This past week, President Trump announced that he’d be withholding funds for the Palestinian Authority unless they’re willing to seriously negotiate for a peace agreement with Israel. US aid to the Palestinians has averaged more than $400 million/year since 2008. For their part, the Palestinians have broken off any sort of talks since the US recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital–something that both Egypt and Saudi Arabia may have tacitly supported. The Palestinian Authority provides for the welfare of thousands of Palestinians on the West Bank and in Gaza: education, medical clinics and hospitals, etc., so from a humanitarian perspective, the PA provides a lot of benefits. However, the PA is led by Mahmoud Habbas–the leader of Hamas–the leading terrorist group in Gaza and the West Bank and responsible for countless attacks against Israel.
The PA’s withdrawal from peace talks after the US recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is not surprising. However, it also appears that the Palestinians have probably overplayed their political hand: the Egyptians apparently do not want much to do with them–after all, they built a wall to keep the Palestinian refugees out of Egypt. Likewise, the Saudi’s are far more concerned with their neighbors across the Gulf and their regional ambitions in Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, to give anything more than an afterthought for the Palestinian Authority.
So, while the Palestinian Authority could probably find other donations to replace American aid, I think it is just one more indication that the Palestinians should recognize that there are bigger political issues in the region than their desire to push Israel into the Sea.