by Joseph Puder
Where western aid really ends up.
Western humanitarian aid to the Palestinians is complicit in fueling terror attacks against Israel. Little has been done on the part of European governments to curb the PA incitement and terror attacks against Israelis, despite Israeli presentations in western capitals showing how European Union (EU) humanitarian aid to the Palestinians is being used to fund terror. The U.S. Congress pressured the Obama administration to cut economic aid to the Palestinians by $80 million (reducing it from $370 million to $290 million) in the fall of 2015, due to Palestinian incitement in a rash of stabbing attacks against Israelis.
Still, the U.S. government alone provided the Palestinians with an amount of $408,751,396 in 2014. The European Union contribution in 2014 was $139,402,221; the United Kingdom’s $95,328,127; Sweden’s $79,975,260; Germany’s $54,838,742 and Norway’s $35,911,782. Together, with other western governments including Japan, Switzerland, Australia, Netherlands, Denmark, France, Italy, Belgium, Finland, and Ireland, the total came to over $1 billion. That amount reflects only government contributions and not non-governmental agencies (NGO’s). Global Humanitarian Assistance reported that the international humanitarian response from 2002 to 2011 provided the West Bank and Gaza Palestinians with $6.7 billion.
Few other people in the world or in a given territory have received the generous aid and as much attention from the international community as the Palestinians have, certainly not the Kurds or the Tibetans who have suffered persecution and been denied self-determination. In terms of per capita dollar amount, Palestinians are on top of the list. According to a report by the Global Humanitarian Assistance, in 2013 the Palestinians received $849 million in International aid. This amounted to $176 for each Palestinian, by far the highest per capita in the world. Syria, where more than 250,000 people were killed and 6.5 million refugees have been displaced since 2011, received only $106 per capita.
The New York Times reported on December 18, 2007 that, “Eighty-seven countries and international organizations pledged $7.4 billion in aid to the Palestinians on Monday, in the most ambitious fund-raising effort in more than a decade to help Palestinians create a viable, peaceful and secure state of their own.”
In itself, humanitarian aid to the Palestinians is a positive and welcomed gesture, provided that the aid goes to build an economic, social, and political infrastructure, as well as the rule of law in the Palestinian territories. If the funds provided by American, European governments and NGO’s were to be used for the creation of a civil society that is promoting democracy, religious tolerance, and peaceful coexistence with Israel, every cent would be worthwhile. Regrettably, that is not the case.
Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) translating the Palestinian Authority (PA) official daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (January 6, 2015) headlined “47% of the PA budget goes to civil servants, prisoners (in Israeli prisons for committing deadly terrorist acts), and families.” The story in Al-Hayat Al-Jadida goes on to say that “The PA Ministry of Finance published a statement of clarification to the press yesterday evening, in which it responded to the declarations attributed to Hamas Deputy Political Bureau Chief Ismail Haniyeh.
On the issue of the declaration made by Hamas Deputy Political Bureau Chief Ismail Haniyeh who said that “there is no truth to the claim that the PA spends on Gaza 55% of the PA budget. We, in the Ministry of Finance believe that it is necessary to clarify that in practice, we transfer no less than 47% of our budget for the benefit of our brothers in the southern districts (i.e., Gaza Strip). These expenses include salaries of over 63,000 civilian and military employees, as well as the salaries of the prisoners (terrorists in Israeli prisons), the released prisoners (released by Israel as a good will gesture to restart negotiations with the PA, and as requested by the Obama administration), and the families of Martyrs (Shahids in Arabic) and wounded (in terrorist clashes with Israel).”
It is unambiguously clear that donor funds are supporting Hamas, a terrorist organization identified as such by the U.S. and its western allies. Yet, the international community entrusts the welfare of Palestinians in Gaza to Hamas. Moreover, donor funds are used to pay salaries to Palestinian terrorists convicted of killing and wounding Israelis. Terrorists killed while committing acts of terror are considered martyrs by the PA, and their families are receiving stipends. That surely was not the intent of the donor countries. And yet, despite the use of western tax-payers money to such nefarious recipients, western money continues to flow to PA and Hamas coffers.
Palestinian Media Watch recorded on September 17, 2015 PA President, Mahmoud Abbas’ statement in Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, “Every drop of blood that has been spilled in Jerusalem is holy blood as long as it was for Allah. Every martyr will reach paradise, and everyone wounded will be rewarded, Allah willing.” The incitement to murder Israeli-Jews comes directly from top Palestinian officialdom, and these blood curdling calls for murder are broadcasted on Palestinian state television.
According to Tzipi Hotovely, Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister, “reports compiled in June, 2014 by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the PA’s annual budget supporting Palestinian terrorists was then roughly $75 million. That amounted to some 16% of the foreign donations the PA received annually. Overall in 2012, foreign aid made up about a quarter of the PA’s $3.1 billion budget. More recent figures are inaccessible since the PA is no longer transparent about the stipend transfers.” Exposed for misusing foreign aid to terrorists and their families, the PA has simply shifted the distribution of stipends to Mahmoud Abbas’ led Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Still, PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah announced in September, 2015 that the PA will continue to provide “necessary assistance” to terrorists.
Hotovely also pointed out that according to the World Bank, between 1993 and 2013 the Palestinians received $21.7 billion in development assistance. Instead of using these funds for economic and social development, the Palestinian leadership used the money to fund Hamas’ terrorist activities, to beef-up the terrorist infrastructure, and for the acquisition of weaponry. Hamas on its part used the funds to facilitate cross border attacks against Israel, dig tunnels into Israeli territory, and fire thousands of missiles at Israel.
The Ramallah based PA has done nothing to rehabilitate the refugee camps with the billions of dollars it has received, choosing instead to deliberately keep Palestinian refugees in a state of dependence and underdevelopment as “cannon fodder” against Israel. In addition, the PA expends huge resources to promote anti-Israel hate propaganda.
Western aid to the Palestinians was premised on bringing about peaceful coexistence between Palestinians and Israel. Billions in Western aid money to the Palestinians has gone unmonitored and without strict guidelines. As a result, instead of fulfilling the aim of peaceful coexistence, a large portion of the humanitarian assistance has gone to do the opposite - to vilify Israel, Jews, Christians, America, and the West. Moreover, millions of western dollars have funded the Palestinian media, mosques, and school system that incites Palestinians to violence and terror against Israeli Jews.
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