After a winter of limited activities, The Funding for Peace Coalition (FPC) is beginning to regroup.
Please update your records, your friends and all links to our website.
In the interim, a great deal has happened, which is worthy of comment.
In the UK, The Taxpayer’s Alliance, released a detailed report protesting the way public money was funding a Palestinian education system based on hatred. In its coverage of the story, The Sunday Express newspaper noted that British politicians had “called for an urgent investigation into how the Palestinian Authority has used £47.5million in British aid over the past year”.
The Palestinian Authority itself has recently finished an internal analysis of how it lost control of Gaza to Hamas. Describing the details of the conclusions, the Israeli paper Ha’aretz quoted “a terrifying picture of military and political helplessness, internal disputes, family loyalties, a lack of talent and ability to administer military and political forces, a huge waste of money (Mohammed Dahlan received $25 million to build a trained military force, which collapsed in one moment)….”
And in Gaza, despite Hamas and several NGOs complaining about a worsening humanitarian situation, there continues to be enough resources to manufacture unprecedented quantities of Kassam missiles. Before the recent Israeli army incursion, salvos were directed at Israeli civilians at an average rate of once every three hours.
In this environment, the effectiveness of ongoing funding by the international community has to be questioned. Without addressing the issues of lack of controls raised time and again by the FPC, the Temporary International mechanism (TIM) has been replaced. The new set up, called PEGASE, is a throw back to the “good old days”, of direct funding of the Palestinian Authority salaries and benefit schemes.
In a parallel move, the Bush Administration delivered $150 million to the Palestinian Authority (PA) Treasury in March 2008, as part of a $496.5 million “aid” package. The irony comes as no surprise to learn that the money was delivered in the same week when the car of an adviser to President Abbas was used to smuggle 3,000 cellular phones in to Palestinian territories, bypassing PA tax authorities.
The FPC has again raised its concerns and submitted recommendations to the UK International Development Committee. The submission to its latest inquiry can be found at http://eufunding.org.uk/reports/FPC%20IDC%20Submission%20Mar%202008.pdf
For all the money that keeps on rolling in, has the Palestinian man in the street really benefited? As our submission highlights, huge amounts in international aid has been handed over to Palestinians over the years, much diverted to exacerbating and institutionalising violence, corruption and waste.
NGO Monitor also submitted a paper to the UK International Development Committee, showing how UK taxpayer and government donations to supposedly non-partisan charities are similarly used to exacerbate tensions, rather than promote regional peace.
Possibly the most depressing report of all appeared in the International Herald Tribune. The UN peacekeeping force in Sudan lack essential equipment to carry out even the most rudimentary of peacekeeping tasks. Some even had to buy their own paint to turn their green helmets United Nations blue. And yet, hundreds of millions are available annually to the Palestinians through UNWRA, and this money has yet to result in a single Palestinian refugee ever being resettled as a permanent “citizen” of anywhere.
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Left: Yasser Arafat
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