When governments give foreign aid to countries in need, they donate with the express intention that the money get to the people of those lands, not that it line the pockets of the leaders or to further some nefarious aim, like building bombs or propagating hate. Some smaller, third world nations would not exist if it were not for all the foreign aid that is pumped into their coffers by the rest of the world. Palestinians depend mostly on foreign aid to survive, and yet rather than helping to make their lives better, a lot of that aid is being used to perpetuate hatred against Israel.
A British taxpayer watchdog group unveiled two reports on Monday detailing the role of European foreign aid in the transmission of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic narratives in Palestinian Authority schools and media in Jerusalem.
The reports, “Palestinian Hate Education Since Annapolis” and “Funding Hate Education,” detail what the Taxpayers’ Alliance refers to as a campaign of “demonizing Israel” largely funded by European taxpayers, a policy it says diminishes long-term hopes for peace.
The Taxpayers’ Alliance said it has taken up the issue of incitement against Israel in the Palestinian territories because it believes there must be greater scrutiny of aid programs for the PA, so that taxpayer money from the UK and the EU no longer funds programs that harm the peace process and the national interests of British and EU citizens.
Matthew Sinclair, research director for the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said at a press briefing in Jerusalem, held with Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, that in Palestinian society, “we’re looking at a population where 42 percent are under the age of 15. You have a huge younger generation whose views are going to shape the situation for a long time.
“Peace lies in the hearts and minds of people and it’s vital that the right attitudes are encouraged in people and the right conditions are created for peace,” Sinclair continued.
“It’s rare we see it [foreign aid] doing as much harm to the British taxpayers as we do in this case,” he said.
He’s absolutely right. I know there are some Palestinians who do want to live in peace, but far too many don’t. They do this by perpetuating the hatred. They indoctrinate their children in school and TV programmes. They glorify jihad and suicide bombings; Youtube has hundreds of videos documenting this. And they obviously do this in the schools, as well. I have often said that unless they root out the hatred from within their hearts, there will never be peace in Palestine. Most people believe that Israel has the right to exist, so why not try to make the peace process work? It’s certainly not going to happen by holding on to hate.
Ayalon described the problems that hatred and incitement toward Israel in the Palestinian territories spell for coexistence and said that peace will remain impossible “as long as we don’t see the acceptance of Israel as a legitimate and natural part of the Middle East.”
He then related an anecdote from a debate with a British man at the London School of Economics, whom he asked: “‘Can you name one leader of Palestine, one king, one leader?’
“Of course they couldn’t because Palestine never existed,” Ayalon said.
“There has never been a Palestinian state,” he said. When we came here we didn’t find any other nation here. We aren’t going to argue narratives with the PA, he said.
Ashley Perry, the media adviser for the deputy foreign minister’s office, told The Jerusalem Post that much of the onus for battling incitement must shift from Hamas to Fatah, arguing that the image of the Mahmoud Abbas-led party as “moderate” has allowed Fatah to skirt responsibility for battling incitement and indoctrination against Israel in PA-run schools and media outlets.
“When [PA President Mahmoud] Abbas is mentioned, he is talked about as a moderate and a good leader and the complete opposite will be said of Hamas. It’s time for Fatah’s actions to be in line with the perception,” Perry said.
He called on Fatah to adhere to the demands made of Hamas.
“For the [peace] process to go forward, they [Fatah] must stop calling for the end of Israel, end indoctrination and [stop] naming summer camps after murderers.”
As for Abbas being a moderate, who knows what the truth is. Either he is but is too afraid to tackle the not-so-moderate factions of Palestine, or he’s a damn good liar, pretending to be a moderate when in reality he has no intention of trying to broker peace with Israel. Either way, it’s a no-win situation. All it would take to make some progress towards peace would be to acknowledge Israel has a right to exist. But I still don’t see that happening, because too many people (and not just Palestinians) want the Israeli land to be exclusively Palestinian. And if Israel were to be wiped off the map, I’d like to see how Palestine would survive without foreign aid, because that’s exactly what would happen.