Meet the first victim of the 'Palestinian' statehood bidmoderate' 'Palestinian' President
The PA currently faces the worst financial crisis of its crisis-filled history. According to PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, it's in "extreme jeopardy," and on the "verge of being completely incapacitated." Its 150,000 employees have received only half their November salaries and nothing for December. It "owes local banks more than $1.3 billion and can't get more loans," the Associated Press reported. It "also owes hundreds of millions of dollars to private businesses, including suppliers to hospitals, some of whom have stopped doing business with the government." And it expects the poverty rate to double, to a whopping 50 percent of the total Palestinian population in the territories, if the crisis isn't resolved soon.
So dire is the situation that a mere month after the vote, Abbas was already threatening to dissolve the PA and return full control of the territory to Israel if things didn't improve quickly. If the PA can't even pay salaries, he said, "What's left for us to do?"
In short, far from augmenting Palestinians' independence, the UN vote has endangered even the limited autonomy they currently have. For the financial crisis is a direct consequence of that vote - and, even worse, a totally predictable one.
The first source of the crisis is that Israel stopped transferring roughly $100 million a month in taxes it collects on the PA's behalf. Contrary to Fayyad's disingenuous charge of Israeli "piracy," this merely ended an ongoing Palestinian piracy: For years, the PA hadn't paid its bills to the Israel Electric Corporation, but Israel swallowed the loss, at considerable sacrifice: The IEC's finances are so precarious that it can't raise money without government guarantees. Last year, it sought a 30% rate hike from Israeli consumers to stabilize them. Yet Israel's agreements with the Palestinians entitle the state to cover such debts by withholding money from the monthly transfers. The Israeli government repeatedly warned both the PA and UN member states that if the UN bid went forward, in violation of all Israeli-Palestinian agreements, it would withhold the full NIS 800 million (about $214 million) it was owed to it.
Second, Congress has been withholding some $450 million in U.S. aid - and though the Obama administration wants this money released, Congress hasn't yet agreed. This, too, was known in advance: Washington repeatedly warned that the UN bid "would have significant negative consequences" for America's "ability to maintain our significant financial support for the Palestinian Authority."
Third, though Arab states promised to cover the shortfall emergency donation (which hasn't yet arrived), but no money is even in the pipeline for the following months. And despite Fayyad's professed bewilderment at this lapse ("I have no explanation," he said), it was completely predictable: Arab states have serially defaulted on previous pledges to the PA, so why would they behave differently this time?
Finally, there's the PA's own fiscal mismanagement - from the billions of dollars it pours into Hamas-run Gaza, including paying 60,000 former PA employees full-time salaries to sit at home and do nothing, to such grandiose money-wasters as allocating more than $1 million to commemorate the 48th anniversary of Fatah's first terrorist attack on Israel (even as its own employees go unpaid) or booking first-class tickets and five-star hotels for 22 Arab foreign ministers to attend its UN triumph (though most never showed). This, too, was well-known.
Nevertheless, the PA opted to proceed with the UN bid. In short, it walked into a full-blown fiscal crisis with eyes wide open. And only nine countries opposed this decision.
Or, to put it another way, the PA deliberately chose to subject its own people to severe financial hardship - tens of thousands of breadwinners with unpaid salaries, a skyrocketing poverty rate - for the sake of scoring points against Israel in the international arena. And virtually the entire world knowingly abetted this choice rather than insisting that the PA put its people's welfare first.BWAHAHAHAHAHA!
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I think it's great that we're no longer subsidizing the PA's outstanding electric bill. Now, if we can just cut off the electricity and water to Gaza and to the 'Palestinian' populated areas of Judea and Samaria....