News and Commentary

COPE: The True Motives Of Palestinian Leadership, Corruption, And Ethnic Cleansing
GAZA, ISRAEL - JULY 1994: Chairman Yasser Arafat pictured during a meeting after his return from exile to Gaza.
Tom Stoddart/Getty Images

Perhaps the greatest misconception involving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is that, while the Palestinians may be more morally wrong, it is Israel who must do more to usher in peace. Truth is, nothing Israel offers will suffice, because Palestinian leadership has never wanted peace — nor even a two-state solution. It’s time the world acknowledges the true motives of Palestinian leadership: Either a “Judenrein Palestine” (a Jew-free Palestine) or sustained conflict that inspires the foreign aid that enriches the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) coffers.

For the entirety of its existence, Palestinian-Arab leadership has championed anti-Semitism and violence — antitheses to peace. Cue Hajj Amin al-Husseini, an infamous Nazi collaborator and the first to spearhead Palestinian-Arab nationalism. As the grand mufti of Jerusalem, al-Husseini stopped at no cost to undermine Britain’s control over Mandatory Palestine. Al-Husseini allied with the Nazis and even recruited for the SS. He saluted Hitler, had a “close relationship” with SS Chief Heinrich Himmler — who masterminded the Holocaust, and proclaimed, “kill the Jews wherever you find them.” According to Professor Gilbert Archcar, al-Husseini even reached out to European leaders and “advocat[ed] that the Jews be sent to concentration camps instead of … Palestine.” Al-Husseini was complicit in Jewish genocide — and he championed those perpetrating it.

Yasser Arafat echoed support for al-Husseini and his agenda. Arafat regarded al-Husseini as a “hero,” and observed: “We plan to eliminate … Israel and establish a purely Palestinian state. We will make life unbearable for Jews …” Arafat also chaired the terrorist Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). An organization whose “single purpose” was Israel’s destruction, the PLO has killed “thousands of civilians.”

Mahmoud Abbas, the current president of the PA, has continued his predecessors’ anti-Semitism and jihadism. He has referred to Jews as “dirty,” and has incited murder, exclaiming, “Every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem is pure, every [martyr] will reach paradise.” And in 2018, the PA under Abbas directed $330 million to the PA Martyrs Fund, which sponsors stipends to terrorists and their families. Abbas’s anti-Semitism also includes Holocaust denial, the very focus of his dissertation: The Other Side: The Secret Relationship Between Nazism And Zionist Movement. Abbas has also blamed “hatred against Jews” as a result of “their social profession.” He is undeniably anti-Semitic.

Other political influences deserving mention are Hamas and Marwan Barghouti. Hamas, which governs Gaza, is a terrorist organization committed to Israel’s destruction. Hamas won the last Palestinian elections in 2006, and in late 2018, was regarded as the favorite to win the next elections. Further, Hamas has fought three wars with Israel since 2008, and has fired 17,000 rockets in that span. And polling suggests that Marwan Barghouti, founder of the militant al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and convicted murderer of 26 people, would win the next Palestinian election if selected as the candidate for Fatah — Abbas’ party.

Hence, anti-Semitism and violence have corrupted Palestinian leadership. Peace is the last thing it wants, the first being Israel’s destruction and a Judenrein state — which is why PA law allows the death penalty to be imposed upon Palestinians who sell land to Jews. But if the PA cannot achieve Judenrein, it will settle for sustained conflict, which inspires the foreign aid that enriches the PA and allows it to expand its power.

Sadly, Israel has demonstrated more commitment to a Palestinian state than has Palestinian leadership itself. Since 2000, Israel has proposed or accepted four land-for-peace proposals that would have created an independent Palestinian state. The PA has refused all proposals, despite one being so generous as to include all of Gaza, East Jerusalem, and 97% of Judea and Samaria. Palestinian self-sabotages at achieving statehood have been so in vain that Bill Clinton once lamented, “I killed myself trying to give Palestinians a state.”

The PA’s motive, instead of statehood, is corruption — which “thrives” as conflict exists. Conflict fuels international attention and the foreign aid that the PA has exploited to line its pockets and fortify its bureaucracy. In 2015, it was reported that the PA had received $25 billion in foreign aid since 1994. Yet Palestinians “saw no improvement in their living conditions.” This sum should startle: Palestinian foreign aid, when assessed on a per capita basis, exceeds that designated for the Marshall Plan by 25 times. Unlike the Marshall Plan, which propelled Europe’s reconstruction in four years, the “Palestinian Project” has now lasted over a quarter of a century without any end in sight.

So where has the money gone? Corruption. Arafat amassed $10+ billion, “[t]he main source” of which was “the approximately $6 billion contributed … as financial aid.” Further, Arafat’s financial advisor accumulated $500+ million, having had access to “hundreds of millions of [the PA’s] dollars.” Abbas also amassed approximately $100 million, despite being a career politician, and his two sons are millionaires who operate foreign aid contracting businesses. The PA suffers from systemic venality.

Palestinian-Arab leadership has long realized that conflict must exist for it to receive aid. Thus, in 2018, it distributed $330 million worth of stipends to thousands of terrorists and their families, thereby inspiring future generations of terror. PA leadership also realizes that its power remains dependent on keeping the Palestinian people dependent on its reign. Hence, in 2016, “[m]ore than half” of the PA’s spending on Gaza was “spent on wages to PA employees.” Further, between 1999 and 2007, the PA recruited 70,000 new government officials, while spending 70% of the Paris Conference foreign aid package on government salaries in 2008, and 58% of its entire foreign aid for 2001 on PA salaries. Through inciting violence and dependency culture, the PA exploits conflict to preserve its power and wealth.

In sum, Palestinian leadership has long been disingenuous. It wants not peace, but either a “Judenrein Palestine” or a conflict that will enable its corruption, power, and raison d’etre. If the world really wants a solution, it must stop blaming Israel, which has actually tried to establish a Palestinian state, and condemn the true motives of Palestinian leadership.


Jordan Cope is currently a law student at the University of Texas at Austin, where he also completed his undergraduate degree. Having graduated with a B.A. in international relations, Jordan also minored in Middle Eastern studies and can speak Arabic and Hebrew. He has also published research on the security implications of Palestinian foreign aid. He can be followed @JordanCope12.

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