliance with its neutrality and anti-terrorism policies for contractors as well as internal controls for cash assistance.
On the bright side, Mowbray writes, members of Congress are working on ways to keep our money out of the hands of Palestinian terrorists. Rep. Steven R. Rothman, a New Jersey Democrat, introduced a resolution earlier this year requiring the UNRWA to put its textbooks on the Internet for public inspection and for the United States to screen the agency's payroll for terrorists. According to Rothman, the goal is that
Not one penny of U.S. taxpayer dollars should go either directly or indirectly to anyone associated with Hamas or any other terrorist organization. Nor should any go to terrorist propaganda in classrooms.
Rothman is planning additional proposals for the 2010 spending bill that will increase accountability and transparency for both USAID and UNRWA.
In May, when Congress included in the supplemental appropriations bill an additional $119 million for UNRWA for the current fiscal year, the bill required the State Department to propose a plan to increase the accountability of UNRWA, set aside $1 million for auditing USAID.
Yet, with all of this the State Department continues its own agenda:
Lawmakers have dictated repeatedly and explicitly that no U.S. taxpayer funds can go to any organization that has even "advocated" terrorism - meaning no money should go to groups whose leaders have declared on Al-Jazeera or elsewhere that suicide bombers are "martyrs." This is not trivial. Figures who lionize terrorists and praise evil acts poison society and ultimately help cause more terrorism.
The State Department's bar that contractors and aid recipients must clear is much lower. Even under the most thorough vetting the department conducts, essentially only people who have actively participated in terrorism would be declared ineligible. It appears the department hasn't even bothered to think of a way to determine which people trying to receive U.S. taxpayer dollars have advocated terrorism.
Under the circumstances, the aid that the US will provide to Gaza for reconstruction will be a bonanza for Hamas that will make it easy for it to rearm itself just as Hizbullah has.