By Mahmoud Abbas
Western governments appear to be cracking down on how we Palestinians use the funds they provide for us to run our little fiefdom, including an unprecedented insistence that we not use those monies to pay lifetime pensions to our brave murderers sitting in Israeli jails, and to the families of those martyred in attempts to kill Jews. The strength of pro-Israel sentiment in, for example, the US Congress, plus President Trump’s departure from everything Obama, make it unlikely that we’re going to see this unjust requirement reversed. So I just have one important question, given that we can’t live without the financial assistance: can I use the aid money to line my pockets and the pockets of my cronies instead?
It’s a cultural thing. President Trump, you might even understand – I see you exploiting the prominence and prestige of your office to promote your personal properties and business interests, as well as those of your family and supporters. All I ask is that I be allowed to do the same with the funds your government provides.
Of course this would not be the only source of such lucre. I have amassed significant wealth over the years from international monetary assistance; it’s what we do in these parts. The heads of Hamas, as you well know, have enriched themselves immensely from funds provided by well-meaning international donors who thought they were helping the people of Gaza. It’s a time-honored tradition to siphon every last dinar a Mideast potentate can manage from every possible source: witness the luxury the rulers in our region enjoy even as their subjects wallow in poverty and despair. If I may venture a comparison, it seems to dovetail quite well with Republican Party sensibilities.
Do not think I do not appreciate the differences! I understand that American voters are uncomfortable with what they call terrorism, and with rewarding those who engage in it, whereas my voters, if I were to hold elections (ha!), would show overwhelming support for more of the same. We will never know, of course, because there is no way I’m going to agree to elections my faction will most certainly lose. I’m sure the president can appreciate that consideration as well.
Bottom line (my bottom line, you understand), will the US government withhold those hundreds of millions of dollars in aid if I embezzle it, or only if I allocate it for glorifying and rewarding murder? Asking for a friend. Well, several hundred, the kind you can buy.
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