« Spitting On The Troops | Main | Thank You, David Ehrenstein »

It Costs More To Be Stingy

Here's an argument for the intractable Israeli hawks who think its a good thing to starve a population into changing its government. It looks like it cost the international community more to cut aid to the PA than it is to give the money to the PA and let them handle their own affairs:

JERUSALEM, March 20 — Despite the international embargo on aid to the Palestinian Authority since Hamas came to power a year ago, significantly more aid was delivered to the Palestinians in 2006 than in 2005, according to official figures from the United Nations, United States, European Union and International Monetary Fund.

Instead of going to the Palestinian Authority, much of the money was given directly to individuals or through independent agencies like the World Food Program.

The International Monetary Fund and the United Nations say the Palestinians received $1.2 billion in aid and budgetary support in 2006, about $300 per capita, compared with $1 billion in 2005.

While the United States and the European Union have led the boycott, they, too, provided more aid to the Palestinians in 2006 than 2005. Washington increased its aid to $468 million in 2006, from $400 million in 2005.

The European Union and its member states alone are subsidizing one million people in the West Bank and Gaza, a quarter of the population, as part of their effort to avoid creating a catastrophe from the embargo.

Asked if the European Union could spend any more money on the Palestinians if it recognized the new Palestinian government than it does now, a senior European diplomat laughed and said, “We’d probably spend less.?

One side effect of the redirected aid, some officials said, is that while starvation has been avoided, institutions are withering and a culture of dependence is expanding.

In 2007, the United Nations began a humanitarian appeal for the Palestinians of more than $450 million, twice the 2006 appeal, the third largest United Nations request, after Sudan and Congo, ahead of 18 other disasters.

“These numbers are quite stunning,? said Alexander Costy, head of coordination for ?lvaro de Soto, the United Nations special Middle East envoy, “given the relatively small size of the population of the Palestinian territory.?

He added: “What we do know for sure is that Palestinians, and their economy and society, are becoming increasingly dependent on humanitarian handouts, and this dependency is growing fast. For a state in the making, I think this was a step backwards in 2006 and a cause for alarm.?

There's an easy partial solution to this problem, just have Israel let go of the tax money the PA is legally entitled to

While Israel recently handed over $100 million of the sum as a humanitarian gesture to the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah, Israeli officials say that as of today, they are holding back $475 million in money belonging to the Palestinians, a big hole in the normal Palestinian budget.