Palestinians, The “Cannon Fodder” of the Arab World

The Arab nations will tells the rest of the world that it’s problems with Israel revolve around the treatment of the Palestinians by Israel. Yet they are the first to treat the Palestinians as “cannon fodder”. Forget for a moment that the Palestinians are a made up people and read this excerpt:

The Palestinian Economic Council for Development and Reconstruction [PECDAR] said Monday that the PA had received only $900m. of the $7.7b. promised during the December 2007 Paris Donors’ Conference for supporting the Palestinians.

The money was promised to the PA over a period of three years by nearly 90 countries and international organizations during the Paris conference.

According to PECDAR, the PA was supposed to receive up to $3b. of it during 2008.

However, PA officials complained that that the donors had so far paid less than 35 percent of the promised sum.

The officials said they were particularly disappointed with the majority of the Arab countries for failing to meet their financial commitments toward the Palestinians.

“Most of the Arab countries are now setting conditions for providing us with financial aid,” the PA officials said. “Some are saying that they will give us the money only after we end our differences with Hamas, while others are suddenly talking about the need for reforms and transparency in the Palestinian Authority.”

The officials pointed out that the Arab countries have given the PA this year about 15% of what they promised. Saudi Arabia, which had pledged at least $500m. over the three-year period, gave the PA less than 20% of the funds.

Kuwait, which pledged $80m. in aid to the PA this year, has yet to fulfill its promise, the officials said. Qatar, which used to provide the PA with more than $200m. annually, stopped channeling the funds after the collapse of the Fatah-Hamas unity government.

Most of the Arab countries have told the PA that they prefer to support vital economic projects in the West Bank and Gaza Strip rather than day-to-day government operations, a move that has drawn sharp criticism from the PA leadership.

“The crisis in the Palestinian territories is likely to aggravate because most of the foreign donors are not living up to their commitments,” said Samir Abdullah, the Minister of Planning in the PA government. “The government needs at least 200m. every month, half of which goes to paying salaries.”

Meanwhile, the number of households in the Gaza Strip below the poverty line has reached an unprecedented high of nearly 52%, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) said in a report published recently.

“The number of households in Gaza below the consumption poverty line continued to grow, reaching 51.8% in 2007, despite significant amounts of emergency and humanitarian assistance,” the UNRWA statement said.

Meanwhile, poverty rates in the West Bank fell to just over 19%.

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