Thursday, September 7, 2006

Palestinian Donors: What Mission?

By Nicola Nasser

"The Palestinians have been too grateful and too helpless for too long to be critical of the political agenda of their donors who have practically nailed them down as political hostages to the donors’ money, which was promised initially to help build an independent Palestinian state, but ended as a political instrument effectively used by the Israeli occupying power.

The internal political crisis is only a result of the deeper economic and humanitarian crisis, which is crushing the Palestinian people to the brink of a “social revolt,” especially in the “ticking time bomb” of Gaza Strip, (1) and the donors-sustained Palestinian Authority (PA) to the brink of collapse since the donors tightened the Israeli military siege by imposing a suffocating financial blockade early in the year.

The donors’ money continued to flow nonetheless with or without awareness that thereafter their aid had shifted to serve a completely different and contradictory political Israeli agenda and became an instrument of Israel’s foreign policy and thus became part of the problem and not of the solution, without alleviating the Palestinian economic plight.

Donors have turned to finance either the Palestinian submission, compliance, passivity or collaboration and collusion vis-à-vis the Israeli U.S.-backed unilateral plans, with a questionable indifference to the death of the peace process and the reoccupation of the PA autonomy, while showing an astonishing exemplary tolerance towards Israel’s destruction of the state-building infrastructures financed mainly by money paid by European and American taxpayers.

A show case of how donors squander their taxpayers’ money was their financing the Palestinian presidential and legislative elections with more than $250 million, which they strictly monitored, only to immediately refuse the outcome and give ammunition to Palestinian accusations that their democratic rhetoric was a sham.

At least this is how the donors’ role has become to be perceived, not by a minority but by the mainstream Palestinian, as was proved both by the landslide victory of the Hamas-led opposition in the January 25 legislative elections and by the failure of the “Oslo camp” to avert that victory in spite of the billions of dollars channelled to it by the donors."

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