In the excitement about events in [the Middle East], it is important to be realistic about the facts on the ground. Specifically, when it comes to the Palestinian Authority we should not confuse the small bit of progress that has occurred since Arafat’s death with real democracy.
In this spirit, Caroline Glick of the Jerusalem Post argues that Israelis and Palestinians owe a debt of gratitude to House Majority leader Tom DeLay for preventing the transfer of $200 million in direct American government payments to the PA. DeLay understands that it is not “in the interests of peace” for the US to support the continuation of the PA’s kleptocratic, terror-supporting tyranny over Palestinian society.
The administration views PA head Mahmoud Abbas as a man it can trust. But, as Glick points out, he has been engaged in grand larceny in connection with PA funds for the past 11 years. Indeed, Glick quotes Abbas as telling a U.N official in 1996 that “you simply have to accept the fact that we are all corrupt.” But the U.S. is not the U.N. — we don’t have to accept this fact. Until Abbas demonstrates that he is the man the Bush administration hopes he is, not the man he always has been, the U.S. should not transfer money to the PA.
There’s good news out of Iraq and good news out of Lebanon. But that good news is about clean breaks from the past. The transition from Arafat to Abbas cannot be presumed to be such a clean break. Thankfully, Tom DeLay understands this.