Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Aid as a weapon

International donors' approach to the Palestinian people lacks consistency, courage, and plain common sense

Ben White, Tuesday 3 March 2009

"Ever since the beginning of the second intifada in 2000, there has been a familiar pattern in the Occupied Territories: Israel destroys Palestinian civilian infrastructure, and the international community foots the bill.

This has been reproduced once more, on a grand scale, as billions of dollars were promised this week at the Egypt-hosted donor conference for devastated Gaza, far exceeding the Palestinian Authority's initial target.

It remains to be seen how much of this aid will actually get through to the Palestinians imprisoned in Gaza, who continue to live in the rubble of thousands of homes, and hundreds of businesses, factories and schools. Two-thirds of the US contribution of $900 million, for example, is not even earmarked for Gaza......

Unfortunately, the donor conference is another sign that as yet there still has been no fundamental shift in policy, three years on from Hamas's success in the Palestinian elections. You shouldn't have to live in Gaza to work out that "open borders, not handouts" are the way forward. Whether subsiding the heavily colonised West Bank, or paying for what Israel destroyed in Gaza, the international community in its approach to the Palestinian people continues to display a lack of consistency, courage, and plain common sense."

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