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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

January 04, 2003

Exploiting the Palestinians by Max Boot. Everyone's doing it.
For Middle Eastern states, championing the Palestinian cause is even more vital because doing so provides an important pillar of legitimacy for their manifestly illegitimate governments. Naturally the Arab states' interest is in preserving "the struggle," not in succoring the Palestinian people who (along with the Israelis) are its chief victims. There are almost 4 million Palestinians and most live in conditions of unrelieved squalor; large swaths of the West Bank and Gaza Strip make the South Bronx look like Club Med by comparison. The only Arab state that has granted citizenship to Palestinians is Jordan; the others prefer to keep them as an unassimilated, militant minority.

More than 1.1 million Palestinians are jammed into 59 refugee camps whose support comes mainly from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency and other international bodies. As former U.S. ambassador to Morocco Marc Ginsberg points out, all the Arab states combined donate less than $7 million to UNRWA, just 2.4 percent of its $290 million budget. (Kuwait, Egypt, Libya, Oman, Qatar, Iraq, and the United Arab Emirates collectively contribute a grand total of zero.) By contrast, the Great Satan forks over $110 million, or 38 percent of UNRWA's budget. The Arabs prefer to spend their money to support Palestinian suicide bombers. Saddam Hussein alone has paid an estimated $20 million over the past two years to "martyrs'" families. The Saudis held a telethon to raise millions more. The Arab League as a whole contributes $55 million a month to Arafat's tyrannical Palestinian Authority, which keeps the suicide bombings coming.