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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The 'Palestinians' cry wolf and pigs can fly!

You all remember the story of the little boy who cried wolf, right? For those who have forgotten, you can find the story here. The moral of the story is "Nobody believes a liar...even when he is telling the truth!" So while I must consider the possibility that the 'Palestinians' are telling the truth in light of their purported offer of a real cease fire, given how many times they have complained of being starving and broke, I have to take the purported crisis with a grain of salt.

With that introduction, al-AP is reporting that a 'monetary crisis' is threatening the PA's existence. The story is based on a report issued by the World Bank. But here's the amazing part: The World Bank says that the cause is Israeli sanctions in large part because [the 'Palestinian Authority] keeps expanding the public payroll despite sharply reduced revenues. And pigs can fly!
The World Bank warned that the Palestinian Authority government must start reducing its out-of-control payroll or face collapse.

Some 165,000 Palestinians work for the government as civil servants and in the security forces. The World Bank said the public payroll has steadily expanded by nearly 9 percent a year since 1999.

"Even in the midst of the acute financial crisis in the first quarter of 2006, the Palestinian Authority has added over 1,300 into the civil service and 6,800 into the security forces," the report said.

The report cited the Palestinian Authority's "past irresponsible spending policies" - including the expanding payroll - as a key reason for a fiscal crisis that could threaten its existence. A sharp drop in revenues, including Israel's policy of withholding tax rebates - to date more than $500 million - compounded the problem.

Even before Hamas came to power, the Palestinian Authority was running an average monthly deficit of $60 million, or 60 percent above the average monthly revenues it was receiving, the report said.

The bank said the Palestinian Authority must try to reduce its wage bill from more than $93 million a month to $80 million a month, through steps such as a hiring freeze, reducing salaries and voluntary retirement. [Can someone explain to me how reducing payroll by $13 million per month - assuming that the 'Palestinians' are willing to do even that - is going to resolve a deficit of $60 million per month? CiJ]
Of course, the World Bank wants the West to continue to fund the 'Palestinians,' but what makes me think this crisis might even be real is that the story originates out of the World Bank and not from the 'Palestinians' themselves, and the cease fire hudna offer that was reported in Haaretz today:
A senior Hamas official told Haaretz on Tuesday that if Israel agrees to persuade the international community not to boycott the new Palestinian unity government, the Palestinians "will offer a promise from Hamas and Fatah of a total cease-fire with Israel, including a complete halt to Qassam [rocket] fire and suicide bombings."
Of course, there is an important detail that is missing here, namely how long the 'cease fire' is to last. And no one knows whether the new 'unity government will be capable of implementing a 'cease fire,' especially given that Islamic Jihad has said that they will oppose any 'cease fire.' And as usual, the 'offer' is accompanied by ominous threats of ending the current 'cease fire' if Israel continues to press for an international boycott of the 'unity government.' (WHAT cease fire might that be)?

Given that Iran has promised to support the PA financially (and we already know that they are supporting the PA militarily), I have to wonder what all the fuss is about.


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