A Self-Defeating Palestinian Aid Freeze

It makes no sense whatsoever for Congress to suspend aid to the Palestinian Authority, unless, of course, Congress seeks to destroy the Palestinian Authority. Various American politicians, and pro-Israel activists, are lobbying for permanent cut-offs in aid to the Authority, in reaction to the Palestinian push for statehood recognition at the UN. I happen to think the statehood push is the wrong move for the Palestinians, but trying to sink the Authority over this is a most destructive act. The government of Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad is the most competent and serious governing body the Palestinians have ever had; serious economic development that has led to the creation of a larger middle class on the West Bank is only one of Authority's achievements. Those who would cut off the Authority's oxygen have to ask themselves: What will come next? A more agreeable Palestinian Authority government? Or chaos?

I suppose supporters of the settlers would like to see the Palestinian Authority disappear. Salam Fayyad is a much bigger danger to them than is Hamas. A powerful West Bank Hamas is what the settlers need to perpetuate their project.  But if you're not a supporter of the settlers, and if you believe that a two-state solution is the best hope for Israel's long-term survival as  Jewish and democratic state, then why would you possibly seek to undermine the Palestinian Authority now?

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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. He was previouslly a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

Goldberg's book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. He received the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism and the 2005 Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

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