Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Impact of cutting aid to the Palestinian Authority.

Israel, the US and Europe all claim that they are bending over backwards to ensure that Palestinains are protected from the impact of their decision to cut funding to the Palestinian Authority. Here's a taste of how they are faring.

I don't think people fully understand the enormity of the financial crisis and how it's impacting ordinary Palestinians. I thought the international community at least learned the lesson of total economic blockades on countries through the experience of Iraq sanctions.

If democracy is forcfully aborted in Palestine, what other choice will Palestinains have left? The US and Israel talked about democracy in the territories for years, and then when they finally have fair and free elections, ordinary Palestinians are ground into the dirt for it.

If you want democracy in the Middle East, this is what you're going to get, at least in the short term. It will take years for a credible secular political opposition to develop, and in the meantime people will have to learn what political Islam really means for them. But this has to happen through the policy failures of their elected leaders, not destructive outside intervention.

If the US and Israel cause Hamas' failure, Hamas can continue to sit back and say "Islam is the solution", only the West won't let us solve our problems.

So here are the reports on the humanitarian situation. Read 'em and weap. Really.

Gaza Hospital Fights for Life After International Aid Cuts
Mail & Guardian

In the al-Shifa hospital, the walls are decrepit and dirty. The elevators are broken. It is a sign of the times in Gaza City, brought to its knees by the international community's refusal to do business with a Hamas-led government. "If this continues, the majority of our services will cease to operate in two weeks' time," said Dr Jumaa al-Saqqa, the spokesperson at the impoverished Gaza Strip's main hospital.

Al-Shifa has effectively served as a combat hospital, saving thousands of lives over the course of the five-year Palestinian uprising. But now the medical facility faces its toughest challenge yet. Its staff are struggling to provide health care to the Gaza Strip's 1,3-million people in the wake of the Palestinians' sudden international isolation. "Our reserve supply of 200 medicines is almost depleted. We lack the most basic things like bandages and oxygen," al-Saqqa said. Dwindling supplies include antibiotics, anti-cancer treatments and replacements parts for scanners and dialysis equipment.

The World Health Organisation warned on April 6 of serious consequences for Palestinian public health services because of Israeli economic sanctions and cuts in international aid. It begins politically correctly by saying the crisis is because of the election of Hamas

Here's a report from the United Nations OCHA.

Impact of Cutting Aid on Essential Services and Poverty

Essential services such as medical treatment, water, sewage and security will be cut by stoppages in donor aid and tax payments to the Palestinian Authority ordered in the wake of Hamas's election victory, a UN report warns. Israel has halted its monthly remittance of $60m (£34.3m) in duties it collects on behalf of the PA but the report calls into question its contention that humanitarian aid to the Palestinians can be sustained if the ministries in a Hamas-dominated Authority are bypassed.

The report from the UN's Office of Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) came as the Israeli Foreign Minister told Le Figaro newspaper that Israel was cutting contact with the PA and that "the survival of the Palestinian Authority as an entity is less important than the future of the peace process". The report warns that non-payment of salaries to 153,000 PA employees will increase levels of poverty, risk basic services like health and education and, in the case of 73,000 officers in security services, cause a "rise in criminality, kidnapping and protection rackets". According to the report, half of the Palestinian Ministry of Health's budget is financed by international aid and cuts in this funding "will hamper service delivery and prevention activities including immunisation and mother and child care." - Independent, 02/03/06

1 Comments:

Anonymous RocketRay said...

I made this comment on Lina's blog, but I'd better make it here to be fair:

OK, but is it right for Europe and the US to financially support a government that advocates the violent destruction of a democratic country through any means possible?

Hamas will cause its own failure by refusing to play by the rules, which include the recognition of Israel's right to exist. Sorry if they don't like it, but them's the facts.

You said "If I say something half-baked sometimes, don't hold it against me, argue with me". Well, I think it's half-baked, so there's my argument. :)

8:24 PM  

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