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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

10,000-year old city blames Israel for sewage problems

From Ma'an:
The West Bank city of Jericho, located near the Dead Sea at the lowest elevation on earth is believed to be one of the oldest cities in the world. The city is preparing to mark its ten-thousandth anniversary, and yet it still lacks a sewage network.

Over the past 15 years, mayors of Jericho have been asking donor states for the funds needed to install a modern sewage network which the town, reliant on tourism for much of its economy, badly needs.

“It is funny in 2009 that a historic city like Jericho lacks a sewage network. Israeli occupation played a major role in depriving Jericho along with several other Palestinian cities of many basic needs of modern life,” says the mayor of Jericho Ahmad Salih.
Do you notice the discrepancy between the second and third paragraphs?

An article from the NYT in 1995 sheds more light:

An international aid effort for the Palestinian Authority has been thrown into crisis because donors have not honored pledges to support a fund for the fledgling self-rule administration in the Gaza Strip and Jericho.

The fund, administered by the World Bank to help cover the authority's operating expenses, has run out of money, aid officials said. The donors have failed to honor pledges worth about $36 million out of $60 million made at a meeting in Brussels in November.

Odin Knudsen, the World Bank representative in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, said donors were less eager to give money for such day-to-day expenses than for development projects.

"This aid is invisible, because it shows up in salaries and not in new roads or sewage systems," he said. "But this kind of money is essential because it keeps the administration going. If it is not paid, it can lead to a political crisis."

While the United States honored its $12 million pledge for the Holst Fund, several European and Persian Gulf nations are among the donors that have not made their payments.

Jericho has been trying to get a sewage system for the past fifteen years. There is no indication that Israel has impeded them at all. On the contrary, between 1967 and 1993 Israel built up the entire West Bank infrastructure - water, electricity, hospitals - that had been ignored by Jordanian occupation.

The mayor's Arab brethren have not paid for the system they specifically promised - a nasty habit they still seem to have. Yet the mayor reflexively blames Israel for "depriving" Jericho of a sewage system, even though Jericho has been under PA rule for 15 years.

It just goes to show that for Arabs, blaming all their problems on Israel is the easiest way to avoid tackling real problems, and publicly blaming the people truly responsible for their problems - their fellow Arabs - is literally unthinkable.