It is patently obvious that more often than not we are our own worst enemy. From providing electricity to Gaza while at war to releasing murderous terrorists in return for nothing, we sometimes seem to have no sense of acting for our own good.
Two news items from this week are similarly connected. We learned that the PA grants up to $50,000 in grants to released terrorists, and the longer the prison term served, the higher the grant:
To accommodate the PA’s precondition for resuming negotiations, Israel recently released two groups of imprisoned terrorists. Those terrorists will all receive financial grants from the Palestinian Authority between $27,500 and $50,000.
On PA TV, Director of the PA Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs Nael Ghannam explained the rates of the grant. A prisoner is eligible for the grant if he has served more than five years in an Israeli prison. The longer the sentence served, the higher the grant:
“The beneficiaries are released prisoners who served more than 5 years [in Israeli prisons]… One who served up to 10 years will receive $1,000 for each year [he was imprisoned]; between 11 and 15 years – it goes up to $1,500; between 15 and 20 years it goes up to $2,000, etc. The maximum total won’t exceed $50,000.”
Next time the Palestinians moan about their poor economy, their lack of funds and infrastructure and how it’s all the fault of those mean
Israelis Zionists, will someone please remind them of this outrageous squandering of valuable aid money? (This is a rhetorical plea. I know that no one will do so).
A most relevant article on this precise subject by David Weinberg in Yisrael Hayom asks “why are we feeding Palestinian terrorism?”
More than 6,000 Palestinians are serving time in Israeli prisons for terror-related offenses. As a result, it is estimated that at least 6 percent of the Palestinian budget is diverted to paying terrorist salaries.
All this money comes from donor countries like the U.S., U.K., Norway and Denmark. I’ve scratched my head again and again wondering why.
But why look the other way when Abbas signs checks to terrorists, feeding the narrative that murdering and maiming Israelis is a heroic enterprise?
Shouldn’t this be a central topic for discussion in the current Israeli-Palestinian peace talks? Shouldn’t abjuring terror, refraining from glorifying terror and stopping payments for terror be a central Israeli and international demand of the Palestinians?
Furthermore, you have to ask the question: If the PA has all this money available to distribute freely, maybe we should force the PA first to pay off its almost $300 million (1 billion shekels) debt to the Israel Electric Company, a debt that continues to grow at the rate of about $20 million a month?
Perhaps Israel should cut back transfer of the tax monies it regularly collects on behalf of the PA? Since the beginning of the year, Israel has transferred to the PA about $850 million in accrued taxes.
Furthermore, Israel supplies to the Palestinians 53 million cubic meters (more than 1,400 million gallons) of water annually, about 22 million cubic meters (582 million gallons) more than the amount set in the Oslo Accords. The water is supplied at the original cost of NIS 2.6 million, NIS 1.26 million less than the price of water sold to local authorities in Israel. In other words, Israel subsidizes the PA’s water to the tune of almost $20 million annually. And in the summer of 2013, Israel increased the amount of water supplied to the PA by 11,000 cubic meters daily (or about 4 million cubic meters annually).
Furthermore, Israel allocates more than $1 million a year to cover the hospital expenses of thousands of Palestinian patients hospitalized in Israel, as well as the expenses of many Palestinian medical personnel who train in Israel every year. Yesterday, we learned that Israel just treated the sick granddaughter of Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh (at the Schneider Children’s Hospital).
Strong words to be guided by, but I don’t have any expectation that anyone, not on the Israeli side and certainly not on the European, American or Palestinian side, will take any notice of them.
Relating to the last paragraph, we heard this week that the granddaughter of Hamas chief Ismail Hanniyeh was being treated in an Israeli hospital (in my hometown of Petach Tikva as it happens): (although sadly the little girl later died).
Israeli doctors are treating the infant granddaughter of Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, who was transferred to a hospital in Israel for medical treatment, her father wrote on Facebook.
“Dear brothers, Amal has been transferred inside the Green line,” Abdel Salam, Haniyeh’s oldest son, wrote. “I pray to Allah for her recovery.”
The matter was first reported in the Palestinian press and then confirmed by the Jerusalem Post.
According to the reports, Amal, 1, was in serious condition after being diagnosed with an infection in the digestive system. Abdel Salam later posted to Facebook that his daughter was expected to return to a hospital in Gaza.
There was no word on who would cover the cost of treatment, but in most cases Israel foots the bill for Palestinians seeking treatment in the country.
Well, we can’t expect the Palestinians to pay for her treatment. After all, they’ve used up all their money with grants to the released terrorists.
On a more serious note, my first reaction was “Are we mad?. Why can’t this child be treated by Arab doctors or in their own hospitals?”.
But then I read an inspiring post titled “The other mother and grandfather” by Sarah Tuttle-Singer which made me look at the issue from a slightly different angle:
Earlier, as the other mother’s daughter grew sicker by the minute, the baby’s grandfather asked for help.
Not such a big deal, right? Your kid is sick, you call for help. Duh.
But this is different. The little baby is the granddaughter of the leader of Hamas.
Hamas, whose very charter calls the Jewish people a “Nazi-like enemy, who does not differentiate between man and woman, elder and young.”
Hamas, that has sworn to create an Islamic State across all of Israel.
Hamas, whose mission is to “fight the Jews and kill them.”
But on this day, Ismail Haniyeh acted as a grandfather, the same way my babies’ grandfathers would act if their grandchildren were in trouble: The leader of Hamas asked for help. And without hesitation, Israel agreed, and that baby was transfered across enemy lines to Israel where a team of doctors was waiting.
The lines between Us and Them, blurry through a veil of the other mother’s tears.
And I close my eyes and think about all the doctors in Israel who hover over this little girl.
He who saves a life saves the universe.
And as they work tirelessly over Ismail Haniyeh’s baby granddaughter, these doctors don’t care whose child she is.
I close my eyes, and I see that other mother: Her knuckles clenched, bone white, dry lips sucking air, her heart stutters.
Now, I’ve lived enough to know that turning the other cheek will sometimes get your ass kicked.
But I also still hope.
And while this baby girl won’t be cured, maybe — just maybe — the lines between Us and Them can stay a little blurry for just a little while longer.
I think Sarah Tuttle-Singer is being a tad optimistic about changing Hamas’s attitude towards Israel. After all, Hanniyeh couldn’t even mention Israel by name when talking about the child’s transfer to an Israeli hospital, simply saying “over the Green Line”.
But Sarah is right that we need to be better than the other side and not to stoop to their level. Not to prove to others that we are better. We have no need to prove our credentials to anyone. But we need to prove it and show it to ourselves.
May the children on both sides grow up not having to know what war is like and what hatred can do to a person and a nation. But while Palestinian incitement continues at its present level I don’t hold out too much hope.