Financial Aid For Palestine Is “Smoke and Mirrors”

At least according to one Western diplomat, who has condemned the reality of financial aid processing to the West Bank and Gaza.

While numerous donor states announce substantial dollarage, the problem resides in the realization of enabling the funds to reach the grassroots population.

Border restrictions, a lack of transparency, double-counting, and seemingly rampant one-upmanship among donor states is resulting in very little action, as wages continue to pass unpaid in the P.A..

Since December 2007 five investor and donor conferences have been held, yet the pledges of $12 billion from governments and $2 billion from investors have either yet to materialize, been too ambiguous, or doubled through miscounting.

Had the figures been accurately calculated and appropriately distributed, the pledges would have provided approximately $3,500 for every man, woman, and child in the West Bank and Gaza.


In turn, this would have doubled the per capita GDP.

Considering that half of Gaza’s population subsists on less than $3 a day, the change would have been noticeable.

Of particular ambiguity are the pledges by the Gulf States, whose record diplomats have condemned as “a particularly spotty track record of fulfilling commitments to Abbas’s West Bank-based government.”

Once again, politics intervenes in what should be a humanitarian issue; that Abbas’s government is open to peace talks with Israel should not affect the donor’s obligation to ensure that pledges reach the people.

That the Gulf States have broken from Western donors in order to channel $1.35 billion through a private framework renders the likelihood of the full sum reaching the Palestinians unlikely.

Alternatively, funds remain amiss due to the compulsion to appear generous, yet ultimately be unable (or unwilling?) to fulfill financial commitments.

As the Amman-based Middle East analyst Mouin Rabbani notes, vast sums often transpire as “a PR stunt to boost Abbas”.

It is easy to point to Israeli restrictions as the obstacle to full regeneration and humanitarian assistance, but perhaps we should be also looking closer to home.

Governments should honour their commitment, or not commit at all, for what could be crueler than offering hope that does not materialize?

2 comments on “Financial Aid For Palestine Is “Smoke and Mirrors”

  1. loolt
    March 9, 2009

    this may seem like a stupidly naive question… but why is abbas factoring into this? The people who need the finances despereatley are those in Gaza, whose government is not recognised (and thus not dealt with) by Abbas… hence the ‘abbas pr stunt’ criteria seems plausible, but confusing.

  2. Layla
    March 10, 2009

    Loolt: Perhaps Abbas comes into play on two accounts: primarily if the aid is destined for the West Bank, and secondly, as an excuse for not fulfilling financial pledges. If a state does not wish to fully commit, a suitable escape clause would be via political objection. If it is sincere, or not, is seemingly irrelevant.

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This entry was posted on March 9, 2009 by in Conflict Zones, Israel, Middle East, Palestine, Politics and tagged , , , .
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