Senior PLO official Saeb Erekat said on Sunday that US threats to withdraw aid to Palestinians over the bid for UN membership were "unacceptable".
Erekat told reporters in Cairo "we appreciate US aid, but to be blackmailed and bargained with over our right to self-determination, on Jerusalem, and on our Arab and Islamic identity is unacceptable.
Erekat says US cannot 'blackmail' PA over UN bid, Ma'an News, October 2, 2011
But is it really the US that is blackmailing the Arabs?
According to Khaled Abu Toameh, the shoe is on the other foot--Palestinians' Shoe-Throwing Extortion:
American diplomats who arrived in Ramallah this week were greeted by angry Palestinian protesters who shouted anti-US slogans and hurled shoes -- the Palestinian Authority claims it was only one pair of shoes -- at their armored vehicles.Truth be told, it is not that the Palestinian Arabs are angry at finding themselves blackmailed.
The message that the Palestinian Authority is hoping to send through this message to the Americans and others: If you do not endorse our position and if you cut off financial aid, we will turn against you. In one word, it is called extortion.
The problem is not so much with the diplomats as with their governments that allow themselves to be exposed to this extortion time and again. Apparently they like being blackmailed. Instead of demanding changes in behavior, then paying only after the changes have been successfully completed, the governments always seem to pay up front with no demands, and then look surprised when there are no changes and each time the ransom demand goes up. [emphasis added]
On the contrary, the US is holding the Palestinian Authority accountable for its actions for a change--and the Arabs do not like that one bit.
Of course, the apologists for the Palestinian Arabs will find all kinds of reasons for the US to be perpetual donors to the corrupt and incompetent Abbas regime--probably many of the same people who were in favor of Obama pulling support for the Mubarak regime. They will argue that it is necessary to pay the money in order to support the Palestinians and nudge them in the direction of peace.
But why should it be assumed at this point that peace between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs is the key to Middle East stability at a time when the "Arab Spring" has demonstrated where the real issues in the Middle East lie, at a time when the Abbas regime is at odds with what we are told the Arab Spring is all about in the first place.
Endless US funds for the Palestinian Authority simply does not help.
As Toameh concludes:
What the Americans do not understand is that all the money in the world will not help them win the hearts and minds of a majority of Arabs and Muslims. True, the money does have a short-term moderating effect on the Palestinians. But once Washington says what is considered the wrong thing, as the was the case with the statehood bid, or threatens to suspend financial aid, it should expect more shoes to fly in the face of US diplomats.
And understanding that would be a real breakthrough in the Middle East.
Technorati Tag: Palestine.