Dan Greenfield recently reported that the Palestinian Authority is facing another budget crisis and requesting additional funding from the West. Before we take out our overdrawn checkbooks, it might be time to look at some of the numbers and decide if we can afford to pour more money down the Palestinian Authority drain.
Greenfield makes the point that the Palestinians are better off than some of the people who are footing most of the PA bills.
Percentage of the population who live below the poverty line:
- West Bank (under PA control) 16%
- Washington, D.C. 18.9%.
- Greece 20%.
- Israel 24%.
Source: World Bank
Palestinians are already receiving more money in international financial assistance than other groups who are struggling in far more dire circumstance.
Per capita Foreign Assistance 2009
- Palestinian Authority $725.00*
- Afghanistan $219.00
- Sudan $56.00
- Central African Republic $53.00
- Ethiopia $48.00
- Democratic Republic Congo $34.60
- Niger $31.20
- Bangladesh $8.00
* U.S. dollars
In fact, the Palestinians are the top per-capita aid recipients in the history of the planet. It's not just how much, but how long Palestinians have received international welfare that breaks all records. For 63 years, the U.S., European nations and the UN have been nonstop donors. While all refugees in the world receive assistance for a few years from the United Nations Refugee Agency, UNHCR, Palestinians have their own, seemingly eternal source of UN welfare under the auspices of the United Nations Relief United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (URWA). Set up in 1949 with a temporary, three-year mandate (UNGA Resolution 302IV) to provide aid and jobs for 700,000 Palestinian refugees, UNRWA has grown into a permanent institution for the only people allowed to hold refugee status for over sixty years. The number of "refugees" has inflated to 4,618,141, since refugee status is an inheritance which is passed on to all descendents and their descendants no matter where they live.
The Return on the investment to the Palestinian Authority is questionable at best. It certainly hasn't bought the peace it was expected to buy. In 2007, eighty-seven countries and international organizations pledged $7.4 billion to the Palestinian Authority, an amount far in excess of any previous level of U.S. or European aid to the Palestinians for the purpose of strengthening "those Palestinians who favor peaceful coexistence with Israel.
How much peace has $7.4 billion purchased? Not only has the Palestinian Authority formed a unity government with the terror group Hamas, it also passed a law in June which allows it to put imprisoned terrorists, even members of Hamas, on its payroll. Rather than quell violence, foreign assistance to the Palestinian Authority has shown to correlate to an increase in violent attacks against both other Palestinians and Israelis.
The billions of dollars, francs, marks, shekels and euros in Palestinian aid are not producing the desired outcomes and have had some dire consequences for the Palestinian people, who live with the resulting government corruption and culture of resentment and dependency. The welfare does not bring peace or prosperity to its recipients and we cannot afford to thrown any more money down the Palestinian drain.