Be Careful What You Ask For, Part II

President Bush committed the United States to additional economic and military support for Abu Mazen:

President Bush committed the United States to additional economic and military support for Abu Mazen:

  • More than $190 million in American assistance including funds for humanitarian relief in Gaza (assuming he can get it there).
  • OPIC will help generate $228 million in lending to Palestinian businesses.
  • $80 million to help the Palestinians reform their security services under the guidance of U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Keith Dayton.
  • Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair will oversee the reforming of Palestinian institutions to help establish effective governing structures, a sound financial system and the rule of law.
  • A “political horizon” for a Palestinian State.

More, more, more. The Palestinians are already the largest per capita recipients of international aid in the world and have received more money in constant dollars than Europe during the Marshall Plan. But without security and property rights, businesses will not lend to or locate in the territories – particularly not Gaza – and the food aid will simply allow Hamas to spend its Iranian funds on more and better weapons without having to worry about a humanitarian disaster because the America will kindly assuage it.

General Dayton’s mission has been addressed by JINSA before – see prior reports on the efficacy of the American military mission to the Palestinians, beginning with assistance to Palestinian “police” during Oslo and running through Gen. Dayton’s predecessor, right up to the ignominious collapse of Abu Mazen’s forces in June.

What is an American general training them to do? Legitimate American interests would be to enable them to protect the Palestinian people, “dismantle the terrorist infrastructure” and/or help provide security for Israel. Will they? Did they ever before and do we have a commitment that they will now? No. Are we instilling American military values in them along with American military capabilities? We try to do it in Iraq and it is difficult. But if we can’t, how can we be certain our training will not just produce better terrorists? We can’t and so we should be extremely wary here.

How does the “political horizon” differ from President Bush’s prior commitment to Palestinian statehood? Does it come before or after a demonstrable Palestinian and Arab commitment to UN Resolution 242?

The Oslo documents are all about the rule of law. So is the June 24th speech. So is the Road Map. So many words about rules but so very little law. Why?

How about a little application of the law for that nameless “Israeli soldier held hostage by extremists”? His name is Gilad Shalit, Mr. President, and you don’t know who holds him hostage – Hamas and Fatah both deny culpability. But international law requires that the International Red Cross be able to visit him privately. The mention of his name and the weight of your outrage would have been helpful here. This selective interest in the application of law as it would protect Israel is the next, and final, chapter.