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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

$1.2 billion

Some 'boycott.'

The New York Times and al-AP are reporting this evening that despite the 'boycott' of the Hamas-led 'Palestinian Authority,' the United States, Europe and Israel provided it with some $1.2 billion in assistance in 2006. That does not include cash smuggled into the Gaza Strip in suitcases. But it does constitute some $300 in assistance for every man, woman and child in the 'Palestinian territories.' And that has the do-gooders worried about the 'culture of dependency' that they have suddenly noticed.
“These numbers are quite stunning,” said Alexander Costy, head of coordination for Álvaro de Soto, the United Nations special Middle East envoy, “given the relatively small size of the population of the Palestinian territory.”

He added: “What we do know for sure is that Palestinians, and their economy and society, are becoming increasingly dependent on humanitarian handouts, and this dependency is growing fast. For a state in the making, I think this was a step backwards in 2006 and a cause for alarm.”
And lest you think that all of that money is going to 'individuals' as we have been told - it's not:
The International Monetary Fund and the United Nations estimate that direct budgetary support to the Palestinian Authority in 2006 was about $740 million, more than double the $350 million in 2004 and 2005.
When you add in the cash, according to 'Palestinian' 'Finance Minister' Salam Fayad (who has no idea where the money went anyway), the actual amount of assistance to the 'Palestinian Authority' was even higher than $740 million and the number for the 'Palestinians' as a whole was higher than $1.2 billion:
“I say the minimum for direct budgetary support was $880 million in 2006 compared to about $350 million the year before,” Mr. Fayyad said. He estimates total aid in 2006 was closer to $1.35 billion.
That number is exceeded only by aid to Sudan and Congo, both of which have much larger populations and territories. But what ought to concern the West more than the 'culture of dependency' is where all that money is going:
The larger amounts of aid Western countries poured into the Palestinian territories in recent months were aimed at making up for the inability of the Palestinian Authority to pay salaries. To a large degree, beginning in the summer of 2006, the European Union and Arab countries paid the salaries instead.

By the last quarter of 2006, full salaries were again being paid to Palestinian Authority employees, who, over the year, received about 55 percent of their salaries.
Those salaries are going to 'Palestinian' police and militiamen terrorists, who then spend their days building bombs, smuggling weapons and trying to commit terror attacks against Israel. In fact, the Times dutifully notes that Israel is still 'withholding' some $475 million in collected taxes, which would undoubtedly go for the same purposes.

The 'Palestinians' are also providing conclusive proof that throwing money at a problem does not necessarily solve it:
Despite all the aid, the economy, hampered by security restrictions put on Palestinian travel and exports and fierce Palestinian infighting between Hamas and Fatah, continued to show signs of collapse. The Palestinian gross domestic product dropped by 6.6 percent in 2006, poverty rose by 30 percent and unemployment was over 30 percent. The proportion of those who would be unable to feed themselves without aid reached 49 percent of Gaza’s population, and internal violence among Palestinians caused ten times the number of deaths and injuries as in 2005.
Well, of course. They're so busy killing each other and trying to kill Israelis that they have no economy of which we can speak. That also explains the 'budget':
In general, the Palestinians take in about $15 million to $20 million in taxes a month, Mr. Fayyad said, plus the $50 million or so from Israel [most of which has been withheld since Hamas was elected. CiJ]. But the budget now is at least $170 million to $175 million a month, with a bill for wages and pensions alone of $115 million a month.

The Palestinian Authority’s self-generated income, including the amount Israel collects but is not now delivering, is only about 60 percent of the monthly wage bill alone, and only about 40 percent of the monthly budget. So the Authority needs between $1.2 and $1.3 billion in foreign aid every year now just to break even — about what Palestinians, if not the Authority itself, got in 2006.
Note that many of those 'pensions' are money paid to families of terrorists - a fact that the Times would just as soon forget.

Al-AP reports that Gerald Steinberg of Bar Ilan University says that the 'sanctions' are 'effective' despite this result:
Most Palestinians recognize that they are paying a huge price for having the radical leadership of Hamas and in that, I would say, yes, they (the sanctions) are effective.
Unfortunately, that price seems to be paid by the nations of the world and not by the 'Palestinians.' And some 'Palestinians' have already pronounced the dependence on aid 'irreversible,' reflecting an expectation that the world won't be able to stop providing it to the 'Palestinians.'
Palestinian economists warn that some of the damage inflicted by the sanctions is irreversible, including the flight of investors, loss of trust in the economy and weakening of government institutions. Also, with aid restricted to averting a humanitarian crisis, development projects have largely been put on hold.
Well, would you want to invest in an economy where they do nothing but try to kill people all day long?
"There is no investment, nothing, zilch," said Bassim Khoury, president of the Palestinian Federation of Industries. "You are creating a country that is not sustainable in the future."
I am recalling a speech I once heard from Natan Sharansky in which he described his stint as Minister of Industry and Trade in the mid-1990's. Sharansky said that every time the Israeli government wanted to discuss economic development with Arafat in the early years of Oslo, Arafat would change the subject to how much territory he was going to get. The more things change the more they stay the same. Al-AP reports that the 'Palestinian' gross domestic product fell by 6.6% in 2006. I wonder how much of that fall could have been mitigated if the 'Palestinians' had used the Gaza hothouses bought for them by Bill Gates and James Wolfensohn for growing food like Israel did instead of digging weapons tunnels through them.

But just give them a state reichlet. That will solve everything.


At 12:29 PM, Blogger Michael said...

Why is Israel bothering to "hold" the $475 million for the PA?

They clearly don't deserve it, and they've shown that it will only go to fund terrorist operations. Why can't Israel say, screw 'em, and use that money here?

Oh, yeah, it would require a decision from the Olmert gov't...


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