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Wednesday, March 04, 2009

More money = more terror?

In the Corner, Michael Rubin points to a study from the summer of 2008 that showed a correlation between western aid money to the 'Palestinian Authority' and an increase in terror attacks against Israel. Given the approval this week of $4.481 billion in additional aid to the 'Palestinians,' it is appropriate to revisit that study.
An examination of key measures of violence reveals a troublesome correlation between the number of homicides committed by Palestinians and the level of funding provided to the Palestinian Authority. As aid to the Palestinian government increased, there was a corresponding increase in the number of people, both Israeli and Palestinian, killed by Palestinians. The correlation between aid and homicide statistics does not mean that foreign aid causes violence, but it does raise a question about whether the flow of aid to the Palestinian government has helped fuel Palestinian violence and hindered efforts to restore calm.
The author, Steven Stotsky, presents two graphs that correlate budget aid to homicides in real time and with a one-year lag, respectively. The results are striking.

Note that the correlation in Figure 2 is greater than that of Figure 1. The fact that the correlation is greater one year later suggests at least some element of cause and effect. But 'homicides' include intra-'Palestinian' violence, and we all know that the 'Palestinians' are champions at killing each other. What's most striking is Stotsky's Figure 3, which shows the correlation between funding received by the 'Palestinian Authority' and attempted 'Palestinian' terror attacks.

Here are the key passages in Stotsky's article:
In a classic example of the creation of perverse incentives, the decision to fund the government budget made the Palestinian Authority less dependent on revenue derived from commerce, detaching the PA's solvency from the health of the economy. Thus, while the intifada sent the Palestinian economy into free fall, the PA's coffers swelled. The conditions were thus established that ensured the separation of Palestinian governance from responsibility for the economic health of the Palestinian people.


Despite their strong internal differences, Fatah and the Islamists enjoy a high degree of cooperation in terrorism against Israel. The Palestinian Authority's Preventive Security Apparatus, for example, supported both Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Jenin. Fatah's Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades and one or the other Islamist groups have carried out a number of joint operations. These collaborative relationships continue. There remains ongoing concern that donor funds given to Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas are subsidizing Hamas members on government ministry payrolls. And then there is the larger problem of the fungibility of money: Every dollar Hamas saves on having to fund jobs and programs unrelated to security is a dollar the organization can devote to terrorism.


Although the correlation does not prove cause and effect or provide irrefutable evidence of a direct link, it seems likely that increased aid helps sustain Palestinian violence in several ways: by creating the opportunity to divert funds for militant activities; by insulating the Palestinian leadership from the fiscal consequences of the economic fallout from terrorism; and by creating a revenue surplus that allows the Palestinian government both to pay for salaries and programs and to funnel money to terrorists. As Western donors prepare to pour unprecedented amounts of money into the PA, more discussion is needed to explain what controls will be imposed to ensure that the aid is not diverted to terrorists or used to fund a broader conflict with Israel.
Read the whole thing.

Rubin adds:
The fact of the matter is that money is fungible. Hamas was elected, but by bailing them out for their bad decisions (e.g., scrapping previous Palestinian Authority agreement upon which previous aid was based, launching war against their neighbor), Secretary Clinton and President Obama are basically acknowledging that they do not believe in fundamental accountability. Hamas can pursue its popular and populist terrorist actions, knowing that Clinton will bail out the Gazan constituents from whom Hamas leaders diverted money.
For some reason, no matter what the 'Palestinians' do, the world continues to throw money at them. A cynic like me would call that anti-Semitism. There is no other explanation, especially in the current world economy.


At 7:51 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Yes, its anti-Semitism, Carl. No other people in the same set of circumstances would benefit to such an extent from the world's generosity. The degree of aid given to the Palestinians is largely a function of animosity towards the Jews and a desire to "pay them back". Its not because any one really loves or cares for the Palestinians. They don't.

Further, all this aid amounts to not only throwing good money after a bad outcome, it effectively ensures the Palestinians have no incentive to alter their self-destructive behavior since the world will always ride to their rescue to bail them out from bad decisions. The irony is the world, through misplaced kindness, is helping the Palestinians to destroy themselves far better than anything Israel ever could have done to them.

If it really wanted peace, it would tell the Palestinians to stand on their own two feet, to grow up and to take responsibility for their own actions and to tell the terror is not going to get them a monetary reward at the end of the day. In reality, the chance that common sense policies will be implemented towards the Palestinians are slim to none. The paradox is the West's self-defeating policy of indulging the Palestinians in their most extreme behavior is what has helped to kill the two-state solution it wants.

At 2:39 AM, Blogger joe six-pack said...

Good article. The entire Islamic world needs to grow up. Between the inability to handle insults (Of which they have many) and all of the anger management problems, the Islamic world acts like a bunch of spoiled children who are not getting their way.

Unlike children however, the results are deadly.


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