What Israeli spin cannot hide about the Palestinian economy

  On 14th July, the EU announced increased financial support for the Palestinians.

The European Commission has agreed an additional financial package worth € 71 million for the Occupied Palestinian Territory, topping up the € 224 million already allocated by the EU in the 2010 European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument, as well as a reinforcement of humanitarian aid for Palestinian refugees.

For Catherine Ashton, the EU top foreign policy official, Israel has not done enough to help the poverty of the Palestinians. And many claim that the situation in the West Bank is not much better. Citing charities like Save The Children Fund, bloggers say that West Bank prosperity is  a myth.

Boring stats reveal that in absolute terms Gazans received only 12 tons per month of food aid – far less than Zimbabwe, Ethiopia or any of the other hot spots. Put that into “loaves of bread per head”, and suddenly Palestinians have received 10 times more than their “competitors”.

Sounds wrong? Well have a look at these photos. On the same day that Ashton was moaning about poverty in Gaza, a brand new shopping mall was opened in the area. Some kind of computer imagery ploy? Not if you check out the website of the mall.

And no, these are not isolated situations, taken out of context. Here is how one Syrian blogger compared many Arab countries to what he has witnessed in Gaza.

And as for the West Bank, it is not just the luxury car business that is booming. The end of Plaetinian led violence has seen a return to the choices of normal consumer spending.

The biggest demand is for their four-wheel-drive models, but prestigious European cars are also selling well. The Al-Bustami company, for example, deals exclusively in German cars such as BMW, Mercedes and Golf.

What is it that Ashton refuses to acknowledge? Why are Western taxpayers bank rolling this hypocrisy?

Back in February 2010, acclaimed Palestinian journalist, Khaled Abu Toameh, asked the same question.

Donor countries have yet to respond to revelations by former Palestinian intelligence official Fahmi Shabaneh that top Palestinian Authority officials are continuing to pocket millions of dollars, earmarked for financial aid to the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

“Don’t the Americans, Europeans and Arabs care about their money that is being stolen? If they continue to turn a blind eye to the corruption of the Palestinian Authority, Hamas will eventually take over the West Bank the same way they took the Gaza Strip.”

Nearly a month after Shabaneh, who headed the anti-corruption unit in the General Intelligence Service, revealed in an exclusive interview with The Jerusalem Post that some of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s close aides and loyalists had siphoned off hundreds of millions of dollars to private bank accounts, decision-makers in the US and EU continue to bury their heads in the sand.

Hamas or PA; Gaza or West Bank;  Ashton and her caring political friends are determined to plough on with their spin, but for the benefit of who?

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4 Comments on “What Israeli spin cannot hide about the Palestinian economy”

  1. rlandes Says:

    i don’t understand the title of this article. shdn’t it be:
    What European spin cannot hide about the Palestinian economy?

  2. Michael Horesh Says:

    I have received 2 offline comments: One person wanted to know why and how Gazans could build a shopping centre when they claim that they do not have the materials to build homes. Fair point.

    Another sent me a link to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6008ProeG8k

    You have got to laugh. Apparently the tunnels cost between 100 – 500,000 dollars
    Where does a poor starving economy get that money from? And is teh TV reporter seriously trying to suggest that Israel is creating uneployment?

  3. Michael Horesh Says:

    For more details, comments and pictures, pls see http://www.tomgrossmedia.com/mideastdispatches/archives/001127.html


  4. […] As I observed a few days ago, the inherent contradictions were brought to light by the visit to the region of EU foreign policy chief, Ashton. In order to combat what she saw as a humanitarian crisis, she announced another aid package. Yet, on the same day, the people of Gaza were treated to a brand new shopping mall. […]


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