Back in January of this year, the Palestinian Authority (PA) announced it has purchased a $50 million private jet for its leader, Mahmoud Abbas. The move came at a time when the Palestinians were issuing requests of Europe and other countries for financial assistance in the wake of the US decision to slash funds to the PA.
According to reports in the Palestinian media, the jet arrived in Amman, Jordan.
Explaining the purchase, Palestinian officials said that $30 million came from the Palestinian National Fund, and the rest from the PA’s annual budget, according to a World Israel News report.
Due to the complete deterioration of the PA-US relationship over the past several weeks, officials in the White House said the US is seriously re-examining its policy concerning financial aid to the Palestinians but hinted that if Abbas returns to the negotiating table, that could change.
On a somewhat related note, last week, the Jewish Voice reported that a delegation of leading Republican members of Congress are urging newly installed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to cut all U.S. taxpayer funding to the Palestinian government over its continued use of American dollars to pay the salaries of terrorists and their families, according to communications between these lawmakers and the State Department.
According to a Washington Free Beacon report, a group of 14 lawmakers formally petitioned Pompeo this week to “immediately suspend all aid payments to the Palestinian Authority” due to recent reports these funds continue to be used to pay convicted terrorists and their families, a material breach of newly passed laws barring American aid money being used for such purposes.
The lawmakers seek a public showdown with the Trump administration over the future of U.S. aid to the Palestinian government, which has publicly refused to comply with new U.S. laws mandating the terror payment program known as “pay to slay” be stopped.
Concerning Abbas’ attitude towards Jews and Israel, t was also reported last week that U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman critiqued Abbas after he said in a speech the Holocaust was not caused by anti-Semitism, but by the “social behavior” of the Jews, including money-lending.
“Abu Mazen has reached a new low in attributing the cause of massacres of Jewish people over the years to their ‘social behavior relating to interest and banks.’ To all those who think Israel is the reason that we don’t have peace, think again,” tweeted Friedman.
INN reported that Jason Greenblatt, the U.S. Special Representative for International Negotiations, also criticized Abbas’s remarks.
“President Abbas’ remarks yesterday in Ramallah at the opening of the Palestinian National Congress must be unconditionally condemned by all. They are very unfortunate, very distressing & terribly disheartening. Peace cannot be built on this kind of foundation,” he tweeted.
In the speech, made by Abbas at a rare session of the Palestinian National Council, he regurgitated a number of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories in what he called a “history lesson,” seeking to disprove the 3,000-year-old Jewish connection to the Land of Israel.
Abbas backed his story with three points made by Jewish writers and historians, starting with the theory that Ashkenazi Jews are not descendants of the ancient Israelites, and that European Jews therefore had “no historical ties” to the Land of Israel.
He went on to claim the Holocaust was not the result of anti-Semitism but rather of the Jews “social behavior, charging interest, and financial matters.”