An international conference aimed at strengthening the Palestinian police force and judicial system has secured commitments of US$242 million for specific projects, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Tuesday.This is very interesting. The Palestinian Arabs had a judicial system before the 2000 intifada that had been functioning - with severe problems but functioning - for a number of years since Oslo. The money the put that in place and kept it going has certainly not disappeared; in fact the amount that donor countries have given the PA has increased since then. And there have been no shortage of other funded security initiatives, such as training a special force of officers in Jordan. So why do they need a special conference just to get even more money for "security" when there are already more police per capita in the PA than anywhere else in the world?
The outcome of the one-day conference, which brought together representatives from more than 40 countries, including U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice,Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, "exceeded our expectations," Steinmeier said.
"The result, I must say, is that a clear signal of support for the building of a Palestinian state was sent from here today," Steinmeier said.
PA prime minister Fayyad has managed to pare down the security forces somewhat - from 83,000 to 60,000 according to some - which is still a huge number and included PA police in Gaza who are either doing nothing or working for Hamas. More pointedly, the way he has done so was not a way that would impact the payroll - he has offered thousands of police to "retire" on full-salary pensions. Why would he not try to find real work for these people? Why is he telling international conferences that he needs even more policemen? And what is he doing to ensure that the newly idle "police" don't take their free money and join that other Fatah organization known as the Al Aqsa Brigades?
Once again, Palestinian Arabs are soaking the world for more money but they are unwilling to make the hard decisions that would allow them to save money on their own. So the world can kiss another quarter of a billion dollars goodbye, to chase the billions already wasted into trying to convince Palestinian Arab leaders to act responsibly.