By: Victor Davis Hanson – nationalreview.com – January 11, 2018
By cutting off hundreds of millions in American aid to the Palestinian Authority, President Trump could radically alter the Middle East.
President Trump set off another Twitter firestorm last week when he hinted that he may be considering cutting off hundreds of millions of dollars in annual U.S. aid to the Palestinians. Trump was angered over Palestinian unwillingness to engage in peace talks with Israel after the Trump administration announced the move of the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
Given that the U.S. channels its Palestinian aid through third-party United Nations organizations, it’s unclear how much money Trump is talking about it. But in total it may exceed $700 million per year, according to reports.
A decade ago, the U.S. row with the Palestinian Authority would have been major news. But not now.
The entire Middle East has radically changed — and along with it the role and image of the Palestinians.
First, the U.S. is now one of the largest producers of fossil-fuel energy in the world. America is immune from the sort of Arab oil embargo that in 1973–74 paralyzed the U.S. economy as punishment for American support of Israel. Even Israel, thanks to new offshore oil and natural-gas discoveries, is self-sufficient in energy and immune from Arab cutoffs.
Second, the Middle East is split into all sorts of factions. Iran seeks to spread radical Shiite theocracy throughout Iraq and Syria and into the Persian Gulf states — and is the greatest supporter of Palestinian armed resistance. The so-called “moderate” Sunni autocracies despise Iran. Understandably, most Arab countries fear the specter of a nuclear Iran far more than they do the reality of a democratic and nuclear Israel.
A third player — radical Islamic terrorism …
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