February - March 2009
Huge amounts of international aid to the Palestinians have failed over a lengthy period to bring any change to the conflict, or to provide hope to the Palestinian people. Sadly, the uncontrolled diversion of aid to corruption, violence and exacerbation of tensions through hate education and incitement continues.
The UK Parliamentary International Development Committee has asked for your input as to how they should manage their international aid budgets in these difficult times at http://forums.parliament.uk/aid-under-pressure/index.php?index,1. We believe that the experience with supporting the Palestinian cause should act as a signpost. We ask Funding for Peace Coalition members to register at the site, then sign in and briefly, politely and succinctly share their views with the Parliamentary committee.
The FPC has been somewhat dormant for some time, due to a shortage of resources. Unfortunately, as you are no doubt aware, despite continued direct and indirect funding of the Palestinian cause, peace in the Middle East seems as far away as ever.
Many international observers are beginning to echo our concerns (see our newsletters and our website) that due to poor management, international aid to the Palestinians exacerbates rather than leading to a settlement of the conflict.
Former UNRWA legal counsel James Lindsay’s recent report Fixing UNRWA: Repairing the UN's Troubled System of Aid to Palestinian Refugees comments on the way UNRWA budgets are spent providing services to people who simply don’t need the charity, many of whom are not refugees, and some are not even Palestinians.
No justification exists for millions of dollars in humanitarian aid going to those who can afford to pay for UNRWA services. In addition, UNRWA should make the following operational changes: halt its one-sided political statements and limit itself to comments on humanitarian issues; take additional steps to ensure the agency is not employing or providing benefits to terrorists and criminals; and allow the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), or some other neutral entity, to provide balanced and discrimination-free textbooks for UNRWA schools.
Gunnar Heinsohn of the Raphael Lemkin Institute at the University of Bremen, an institute devoted to comparative genocide research, also wrote a report highlighting the way international aid provides unlimited indiscriminate welfare, encouraging a high birth rate, without providing adequate employment opportunities. The resulting “youth bulge” provides the warriors for battle against fellow Palestinians and Israel. His recommendations parallel those of James Lindsay.
Just last week, the European Union issued a review of its progress in the Middle East: “The EU is the largest donor to the Palestinians. In recent years, the combined contribution of the European Commission and EU Member States has reached €1 billion per year, which is not sustainable.”
In the face of unsustainable international aid programs – not just to the Palestinians, but around the globe - the UK Parliamentary International Development Committee has asked for your input on the role it should play in these difficult and stormy financial times. It is important to note that the committee is not asking for feedback on aid to the Palestinians, but on the correct global approach. Our positions include the following ideas:
Unfortunately, the huge amounts of aid to the Palestinians has, and continues to, run against these basic principles.
As a concerned citizen who has taken an interest in these issues over a long period, we encourage you to register at http://forums.parliament.uk/aid-under-pressure/index.php?index,1, and briefly, politely and succinctly share your views, in your own words, with the Parliamentary committee.
Left: Yasser Arafat
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