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Foreign Aid Should Be Used to Help the Palestinian Economy, Not to Line Pockets

The Palestinian Authority (PA) receives billions of dollars in foreign aid every year, much of it from the United States. Yet economic conditions in Gaza and the West Bank have been steadily deteriorating. Blaming the PA’s “corruption, inefficiency, and lack of transparency” for the fact that these funds have done little to improve the lives of Palestinians, Shimon Shapira and Jacques Neriah call on the U.S. to see to it that its money be used more wisely, and suggest a number of ways this can be accomplished:

[T]he PA suffers from underdevelopment, virulent poverty, pandemic housing problems, unemployment, lack of adequate medical care, inadequate educational institutions, a catastrophic infrastructure, and ecological and environmental hazards stemming from the pollution of water sources and aquifers—all of which became ammunition for radical Islamic organizations, which have taken advantage of the plight of much of the population to incite against Israel, the Jews, and foreign powers associated with the Jewish state, mainly the United States. . . .

[I]t is of the utmost importance that the U.S. propose an improved economic recovery plan to the Palestinians that will generate a situation in which Palestinians will not allow the extremists to rule their lives. The recovery must not be another cash handout to the Palestinians, but rather a program aimed at improving Palestinian infrastructure. . . . [To this end], the U.S. will have to present a package deal to be disbursed over the next few years to create growth, employment, prosperity, and recovery. All projects would be implemented by U.S. firms working with local sub-contractors. . . .

[For instance], Palestinian cities are a city planner’s nightmare. Reorganizing the cities/refugee camps to best serve their citizens should be a priority. The Gaza Strip is one of the densest areas in the world. The only way to survive the demographic outburst is . . . by dismantling the existing refugee camps and building instead a modern complex of high-rise towers together with the required infrastructure (kindergartens, schools, playgrounds, clinics/hospitals, and municipal services). In the new political situation, it is inconceivable that a condition can be allowed to exist in which a Palestinian refugee living in his own state will still be considered a refugee.

Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Israel & Zionism, Palestinian Authority, Palestinian economy, U.S. Foreign policy

 

Hamas’s Dangerous Escalation in Gaza

June 22 2018

As Hamas has stepped up its attacks on communities near the Gaza Strip—using incendiary devices attached to kites and balloons—Israel has begun to retaliate more forcefully. In response, the terrorist group has begun firing rockets and mortars into Israel. Yoav Limor comments:

What made Wednesday’s rocket salvo different is that ‎unlike previous flare-ups on the border [since 2014], this time it ‎was Hamas operatives who fired at Israel, as opposed ‎to Islamic Jihad or the ‎rogue terrorist group in the coastal enclave. ‎Still, Hamas made sure the attack followed most of ‎the familiar “rules”—only [firing] at night and only at the ‎ communities in the vicinity of Gaza, and apparently while also ‎trying to minimize any casualties, to avoid further ‎escalation. ‎. . .

The first reason [for the shift in tactics] is Israel’s own change of policy ‎with regard to kite terrorism. It took Israel far ‎too long to define the incessant waves of incendiary ‎kites sent over the border as actionable acts of ‎terror, but once it did, the IDF began ‎systematically countering them, including firing ‎warning shots at terrorist kite cells and targeting ‎Hamas assets in Gaza in retaliation.‎

The second reason is Hamas’s own frustration and ‎distress in Gaza. Since the border-riot campaign was ‎launched on March 30, some 150 of its operatives ‎have been killed and the Israeli military has ‎carried out over 100 strikes on Hamas positions in ‎the coastal enclave, all while Hamas has nothing to ‎show for it. ‎In this situation, Hamas is searching for [some sort of victory] by declaring that “bombings will be ‎met with bombings,” as Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum ‎said Wednesday, in order to portray itself as defending Gaza from ‎Israel.‎ . . .

Hamas is banking on Israel opting against a military ‎campaign in Gaza at this time so as not to split its ‎focus from the [developments in Syria], but it is sorely ‎mistaken if it thinks Israel will simply contain ‎kite terrorism or shy away from action given the new ‎equation it has presented. ‎At some point, Israel’s patience will expire.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security