MEDIA ALERT: CHALLENGING EU's PROPOSAL FOR PALESTINIAN AID
BOSTON, February 14, 2007-This week, the EU met to discuss the formation of
a Palestinian government along with expanded emergency assistance. For more
than a year, the EU, US and Russia have participated in an economic boycott
of the Palestinian government. Opponents of the current policy of suspending
aid to Palestinian government intimate that refusing aid has contributed to
Palestinian hardship. Yet experience has shown that increased direct funding
of the Palestinian Authority does not translate into improved economic
conditions for the Palestinian people when there is no commitment to
building peaceful relations with Israel.
The cause of the Palestinians' economic decline is not due to the level of
foreign aid but rather the choice by Palestinian leaders to sacrifice
economic development in order to pursue their fight against Israel's right
Contrary to the Palestinian claim that Western sanctions against the
Hamas-led Palestinian Authority has resulted in less economic assistance
than in the past, foreign aid to the Palestinians in 2006 dramatically
increased over previous levels.
THE TRUTH IS:
* Foreign aid donations went from $350 million (World Bank) in 2005 to $709
million through mid-December of 2006.
* Overall, total donations in 2006 (legal and smuggled) amounted to at least
$775 million, an increase of $425 million over 2005.
* Western aid sources continue to funnel aid directly to the Palestinians.
In the first nine months of 2006, total European aid, including humanitarian
aid and support for developing projects, increased by $184 million (27%)
from $681 million in 2005 to $865 in 2006. According to the UN, Western aid
to the Palestinians from all sources increased by 10% in 2006; meanwhile aid
provided by Arab states increased substantially.
* The crisis of the Palestinians has not arisen out of the decision by
Western donors to suspend payment to the Hamas government. Rather, a
cascading effect of increasing debt and unchecked spending carried over from
years of mismanagement has created an untenable situation.
Available to dispel the myths about declining Palestinian aid are members of
CAMERA, Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, which
has been following trends in Middle East reporting for the past 25 years.
Steven Stotsky, CAMERA Researcher and Media Analyst, says, "Palestinian
hardship is a direct result of a decline in economic productivity of the
Palestinians. Border closures and reduced trade with Israel, the single
largest trading partner and ex-pat employer of Palestinians, have certainly
impacted the Palestinian economy. But Israel's reaction is simply a response
to the Palestinian decision to put Hamas, an avowed terrorist organization
committed to the destruction of Israel, in charge of the Palestinian