Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Aid to PA skyrockets: rich get richer, poor get poorer, Hamas gets more powerful

The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics just released an interesting report:
The president of the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), Luay Shabaneh, has revealed that the rich in the occupied Palestinian territories became richer and the poor became poorer over 2006, in spite of the international community aid which amounted to some US $816 million in 2006, compared with $ 352 million in 2005.

Speaking in a forum organized by the ministry of information in Nablus in the north of the occupied West Bank, Shabaneh added that the rich and the poor accounted for 10 percent each of the national income in 2005, but in 2006 the rich people accounted for 36 percent of the national income and the poor were only accounting for 3 percent.
I've seen other numbers showing how aid has increased to the PalArabs under the "boycott":
The European Union in 2006 gave 27 percent more aid to the Palestinians than in 2005, about €700 million, or $910 million, through a mechanism designed to aid individuals but formally bypass the Hamas-led government.
Even according to the PCBS, the amount of international aid skyrocketed in 2006 despite the "international boycott." This aid was meant specifically for the poorest of the PalArabs and supposedly bypassed the Hamas-run PA. Yet somehow, the rich Palestinian Arabs managed to get much richer and the poor seem to have received very little of this aid, all under the watchful eyes of the non-corrupt Hamas-led PA. (The report itself is not yet available on their webpage.)

The corruption in the PA is endemic, widespread and staggering.

Yet international aid organizations are ready to blame everyone but the Palestinian Arabs themselves. Oxfam just came out with a report showing that millions of euros are wasted in bank charges and therefore recommends giving money directly to the terrorists again - but completely ignores that even with this waste, Palestinian Arabs are getting far more aid than the previous year.

Interestingly, the EU aid mechanism and the US and Olmert's attempts to bypass Hamas and support Abbas has ended up supporting Hamas itself, by relieving the pressure on Hamas to provide basic services. As a Palestinian Arab wrote in the Yemen Observer last week:
The US, European countries, and Fatah leaders pledged that Hamas would not stay in power for more than three of four months due to Palestinian public pressure after discovering that Hamas will not be able to run a government isolated politically and financially. But observers see that Hamas will not make any concessions or leave governance without a pressure from the Palestinian street. With a Palestinian people taking salaries and grants from international community and Israel via Abbas, there is no need to change the Hamas Government.
It is ironic, but not surprising, that the methods meant to bolster the "moderate" PalArab terrorists have ended up strengthening the "extreme" PalArab terrorists.