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Thursday, May 18, 2006

Stop facilitiating the 'Palestinian' dependence on foreign aid

I've been telling you for a long time - including twice in the last week - that there is no financial crisis in the 'Palestinian Authority' and that it's all a fake to try to get the world to deal with Hamas. This morning, the Jerusalem Post terms the Palestinians' economy 'dysfunctional' and I have to agree with that assessment. How can an economy be 'dysfunctional' and still not be in a financial crisis? When the rest of the world 'facilitates' (that's what the psychologists call it) a dependency on foreign aid by continuously providing that economy with financial assistance. As the Post notes in its editorial:

Thus it is not only Hamas's terror-cultivating intransigence towards Israel's existence but also the PA's dysfunctional economy which should motivate the international community to insist that Hamas comply with its conditions for direct funding: renunciation of violence, recognition of Israel's right to exist and honoring of existing agreements between Israel and the PA. Beyond the fact that these stipulations form the minimal foundation on which a workable peace could ever be built, those who are truly concerned with the daily economic struggles of the average Palestinian should be adamant that Hamas do what will most benefit the people who elected it with hopes of "reform and change."

The EU is currently expending notable effort to design a complex mechanism through which humanitarian aid can be delivered to the Palestinians without being touched by the Hamas-led government. In essence the EU is trying to tiptoe around the "elephant in the room" which is Hamas's terrorism-supporting, anti-Israel stance. Israel, too, is caught in the dilemma, anxious to avoid a Palestinian humanitarian crisis but also to turn up the "change or fail" economic pressure on the Hamas-led PA.

The trouble is that merely preventing Hamas from directly accessing international aid is not going to force it to modify its opposition to Israel's existence any time soon. Why change such policies when the Palestinians who put it in power are being subsidized by the rest of the world? The arrival of international funding, however stringent the controls on how it is channeled, will improve conditions in the PA areas and thus ease pressure on Hamas, boosting its prospects of maintaining its rule without moderating its policies.

The 'Palestinians' have been developing a dependency on foreign assistance and failing to fend for themselves since the creation of UNRWA after the 1948 War. UNRWA has allowed the Arab world and the 'Palestinians' themselves to avoid facing the reality of their defeat in 1948 and subsequent wars. It has allowed them to avoid facing the reality of the existence of the State of Israel. This 'crisis' has been building for fifty-eight years, and not just since the creation of the 'Palestinian Authority' in 1994. It's time for the issue to be resolved head on. No other people managed to claim 'refugee' status for itself for four generations. But due to its addicition to Arab oil and its latent anti-Semitism, the 'world' has allowed the creation of perpetual refugees who are dependent upon financial assitance like an addict is dependent on a drug fix. It's time to end the dependence. It's time to do away with UNRWA before UNRWA does away with the 'Palestinians.'

Yes, as I pointed out earlier this week, the 'Palestinian Authority' has money and could easily resolve the 'financial crisis.' But that's not even the point anymore. The point is that the cycle of dependence and whining needs to end and like every other nation that has ever been defeated in a war, the Arab world has to put it behind them and move on with life. And that includes letting the 'Palestinians' who have been living in limbo in Jordan and Lebanon and Syria and other countries for nearly sixty years be acknowledged as citizens of the countries in which they live and move on with their lives.

The Post missed the boat in its editorial by lamenting past failures and calling for 'minimizing the benefits' that Hamas can derive from 'humanitarian aid:'

For all the years that they allowed their financial assistance to be abused by an immoral leadership, donors - like any investors looking for return on their investment - should have insisted on a "business plan," an overall strategy intended ultimately to reduce the Palestinians' dependence on international aid, a strategy that would by definition have necessitated constructive interaction with Israel. They should have set out the goals to be achieved with donated funds, and the benchmarks for determining progress. And the funding should have been explicitly conditioned on such progress.

So long as it is led by an unreconstructed Hamas, of course, to even talk of a recovery plan for the PA is pointless and misguided. For now, the international community, and Israel, need to concentrate on minimizing the benefits that Hamas can derive from donors' humane instinct to alleviate suffering - even when those who are suffering brought their plight upon themselves by electing a terror group as their leadership.

That's not enough. What is needed is a full and complete accounting of past uses of aid, a financial plan to wean the 'Palestinians' from their addiction to foreign assistance and a call for the Arab countries in which they reside to take responsibility for people who have lived among them for 58 years. It's time to make the addicts break their addiction.


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