A $50 billion “Peace to Prosperity” economic development plan won’t buy peace from Palestinian Arabs indoctrinated since birth to hate and murder Jews. The Arab-Islamic war to extinguish Jews and Israel’s existence is not based on economics.
To attain real peace, the first step must be overhauling the Palestinian Authority textbooks and broadcasts, the Hamas charter and its genocidal Koranic quotes, and the pervasive preaching and teaching hatred against Jews, Christians and Israel. If this does not occur, nothing else will bring peace. Instead, economic investments will increase the P.A.’s and Hamas’s ability to carry out their murderous goals.
The Marshall Plan began only after the Nazis and their ideology were completely defeated—not while the Nazis were still in power and killing Jews, gays and gypsies.
The “Peace to Prosperity” plan creates massive security risks. The $5.562 billion highway/rail corridor from Gaza to the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) would cut Israel in two, usurp Israeli-owned homes and farms, and enable terror operations. Building “Palestinian public sector capacity to manage crossing points and inspect goods” could promote inspectors who allow passage of weapons and terrorists.
Decades of economic approaches failed. The United States gave $11 billion to Palestinian Arabs through the P.A., various programs and United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). Yet the P.A. still pays terrorists $400 million of annual “pay to slay” payments to murder Jews and Americans; teaches schoolchildren to “martyr” themselves to kill Jews; and employs their media, public square-naming, television specials and government-controlled mosques to idolize terrorists and incite more terror.
Since September 2015, P.A.-incited terrorists murdered 82 and maimed 1,282 innocent Israelis.
Terrorists’ huge wealth further demonstrates that money doesn’t transform terror-mongers into peace-lovers. P.A. chairman/arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat had $4.2 billion to $6.5 billion, including hotels and business investments. P.A. dictator and terror-inciter Mahmoud Abbas just bought a private $50 million luxury airplane. Abbas and his sons have an estimated at least $100 million business empire, plus $600 million of hidden assets.
The Arabs also turned down previous peace offers that offered them huge sums.
Past infrastructure investments have not fared well. Arab looters and terrorists immediately destroyed the valuable greenhouses Jewish residents left in Gaza, which previously exported more than $100 million of produce annually. Gazan terrorists and rioters recently repeatedly set fire to gas pipes, electricity infrastructure and a conveyor belt used to transfer fuel and goods from Israel into Gaza, causing millions of dollars of damage. Hamas diverted electricity, concrete and building materials intended for reconstruction to instead build sophisticated terror tunnels, costing some $120 million.
The plan’s envisioned educational investments ($1.895 billion), including for STEM (science, technical, engineering and mathematics) education; international scholarships ($400 million); and a new Palestinian university ($500 million) are also likely to backfire if the culture of hatred towards Jews and the West is not changed.
Italian journalist Guilio Meotti stated: “Palestinian terrorism is led by academics, surgeons, scientists, scholars, intellectuals, people with an enviable curriculum vitae … ”
Many physician terrorists responsible for murdering numerous innocent Jews include Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) co-founder George Habash; PFLP special operations head Wadi Haddad; Islamic Jihad founder Fathi Shaqaqi; and Hamas co-founder Mahmoud Zahar.
A study found that 45 percent of the 200 leading 21st-century Islamic terrorists had engineering degrees. Another study found that engineering and medicine were the most popular studies of university-educated jihadis responsible for serious terrorist incidents.
The $400 million of international scholarships and internships will also bring more anti-Israel agitators to U.S. and European college campuses and communities to torment Jewish students.
We also don’t need another $500 million Palestinian terror university. Let’s first transform existing Palestinian-Arab universities Birzeit (14,000 students), Al Quds, University of Gaza and An-Najah, which are hotbeds of terrorism and terror recruitment. Hamas won Birzeit’s student elections each of the last four years. Birzeit professors and students promote “armed resistance” against Israelis. In a student elections debate, a Hamas candidate boasted: “Hamas activists in this university killed 135 Zionists. How many did Fatah activists from Birzeit kill?”
We shouldn’t invest $230 million in Palestinian-Arab arts and culture while such arts spew non-stop anti-Israel anti-Jewish propaganda and hatred. “National resistance poet” Mahmoud Darwish’s infamous poems helped incite the deadly intifadas, in which thousands of Israelis were maimed and murdered.
Spending $60 million to enhance Palestinian court capacity to “resolve property disputes and contested-ownership claims” can empower “Palestinian courts” to confiscate Jewish-owned lands. Palestinian courts cannot be fair when selling land to a Jew is punishable by death, under P.A. law.
Power-generation expenditures ($2.539 billion) and generators for Gazan hospitals make little sense when Hamas siphons off massive amounts of power for terror tunnels and activities, and Hamas’s headquarters and main command bunkers remain under Al-Shifa hospital.
Will the $400 million to promote, repair, restore and upgrade “cultural, historical and religious sites” rebuild important Jewish and Christian sites that Palestinian-Arabs destroyed, including Joseph’s Tomb in Shechem, Samaria, and Gaza City’s Byzantine Church? If so, how will Jews and Christians safely visit them?
And $6.325 billion for road corridors, airports, railroads and other infrastructure in Hezbollah-dominated Lebanon would likely enhance Hezbollah’s military capabilities. No such investment should occur while Hezbollah has 150,000 missiles pointed at Israel.
Without first completely transforming the violent Palestinian-Arab culture, leadership and education, the “Peace to Prosperity” plan’s envisioned investments will only make Israel’s neighborhood more dangerous.
Morton A. Klein is the national president of the Zionist Organization of America. Elizabeth A. Berney is ZOA’s director of special projects.