Another reason why Palestine is largely responsible for its own plight: its leaders get rich taking money from the people

October 10, 2023 • 12:00 pm

While I’m by no means an uncritical worshiper of the Israeli government, neither will I blame the war and its carnage on Israel’s “apartheid” policies. If there is an apartheid state among the two, it’s surely Palestine, which won’t allow Jews to live there (in contrast, I was just in Israel and saw that Jerusalem was full of Arabs mingling freely with Jews), won’t allow Jews to walk the streets, oppresses women, and criminalizes gays, apostates, and infidels. How is that not an apartheid state?

Further, when people pin this war on Israel’s policies, blaming the plight of Palestine on Israeli oppression, they are neglecting several other causes. These are well known and I suspect many who pin the war on Israel neglect them on purpose. Here’s a list:

  1. Since the 1930s, Palestinians have turned down at least five offers of a two-state solution, and most of these offers were good ones—that is, offers that would be acceptable by centrists  from both sides.
  2. Palestinians don’t want a two-state solution (and now neither do Israelis); most Palestinians want Israel eliminated. That, after all, is the meaning of the ubiquitous mantra, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”
  3. Even a two-state solution won’t eliminate Palestinian terrorism so long as many Palestinians want Israel wiped off the map and terrorist organizations still exist.
  4. The 1988 charter of Hamas, the rulers of Gaza, explicitly calls for the elimination of Israel (see first paragraph). So long as Hamas is there, terrorism will be there, too. The charter even cites the fraudulent and anti-Semitic Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a Russian fabrication of a supposed Jewish plan to take over the world.
  5. Palestinian children are inculcated from a young age in school with hatred of Israel and Jews, and terrorism and desire for martyrdom will remain until the propagandizing stops.  This is, of course, a religiously-based form of anti-Semitism.
  6. Until Palestinians depose Hamas as rulers of Gaza, the violence and attempts to eliminate Israel will continue, as both the PA and Hamas favor the elimination of Israel.  Thus Abbas,  (apparently President for Life of the PA) also needs to be replaced.

And here’s a seventh point, one that even the Palestinians recognize and grumble about (see some of the sources below):

7. Those who blame the problems of Gaza on Israel not only neglect the diversion of humanitarian funds by Palestinians into terrorism, but the fact that corruption is so rife that the higher-ups in Hamas, Fatah, and even Mahmoud Abbas, the head of the PA, are billionaires or millionaires. These leaders have simply diverted money meant to go to poor Palestinians into their own bank accounts. Don’t believe me? Read the five articles below, at least one of which comes from Arab sources (click to read). The dates of the pieces range from 2014 to 2023.

Click each headline to read:

From Globes:

From The Arab Weekly:

From The Algemeiner:

From Mosaic:

From CooWPB:

I won’t go through all of these, but the upshot is that many Palestinian leaders, from groups like Hamas, Fatah, and even the Palestinian Authority, are filthy rich, despite humble origins. (Abbas is apparently worth $100 million, while some Hamas leaders are billionaires.)  Many terrorist leaders, like Ismail Haniyeh, the senior political leader of Hamas, undoubtedly involved in this last week’s carnage, are multimillionaires (last year Haniyeh was estimated to have $5 million). Not only that, but, like many wealthy Hamas leaders, Haniyeh lives in Qatar, where the living is luxurious compared to Gaza!

Like many terrorist leaders, Haniyeh gets his wealth by taking cuts from money charged for goods coming into Palestine from Egypt through tunnels (20% of the net worth). Other leaders, as you’ll read from above, simply skim off money given to Gaza or the West Bank that’s intended for humanitarian purposes.

Thus billions of dollars that rightfully should be going to the people of Palestine go into the deep pockets of terrorist leaders (and “regular” leaders like Abbas). Don’t blame that on Israel; it’s the fault of the pervasive corruption that we see in Palestine. Even Palestinians, seeing the mansions of terrorist leaders, grumble about it, but they know that they better not grumble too loud!

Why is Palestine in such bad shape? I gave some reasons above, and this is one I’ve learned about this week. Read the articles for yourself, do your own research, and see if I’m not right about the corruption. Corruption is in fact more concerning to Palestinians than Israel as a cause of their woes. This is from the Jerusalem Post but reports a survey of Palestinians led by a Jordanian organization:

Indeed, a study by AMAN – a chapter of Transparency International co-founded by Jordan – shows that, according to several surveys of the Palestinian population, the corruption of their leaders is the second most popular cause of their misery. According to the same surveys, the first cause would be the inability of these same leaders to create a strong economy. The Israeli occupation comes in third place.

Thus the Palestinians strike out against the only cause of their misery that they’re allowed to.

A bit more:

As one Palestinian interviewed said: “It is good to live in Gaza, but only for a small minority.” Another complains that hospitals and clinics never have drugs available. “They tell you to come back at the beginning of the month. You return on the second day of the month and there’s already nothing left. All the drugs have disappeared in 24 hours?

In Ramallah and Hebron, other interviewees noted that they often hear about international aid through the media and on the Internet, but that they themselves never benefit from it. The infrastructure, they say, is deplorable and no effort is ever made to fix it. But the palaces that appear in the documentary are spectacular and would make Hollywood stars dream.

The Palestinian Authority complains that it does not have sufficient funds. But that didn’t stop Abbas from having a house built for $32 million and buying a private jet that would have cost nearly $50 million. At the same time, the salaries of 190 employees of a fictitious airline “Palestine Airlines” were included in the Palestinian Authority’s budget until 2017. [JAC: These fake jobs are discussed in one of the articles above.]

Palestinians are humans; they deserve a fair shake. But they’re not getting it from their corrupt leaders. If they had honest leadership, things would be a lot better off in the Palestinian Territories.

33 thoughts on “Another reason why Palestine is largely responsible for its own plight: its leaders get rich taking money from the people

  1. I assume if any of the luxury homes of Hamas leader are in Gaza they will be righty targeted by the IDF as valid Hamas targets.

    1. AP is reporting that Gaza City’s upscale Rimal neighborhood has been targeted so maybe they are finally eliminating the mansions of the Hamas leadership.

  2. The Palestinians need to be freed from the hands of Hamas. Gaza has been self-governing since 2005. Any state of apartheid in Gaza is its own.

  3. Until someone is brave enough to stick their head above the parapet and can stay alive long enough… no change is on the horizon for Gaza and the Palestinian. Misery is their immediate and long term future.
    I hold though that something out of view could blindside them all, a tipping point for change but that is conjecture, a possibility.

    1. I think your last sentence is referring to a “black swan event.” As you suggest, I assume that’s always a possibility.

  4. Some hypotheticals (and not):

    A man is about to rape a woman after shooting her husband in the head. Do you kill him or not? It is in your power to do so.

    A terrorist organization has embedded its chief communication facility in a 12-story apartment complex. They are using it to direct rocket attacks on neighborhoods. Do you strike it or not? Many civilians will die if you do; many civilians will die if you don’t. It is in your power to choose.

    What if that communications facility is strictly a military site but striking it means the adjacent apartment complex might also be hit. Do you strike?

    That same organization has a large weapons cache in an elementary school and another in a hospital. These weapons are being drawn upon in the current conflict. Do you strike the facilities or not? What if your intelligence agencies earlier made a mistake in advising a strike and the weapons were elsewhere?

    Any large-scale military action will cause a humanitarian crisis in the surrounding population, but you deem it the only way to protect those for whom you have responsibility—both now and in the future. How do you determine proportionality?

    Hostages taken from your side are being used as human shields. They have been threatened with execution if you continue to launch strikes against their captors. Do you count these poor men, women, and children as though they are already dead and continue the strikes?

    Welcome to the world of those who must decide—and must decide quickly, regardless of either the world’s attention or of who or what is ultimately responsible for the political strife.

    1. These are all trolley problems which by their nature are the most difficult (assuming morals are part of the decision making). The further from the trolley, the easier the decisions (to some extent). When it comes to human conflict, one way to get around the moralistic problems of the trolley is to declare Total War. Thereby committing an entire population to the status of enemy. This is what Putin is doing to Ukraine, though it’s more of a “total war light” since they’re not carpet bombing, using nukes, etc. But Putin has abandoned any moral stance (propaganda aside). Israel is in a real pickle, especially since they obviously want to keep the moral high ground. That can be a very difficult needle to thread during war.

      I guess this rambling reply is to say I would never want to be in a position where I’d have to make these impossible decisions.

    2. I would answer yes to most of your dilemmas. Dilemmas are meant to weaken you. Problems are to be solved, dilemmas to kill you.
      Enemies are obviously keen on creating dilemmas
      No 1: Yes. (Alternatively he can be castrated as a humane solution, if circumstances allow.)
      No 2: Probably yes, but you have to ascertain with pretty high probability it is what you think: it is the command centre.
      No 3: Yes, but try to strike as accurately as you can, minimising ‘collateral damage’.
      No 4: No, if you are not 100% sure leave the school alone. If you strike, make sure to do it at night when there are no children. The hospital is a more difficult question: probably no.
      No 5: Yes. If fanatic Muslims take them hostage I consider them tortured, raped, probably mutilated and anyway being or going to be murdered. Going in massively will not change their fate negatively, if forceful enough maybe even positively.

      Here you have the opinion of one who has no power to decide.

      1. Before I went into the sandbox, I left very explicit instructions with my family that should I ever be taken hostage by such people, I give advance permission for an airstrike, on the condition that the strike be large enough to vaporize my captors.

        But as for the Islamic terrorists, they deliberately locate vital facilities near or under civilians, to take advantage of what they see as our weakness regarding collateral damage.

        Hamas leaders have explicitly stated that in their view, no Jew is a civilian. Today we learned that this includes babies.

        This gives us some insight into the set of rules they are using. It is necessary to factor in their rules when promulgating our own rules of engagement and use of deadly force.

        If you have been watching the live coverage the last couple of nights, Hamas launches lots of missiles from easily identified locations. The fact that those locations are not immediately obliterated tells me that the Israelis continue to exercise the tremendous restraint I observed when I worked with them.

        1. It has always seemed to me that no other nation has ever demonstrated as much restraint as Israel has over the course of its existence.

      2. Somewhat off topic…

        With number one, the immediate problem is to stop him raping the woman. Under normal circumstances, you don’t have to either kill him or castrate him – it’s sufficient to restrain him so the woman can get away.

        1. In strict gun-control countries like Canada, the immediate problem is to avoid getting yourself killed or, alternatively, convicted of murder should you have need to shoot the assailant in defence of your own life. Self-defence acquittals are very rare and the Crown usually appeals acquittals and gets a new trial. You have stumbled onto a crime scene while carrying a restricted firearm — we assume it’s a handgun and not a bolt-action rifle — which is already a criminal offence even before you point it at someone. So you look very guilty to the police just from being at the scene, illegally armed. You might know you didn’t kill the husband, but the police don’t.

          You can’t know the woman is about to be raped, and you can’t shoot the assailant even if she is. She might be able to, and get away with it, but you can’t. Rape is a consent crime. It exists only in the mind of the woman. For all you know, she was about to reward her lover for bumping off her abusive husband and then you blundered in waving a handgun, ruining both the moment and whatever cover story they had cooked up. In a flash of desperate inspiration she might tell the police that you murdered her husband.

          Holding the (still armed? high? mentally ill?) guy at gunpoint to prevent the sex act is very dangerous. A lot of unpredictable things, all bad, might happen that would not have happened if you had stayed out of it.

          We are required to run away from violence, even in our own homes, if we have an escape route. Only if we are cornered by someone who is indicating he is going to kill us can we use lethal force. And even then we have to explain why we were in possession of the means to use lethal force in the first place. So in scenario 1, the only lawful course in Canada is to flee and call the police from some safe location.

    3. The guiding principle that governs those thought experiments in a state of declared war is that civilian non-combatants lose their immunity to attack if they become militarized, even without their consent. In armies like Israel’s the high command will want to avoid brutalizing their soldiers (and alienating foreign allies.) They will exercise restraint through discipline and the best possible intelligence but the mere presence of nearby (or embedded) civilians cannot shield enemy combatants or war stores from destruction. Civilians who actively participate in the war effort as armed free-lancers, gun molls, workers in armaments factories, crews of blockade-running boats, or assemblers of rockets in their kitchens can without doubt be killed without a thought as to their degree of coercion.

      Hostages are best discounted as already dead. Then any that are recovered alive are a source of unexpected joy to their families.

      So I go yes for all the scenarios except the first, which is a criminal conflict, not war, and where the precise facts and local laws would convict or exonerate for murder.

  5. From South Africa here, although there are some superficial similarities (if so) there is really no way the Israeli policies are ‘Apartheid’. These people calling Israel an ‘Apartheid state’ haven’t got a clue about Apartheid, not a clue about Israel , or most probably no clue about either.
    It is like calling Trump a nazi: despicable and crypto-fascist he may be (is): he’s positively not a nazi, or not yet. People who contend that he is a nazi have no idea of nazism and their ruthless ‘efficiency’.

  6. Thank you for your affirmation of the humanity of the Palestinians. This being said, point 6 is off-base. The median age in the Gaza strip is 18 years old; the people have not had an election since 2006. Hamas’ primacy is, consequently, not necessarily a reflection of popular sovereignty. As you know, the 2.3 million residents have limited control over the trajectory of their lives due to forces within (i.e, Hamas) and without (i.e., economic blockade from Israel and Egypt).

    1. What you’re saying, without evidence, is that the Gazans want to get rid of Hamas but can’t. Perhaps you’re right, but most of them do want Israel erased.

      That point, while not important, is debatable. By the way, why isn’t everybody demonizing Egypt for its restriction of goods and immigration from Palestine.

      1. Here’s actual polling data.

        “Also notable is that Gazans continue to express disapproval of Hamas’ policies towards Israel. About half (53%) agree at least somewhat that “Hamas should stop calling for Israel’s destruction, and instead accept a permanent two-state solution based on the 1967 borders,” a percentage that has held steady over the last three years. 59% of Gazans also agree that Hamas should give up its armed units in favor of PA officers in Gaza.”

        Egypt is also to blame.

        I truly value your blog and your work on evo bio , but would like to push back on the view that the majority of Gaza is in favor of Hamas leadership.

        1. Here’s OTHER actual polling data, which I posted TODAY, published in 2023:

          Survey on Palestinian Support for Hamas
          A noteworthy survey from the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PCPSR) unveiled that 58% in Gaza and 42% in the West Bank favor Hamas. Intriguingly, younger Palestinians and Gaza residents displayed stronger support, especially those viewing Hamas as Palestine’s ideal representative and resistor against Israel.

          And from the Christian Science Monitor TODAY:

          But even as the Gaza Strip braces for an Israeli ground assault and its 2 million inhabitants prepare to cope with what Israeli officials call “a complete siege” denying them food, water, fuel, and electricity, a large majority of Palestinians appear to support Hamas militants’ brutal weekend attack on Israel.

          Also, you ignored the comment that most Gazans want to get rid of Israel.

          At any rate, you may be “pushing back”, but I’m not ready to topple yet. But I’m through playing dueling quotes. My point was that until Gaza gets rid of Hamas, the terrorism will continue.

          1. Since I wanted to show that data to others I’m in conversation with, I went to the link you posted, but it’s not the primary report. So I went to the site of the PCPSR and looked at their polling report, searching the document both for “58%” and “Hamas” in order to see if such information was provided.

            The only instance I found that could be construed as 58% support for Hamas was the question of a hypothetical presidential election. Here Ismail Haniyeh would receive 58% of the vote.

            The most direct question about support for Hamas I could find was “Between Hamas and Fatah, which group deserves to represent and lead the Palestinian people?” and the result was:
            “26% say Hamas is most deserving of representing and leading the Palestinian people while 24% think Fatah under president Abbas is the most deserving of representing and leading the Palestinians; 44% think neither side deserves such a role. Three months ago, 28% selected Hamas, 25% Fatah under Abbas, and 40% said neither side deserves such a role.”

            The primary sources:
   – March Survey
   – June Survey
   – September survey

          2. War cancels all polls. If Gazans are fed up with Hamas and fed up with being exploited to enrich and shelter killers, now is their chance to abandon Hamas fighters to whatever rains on them from the skies. Hamas has got to go, no matter what one thinks of the Palestinian “cause”, and no matter if Hamas could win an election in Gaza.

      2. 19 years since an election, and the median age is now 18? Given how Palestinian children have been taught by Hamas (you know, the pigs and all the rest of it), how shall an election even begin to be considered fair? Yes, it might be democratic, but fair, as in ‘informed’?
        Naturally, in a diluted form, we might ask ourselves the same question about our elections, I know.
        I prefer democracy, for its many faults, over other forms of government. Mostly because it, eventually, self-corrects. But if there were to be (I’m being hopelessly theoretical here) a democratic election in the Palestinian territories, could we outsiders who look in and see the biases be justified in saying “No, not yet.”? If I trust in democracy to self-correct, no intervention would be needed. This is true. And yet, one might save decades of error by such an intervention, which is exactly what a dictator would say. I know I must not say that as a result, and accept that this will not be solved in my lifetime. But one caveat: why does the UN feel it is in a position to declare elections legitimate or not?

  7. We have verified reports of beheaded Israeli babies and whole families were slaughtered. Holocaust surviors were murdered and kidnapped.
    It is now clear that Hamas is not bettter than ISIS. Just imagine what America would do if ISIS ruled Mexico or Canada.
    As far as I am concerned, every measure is acceptable as long as it is necessary to elimiate Hamas’ power. I am not for harming Palestinian civilians for revenge (many of my fellow Isralis want that, and while I reject this, I fully understand the sentiment), but if necessary to get to Hamas, I expect the Israeli forces to not stop because of civilian presence.

  8. Just another update about events over at Pha*yngula.

    One commentator (WMDKitty) suggests the Hamas attack on the rave, and the subsequent mass murder, was “staged” and Israel was responsible for it.

    This antisemite and conspiracy theorist has evaded PZ’s infamous banhammer (you would be insta-banned if you suggested sex was binary, for instance) for years on end.

    1. Antisemitism is perfectly PC in the woke circles.
      They use antisemitic tropes regularly and treat Jewish not Israeli/zionist!) as triggers. Many of them do not even bother to hide or deny their hostility towards all Jews as such,

  9. Enough of the “apartheid” trope. Arabs enjoy the same rights in Israel as Jewish citizens. I have been trying to get a comment approved in the (Canadian) National Post, and finally have it there in a watered-down form.

    Good God. Just give a little encouragement and they come scuttling out of the woodwork. Anti-semitism is alive and well in Canada and other ‘civilized’ nations. We see what CUPE really thinks, what NDP MLAs say when not muzzled, what university administrations say just to stay on the right side of their students. It makes me sick. Even a CNN article about what you can do to help is all about donating to the Red Cross in Gaza. How slow the media has been to pick up on the story of 40 babies decapitated or with cut throats. In the UK celebrations of the Hamas terror are tolerated, whilst a silent protest outside the Iranian embassy by Jewish Lives Matter resulted in police action and arrest of all attending. Biden gives $6Bn to Iran and this is what he bought. One could almost detect a bias. We should not tolerate such blatant anti-semitism. It is perfectly clear now that anti-Zionism is just the latest mask worn by anti-semitism. For goodness’ sake, we are supposed to be decent people!

    Surprising how much that had to be edited before it passed. Apparently I cannot mention the JLM protest not being reported by the CBC or the BBC. Even so, there are those who defend the public employees’ union (CUPE) and suggest it is just the individual opinion of its president that might—just—be called anti-semitic. D’ya think? Read about it:

    1. I will often ask people who refer to Israel as an “apartheid regime”, which others they class as apartheid regimes, and they will either go quiet, or react with hostility.

      There are numerous other countries one could class as apartheid regimes if we use the same standard as the one applied to Israel, but antisemites want the usage of it to only refer to Israel.

      Oh, and the people I ask this question to, will often defend the regimes that are far worse than Israel.

      It’s just pure antisemitism.

      1. I know that the “false flag” meme is a thing, and likely used so far by conspiracy theorists from the right more than from anywhere else. I avoid the darker and more sinister parts of the internet, so your report of WMDKitty suggesting this is the first to reach me. I’ll verify my wretchedly sexist credentials by assuming WMDKitty is female, and say I’m horrified by her suggestion. I hope she did not dream that up herself, but if she did, well, what can I say? One hopes she will stand by her principles, travel immediately from her comfortable American (another assumption) home to Gaza, and join the rest of Hamas being bulldozed into the sea.
        I’m not Jewish. I attended the ‘Godless Institution of Gower Street’ and later ‘JewCH.’ I married at a register office like any good atheist, and had two best men, both Jewish, and to be fair, one Orthodox and one Reform. I cannot stand by and watch these self-righteous idiots prattle on about the ‘river to the sea’ whilst babies, young women, and elders are raped, killed and taken hostage. I owe my friends at least that. May from the river to the sea become all Israeli.

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