So reads an Associated Press title today that reaches new heights of insolence. The Palestinians routinely burn American flags and effigies of George W. Bush, they frequently kill Americans and threaten to do so again. Now we read that, in the event of an Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, Nabil Shaath of the Palestinian Authority expects that "the Americans should be ready with the World Bank and other donors to make massive economic support for the Palestinian Authority." He did not specify a sum but one can expect that "massive" means tens of billions of U.S. dollars. Shaath announced that these funds are needed for "relief, reconstruction, economic activities, labor and job creation, and others." (April 8, 2004)
June 10, 2004 update: Maybe the Palestinians have surpassed their April insolence with their June hubris. Again, the Associated Press provides the details, this time datelined Jenin Refugee Camp. I cannot improve on the account provided by Ali Daraghmeh:
The United Nations suspended a construction project in this refugee camp after Palestinian gunmen threatened crews rebuilding houses destroyed by Israeli forces, a U.N. official said Thursday. Many residents of the Jenin camp are complaining that their new houses, replacing those destroyed in Israeli incursions, are not big enough, said Sami Mashasha of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency, which aids Palestinian refugees.
In the most recent attack, five Palestinians from one family barged into the U.N. office in Jenin on Tuesday and opened fire with M-16 and Kalashnikov assault rifles, said Fahri Turkman, a Palestinian lawmaker. No one was hurt, but it was the third such attack on U.N. personnel in the past six months. "We decided yesterday to freeze the construction until we can see that these irresponsible acts will not happen again," Mashasha said. U.N. officials complained to local leaders, who promised to rein in the militants, he said.
One gunman, who identified himself as Abu Maher, said he took action because the house promised to him was only half the size of the one Israeli forces destroyed. He said dissatisfaction in the camp was widespread, with some residents saying the wait for a new home was too long. …
As part of the reconstruction, the U.N. agency is building 430 houses with $27 million from the United Arab Emirates, Mashasha said. Seventy apartments have been built so far, and more than 1,000 damaged houses have been repaired. …
[But] many residents are unhappy with the smaller new houses. Raed Karawi said the agency gave him an apartment of 600 square feet. "This is not enough for me and my wife to live. We will have children soon. This is not fair," he said, threatening to buy 20 old cars and block the new roads.
Not everyone is complaining, however. Near the edge of the camp is a row of gleaming white buildings, one of them the three-story home of the 12-member Aweid family. Ali and Hind Aweid said Thursday that they also received new rose-print sofa and other furniture. "The truth is that it is even nicer than before, even twice or three times better," said Hind Aweid, 52. The Aweids lived in a rented apartment until their new home was completed late last year.
This "give-me" attitude sums up the Palestinians' sense of victimization and entitlement that has proven to be a worthy companion to their radicalism, irredentism, and cult of death.
June 17, 2004 update: The Times (London) offers some startling additional details on the Palestinians' rejection of their new homes. It tells about a three-man British delegation of technical experts (paid for by the British taxpayer, via the Department for International Development) which was helping to rebuild the Jenin refugee camp, but then abandoned its efforts on June 9 when Palestinians shot at the door and windows of its headquarters.
In a report obtained by the Times, the three explained how they were building 435 apartments (funded by £15 million from the United Arab Emirates Red Crescent Authority) that included Italian marble kitchen tops and ceramic tiles. The homes were built to European construction standards. "You wouldn't believe how good the properties are," said Neil Johnston, the construction manager. "The finishing is fantastic." Some apartments are completed, with residents sometimes adding such handsome features as sandstone cladding, balconies, and carriage lamps. One of the Britons complained, "I have come to help these innocent individuals who lost their houses through no fault of their own — and what do I get but harassment, threats and not one word of thanks."
Dec. 12, 2004 update: Susan Taylor Martin of the St. Petersburg Times tells the dismal story of the Sheikh Zayed Township, a $55-million gift from the late ruler of the United Arab Emirates to Palestinians in Gaza. It consists of 736 new apartments sitting empty at the edge of the Jabalya "refugee" camp since their completion in August 2004.
Compared to the gray squalor of surrounding areas, the township looks decidedly upscale. All apartments have three bedrooms and 1,200 square feet, spacious by local standards. The buildings cluster around landscaped courtyards with colorful playground equipment, paved walkways and trash containers - all virtually unheard of in Palestinian sections of Gaza. The first phase also includes a school, commercial space and a plaza with fountain and gazebos.
No one moved in because the UAE insisted the apartments were a gift and the Palestinian Authority equally insisted on charging for them. As a result, "the place is a ghost town. No vehicles sit in the neatly striped parking lot. No children play on the slides or kick soccer balls on the grass. The fountain has been turned off, and the geraniums are dying from neglect."
Apr. 20, 2006 update: The Palestinian "give-me" attitude is again on display with the election of Hamas to lead the Palestinian Authority and the cut-off of funds by Israel and many Western sources as a result. The mentality includes not only the PA leadership but also the Associated Press writer, Mohammed Daraghmeh. Omar Abdel Razek, the Hamas operative in charge of PA finances, said that he lacks the money to pay the PA's 165,000 employees their March salaries. He then adopts a strikingly passive pose, waiting for the funds to rain down from somewhere anywhere: "It's a puzzling problem. You can't do anything. You can only wait. So I have a strange feeling. For the first time, I find myself in such a dilemma. But I hope that God will provide a solution." Asked what would happen if no Western aid appears, Abdel Razek said: "I don't want to think of the worst. We will keep talking with the Arab countries, and we hope they will help us overcome the crisis."
Apparently, the United Nations shares the same mentality; Daraghmeh characterizes an unnamed recent report warning of a "grave humanitarian crisis if the foreign funding remains frozen, with poverty in the West Bank and Gaza reaching as high as 75 percent."
Apr. 15, 2008 update: More investments in Palestinian apartments; see details at "Will Palestinian Prosperity End the Arab-Israeli Conflict?"
May 9, 2011 update: After the Palestinian Authority signed an accord with Hamas, the Israeli government cut off some fund transfers to the PA. To which, the PA replied with its wonted insolence and greed. Quoting Xinhua:
An official in the Palestinian National Authority said Monday PNA would not be able to pay the salaries of government employees after Israel had frozen the transfer of tax revenues. There are only two solutions to the salary issue, said the Palestinian government's spokesman Ghassan Al-Khatib, "The two choices are either Israel pays the taxes money to the PNA or the international donors try to fund the salaries."
June 1, 2011 update: Salam Fayyad displayed petulance at the slow delivery of promised donations: "We need to see an acceleration in the receipt of aid that has been committed," he demanded, insisting that we "are not asking for anything more than what we need." More: "In 2011, we have been receiving $52.5 million dollars a month from the Arab countries, which is much less than the amount they committed to deliver."
Comment: I wonder how far it would get me, as the head of a non-profit that raises voluntary donations, if I adopted this tone of entitlement.
June 19, 2011 update: "Gaza families shut down UN summer camps" reads the headline from Maan News. Why so? "Homeless families in the southern Gaza Strip on Saturday shut down UNRWA summer camps in protest over the agency's failure to reconstruct homes destroyed during the Second Intifada."