Two weeks ago, a Palestinian from Bethlehem was arrested by the U.S.-financed and trained Palestinian Authority security forces. He was charged with "carrying out commercial transactions with residents of a hostile state."
No, he was not buying uranium from Iran. His purported crime was purchasing wood products from an Israeli community located beyond the 1949 armistice lines.
Denied bail by the U.S.-funded PA magistrate's court in Bethlehem, he has been remanded to custody pending the conclusion of his trial.
This man's arrest is part of what the unelected, U.S.-supported Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has touted as his "National Honor Fund." The goal of this project is to ban all economic contact between Palestinians and Jews who live and work beyond the 1949 armistice lines. As far as the supposedly moderate Fayyad is concerned, those Jews and Israel generally comprise the "hostile state," that the Palestinians under Fayyad's leadership are being compelled to boycott.
Speaking to The Jerusalem Post, Palestinian Labor Minister Ahmed Majdalani said the PA hopes that by the end of the year all the thousands of Palestinians who are employed in Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria will quit their jobs. What he didn't mention is that if they don't quit, they will be arrested.
According to PA Economics Minister Hassan Abu Libdeh, since the start of Fayyad's campaign, the PA has confiscated $1 million worth of Israeli products including foods, cosmetics and hardware from Palestinian stores.
Fayyad's measures come on top of previously enacted PA measures like imposing the death penalty on Palestinians who sell land to Jews. Less than two months ago, the PA reaffirmed that it will continue to execute any Palestinian who commits this "crime."
There is no way to credibly claim that these actions advance either the cause of peaceful coexistence or Palestinian economic prosperity. Yet it is precisely in the hope of advancing these goals that the US government funds the PA.
Despite his campaign to boycott Israel and punish Palestinians with economic ties to the Jewish state, Fayyad is the U.S.'s favorite Palestinian. Since PA President Mahmoud Abbas appointed Fayyad to lead the rump Fatah government in Judea and Samaria after Hamas took over the Gaza Strip, US aid to the PA has increased by more than 700 percent. Most of this aid has gone to propping up Fayyad.
The US directly finances his budget. It funds and trains a Palestinian military. And it subsidizes his programs to build governmental institutions that loyally carry out his anti-Israel policies.
Caroline B. Glick is the senior Middle East fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C., and the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post, where this article first appeared.
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