By Amira Hass
"The world is applauding Nobel Peace Prize laureate Muhammad Yunus for applying the folk wisdom that a poor man should be given not a fish but rather a fishing pole. That is, to fight poverty, it is necessary not to feed poor people but rather to let them earn a living. And at the same time, the world is being asked to keep giving the Palestinians fish, because it knows very well that Israel will block any shipment of fishing rods.......
....And above all, the high aid ceiling reflects the depths of the leniency toward Israel, or the absence of the political ability to cause Israel to do one of two things: Either to recognize its obligations as the occupying power under international covenants, and to care for the occupied population, or to desist immediately from its policy of intentional economic strangulation. For years, Israel has been using the weapon of economic strangulation as a means of political pressure. And the tempest this policy has reaped has thus far been that the Palestinians are growing closer to Iran.
Israel is continuing to steal hundreds of thousands of shekels in customs and tax monies that do not belong to it, which it is not transferring to the Palestinian treasury. This is the proximate cause of the deepening of the crisis. The continuing, permanent and historic cause are the limitations on movement Israel imposes, contrary to the repeated promises (particularly to the World Bank and the American State Department) to "ease up": The closing of the Gaza Strip crossing points and the positioning of hundreds of roadblocks and barriers in the West Bank are the factors that make any economic activity a gamble, to the point of bankruptcy and giving up a priori. It is much easier for the Western countries to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to subsidize food that Israel is not allowing the Palestinians to produce and purchase themselves than it is to cause Israel to stop behaving as though it stands above international law."