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Money for murder and mayhem

| 14 Comments

We all learned in high school science that "correlation does not equal causation." But that doesn't mean that correlations, especially strong ones, can simply be waved away.

So consider this:

"... as foreign aid to the Palestinians increases, so do Palestinian acts of murder. When foreign aid to Palestinians decreases, Palestinian acts of murder correspondingly decrease. In fact, the more money they receive, the more murders the Palestinians commit, the less money they receive, the less murders they commit – it is practically a 100% correlation.

The graphs and more information are here.

14 Comments

I used to wonder how much more killing the Palestinains would be doing if they had not backed Saddam Hussein against Kuwait and thus alienated a sponsor with deep pockets.

But it may not matter. From the graph it seems we're engaged in an effort to overload supply with demand anyway.

In other words, no matter how much terror we pay for, the limit will turn out to be the physical ability of the Palestinians to increase their jihad activities in proportion to their payments.

I'd suggest that the cause is a third factor that does not appear in the graphs: peace prospects. When peace prospects were good, Europe donated, and the Palestinian irredentists went to work on fomenting violence. Then the Israelis cracked down on the violence, so killings went down, but with the so-called peace process on hold, donations also went down.

If there were a chart of provocations by Israeli settlers (unauthorized "expansions" and new settlements, raids on Palestinian olive groves, squatting in Palestinian homes, violent assaults on Palestinians), it would look much the same, and from the same cause.

Which brings me to a note on settlers like your source. About a quarter of them were honestly in favor of ethnic cleansing. The rest figured if they kept enough pressure on Palestinians, the Palestinians would commit enough atrocities that they could be expelled to a great wailing of crocodile tears. Only a handful (e.g., Benny Begin) had any intention of allowing the Palestinians any political voice, notwithstanding that in the Gaza Strip where Joe Settler used to live they comprised 99.7 percent of the population.

There can be little doubt that the West---Europe, the US, Canada, Australia---along with other enlightened nations---e.g., Saudi Arabia, Saddam's Hussein, Iran, et al.---and even Israel itself (not wanting to miss out on this parade) have been funding the ongoing Palestinian attempt to weaken, deligitimize and ultimately destroy Israel. To the tune of some pretty big bucks.

(Which is, of course, perfectly A-OK for a lot of people.)

Still, the money keeps pouring in. (And if the flow lets up, all the Palestinians have to do is engage in a little internecine bloodletting. Yes, they are masters of the game!)

Witness the rather humorous debate going on inside Israel regarding whether or not to continue to provide Gaza with electricity, given the number of missiles and mortars that seem to be emanating from there in Israel's direction. Of course, there can be only one answer: Israel should certainly continue to provide the juice. For if Israel should stop supplying electricity, the firing of those missiles might be impeded; and that would be unacceptable---why, after all, are the Palestinians getting all that money?

Anyway,I can't speak for the other countries, but in the case of the US, it would be interesting to analyze just why the Israel Lobby has been pushing the policy of funding the Palestinians to destroy Israel.

Such a "study" might even prompt another bodice ripper from W&M!

Bad enough we suffer 'sound bite analysis' of complex geopolitical phenomena; now we are treated to 'sound bite science'. If you postulate a 2 or 3 year lag in the effects of aid on the homicide rate, the same correlational data actually starts to look like the more politically correct inverse relationship between aid and homicide. Correlational data is the stuff of 'common sense' not science, and is dangerous because of it. Your high school science teacher got it right the first time; trying to extrapolate causation from correlational data pulled from multivariate circumstance is bad science.

Is it technically possible to cut off the water to the Palestinians?

If so, the right response to even a single missile fired into Israel into Palestinian territory is to cut off everything. Seal the borders, cut off power, cut off water. For a week - at least.

Ian (#4), your comment does point out the hazard of equating causation with correlation, but sorry, you miss the point of the point you are trying to make.

When you start off by asking, "If you postulate," you just missed the train. Of course we can imagine other kinds of correlation that would eventually disprove rather than buttress the claim the source blogger is trying to make. But there in fact is not a "2 or 3 year lag in the effects of aid on the homicide rate," there is at most a one-year lag and not always that much. So imagining that other correlations would disprove the point, and then taking imagination of other data for the disproof itself, is exactly the kind of scientific imprecision you think you are renouncing. Nice job of setting up a straw man and knocking it down.

You know, if my grass only started growing two weeks after the latest rainfall, then I'd say there is an inverse correlation between rainfall and flora fertility. But imagining different correlations is useless; they are what they are and not something elser.

It's unsurprising that there is lag of between several months to a year. Foreign aid does not arrive in one lump sum. It's paid out over a period of time. Because the terrorist techniques that Hamas and Fatah have used in the past are not cheap to operate, it's not unreasonable to see that neither can spend the money faster than it comes in. Hence, once a certain "critical mass" of money on hand is reached, they can start to buy materiel and recruit new faces.

I still don't understand why the Israelis are providing services to the Palestinians at all. Actually I do understand, and as much as i take Israel's side in the big picture, there can be no doubt that the Israelis are used to cheap Palestinian labor and dont intend to really seal the border and say good luck to the Palestinians.

Again, if Israel was serious they would establish a border, build a big wall, and say 'congratulations Palestine, welcome to nationhood. Please respect our soveriegnty as neighbors that attack us have a bad track record'. As it stands Israel is too preoccupied (small pun) with all the ins and outs of Palestinians politics. Their stance should be- elect whoever the hell you want, but if a rocket comes over the border 50 are coming back so elect the government that will prevent that.

I gotta say, that's preety indefinate graph you got there. I'd have to see a few more osciallations before I would be willing to consider this an accurate cause-relation slope. 10 years is just not enough time. If you could go backwards another 10-15 years, it might be better. Right now, it could be anything.

#6 Donald
"But there in fact is not a "2 or 3 year lag in the effects of aid on the homicide rate," there is at most a one-year lag and not always that much."

Donald, I am not well versed on the literature of financial aid versus changes in human behavior over time, so I would appreciate some corroborative citations.

#5 from Fletcher Christian at 2:54 pm on Nov 01, 2007

Is it technically possible to cut off the water to the Palestinians?

If so, the right response to even a single missile fired into Israel into Palestinian territory is to cut off everything. Seal the borders, cut off power, cut off water. For a week - at least.

_Cut of the water supply to the whole population? Why not go all the way? How about putting all the Palestinian babies under the age of 2 through wood chippers. No make that under the age of 10.

How about thinking before you post? How about posting something that at least remotely resembles something rational?_

#7 from Mark Buehner at 4:34 pm on Nov 01, 2007

I still don't understand why the Israelis are providing services to the Palestinians at all.

The concept that it is immoral to punish a whole population for the crimes of a few. One does not have the right to abandon their moral precepts because they have been injured

"The concept that it is immoral to punish a whole population for the crimes of a few. One does not have the right to abandon their moral precepts because they have been injured"

Is it punishment to provide autonomy to the occupied? I dont understand, the Palestinians want their own state but they insist on their services still being supplied by the neighboring state?

Mark, it's partly the other way around: Israel drains water from the West Bank aquifer. Syria, Jordan, and Israel are, AFAIK, adhering to a water-sharing agreement dating from the 1947 armistice to the extent it is not mooted by the 1967/73 changes in the cease-fire lines.

#12 from Mark Buehner at 8:06 pm on Nov 02, 2007

"The concept that it is immoral to punish a whole population for the crimes of a few. One does not have the right to abandon their moral precepts because they have been injured"

Is it punishment to provide autonomy to the occupied? I dont understand, the Palestinians want their own state but they insist on their services still being supplied by the neighboring state?

The Palestinians don't have their own state. They are not even occupied in Gaza. There is nothing that gives anybody the right to punish whole populations for the crimes of the few. This is basic morality. Their is not very much to understand here. I would think that most reasonable people would like to distances themselves,including most thinking Israelis, from practices that remotely resemble those visited on the population of the Warsaw Ghetto.

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