THE GAZA AID PACKAGE: TIME TO RETHINK U.S. FOREIGN ASSISTANCE TO THE PALESTINIANS
March 12, 2009
The Obama Administration has announced a huge aid package of $900 million to help ease the humanitarian plight of Palestinians in Gaza and to shore up the bankrupt Palestinian Authority (PA). This surge of soft power is aimed at strengthening Palestinian moderates and helping to clear the way for revived Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. But as long as Hamas remains free to rain rockets down on Israel, these ambitions remain little more than wishful thinking, says the Heritage Foundation.
Since the 1993 Oslo peace accords, the United States has showered $2.2 billion in bilateral aid on the Palestinians, in addition to more than $3.4 billion for humanitarian aid funneled to the Palestinians through dysfunctional U.N. organizations since 1950. This aid has:
- Subsidized the welfare of Palestinian refugees.
- Contributed to a culture of victimization and shrill anti-Israeli and anti-Western radicalism.
- Freed up some Palestinian groups to focus on destroying Israel rather than on providing for and advancing the long-term interests of the Palestinian people.
Given the searing economic crisis that the United States presently faces, the Obama Administration should:
- Significantly reduce these overly ambitious aid goals.
- Halt the funding of U.N. agencies that do not adequately screen their workers for terrorist connections or permit external audits.
- Tighten restrictions on the disbursement of aid to ensure that the aid will not be diverted for hostile purposes.
Source: James Phillips, "The Gaza Aid Package: Time to Rethink U.S. Foreign Assistance to the Palestinians," Heritage Foundation, WebMemo #2333, March 9, 2009.
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