Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Flawed Policy of Aid to Palestine

In an article published last week by Foreign Policy, Nadia Hijab, who is a member of the US Campaign Advisory Board, argues that it is time for the world community to rethink its policy of providing foreign aid to Palestine.  Though this aid may be well intentioned, Hijab suggests that it serves to prop up oppressive political groups, such as the Palestinian Authority (PA), within Palestine.  She points to last month's beatings of peaceful Palestinian protesters at the hands of PA security forces as evidence of such oppression.

Hijab further argues that by providing for the most basic needs of Palestinians, foreign aid relieves Israel of its obligation under international law to ensure the welfare of those living under its occupation in the Palestinian territories.  Unsurprisingly, Israeli politicians have a history of supporting continued foreign aid to Palestine from the United States and European Union.

She points to cases in which USAID funded roads in Palestine have in no way challenged an illegal system of segregated Israeli roads in the West Bank as evidence that aid helps to entrench the Israeli occupation and land grabs.  Even those aid-funded projects in Palestine which do not conform to the Israeli occupation regularly face demolition by the Israeli military.

Finally, Hijab suggests that most current foreign aid to Palestine operates under the false premise that "sustainable development is possible under prolonged occupation," despite the findings of major aid agencies to the contrary.

Clearly, the merit of continued foreign aid to Palestine deserves a serious reevaluation.  "Aid" which props up Israeli colonialism is hardly helping the Palestinian people, and indeed runs counter to the establishment of a just, lasting peace in the region.  

Rethinking aid to Palestine
Posted By Nadia Hijab Friday, August 3, 2012 - 1:46 PM 

"Foreign aid to Palestine is desperately in need of rethinking. Wittingly or not, external aid facilitates Israel's occupation, enables an inept Palestinian leadership to survive, and subverts much of Palestinian civil society. The extent of the dependency on aid means the Palestinian Authority (PA) must spend considerable energy begging for handouts from Arab governments, the European Union, and the United States. Facing a severe cash shortage -- which is not unusual -- the PA was recently unable to pay the salaries on which an estimated one million bureaucrats and their families rely..."
Read more here

Want to learn more about the challenges facing Palestine and what you can do about them? Register for the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation's 11th annual conference in St. Louis today! Our speakers will include Dr. Hatem Bazian, Chairman of American Muslims for Palestine, and Phyllis Bennis, Director of the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies. Palestinian-American poet and activist Remi Kanazi, author of Poetic Injustice: Writings on Resistance and Palestine, will also perform. Workshops throughout the weekend will cover topics ranging from Engaging Faith Communities to Campus Activism. Register by August 21st to take advantage of $80 registration and low hotel rates!