Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Aid for Palestinians, or a fig leaf for the US?

The Associated Press reports that, "...the United States agreed to support a new program to temporarily funnel additional humanitarian aid directly to the Palestinian people. A statement by Mideast peacemakers did not say how much or what kind of aid they would provide."

"The thrust of this is the international community is still trying to respond to the needs of the Palestinian people," Secretary of State Condeleeza Rice said."

Don't bet on it. US and Isaeli policy makers have made it clear that both the artillery attacks on norther Gaza Strip and the withholding of assistance to the PA, including money for salaries, is part of a policy designed to pressure the Palestinian people to oust Hamas. Not only is the international community not going to seriously address the needs of the Palestinian people, the program to "funnel additional humanitarian aid directly to the Palestinian people" is going to be a fig leaf.

All the international community is trying to do here is take public pressure off of themselves for creating a massive humanitarian crisis in Gaza. The crisis will continue and it will get worse. Maybe some extra bags of rice and some extra boxes of aspirin will get through to Gaza, but it's not going to address the issue of unpaid salaries, agricultural produce that is blocked from markets or stop the shelling of northern Gaza.

The story will drop from the news for the next couple of weeks, maybe even a month or two, until another "study" shows that the aid hasn't had much of an impact at all. Then it will be a few more months while the international community "studies" ways to solve the problem, and a few more months to find more ways to "funnel additional humanitarian aid directly to the Palestinian people", or another fig leaf to cover the international community's lack of consciences on humanitarian issues.

And on and on this deadly shadow dance goes. Yes I'm very cynical. I've seen this dance too many times.

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