Mike Pompeo warns: Corrupt PA should not be part of Saudi-Israel normalization

The Palestinian Authority is corrupt, the former US secretary of state warns in The Hill with Sander Gerber; the Saudis should support their fellow Muslims through a new NGO that bypasses the PA and the UN
Former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a warning against the involvement of the Palestinian Authority (PA) in any potential Saudi-Israeli normalization agreement. The Trump administration official and Sander Gerber, the chief executive of Hudson Bay Capital Management, sounded the alarm in a recent opinion column for The Hill.
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The crux of their argument revolves around the need to address the PA's corruption and its indirect support for terrorism, which they believe undermines the goals of promoting peace, prosperity and stability in the Middle East. They call instead for the creation of a new nongovernmental organization would enable the Saudis to support their fellow Muslims and improve the lives of the Palestinians.

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Netanyahu and Pompeo in Jerusalem
Netanyahu and Pompeo in Jerusalem
Mike Pompeo meets Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem
(Photo: U.S. Embassy in Israel)
"It is past time to stop funding Palestinian aid through an organization like the Palestinian Authority that has no intention of yielding a return on that investment, and whose corruption and misgovernance works directly at cross-purposes with shared U.S., Israeli and Saudi goals of promoting peace, prosperity and stability. Instead, the United States and Saudi Arabia should create a responsible mechanism for helping the Palestinians – not furthering PA corruption and support for terrorism," they write.
Pompeo and Gerber emphasize that it is crucial to reevaluate the distribution of financial aid to the Palestinian people, given the PA's track record of mismanagement and the controversy surrounding its "pay for slay" program, under which the PA provides financial awards to Palestinians who carry out bombings, stabbings and other attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers, as well as to the families of the assailant. The Taylor Force Act, which Gerber helped pass through Congress in 2018, already restricts U.S. funding to the PA due to the program.
The authors argue that Saudi Arabia should not provide funds to the PA, since it would not give the PA any incentive to end this problematic program. Furthermore, they point out that, despite three decades of international support, the PA remains plagued by corruption, pointing to examples such as the extravagant purchase of a $50 million jet for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in 2018.
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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during a joint press conference with Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Wednesday
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during a joint press conference with Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Wednesday
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas
(Photo: Reuters)
Pompeo and Gerber are weighing in against the backdrop of the potential normalization of ties between Saudi Arabia and Israel, which could be a game-changer in the region. Pompeo and Gerber see this as an opportunity to create a new mechanism for delivering aid to the Palestinian people, one that ensures funds reach their intended recipients and do not inadvertently support terrorism or enrich corrupt leaders. As an official in the Trump administration, Pompeo helped broker the Abraham Accords, which normalized relations between Israel and four Arab and African states.
They suggest the establishment of a new Saudi-led international aid organization, tentatively named the "Future Investment Fund for the Palestinian People." This organization would operate independently of both the PA's influence and the United Nations, providing what they believe is a much-needed alternative to the current aid system.
The proposal aims to enhance aid effectiveness and seeks to create a political power base that is free from PA mismanagement and corruption. Pompeo and Gerber claim it aligns with Saudi Arabia's evolving approach to foreign aid, which increasingly emphasizes economic reforms in recipient countries to ensure better returns on investment and regional stability.
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Palestinian protester on West Bank
Palestinian protester on West Bank
Palestinians protest in the West Bank
(Photo: AP)
By establishing what they call a “responsible mechanism for delivering aid,” Pompeo and Gerber believe that the United States and Saudi Arabia can ensure that funds genuinely benefit the Palestinian people and contribute to regional stability.
“Normalization between Saudi Arabia and Israel provides an opportunity not only to reshape the geopolitical landscape of the Middle East but also to move past the outmoded Palestinian Authority, which has long been an obstacle to peace. In doing so, Saudi-Israel relations would pave the road to the long-sought peace between Israelis and Palestinians,” they conclude.
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