June 28, 2005
US law prevents using taxpayers’ money to fund institutions that support
terrorism. Yet that hasn’t deterred USAID from spending millions on projects
that glorify terror and facilitate recruitment.
Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) reports that U.S. aid to the Palestinian
Authority is being spent on institutions that support and glorify terrorism and
promote hatred of Israel and the United States.
Money authorized by Congress to improve economic conditions in the PA has
been used indirectly to subsidize terrorist activity. Much of the money was
distributed by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
“I am very disturbed by the findings of this report, particularly the
widespread nature of the alleged violations,” said Congresswomen Nita Lowry (D –
New York). “I will ask USAID to provide Congress with a detailed response to
these findings immediately. This report cannot go unanswered by the
leadership of USAID,\u201d she said.
PMW Director Itamar Marcus says that this year, USAID has paid out $7
million to PA universities, which allow Hamas and Islamic Jihad to organize and
operate freely on campus. Marcus also says that PA universities provide terror
groups with the means to inculcate thousands of students with radical Islamic
The Israeli Civil Administration has repeatedly ordered the closure of PA
universities due to terrorist activity taking place on campus. Terror groups
have recruited suicide bombers from among the student body on numerous
Israel\u2019s High Court has upheld the legality of the closures after reviewing
evidence of terrorist activity submitted by the Shin Bet and the IDF.
Just one week ago, a 21-year-old woman terrorist, a student at Al-Quds
University near Ramallah, was caught with 15 pounds of explosives hidden in her
underwear, on her way to a planned terror attack at an Israeli hospital.
A USAID official, Sylvia Foa, responded to Marcus\u2019 allegations by comparing
the situation at PA universities with that prevailing on campuses elsewhere
in the world, including Israel. “I don’t think there is a university in the
whole wide world that doesn’t have radical student groups who don’t belong in
the politics of the mainstream,” said Foa. “I know that in Tel Aviv
University there are radical groups, but that is not any reason to stop giving books
to that University.”
Foa contends that USAID\u2019s assistance to PA universities, such as Al Najah in
Shechem, was mainly in the form of books, library subscriptions, and
equipment for computer labs.
Marcus points out, however, that United States\u2019 law prohibits allocating
taxpayer money to any “individual, private or government entity, or educational
institution that the Secretary [of State] knows or has reason to believe
advocates, plans, sponsors, engages in, or has engaged in, terrorist
Foa does not believe that USAID has violated the law. \u201cHow can anyone say
that donating to a library is promoting terrorism?” asked Foa.
Aside from Arab universities, Marcus claims that USAID subsidizes other PA
institutions that support and glorify terrorists. PA schools named for
terrorists have received USAID grants. One example given is the Dalal Al-Mughrabi
High School for Girls in Hebron. Al-Mughrabi was a woman terrorist who killed
36 people, including American nature photographer Gail Rubin in 1978.
When PMW exposed USAID funding for renovations in the school in 2002, the
State Department froze the money until the PA said they had changed the school\u2019
s name. But the school\u2019s original name, glorifying the memory of a mass
murderer, appeared in the PA press in 2004 when the school was listed as a
PMW reports that in June 1994, USAID spent $410,000 of U.S. taxpayer money
to build the Salah Khalaf Recreation and Sports Center near Nablus. Salah
Khalaf, also known as Abu Iyad, was leader of the Palestinian Black September
terror organization that was responsible for the massacre of 11 Israeli
athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics and the killing of two US diplomats in Sudan
the following year.
USAID also distributes money to PA municipalities, which name their streets
after terrorists who have murdered Israelis. Khan Yunis, a city in Gaza east
of Neveh Dekalim in Gush Katif, has named its main street after former Hamas
leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, who was responsible for the murder of hundreds
of Israelis, before he was killed by the IDF.
USAID recently gave the municipality of Khan Yunis $800,000 to build a
Marcus suggests that USAID, quick to spend the millions it gets from the
U.S. Congress, has not been effective in making sure its money does not go to
institutions that support or glorify terrorism.
Apparently, naming a street for Sheik Yassin doesn\u2019t particularly irk the
officials at USAID, despite the fact that by all accounts he was one of the
world\u2019s most notorious terrorists.
One is only left to wonder how quick USAID would be with its financial
largesse if the terrorist so honored was called Osama bin Laden.
(The full PMW report is available at www.pmw.org.il)