For those who are home, and for those who are on the way. For those who support the historic and just return of the land of Israel to its people, forever loyal to their inheritance, and its restoration.
The U.S. debt will top $13.6 trillion this year and climb to an estimated $19.6 trillion by 2015, according to a Treasury Department report to Congress. Bankruptcy filings are nearing the record two million dollar level of 2005, and unemployment is nearly 10%, yet, in mid-June, President Obama pledged a $400M aid package for supposed housing, schools, water and health care system projects in the West Bank and Hamas-ruled Gaza. He described these projects as a "down payment on the U.S. commitment to the people of Gaza who deserve a chance to take part in building a viable, independent state of Palestine, together with those who live in the West Bank."
He must have forgotten that the Gazans first act of "independence," after the Israeli withdrawal from the territory in 2005, was to destroy the lucrative greenhouse industry that the Israelis left behind but that should have served as a reminder about the billions in aid that have been squandered in pursuit of this pipedream.
According to the Heritage Foundation, since Oslo Accords in 1993, the U.S. has showered $2.2 billion in bilateral aid on the Palestinians, in addition to more than $3.4 billion for humanitarian aid funneled through dysfunctional U.N. organizations since 1950. Vast amounts of these aid funds have been diverted to allow terrorist organizations like Hamas to focus on building its war infrastructure -- such as bunkers, fortifying positions and digging tunnels, -- rather than on subsidizing education, paving roads, promoting commerce and industry, or providing for, and advancing, the long-term interests of their people.
Should Congress approve this aid package, it will only serve to stabilize the Hamas regime, assist in consolidating its power, and inhibit the development of the social, political and economic infrastructures necessary to build a viable, unified and stable Palestinian state.
Hamas's desire for more construction materials has more to do with rebuilding and strengthening its war machine against Israel than the needs of ordinary Gazans, so it is fair to ask this administration: Where is the strategic logic behind this pledge? As money is fungible, where are the assurances and accountability mechanisms to insure that this money will not be spent on terrorism and missiles as has occurred in the past?
Consider the nature of the regime that controls Gaza: In the wake of the Israeli withdrawal in 2005, Hamas seized power from the Palestinian Authority in a bloody coup in June 2007, and, true to its roots as the ideological cousin of al Qaeda -- and an offshoot of the extremist Egyptian Moslem Brotherhood -- it fired over 7,500 missiles into southern Israeli cities and towns in the name of "resistance;" declared its intention to annihilate the Jewish state; established summer camps for over a hundred thousand children to learn the Koran, paramilitary training, hatred of Jews, and the glories of "martyrdom." It still holds its population hostage; uses children as human shields; and mosques, schools and UN facilities as weapons-depots in violation of international law; proclaims proudly that its members cherish "death over life;" denies for over four years abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit his fundamental rights under international law; diverts millions in humanitarian aid and supplies through UNRWA and other NGOs to maintain its war infrastructure in violation of 301c of the Foreign Assistance Act; inserts its "morality police" into the daily lives of Gazans, and continues to introduce an extremist Islamic "statelet" on Israel's southern border that serves as a base if operations for Iran -- an enemy that has made no secret of its regional ambitions and nuclear aspirations.
I visited Hevron in November 2000 after the outbreak of the Rosh Hashanah War to see what could be done to assist in the face of the growing daily attacks on the community. After returning to work for the community in the summer of 2001, a bond and a love was forged that grows to this day. My wife Melody and I merited to be married at Ma'arat HaMachpela and now host visitors from throughout the world every Shabbat as well as during the week. Our goal, "Time to come Home!"