No Money for Terror States
Dominick Healey, Class of 2013
April 26, 2012
Filed under Quill
A contributor wrote in to The Tower last week with a fair and simple request: “We are calling on all of you to send a letter, make a phone call, or send an email to your Representatives and Senators in Congress urging them to vote to release any funds that would give humanitarian aid to the people of Palestine.” The specific aid in question was $200 million that has been withheld by the House of Representatives following the international rejection of Palestine’s attempt to circumvent the peace process and unilaterally declare statehood coupled with criticism’s that Palestine’s lack of financial transparency puts the destination of these funds dangerously in question.
As long as Abbas’s government continues to politically cooperate with and economically aid formally recognized terrorist groups like Hamas, there will be no peace. My intention here is not to defend Israel. The Israeli military, and thus the Israeli government, does kill innocent civilians, whether through collateral damage or the occasionally unauthorized direct war crime. To some these are the tragic consequences of unavoidable war, but to others these are inexcusable acts of state-sponsored terrorism. In either case, Israel is circumstantially compelled to undertake these acts of war on the grounds of maintaining their national security, which in a way to which we cannot relate, is constantly and critically at risk.
One fact remains: it was the United Nations that unfairly and unwisely partitioned the land in question in 1947/1948 and it was the Arab states that invaded Israel immediately after the British withdrew from the Mandate of Palestine. At no time in the crucial early point of the region’s modern history was Israel the aggressor. Having so recently survived the Holocaust, the Jews of the Yishuv were resolute that under no circumstances would the Arabs fulfill their promises to “drive the Jews into the sea” and repeat the events that had so recently poisoned our shared Western value of human dignity. What followed is history, the seemingly inevitable pull towards conflict again and again throughout the 20th century as Israel became a military state by necessity, grabbed up more and more land (sometimes unfairly), and became increasingly more dominant and aggressive.
Today we find ourselves in a strange place: Israel holds a tenuous peace with its neighbors and seems to repeatedly abuse a helpless Palestine, which, despite its dire condition, seems hellbent on continuing a fruitless violent resistance. What Palestine must learn if it is to ever see peace and prosperity for its people is that a violent insurgency will never beat the extremely competent and professional IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) which holds as one of its four self-professed core values that “the IDF and its soldiers are obligated to protect human dignity. Every human being is of value regardless of his or her origin, religion, nationality, gender, status or position.” Palestine will not maximize its legitimacy as a prospective state through continued and pointless violent resistance. We return to the main issue: direct cash aid withheld from the Palestinian state.
Why should the United States aid a quasi-national authority that aids terrorist groups in activities against a nation to which we are closely allied? Abbas, the current chairman of the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization), is in a hard place. If he denounces the Iran-backed Hamas, his current coalition with the terrorist organization and his control over the Gaza Strip will collapse along with any real hope of peace. As far as the United States is concerned: too bad. The United States of America does not negotiate with terrorists. A terrorist is not simply a young man fighting for the freedom of his nation , as has seemingly become the modern romanticized interpretation. A terrorist is one who coerces change through the deliberate use of terror. There is an inherent difference between a military bomb dropped in a declared war zone from a plane that accidentally but tragically lands too close to a civilian home and a vest bomb that is purposely and consciously detonated in a peaceful area on a bus full of civilians, with the sole intention of forcing political change by creating fear.
The issue is very clear cut: Abbas’s Palestinian “government” will not receive aid (in the form of cash) and has no chance at a peaceful existence with the West as long as it cooperates with terrorists, refuses to provide the financial transparency necessary to prove that humanitarian aid is being used for the correct purpose, and attempts to circumvent and ignore Israel in its road to statehood.
People deserve the right to national recognition. They deserve the right to exist peacefully with their neighbors, communicate their grievances on a national scale, and receive the respect accorded to a legitimate government. This is the Western political philosophy that dominates the discourse and cooperation with terrorist groups does not adhere to the philosophy.
If Palestine wants our recognition, our aid, and our respect, it will be on our terms. The United States of America, Israel, and the United Nations will not recognize a state that perpetuates a cycle of terrorist violence.