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Palestinians Hunker Down As Cash Runs Out [Aw Jeez Alert]
ASSociated Press ^ | May 16, 2006 | Karin Laub

Posted on 05/16/2006 6:34:58 PM PDT by Alouette

BEIT LAHIYA, Gaza Strip - He's overdrawn at the bank, owes $400 to the grocery, can no longer afford baby formula for his youngest and is trying to sell his 16-year-old car for half its value to raise cash for food.

After two months without his government salary, Abdel Hakim Abu Samra, 47, is fast running out of options. "It's the worst time we've had," he said, comparing the deepening crisis since Hamas rose to power in March to previous periods, including two bloody uprisings against Israel.

And there's no end in sight. The West won't lift crippling economic sanctions and Hamas refuses to moderate its violent anti-Israel ideology, even though its government is broke and unable to pay 165,000 employees.

There's also internal fighting, some say even the threat of civil war. Gunmen from Hamas and the defeated Fatah Party have exchanged fire repeatedly as their leaders wrangle for power.

The Palestinians' strong social bonds, a mesh of extended families governed by tradition and tested by repeated crisis, have helped stall an economic collapse. But for how long?

Maybe only another couple of months, warned Naser Abdelkarim, an economist at the West Bank's Bir Zeit University. "Choices become limited as time passes," he said.

That's true for Abu Samra, who earned $500 a month as a researcher at the State Information Service, a department in President Mahmoud Abbas' office, plus $150 from outside jobs. He used to get by, barely, supporting 16 people, including his wife and five children, and the family of his unemployed younger brother.

The stubborn standoff between Hamas and the West has left one-third of Palestinians, including Abu Samra, without a paycheck since mid-March. It has sucked $120 million a month out of an already shaky economy, meaning the other two-thirds of the population are also making a lot less.

Landlords won't evict delinquent tenants, utilities keep services going despite overdue bills. Neighbors share meals and some of the wealthy grant loans. But the stores are empty and streets deserted.

Abu ran up $400 in debt at the corner grocery, and has been cut off. He's reached the limit of his bank overdraft, equal to twice his salary.

He's told his boss he needs to cut his work week to three days because he can no longer afford the daily $3 in gas for the 12-mile roundtrip between his home in Beit Lahiya, near Israel, and the office in Gaza City. Abu Samra's wife, Sanna, rarely buys fruits or vegetables these days. Their 5-month-old son now gets regular powdered milk, rather than more nutritious baby formula.

Abu Samra wants to sell his 1990 Subaru, valued at $2,000, to raise cash, but the market is flooded by others trying to do the same. So he expects to get maybe half of that.

His case is typical.

Women are parting with their dowry of gold jewelry, a sign of desperation since it's their only financial security in the event of divorce.

Many gold shops are no longer buying because business is dead. "I tell them, sorry, ... I don't have any cash to buy," said gold shop owner Yakoub Hakoura, 54, in Gaza City.

A few have resorted to theft. There are signs of an increase in petty crime, such as stealing car radios, or anything made of metal, in high demand in China. In the West Bank's Al-Ein refugee camp, all the iron sewer covers have been snatched, said Dorgham Al-Sahli, head of the residents' aid committee.

Others are lining up for food handouts.

The U.N. Relief and Works Agency, which distributes oil, sugar, rice, flour and other staples to 765,000 refugees in Gaza and the West Bank every month, has seen a fivefold increase in demand. It can't meet the surge because of budget shortfalls, said Adnan Abu Hassna, an UNRWA spokesman. Israeli closures of border crossings make it harder for food to come in, he said.

Wajih Al-Haj, who owns six apartment high-rises in the West Bank city of Ramallah, said 60 percent of his tenants are two months behind on the rent but he'll not try to collect now.

"As long as there is a crisis, I will keep silent. I will never throw anyone out of his apartment," he said. "I know some of them have savings, but they need these savings for food."

Even before the crisis, tenants were rarely evicted, because of a chaotic legal system.

Ali Sakarneh, who runs the Transportation Ministry's branch in the West Bank town of Jenin, has distributed $110 loans to most of his 24 employees, using money he had set aside for building a home. "I knew how much my colleagues were suffering," he said.

Informal loans were also given to dozens of government employees living in the West Bank's Al-Ein camp, with the camp committee using a $15,000 emergency fund of donations.

The government's two costliest departments, health and education, are most vulnerable to the West's economic sanctions. Medicines are running low, and hospitals have warned of an epidemic of preventable deaths. Most schools stayed open, with the unpaid teachers determined to keep going until the start of the summer break at the beginning of June.

Hardship is not spread evenly.

In some areas, children can no longer afford to bring a sandwich to school. By contrast, in Ramallah, the West Bank's commercial center, restaurants still are packed. Many government employees in Ramallah hold a second job, working for private advocacy groups, or as salespeople or waiters.

For now, most Palestinians blame the U.S., Europe and Israel, not Hamas, for their woes. Abdelkarim, the West Bank economist, said the mood could turn if the crisis drags on.

The West is seen as hypocritical for pushing democracy, but refusing to accept the outcome of the parliament election that swept Hamas into power. Many Palestinians say they cast a protest vote against the corruption of Fatah, the former ruling party, but didn't endorse Hamas ideology. They'd like Hamas to become more moderate, but fume over what they perceive to be Western arrogance.

"I think Hamas should soften a little bit, and they will soften a little bit," said Samy Najar, 38, who owns a supermarket in the southern Gaza town of Rafah and has seen daily sales drop from $1,125 to $225. "Let us give them a chance to see what they can do for us."

__

AP reporters Ibrahim Barzak in Gaza City, Mohammed Daraghmeh in Ramallah and Ali Daraghmeh in Nablus contributed to this report.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Israel; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: awjeez; blowup; cry; crymeariver; gaza; hamas; palestinians; snivel; waaah; whine
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1 posted on 05/16/2006 6:35:05 PM PDT by Alouette
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To: 1st-P-In-The-Pod; A_Conservative_in_Cambridge; af_vet_rr; agrace; ahayes; Alexander Rubin; ...
FRmail me to be added or removed from this Judaic/pro-Israel/Russian Jewry ping list.

Warning! This is a high-volume ping list.

2 posted on 05/16/2006 6:35:34 PM PDT by Alouette (Psalms of the Day: 88-89)
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To: Alouette

The west will break and bail these animals out again. To me, this is liking reviving vampires from the dead. They are blood thirsty animals. If they want to live in a civilized manner, they need to learn to live in a civilized manner. Otherwise, they are no better than rabid wolves.


3 posted on 05/16/2006 6:37:14 PM PDT by ChinaThreat (s)
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To: Alouette
BEIT LAHIYA, Gaza Strip - He's overdrawn at the bank, owes $400 to the grocery, can no longer afford baby formula for his youngest and is trying to sell his 16-year-old car for half its value to raise cash for food.

You would think by now they would realize that their past behavior is directly related to whats happening to them now. Having said that, I can spare a little time for sympathy....times up! Reap what you sow a**holes..

4 posted on 05/16/2006 6:43:37 PM PDT by cardinal4 (Kerry-Mcarthy in 2008!)
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To: Alouette

Arafat's estate could probably cover the pali's expenses for at least a year.


5 posted on 05/16/2006 6:45:15 PM PDT by Tripleplay
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To: Alouette
Maybe the Nazi welfare state the "international community" has created for itself should bear the brunt of its decisions.

No? You mean the humanitarian needs of fascists and thugs is just what everyone loves to moralize about?

6 posted on 05/16/2006 6:45:58 PM PDT by Reactionary (The Barking of the Native Moonbat is the Sound of Moral Nitwittery)
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To: Alouette
The West won't lift crippling economic sanctions and Hamas refuses to moderate its violent anti-Israel ideology, even though its government is broke and unable to pay 165,000 employees.

Life's a bitch.

They elected the thugs and now they are bitching that the West is doing what they clearly warned them they would do. No sympathy from me.

7 posted on 05/16/2006 6:47:19 PM PDT by Ronin (Ut iusta esse, lex noblis severus necesse est.)
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To: Alouette

Couldn't happen to a better group of people.


8 posted on 05/16/2006 6:47:19 PM PDT by rockprof
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To: Alouette
He's told his boss he needs to cut his work week to three days because he can no longer afford the daily $3 in gas for the 12-mile roundtrip between his home in Beit Lahiya, near Israel

Boy, that solves the problem

9 posted on 05/16/2006 6:50:48 PM PDT by digger48
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To: ChinaThreat

American taxpayers are paying this terrorist 500 bucks a month to be a 'government researcher'...These American welfare recipients have stashes of gold...I don't have any gold...

They're sucking us dry and Bush keeps feeding 'em with MY money...


10 posted on 05/16/2006 6:51:07 PM PDT by Iscool (You mess with me, you mess with the whole trailer park...)
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To: Tripleplay

Arafat's worth as estimated by Forbes in 2003 was 300 billion. The Gaza Strip has an estimate 1,400,000 inhabitants. If Arafat's wealth was distributed in full to each and every inhabitant, including women & childen it would amount to about $215,000 each.


11 posted on 05/16/2006 6:51:38 PM PDT by gpapa (Boost FR Traffic! Make FR your home page!)
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To: ChinaThreat

Allah will provide!
Or God will strike them dead!
Or maybe they can all starve to death, and solve the "middle eastern" problem by natural attrition.
Either way, none of my tax dollars should continue to enable any Islamic terrorist anywhere in the world.
Perhaps they can strike a deal with Castro and Chavez?


12 posted on 05/16/2006 6:54:43 PM PDT by sarasmom (To all political staff lurkers: SECURE THE BORDERS, OR YOU'RE FIRED!)
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To: Ronin

"They elected the thugs and now they are bitching that the West is doing what they clearly warned them they would do. No sympathy from me."

Nor I - but we will bail them out - a pox on our elected officials. - Drag it out vs. ending it now.


13 posted on 05/16/2006 6:55:54 PM PDT by Bobibutu
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To: Alouette

I thought it said he was trying to sell his 16 year old for half price.


14 posted on 05/16/2006 6:57:44 PM PDT by Slump Tester ( What if I'm pregnant Teddy? Errr-ahh Calm down Mary Jo, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it)
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To: gpapa

You may have meant $300 million. No human being on earth, no even Bill Gates is worth $300 billion. $300 million is still a lot of money and the Pali's should go after that instead of begging from the West again. As far as I am concerned the US should cut off all money supply to not only the Palis but all murderous Islamic governments.


15 posted on 05/16/2006 6:58:20 PM PDT by Maneesh
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To: Alouette

...I wonder where this compassion on the part of the AP was when thousands of my fellow citizens lost their jobs because of the actions of a handful of his co-religionists.


16 posted on 05/16/2006 6:58:30 PM PDT by Old_Mil (http://www.constitutionparty.org - Forging a Rebirth of Freedom.)
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To: Alouette
even though its government is broke and unable to pay 165,000 employees.

165,000 "government" employees? What do they do?

I'll answer - NOTHING.

They produce nothing, and hence the have no economy. All they know how to do is take money from other nations.


17 posted on 05/16/2006 6:58:58 PM PDT by SkyPilot
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To: Alouette

Not one cent.


18 posted on 05/16/2006 7:00:57 PM PDT by Kakaze (American: a Citizen of the United States of America........not just some resident of said continent)
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To: Alouette

Yea! but the U.S. government continues to provide funding even though they state otherwise.

Its enough to tick a person off.Taking taxpayer dollars and providing them to a terrorist group that will use the money to buy weapons and explosives to kill innocent people.

What are they doing?


19 posted on 05/16/2006 7:04:50 PM PDT by puppypusher
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To: Alouette

Why the heck is the US paying welfare to Palestine anyway? Don't they have some sort of goods or services they could be selling - well, other than terrorism and "I hate Israel" bumper stickers.


20 posted on 05/16/2006 7:05:23 PM PDT by hsalaw
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To: Alouette

Well you poor bastidges. I'm crying my eyes out for you. Why don't you all go outside and ululate for 40 - 50 hours -that should help.


21 posted on 05/16/2006 7:06:33 PM PDT by Rembrandt (We would have won Viet Nam w/o Dim interference.)
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To: Alouette

"I'm deeply saddened.."


22 posted on 05/16/2006 7:09:28 PM PDT by sheik yerbouty ( Make America and the world a jihad free zone!)
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To: gpapa

"If Arafat's wealth was distributed in full to each and every inhabitant, including women & childen it would amount to about $215,000 each."

Why don't you suggest that to Hillary? I mean, she's in real tight with Arafat's widow, right? Hil LOVES to redistribute wealth. This would be the perfect job for her. Man, I just crack myself UP! ;)


23 posted on 05/16/2006 7:09:57 PM PDT by Diana in Wisconsin (Save The Earth. It's The Only Planet With Chocolate.)
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To: Alouette

"'I think Hamas should soften a little bit, and they will soften a little bit,' said Samy Najar, 38, who owns a supermarket in the southern Gaza town of Rafah and has seen daily sales drop from $1,125 to $225. 'Let us give them a chance to see what they can do for us.'"

"All we are saaaaying is give Hamas a chance!" ~ With apologies to John Lennon


24 posted on 05/16/2006 7:13:20 PM PDT by Diana in Wisconsin (Save The Earth. It's The Only Planet With Chocolate.)
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To: Alouette

"I think Hamas should soften a little bit, and they will soften a little bit," said Samy Najar, 38, who owns a supermarket in the southern Gaza town of Rafah and has seen daily sales drop from $1,125 to $225. "Let us give them a chance to see what they can do for us."

Yes, Samy, let's all sit back and see what Hamas can do for you. We wouldn't want to interfere and steal their thunder. Let's make it a fair test, and give them all the time in the world. Surely they can do more for you than the evil Americans did.


25 posted on 05/16/2006 7:13:47 PM PDT by solzhenitsyn ("Live Not By Lies")
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To: Diana in Wisconsin
Don't apologize to John Lennon;I hate his damned song "imagine" on a family friendly radio station.John Lennon made a tune promoting godless communism that runs counter to human nature and common sense."imagine" no religion(no higher moral standard),no nation(no borders,everything lowest common denominator),etc.

And what galls me is the Beatles were and are filthy rich with huge estates despite England's taxes.Just as lots of protest singer made gobs of money exhorting kids to act stupid.

26 posted on 05/16/2006 7:23:46 PM PDT by hoosierham (Waddaya mean Freedom isn't free ?;will you take a creditcard?)
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To: Alouette

Where's the Arab help? Saudis got plenty of money. Why not blame them?


27 posted on 05/16/2006 7:24:19 PM PDT by Shermy (Read my lips. No new amnesty.)
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To: Alouette

Isn't that nice. There were 165,000 government employees, all being paid nice fat salaries on our dime.

And exactly what was this "government" doing that was so very useful?


28 posted on 05/16/2006 7:24:32 PM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: Alouette
The West is seen as hypocritical for pushing democracy, but refusing to accept the outcome of the parliament election that swept Hamas into power.

Seems to me that it is the Palestinians who are refusing to accept the outcome of the parliament election that swept Hamas into power.

29 posted on 05/16/2006 7:27:24 PM PDT by Maceman (Fake but accurate, and now double-sourced)
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To: hoosierham

Oh, yes. I totally understand Lennon. :)

Sure wish I could get my crazy Aunt to turn all of her first-run Beatles albums and 45's over to me for 'safekeeping,' though. I'll keep working on her. ;)


30 posted on 05/16/2006 7:27:24 PM PDT by Diana in Wisconsin (Save The Earth. It's The Only Planet With Chocolate.)
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To: SkyPilot

Hey, nice satellite dish in the pic. I don't have one of those. I wonder if maybe I paid for it.


31 posted on 05/16/2006 7:33:33 PM PDT by kylaka
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To: Alouette
It's a pretty toxic situation when that many people work for a government that depends on handouts for its existence. This particular government seems to think it can maintain its "death to Israel" bluster and still be entitled to aid.

All they have to do to start the money flowing again is make the appropriate noises. It doesn't even have to be sincere, and it won't be. But if Hamas cannot bring itself to do even that then we are in the classic situation where the guys with the guns starve last. I believe it was H.L. Mencken who said "Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard." A point to ponder.

32 posted on 05/16/2006 7:37:13 PM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: Alouette
They might be able to sell those weapons and explosives that they have stockpiled around.

Lots of tinhorn dictator wannabes in the area would love to have them.

33 posted on 05/16/2006 7:38:51 PM PDT by nightdriver
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To: Alouette

Yay! It's Headache Guy, my hero!


34 posted on 05/16/2006 7:40:33 PM PDT by Zionist Conspirator ( . . . `al korchekha 'attah nolad . . .)
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To: Alouette

The slammite world has to be forced to find a place to put these lunatics, at least 500 miles from Israel. If they could find room for 70 million pakistanis they can find a place for the palis.


35 posted on 05/16/2006 7:40:37 PM PDT by tomzz
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To: tomzz
The slammite world has to be forced to find a place to put these lunatics, at least 500 miles from Israel.

How about the moons of Uranus?

36 posted on 05/16/2006 7:42:01 PM PDT by Alouette (Psalms of the Day: 88-89)
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To: cardinal4

If I was a reporter the first question I would have asked these 2 men who were used as examples would have been "Did you vote for and do you support Hamas?" Of course that would be objective reporting.


37 posted on 05/16/2006 7:50:50 PM PDT by sheana
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To: Alouette

Just pouring money down a rat hole.


38 posted on 05/16/2006 7:57:17 PM PDT by Rocky (Air America: Robbing the poor to feed the Left)
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To: Alouette


But fortunately, they still have money for guns, bombs and terrorist training. :)


39 posted on 05/16/2006 8:05:48 PM PDT by Tzimisce (How Would Mohammed Vote? Hillary for President! www.dndorks.com)
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To: Alouette

Let the Saudis finance this cesspool.
Let the Iranians finance this cesspool.
They're the ones with all that oil money.


40 posted on 05/16/2006 8:12:07 PM PDT by Cheburashka (World's only Spatula City certified spatula repair and maintenance specialist!!!)
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To: Alouette

Providing "humanitarian" aid to palestinian terrorists is like pouring blood into a school of sharks where beach goers are swimming nearby...


41 posted on 05/16/2006 8:13:05 PM PDT by takenoprisoner (Sorry Mr. Jefferson, we forfeited the God given rights you all put to pen. We have no excuse.)
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To: dennisw; Cachelot; Nix 2; veronica; Catspaw; knighthawk; Alouette; Optimist; weikel; Lent; GregB; ..
If you'd like to be on or off this middle east/political ping list, please FR mail me.
Articles on Israel can also be found by clicking the keyword or topic Israel.

---------------------------

42 posted on 05/16/2006 8:36:44 PM PDT by SJackson (The Pilgrims—Doing the jobs Native Americans wouldn’t do!)
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To: Ronin

Why exactly is the West responsible for the bloated PA bureaucracy? After all, all these a$$ clowns do is plot to kill us and celebrate after each terrorst attack (remember the joy in the PA after 9/11?-- I do). If we had any cohones, we'd let 'em starve. Of course, I fully expect President Gee Whiz Resolve to cave any day now.


43 posted on 05/16/2006 8:41:25 PM PDT by rbg81
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To: hsalaw
Don't they have some sort of goods or services they could be selling

Well, somebody there is making a buttload on flammable flags.

44 posted on 05/16/2006 9:42:34 PM PDT by Slings and Arrows (When Al Franken had his bris, they threw away the baby and saved the foreskin.)
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To: Alouette

Murderer/Beggar is a tough occupation.


45 posted on 05/16/2006 10:03:57 PM PDT by manic4organic
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To: Alouette

Boo hoo (not!). These murderers apparently have enough money to buy guns.

Maybe they should ask Arab-Fat's widow for some of the money he stole from them & hid away.


46 posted on 05/16/2006 11:18:01 PM PDT by MoochPooch (I'm a compassionate cynic.)
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To: Alouette

"The arrogrance of the west" How about the arrogance of thinking you have a right to a handout.


47 posted on 05/17/2006 2:58:01 AM PDT by NavVet (O)
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To: Alouette

Hey palis, starve.


48 posted on 05/17/2006 4:17:42 AM PDT by Joe Boucher (an enemy of islam)
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To: Cheburashka; Shermy; Alouette

Yep, Abbas should go to Riyadh, kuffiyeh in hand and beg for alms from the king.


49 posted on 05/17/2006 4:25:00 AM PDT by csvset
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To: Alouette; Convert from ECUSA

Let them reap the whirlwind. They produce nothing, do nothing but support the killing of innocent Israelis, and achieve nothing. Hence, the best jobs for them is fertilizer. They have a right to return to the dust beneath them. The only ones with steady income coming in, are the ones who cross over into Israel to work. Headache Guy says it all--profoundly.


50 posted on 05/17/2006 5:22:51 AM PDT by unionblue83
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