Agudas Yisroel Calls on Government to Reconsider Aid to PA


chaim-dovid-zweibel-1Agudath Israel of America executive vice president Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel has called on Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to reconsider whether the Palestinian Authority is entitled to aid it is receiving from the United States.

The Jewish leader called Secretary Clinton’s attention to the claim of affiliation with Fatah – the PA governing party – made by the Palestinian group that took “credit” for murdering 45-year-old Israeli father of seven Rabbi Meir Chai on December 24. That group, Imad Mughniyeh, identifies itself part of the Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades, Fatah’s military wing.

Rabbi Zwiebel also noted that while “when Rabbi Chai was killed in cold blood, Mr. Abbas neither disassociated Fatah from the murder, nor offered condolences to the Israeli’s family,” when three of Rabbi Chai’s suspected murderers resisted arrest and were killed by Israel’s security agency, “Mr. Abbas reacted by declaring the three deceased militants ‘shahids,’ or holy martyrs, and sending PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to pay condolence visits to their families.”

“There is something deeply wrong here,” wrote Rabbi Zwiebel to Secretary Clinton. The provisions of United States aid to the Palestinians, he pointed out, “require that it will only be transferred to a Palestinian government whose members accept the conditions of the international Quartet, including recognizing Israel, renouncing violence and accepting past agreements signed with the Jewish State.

“Mr. Abbas’ silence at the murder of Rabbi Chai by a group that claims affiliation with the military arm of Fatah, and his disturbing reaction to the killing of three of Rabbi Chai’s murderers, must lead us to reconsider whether Fatah meets these criteria.”

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  1. With all due respect for Rabbi Zwiebel, I would like to point out one thing.

    We are in Golus. Currently we are very fortunate that Hakadosh Baruch Hu has allowed us a safe harbor here in the US. However, we should remember that we are here, essentially, as guests. The Jewish Observer published many articles over the years stressing how situations where Yidden felt “at home,” such as Spain and Germany, later turned out not to be so permanent.

    We are advised by Chazal not to antagonize the non-Jews, particularly those in power. Is it really advisable to be giving lectures to the government on how they should or should not manage their policies? The US government will, like all governments, do what it feels are in its country’s best interests. Giving the Secretary of State musar on US Mideast policy may feel good, but in the long run it may be counterproductive.

    I also like to point out that the majority of frum Jews vote Republican, and many frum organizations and individuals are not shy in their criticism of President Obama and his administration. This is not likely to make them overly receptive to Agudah pronouncements.

    Traditional lobbying might be a safer way to deal with this issue. In addition, Jews could contact their elected officials and urge them to press for a change of policy. These are less inflammatory ways of exerting pressure.

  2. This a first and hopefully not the last time that Agudah has taken a stance regarding Eretz Yisroel, its security and its enemies.

    Finally, kol hakavod.