Numerous leaked cables have given insight into how Israel views its negotiating partner, the Palestinian Authority (PA), which controls the West Bank. Some members of Congress should especially read the cables, like incoming House Foreign Relations Committee chair Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, whose hysteria over the United States’ funding of the PA doesn’t bear much relation to the reality of how the PA operates.
According to the newly released documents from WikiLeaks, before assuming the prime minister’s office in Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly said that he wanted to “strengthen” the PA during his term. Amos Gilad, an Israeli defense ministry official, “noted that Israeli-PA security and economic cooperation in the West Bank continues to improve as Jenin and Nablus flourish, and described Palestinian security forces as the ‘good guys,’” and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak attempted to coordinate the 2008-09 Israeli assault on Gaza with the PA.
All of these add up to one assessment: the PA exists to serve the Israeli occupation, and Israel is quite happy with how it’s doing. Instead of Israel’s footprint being all over the West Bank, they now have a subcontractor to do the dirty work of cracking down on dissent, making sure Hamas is weak and building an economy an “entire Palestinian economy…based on graft and patronage,” as Netanyahu candidly put it in a leaked cable from 2007.
Ros-Lehtinen doesn’t seem to understand this fact. Recently, in response to the Obama administration announcing $150 million more in aid to the PA, she said, “It is deeply disturbing that the Administration is continuing to bail out the Palestinian leadership when they continue to fail to meet their commitments…including dismantling the Palestinian terrorist infrastructure, combating corruption, stopping anti-Israel and anti-Semitic incitement, and recognizing Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state.”
It’s probably just red meat for a large Jewish constituency in her Florida district. But that doesn’t change the fact that the statement is just smoke and mirrors that obscures the fact that the PA is a junior partner in the occupation.