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May 17, 2006

Two Articles on Palestinian Aid

Since the U.S. and E.U. decided to suspend aid to the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority, voices in the media have expressed increasing concern over the hardships imposed on the Palestinian people. Articles often give prominence to visible images of economic suffering, but generally fail to examine whether the extensive aid is used to promote or impede resolution of the conflict.

Two pieces appearing in UK newspapers today, however, do raise such questions.

In a piece titled “How Europe unwittingly fuels bloodshed in Israel”, appearing in today's Daily Telegraph, Daniel Hannan probes the motives of aid providers and discusses how generous European aid to the Palestinians has supported a culture of dependence and resentment that fuels extremism and terrorism. According to Hannan,

the very fact of pumping more money into the Occupied Territories will make terrorism more likely. Palestinians are already... the largest per capita recipients of overseas aid in the world. Yet the level of violence in Gaza and the West Bank has risen in proportion to the amount of assistance received.

Hannan believes that

by firehosing cash at the PA, Europeans signal their opposition to Washington, suck up to their Muslim voters and, above all, vent their dislike of Israel.

In another piece appearing in the Financial Times, "Blaming Hamas Sidesteps Regional Realities", Hala Mustafa, editor of a journal published by the al-Ahram Foundation, exposes the duplicitous behavior of the so-called moderate Arab governments and argues that for too long these allegedly pro-western governments have been given a pass on their role in propagating the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Why has there been so little progress? For the answer, look not just to the Israelis and Palestinians, but to other governments in the region which have been neither receptive nor helpful to reaching a lasting peace. While the roles of the Middle East's two most radical regimes, Syria and Iran (the latter recently pledged $50m in aid to prop up the bankrupt Palestinian government) are usually at the centre of the debate, very little attention has been given to the policies of the "moderate" regional governments.

Both pieces address the Palestinian aid crisis from critical perspectives, focusing on key issues that deserve more attention and discussion in the media.

Posted by SS at May 17, 2006 10:39 AM

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