Palestinian Authority needed to protect Israeli settlers, says US

Israeli settlers take over a Palestinian building in the occupied West Bank.

Mamoun Wazwaz APA images

The Obama administration has come to the aid of the debt-laden Palestinian Authority.

On Monday, the US government requested that a New York court reduce the bond the PA is required to post while it appeals against a ruling that found it liable for a series of attacks between 2002 and 2004 in Jerusalem and present-day Israel.  

One of the reasons cited for supporting the PA is that the US regards it as playing an important role in protecting Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank.

Earlier this year, a Manhattan jury awarded plaintiffs hundreds of millions of damages from the Palestinian governing authorities — the PA and the Palestine Liberation Organization. While the defendants are appealing the ruling, plaintiffs are insisting that a monthly payment plan be enforced in the meantime. 

The PA has described itself to the court as “essentially insolvent” and said that posting such a high bond would put itself and its creditors in “undue jeopardy.”

The Palestinian Authority currently owes $5.4 billion in debt and is unable to pay its creditors on time. 

According to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, every month the PA falls $42 million short of meeting its expenses.

Threat to PA’s future

Nevertheless, plaintiffs have argued that the PA could find the money to post bonds on a monthly basis. International financial consultant Bradley Wendt testified in July that the PA could divert foreign aid payments to make bond payments of as much as $20 million per month.

Foreign aid to the PA is given in order to meet the Palestinians’ basic needs. 

Wendt furthermore suggested that the PA implement a kind of austerity program that would include paring down the public sector, enforcing collections of tax and energy bills in Gaza, slashing public sector salaries and firing all of its employees in Gaza. 

The World Bank and the IMF have already warned against forcing the PA to pay large sums of money for the case. In May, the IMF specifically pointed out that the case had the ability to “shock” the system and threaten the PA’s very existence. 

The US is now joining those international financial organizations.

On Monday, Antony Blinken, the deputy secretary of state, filed a statement of interest with the court. It expressed fear that the bond payments would compromise the PA’s solvency. 

Blinken stated: “The US has provided billions of dollars in assistance to strengthen Palestinian institutions, promote security in the West Bank, expand Palestinian economic growth and help create conditions for peace.”

“The collapse of the PA would undermine several decades of US foreign policy and add a new destabilizing factor to the region, compromising national security,” he added. 

Crucial for stability?

Blinken clarified that he was not deciding on the merits of the case or the jury’s verdict of liability. Indeed, he devoted several paragraphs to affirming the right of “victims of terror” to sue in US courts under the Anti-Terrorism Act. 

“I believe it is our national security interest to support fair compensation for American victims of terrorism from those responsible for their losses,” he wrote.

But Blinken indicated that the PA is crucial to maintaining stability in the Middle East. 

“The PA insolvency and collapse would harm current and future US-led efforts to achieve a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict… The vacuum in governance and security could be filled by violent Palestinian groups that seek Israel’s destruction and reject the goal of a two-state solution.” 

Blinken underscored that he regarded the PA’s “security coordination” with Israel as vital. Such coordination helps protect Israel’s settlements in the West Bank. 

Such settlements violate the Fourth Geneva Convention and are tantamount to war crimes. 
“The PA and Israel currently have mechanisms and channels for security coordination, helping to maintain security for Palestinians and Israelis living in the West Bank, and identifying and thwarting potential terrorist attacks in Israel,” he stated. ”The collapse of the PA would break this channel of coordination.”

Blinken also warned that the destabilization of the PA could help Islamic State in Jordan. Only at the end did his letter give a nod to the humanitarian impact on Palestinians that the financial burden would cause. 

Since 2013, the PA’s foreign aid has been in decline, dropping 20 percent each year. Eighty percent of people in Gaza depend on international aid, while nearly half the population is unemployed.

Any kind of iron-fisted austerity program imposed for the sake of an American civil lawsuit, decided by a jury of 12 Manhattanites, would be felt by every Palestinian in the West Bank and Gaza. 




And who is protecting Palestinians? How much in $$ is the US to allocate
to Palestine's government for security against any and all encroachments
by Israel (and US)?

In fact, the settler's must go, now or later. I would support US "aid" to
Israel (coordinated with Palestine) for their immediate evacuation.
Should they so desire, they could apply to Palestine for housing
in competition with the thousands of Palestinians who have been
forced to live in camps for decades after coerced dispossession
(by force) by Israel. That indeed would be money well-spent.

Any other US policy in support of settlements or in support
of PA doing the dirty work ("stability"???) makes the US
complicit in Israeli extermination policy. Of course, such
policies guarantee war, death, destruction, oppression of

It seems the US has frequently enjoyed participation in
brutal oppressions. This is not "news"!

Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

Until there are none left.

----Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA


There is only onereason why Palestinians are still in camps. Nothing to do with Israel's actions, solely due to Israel's 60+ years' existence.
That's the reason why Gaza is not rebuilt. It's absolutely essential that Palestinians live in misery for as long as it takes.


If I understand you anywhere near correctly Mark (that may not be
the entire case!), you should be aware of the context from which
Zionism sprang. Theodor Herzl was a journalist from Hungary, then
a part of Austria. Hungary was (and remains) an elitist-dominated
nation. He was originally part of PAN GERMANISM, a part of German
Volkish philosophy (aslo anti-Semitic). Hans Kohn once a Zionist
described this strain as follows:

"According to the German theory, people of common descent...should
form one common state. Pan-Germanism was based on the idea that
all persons who were of German race, blood, or descent...owed the ir
primary loyalty to Germanywere of,
wherever they lived or to what-
ever state they belonged, owed their primary loyalty to Germany
and should become citizens of the German state, and should
become citizens of the German state, their true homeland..."

Even the "revisionist" factions of Zionism were pledged to these
notions if more fanatically so. To this was added the roots of
Zionism, intolerance, exclusivism, not from Christianity (which
would, of course, get Jews completely and conveniently "off
the hook" as far as responsibility is concerned, but also in the
Old Testament ("OT"). This is carefully documented by the
late Michael Prior CM in his landmark work THE BIBLE
of course an analysis hidden by Zionists as well as others
in Judaism. Prior begs for a reinterpretation. Instead
we have gotten brutality of aggression with" divine" (holy)
justification which so many applaud.

Space does not permit sources here.

Emotionally, you are on target. Your appropriate
emotional response may benefit from fleshing out.

Note: There was no "Israel" until after the Palestinians
had been conquered. Previously there was.. Palestine.

----Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA


What more needs to be said? A state that knows right from wrong and stands by the weak.

Charlotte Silver

Charlotte Silver's picture

Charlotte Silver is an independent journalist and regular writer for The Electronic Intifada. She is based in Oakland, California and has reported from Palestine since 2010. Follow her on Twitter @CharESilver.