Aug. 8, 2017
- A Day Inside the Palestinian Authority – Aviva Klompas
As part of a study tour for American academics, I spent a day in and around Ramallah. The al-Am’ari refugee camp, just east of Ramallah, is one of 19 in the West Bank under the control of the Palestinian Authority. In reality, the Palestinian government refuses to take responsibility or provide basic services for the 7,000 residents. As a result, it has become a hotbed of resentment toward Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The shutters of shops are papered in posters of “martyrs” killed while perpetrating terror attacks against Israelis.
Ramallah, by contrast, is a prosperous cosmopolitan center, clean and contemporary, boasting museums, cultural centers and cafes. We meet with Jibril Rajoub, deputy secretary of the Fatah Central Committee and a leading candidate to succeed Abbas. I ask about the ongoing payments by the Palestinian Authority to convicted terrorists in Israeli prisons.
Rajoub proceeds to yell that it is “a crazy question” and that his government had a “social responsibility” to support the 7,000 prisoners. He bangs his fist on the table and declares, “Of course we must pay. If we don’t pay, Iran will pay.” He eventually calms down and asks if I have another question. I ask how he can speak to us about non-violent resistance while simultaneously endorsing payments to terrorists. He again explodes with anger, banging the table, and railing at the “absurdity” of my question.
One of the academics shares that we had come from the al-Am’ari refugee camp and he asks why the PA doesn’t assist the people living there. Rajoub dismisses the question, saying, “What do you expect me to do about the refugees? It’s Netanyahu’s problem.” The writer is Associate Vice President of Strategic Israel Engagement at Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston. (Times of Israel)