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The Palestinian Failure


Cross posted by A. Jay Adler, who blogs at The Sad Red Earth, Times of Israel and The Algemeiner

Munib R. al-Masri

Some nations are lucky in their leaders. For decades now, academic historians have downplayed the significance of the leader – the “great man” – in the understanding of historical epochs and focused their attention elsewhere.

Still, you cannot study the early American republic without renewed appreciation for the role of George Washington.

How lucky was the U.S. again for Lincoln in his time, FDR in his, England for Churchill at the same time, Israel for David Ben Gurion. The French were not so lucky at the time of their revolution. The Palestinian Arabs, too, have had no Ben Gurion. They had Yassar Arafat.

A couple of weeks ago, Munib R. al-Masri, a storied figure among Palestinians and considered to be the wealthiest of them all, published an Op-Ed in The New York Times. al-Masri is quite a moderate Palestinian, who is currently seeking a third way, beside the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, and trying to construct avenues toward peace with Israeli counterparts.

Still, he must operate in the Palestinian environment created over the past sixty-plus years, and there are party lines he chooses to follow. He claimed, for instance, as the title of his Op-Ed read, in response to the well-publicized comment by Mitt Romney, that “Occupation, Not Culture, Is Holding Palestinians Back.”

My point is not to comment on Romney’s observation, but al-Masri’s – that it is any Israeli “occupation” or other activity that has held Palestinians back. In fact, I don’t need to make that case. Seven years ago, in David Samuels’  lengthy “In a Ruined Country,” for the Atlantic, al-Masri made the case himself.

“The money [Arafat] spent to buy the loyalty of his court, al-Masri gently suggests, could easily have paid for a functioning Palestinian state instead.

With three hundred, four hundred million dollars we could have built Palestine in ten years. Waste, waste, waste. I flew over the West Bank in a helicopter with Arafat at the beginning of Oslo, and I told him how easy we could make five, six, seven towns here; we could absorb a lot of people here; and have the right of return for the refugees. If you have good intentions and you say you want to reach a solution, we could do it. I said, if you have money and water, it could be comparable to Israel, this piece of land.”

Samuels expanded.

“For those at the top of the heap the rewards were much larger and more systematic. The amounts of money stolen from the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian people through the corrupt practices of Arafat’s inner circle are so staggeringly large that they may exceed one half of the total of $7 billion in foreign aid contributed to the Palestinian Authority. The biggest thief was Arafat himself. The International Monetary Fund has conservatively estimated that from 1995 to 2000 Arafat diverted $900 million from Palestinian Authority coffers, an amount that did not include the money that he and his family siphoned off through such secondary means as no-bid contracts, kickbacks, and rake-offs. A secret report prepared by an official Palestinian Authority committee headed by Arafat’s cousin concluded that in 1996 alone, $326 million, or 43 percent of the state budget, had been embezzled, and that another $94 million, or 12.5 percent of the budget, went to the president’s office, where it was spent at Arafat’s personal discretion. An additional 35 percent of the budget went to pay for the security services, leaving a total of $73 million, or 9.5 percent of the budget, to be spent on the needs of the population of the West Bank and Gaza. The financial resources of the PLO, which may have amounted to somewhere between one and two billion dollars, were never included in the PA budget. Arafat hid his personal stash, estimated at $1 billion to $3 billion, in more than 200 separate bank accounts around the world, the majority of which have been uncovered since his death.

Contrary to the comic-book habits of some Third World leaders, such as President Mobutu Sese Seko, of Zaire, and Saddam Hussein, Arafat eschewed lurid displays of wealth. His corruption was of a more sober-minded type. He was a connoisseur of power, who used the money that he stole to buy influence, to provoke or defuse conspiracies, to pay gunmen, and to collect hangers-on the way other men collect stamps or butterflies. Arafat had several advisers who oversaw the system of patronage and theft, which was convincingly outlined in a series of investigative articles by Ronen Bergman that appeared during the late 1990s in the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz. The PLO treasurer, Nizar Abu Ghazaleh, ran the company al-Bahr (“the Sea”) for a small number of wealthy shareholders, including Arafat’s wife, Suha. Al-Bahr set the price of a ton of cement in Gaza at $74, of which $17 went into Arafat’s private bank account. One of Arafat’s favorite bagmen, Harbi Sarsour, ran the General Petroleum Company, which established a monopoly over all the gasoline and fuel-oil products sold in the West Bank and Gaza. A company called al-Sakhra (“the Rock”), run by Fuad Shubaki on behalf of Fatah, profited hugely from an exclusive contract to provide all uniforms and other supplies to the Palestinian security forces. Official monopolies on basic goods and services had exclusive suppliers on the Israeli side. These profitable contracts were made available by Arafat to companies associated with former high-ranking members of the Israeli civil administration and the security services in the West Bank and Gaza.

The genius behind this system was Muhammad Rachid, who became Arafat’s closest economic adviser. A onetime protégé of Abu Jihad, Rachid was a former magazine editor who became involved in the diamond business. He came to Arafat’s attention because of his keen talent as a businessman, and because he was an ethnic Kurd—which meant that he was safely removed from the family- and clan-based politics that always threatened to disrupt the division of the spoils.

In their cities and villages Palestinians were subject to the extortion and violence of Arafat’s overlapping security services, which competed among themselves for payoffs, arbitrarily arrested people and seized their land, and forced citizens to pay double or triple the price for everything from flour and gasoline to cigarettes, razor blades, and sheep feed. The fact that nearly everyone in Palestinian political life had taken something directly from Arafat’s hand made it hard to criticize him; it was easier to go along. In 1991, at the low point of Fatah’s finances, Ali Shahin, one of Arafat’s earliest allies, wrote a secret report lambasting Fatah’s “inconceivable moral degradation,” for which he blamed the excesses of a leader whose true interests were “the red carpet, the private plane of the President, free rein to spend money.” Shahin became the minister of supplies in Arafat’s government and was notorious for selling spoiled flour and making truckloads of chocolates sit at the Erez checkpoint in the heat in order to help out a friend who owned the only candy factory in Gaza. The economy of the Palestinian territories, which had enjoyed startlingly high growth rates after 1967, when it passed from Jordanian and Egyptian control into the hands of the Israelis, stagnated and then went backward. In less than a decade Yasir Arafat and his clique managed to squander not only the economic well-being but also the considerable moral capital amassed by the Palestinian people during two and a half decades of Israeli military rule.”

Samuels later gives us Gazan human-rights activist Iyad Sarraj.

“Palestinians have lost the battle because of their lack of organization and because they have been captives of rhetoric and sloganeering rather than actual work,” he says. “I believe that the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians in one way or the other is between development and underdevelopment, civilization and backwardness. Israel was established on the rule of law, on democratization, and certain principles that would advance Israel, while the Arabs and the Palestinians were waiting always for the prophet, for the rescuer, for the savior, the mahdi. Arafat came, and everyone hung their hats on him without realizing that there is a big gap between the rescuer and the actual work that needs to be done. This is where the Palestinians lost again the battle. They lost it in ’48 because of their backwardness, ignorance, and lack of organization in how to confront the Zionist enemy. They lost it when they had the chance to build a state, because the PA was absolutely corrupt and disorganized.”

There probably has never been a people more ill-served by a greater lack of leadership, a greater financial and moral corruption of leadership, than the Palestinian people. And there is a lot of competition.

40 replies »

  1. This story is repeated more or less from Islamabad to Algiers. What Arafat did with his mind boggling corruption and violence is no different than what all other Arab despots have been doing for a very long time.
    When Israel pulled out of Aza the international community would have rebuilt Aza , new schools, hospitals, roads, power stations, universities, kindergartens, another new airport, a harbor, a new mobile phone system yada yada yada. And then the Saudis would have gold plated the whole strip. Instead the locals voted in the fascists because of an inherent uncouthness.
    The rest is history and when you talk to an Arab by himself he would agree.
    Bunch of losers.

    • And then the Saudis would have gold plated the whole strip. Instead the locals voted in the fascists because of an inherent uncouthness.

      Well. Islam has a lot to do with what The Palestinians are doing. Making any peace with Israel would be against Islamic imperatives about surrendering ANY land that was once controlled by Muslims.

      The is the basis of Palestinian/Arab/Muslim reluctance/refusal to come to ANY agreement with The Evil Zionist Entity.

  2. All they have to do to disprove the culture issue, if they think Romney and others (e.g., Landes, who Romney was essentially quoting)are wrong, is make peace. After Israel withdraws they can prove to the world that their culture is a great as Israel’s.

    Unfortunately, I think they look around the ME and see what their un-occupied brothers have wrought, and decide its better to get the handouts as the underdog than risk losing it all from a disinterested world community once they can no longer blame Israel for their problems and fail to disprove Romney’s statement.

    Gaza is a perfect example. They have made such a mess that they insist claiming they are occupied, even when it is evident that they are not, and expend every penny they can on rockets and military adventures – not even funding their para-Olympic competitor’s wheel chair.

    So what is that, if not culture?

    • Yes it is a cluster f*. Wether it is Turkeys zero-problem foreign policy which blew up in their mustachioed faces, Syria or mass kidnapping’s in Lebanon. One simply is spoiled for choice. Meanwhile another Israeli start-up was sold for millions of Dollar’s. Oy Vey.

  3. It’s especially depressing, given that Israeli entrepreneurs, such as Rami Levi, have, independently decided to tackle the issue of nation-building through economic means.
    Rami Levi, the Israeli supermarket magnate, has personally met with al-Masri, in one his stores in Gush Etzion, which attracts thousands of Pal shoppers. The PA’s response?- Boycott Rami Levi, and obviously castigate al-Masri as a traitor.(They(the PA) were certainly cheered by Ben White, for these “exploits”)…
    How can we have any sort of movement toward resolving the conflict, if every hint of “normalization”, of economic burgeoning(if it’s abetted by Israel) is treated by the Pals. as anathema? Even, when it stands to benefit the Pals, themselves?!
    The Pal. leadership’s strategy seems to be this: The Pals. may get poorer, more destitute, more impecunious, provided Israel is dutifully sullied
    And this is what they call “pro-Palestinian” activism?

    • Anti-normalization=pigheadedness

      This anti-normalization is another way of saying that critical constructive discourse is not part of my cultural encyclopedia. It fits perfectly into the dead end which Muslim Arab culture finds itself in. In Arab culture it is considered halal to pardon mass murderers ( hero’s ) and what not. Yet having a word or two with a Jew is just plain unexeptable.
      One of my pet peeves in life is machismo and of course pride. Imagine studying at a university and not communicating with those around you. That’s what this non communication feels like to me. Regressive. Dead. Stand still.
      When I am in Israel I feel like there are a million things and movements happening at the same time, I feel energy and passion. When I am in Egypt I feel like I am stuck in the sand in the middle of nowhere. It is a dead space. Unproductive and claustrophobic. Provincial and decaying.

      When Arafat failed at Camp David 2 he thought another five or ten years of armed conflict is more conducive to ‘his’ people than peace. It just goes to show when the chief gets the priorities wrong. The Pals have lost just about everything and with hamas’s help are super extra busy digging a deeper hole. North Korea just popped up in my mind….the Pals and he North Koreans are at about the same level. And instead of talking to Israel he is begging the UN for some deal. Wrong again.

  4. There will never be peace. Unless… either Israel is utterly destroyed or the Palestinians and their compatriot belligerents are destroyed. This is a religious dispute masquerading as a political dispute. Islam will not permit a peace agreement with a non-Muslim presence, esp. a Jewish presence, in the heart of the Ummah. Any Palestinian leader who attempts to do so will be killed faster than a Sadat minute.

  5. When you have a culture where their kids play with toy guns pretending to kill Jews,who later on grow up and advance to real guns and Semtex,not pretending anymore to kill Jews but actually killing Jews… Then that culture stinks and stagnates……….

  6. Being a Palestinian politician has meant two things. Firstly, you’ve stolen money intended for all those people in your camps, and secondly, you’ve promised all those people that they’ll have back all that land the ‘Zionists’ took in 1948. So with that in mind there’s only two things you can do:

    (1) Admit that the destruction of Israel is a pipe-dream, and accept a peace settlement, in which case ordinary Palestinians say ‘Why didn’t we make this decision sooner, and who’s been stealing all our aid?’, or

    (2) Keep stealing, and keep lying.

  7. Arafat’s alleged corruption seems an odd choice of topic for Zionists. Israel is rated by the International Transparency Organization as one of the most corrupt states in the OECD:
    http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/israel-ranks-among-western-world-s-most-corrupt-countries-1.321251

    Moreover there is a long list of senior Israeli politicians convicted or suspected of corruption. You can see some of them here:
    http://news.yahoo.com/factbox-crime-corruption-among-israels-political-elite-114436118.html

    Details of Olmert’s dodgy track record can be found here:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-18779442

    And where are we up to with investigations into Lieberman’s alleged corruption? He, like Olmert, seems tobe entirely shameless.

    • Even you must admit, that stealing and embezzling money, donated by foreign governments, well-wishing taxpayers of other countries, for the effort of conveying relief, is different from doing so, however heinously, within one’s own pocket, and from one’s own citizenry, subject to one’s own laws.
      Secondly, moralizing seems to be an odd choice, for an “anti-Zionist”, bigot(EEJs, Khazars), like yourself; Arafat’s corruption is by no means “alleged”… Some Pal. factions, including al-Masri, above, point very strongly to that effect.
      You let us, Israeli citizens, sort out Liberman and Olmert; worry, in trepidation, that your money, wherever you’re from, is being funnelled into an unaccountable, meretricious, authority.
      P.S.
      You lie, probably expecting that no one would read any of your links:
      1st one, lists Israel 22nd out of 33; Hardly one “of the most corrupt”. the US is there, as well, in the same league.
      2ndly, Olmert has been cleared from the more serious indictments(two out of three), and has appealed even this decision to the Supreme Court. We’ll see how it transpires.

      • “1st one, lists Israel 22nd out of 33 [most corrupt]”

        This is the Haaretz headline from the story I pointed to:

        “Israel ranks among Western world’s most corrupt countries”

        • Did you actually read the article, or are you chasing after Headlines?
          It doesn’t list it out of “most-corrupt”, but of 33 OECD Member
          Is reading comprehension now addling you?

          • “Did you actually read the article”

            Of course I read the whole article. I was simply making the point that Haaretz’ interptetation of the data was the same as mine.

            • Did you read AROUND the article, sencar, for background, as a good researcher should before making a fool of yourself here yet again?

              No? Well, that’s evident.

          • C101 this is a link to the current table,
            http://cpi.transparency.org/cpi2011/results/

            Switzerland is number 8? Just as well that dodgy gold deposits don’t count as corruption then.
            Yes Israel is in the 30s out of 183 countries, if you accept the cpi as a valid measure. But if you do look at where Israel’s neighbours are on the index. Be prepared to scroll down rather a lot.

            • Gerald, thank you for some very useful information…(The tables are also available on the CPI(Corruption Perception Index) Wikipedia entry).
              The subject of this sparring with “sencar” however, was his understanding of basic arithmetic;
              If, as Ha’aretz acknowledges, Israel is 22nd out of 33(dismal score, to be sure; and as an Israeli, I am naturally disquieted-though I have my reservations about the methodology of the study, as you astutely point out)- then it’s hardly the worst offender, nor is it in fact, among the worst 3, 5, or even 10.
              “Sencar” dug up a piece, in a particularly diffident attempt to stain Israel.
              He has not answered still, regarding the PA’s theft of foreign money(not its own, nor of its public), how this position is backed-up by some (eminent) Pals., his own malice toward Jews, and how he is abetting these criminal enterprises, by providing them with cash, but leaving the Pals.(those who really need it), in the lurch.

              • C101 don’t hold your breath waiting for an answer from ‘sencar’.
                Any question he finds difficult or inconvenient to his warped view of Israel he will either try to ignore or brand it silly.

                I agree with you that his basic arithmetic, for a self proclaimed statistician, is surprising. But, his grasp of facts, history and logic is also at a surprisingly low level, although on a par for one of his ilk

              • “He has not answered still, regarding the PA’s theft of foreign money”

                I had no intention of trying to defend the PA, just of making a ‘pots and kettles’ point with regard to Israel. Israel has all the institutions of a modern democracy but seems unable to keep its politicians’ hands away from other people’s money. Perhaps the weakness arises from the fact that iIsrael is very much a flawed democracy. All of those fine institutions lean over backwards to advantage the majority group over the minority.

                • “All of those fine institutions lean over backwards to advantage the majority group over the minority.”

                  What Majority, what minority? Why won’t you say outright what you mean?(For the record, I am aware exactly, of what you’re going to say… Try though, to withhold from your verbiage, EEJs and Khazars, this time)
                  Secondly, if you looked at the data in your link, Italy(for example), garnered a score of 3.9(!), and is last on the OECD poll.
                  Is Italy, according to you, a Flawed democracy?
                  Are its instituitions “leaning over backwards”(whatever the hell that means)?
                  What majority operates there, over what minority?
                  Finally, it’s not “other people’s money”. It’s its own money. Of its citizens. You, however, expend millions, of your taxpayer funds, on the PA – a corrupt, degenerate institution.

                  • He just wants to deflect that`s why he brought the issue up. He cannot refute the facts of embezzlement, corruption and underdevelopment though the world gave so much money to them.
                    Maybe they think it`s a tribute and so the money is distributed along tribelike loyalities.
                    It is not only Arafat, all the Palestinian Big Shots are in this play to enrich themselves and take away money defined to developement.
                    But we must have a clear head, most of the donor countries know exactly what is gong on. So why they still give …

                  • “What Majority, what minority? Why won’t you say outright what you mean?”

                    You know perfectly well what I mean. I was using neutral terms but if you want me to say that Israeli institutions are set up to favour Jews over Arabs i am quite happy to do so; it’s self-evidently true. If I had said this first time round you’d accuse me of anti-semitism. Sometimes you just can’t win….

                    • Wait, I don’t get it… Are Israeli(Jewish) politicians stealing the Arabs’(solely, wholly, otherwise) money?
                      Have you heard of a country where a minority dictates to a majority?(assuming that country’s democratic of course… you can keep Syria, to yourself)…
                      What about Italy? Which majority there, is defrauding which minority?
                      By the way, which Israeli institutions favour Jews over Arabs?(By law?)
                      And my dear “sencar”, we’ve long-ago established that you’re an anti-Semite… why you would insist that under certain terms, you are not, is beyond me :D…
                      The cat’s been outed from the bag, long ago!

                    • Commentary101 asks me “which Israeli institutions favour Jews over Arabs?(By law?)”

                      Well you could start with the JNF, which controls vast amounts of land in the interests of Jews, not Israelis.

                      Talking about laws you might consider the 2009 legislation allowing ‘admissions committes’ to discriminate against ‘unsuitable’ would-be residents (i.e. Arabs) in 70% of Israeli towns.

                      I don’t suppose there is a law requiring the Education Ministry to spend five times as much on each Jewish child as on an Arab, but they do.

                      There are many more examples….

                    • Yes, the JNF controls swaths of Israel’s lands….(85% however, is governed directly by the Israeli Lands Administration, whose charter forbids any ethnic discrimination – be that the leaser is an Israeli citizen).
                      The JNF however, holds areas which were fully purchased, for monies spentsince the Ottoman era, onwards.(So, that’s a big flop on your part).
                      Next we move on to “Admission committees” — which have existed(in Kibbutzim, and communal-agricultural villages) even before 2009.
                      How do you judge “unsuitables” to be Arabs?
                      Isn’t there some medication you ought to take, against projecting your own phobiae on others? 😀
                      “Ministry of education spends…”-cumulatively(i.e. in total) it’s very possible(though even as you had yourself admitted, it’s not preordained by any law)… Did your statistics also factor that Jews outnumber Arabs in Israel with the 5:1 ration as well? :O…
                      So, what’s the tally? F for effort and F for the outcome…(You could do better)…
                      But as always, for anti-Semitic canards, you get an A+… Kudos!

              • You have to admit, commentary, that sencar gives a whole new meaning to unbiased rigorous research.

            • My original post compared Israel to other OECD democracies, Gerald. If you want to compare it to dictatorships and monarchies, that’s your privilege. I imagined that Israel aspired to better things.

          • No, he doesn’t owe Arafat anything. He owes the anti-Zionist playbook. If a prominent Zionist said that the earth is round, he would argue that the earth is flat, not because he believes it, but because…

        • Haaretz itself is a very anti-Israeli web side just like the Guardian and the BBC.These three can’t be trusted with anything that they write about Israel……..

          BTW if Israel is that corrupted and is still doing well…….Then it must be doing something right…….

  8. Commentary101 responds to my post about Israeli institutions favouring Jews over Arabs. Unfortunately he is wrong on every point.:

    1) “JNF controls swaths of Israel’s lands….(85% however, is governed directly by the Israeli Lands Administration, whose charter forbids any ethnic discrimination –”

    Ubfortunately the JNF itself declares that it operates in the interests of Jews:
    “Jewish National Fund is the caretaker of the land of Israel, on behalf of its owners – Jewish people everywhere”

    This is from the JBF website:
    http://support.jnf.org/site/PageServer?pagename=Essence_of_Life

    2) “How do you judge “unsuitables” to be Arabs?” (in respect of Admission committees)
    I judge on the basis of MK statements in the Kbesset in support of the Bill. e.g.:
    – MK Shai Kermesh (co-sponsor of the bill) “It’s not discrimination…but we should not be mixed together”.
    – MK Rotem: “every Jewish town needs at least one Arab – what would happen if my refrigator stopped working on a Sarurday”.
    and: “Jews and Arabs should be seoarate but equal”.
    and: ” Don’t blame us for wanting to preserve Israel as a Jewish state”.
    – MK Yisrael Hasson: “(the Bill) is aimed at preserving the ability to fulfil the Zionist dream”.

    3) On the question of under-funding of Arab education:
    “Did your statistics also factor that Jews outnumber Arabs in Israel with the 5:1 ”

    If you had read my post you would have seen that I clearly stated the 5:1 discrepancy is PER Jewish/Arab child, not in respect of total funding. The abstract of the journal article giving these statistics is here:

    http://abs.sagepub.com/content/49/8/1075.abstract

    Unfortunately you’ll have to pay a substantial fee to get the full article, but I can assure you that my figures are accurate.

    Incidentally Commentary101, your post reads like that of a sixteen year old. Please confirm that my estimate of your age is correct

    • Now “sencar”, has reading become tenuous for you ;)?
      1.) 85% of the land is controlled by the ILA. AND THE ILA CHARTER forbids ethnic discrimination. I was referring to the ILA, NOT the JNF.
      Furthermore, anything to add on the fact that the majority of lands still handled by the JNF, were in fact purchased by the JNF for hard currency?(and thus, can dispose of them, as they please)
      2). This is what Hermesh* actually said(From Kadima, hardly a “right-wing” party; I am sorry, I’ve only got the Hebrew link so far- use Google translate if you like… I’ll try to find an English source):
      “מדובר בחוק מאוזן, לא גזעני, שאינו מכוון כלל לפגוע בערבים ובחלשים בחברה”.-
      “This is a balanced law, not a racist one, that is not intended to harm either Arabs, or the weaker sectors of society

      It gets better: Hana Suyied, an Arab-Israeli MK for the Comm. party(More Israeli Apartheid, right? :D), acknowledged this:
      ” יש איסור בחוק על שלילת מגורים בגלל מוצא לאומי,” — “The law does forbid any discrimination based on ethnicity
      As for Rotem, well here “sencar”, you’re *just* lying…
      http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-4046407,00.html
      3). Finally, we come to your last point, and that “link” you provide us with;
      My my, a “feminist” perspective for integration… That screams professionalism, and ethics, doesn’t it?
      Neither the abstract, nor anything about it, tell us about the individual, i.e. per capita effect of the distribution of resources. Though no doubt, like I said, a demographic disparity will sure be found.
      So “sencar”, what have got here?
      F, on all counts, I think.(You’ve also failed miserably on the anti-Semitic conspiracy/tropes count… :))
      So do tell us, are you a brash 14-year-old…?
      If so, Mommy, won’t be proud :D.

  9. You perform research much worse than a sixteen year old, sencar.

    For example, you don’t mention the NGOs which operate to give help, money and aid to Israeli Arabs, and the Red Cross who actually support Israel’s enemies (research it, sencar, how the Red Cross gave sanctuary to Hamas terrorists).

    Neither do you mention the millions of dollars of western taxpayers’ money dedicated to the world’s most professional and belligerent beggars, as well as the money and input from UNRWA

    And you conspicuously fail to mention that according to sharia, money collected by Muslims around the world is to be given only to Muslims. Hanbali says as follows in the ahadith:

    Non-Muslims cannot be given Zakat charity
    “It is not permissible to give zakat to a non-Muslim” (h8.24)
    Comment: Zakat is a kind of tithing, obligatory “for every free Muslim” (h1.1)

    The Islamic religious obligation of “zakat” is not the same as our word “charity”. Islamic law forbids Muslims to contribute to organizations like Red Cross, Salvation Army, cancer research, Boy Scouts, Disabled American Veterans, etc. During the last few years, several Islamic charities were shut down in the US, and their leaders convicted, for aiding Muslim terrorists.

    Like everything else in the ideology of Islam, “zakat”, too, is designed to strengthen Islam.

    The statements in the Knesset were from the detractors only, in the style of what passes for unbiased research and reporting from the likes of you. Can you quote some statements from MKs who gave the opposite viewpoints, or have you bothered only to look at one side of the coin?

    And yes, if these Islamist-supporting charities operate only in the interests of Israeli/Palestinian Arabs, why should not the JNF operate to help Jews in Israel and all over the world?

  10. Hey sencar, what do you make of the conditional nature of this fatwah about the giving of charity to non-Muslims

    Question:

    In the case that a non-Muslim is in dire need of help, is a Muslim rewarded for giving him charity?
    Answer:

    Charity to a non-Muslim in need is allowed, and the giver of this charity is rewarded. However, a Muslim cannot give his Zakat to a non-Muslim unless it is hoped that by receiving help, the non-Muslim might decide to accept Islaam or at least to refrain from harming Muslims (when he has a reputation for harming Muslims). Even when we give a non-Muslim charity, we must make sure that he is not from those who wage war on Muslims or who drive Muslims out of their lands, because then we are helping someone to wage war against Muslims.

    Shaykh Muhammad bin Saalih al-`Uthaymeen
    Fatawa Islamiyah vol.8, p.403, DARUSSALAM

    Emphasis added. Thankfully, Israel is not bound by such rules

    • “Thankfully, Israel is not bound by such rules”

      Actually the Talmud specifically forbids Jews from giving gifts to non-Jews – unless, it seems, the gift is a bribe and expects something in return. There are many other quaint Talmudic rules about the treatment of gentiles which you can read here:

      http://www.biblebelievers.org.au/jewhis5.htm

      • Oh Dear sencar/Brian are the streets of Knutsford full of religious nutters? Or did you have to ‘Google’ search religious fruitcakes?

        If that is the kind of source in your desperation you are using you have scraped through the bottom of the barrel and are back in the sewer with the rest of your anti-semitic ilk.