We should have known it, when FM Støre met with a Palestinian business executive who warned that the massive aid packages in fact stifle economic growth for Palestinians, and promised something would be done about it, Støre in fact meant to use it as a stick to beat Israel with. In stead of taking heed of the advice of the representative of the Palestinian business community, Støre seems happy to continue to dish out aid, and make more Palestinians ever more dependent on aid, rather than building their own economic success with their own means.
Interestingly, Roger Hercz at Dagsavisen has an interview with an outspoken Palestinian political analyst Hani Masri, who does not appear to be a great fan of neither Fatah, Hamas or even the donor group:
Masri the analyst says that even if the corruption at home has been significantly reduced since the days of Arafat, conditions are still not as they should be.
– I personally know about payments of millions of dollars. These are sums of money that won’t be made known in any budget, the free speaking Masri says, who is known for daring to talk where others find it best to be quiet.
Masri points at a problem the international community refused to recognize before it was too late: it was not only the lacking peace process that undermined the popularity of the Fatah governments under Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas. The wide spread corruption created a fury at the grass root level, which finally led to Palestinians looking for a different alternative , and in 2006, the Islamist Hamas won the parliamentary elections.
– Democratic institutions
Today, Masri thinks that the international community once more is making a mistake by seeing PM Salam Fayyad as some sort of “savior”.
– What we need is a free press and an independent judiciary. As long as we don’t have this, it won’t matter however “good” a leader is, he says.
Both the Palestinian governments suffer low approval numbers. During the last three months, the support for Fayyads governments on the West bank, has dropped from 44% to 34%. For Hamas, who rule in Gaza, only 36% give their support to the Islamic government, down from 41%, according to a survey from the Palestinian Center for Politics and Opinion released this week.
But Støre is capable of cutting off his nose to spite his face, as this is how he responded to challenge presented by the Palestinian business executive:
By KHALED ABU TOAMEH 03/22/2012 21:52
Palestinian Authority PM Salam Fayyad says donations necessary to help $1 billion PA fiscal deficit; Norwegian FM says Israel should transfer PA tax revenue.
The Palestinian Authority Thursday hailed as “important” a decision by the international donors to provide financial aid to the Palestinians, but urged the countries to channel the promised funds immediately.
Representatives of international donors met in Brussels Wednesday to discuss the financial crisis in the PA.
At the end of the meeting, Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere urged the donors to ensure the contribution of $1 billion in assistance [to the PA] in 2012.
He also urged Israel to facilitate the transfer of tax revenues belonging to the PA.
The donor’s “Ad-Hoc Liaison Committee on Palestine” said after the meeting in Brussels that the global economic slowdown has created a $1 billion deficit in the PA’s budget.
It noted that at the beginning of this year the PA has “experienced a severe fiscal crisis, which threatens to become protracted given the recent and projected declines in donor assistance” and the situation could soon be “totally unmanageable.”
The committee appealed to Israel to “ensure monthly transfers to the PA in a predictable manner.”
PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad described the donor countries’ decision as important, but stressed the need to transfer the promised funds quickly to help the PA government overcome the severe financial crisis.
Fayyad said that it was also important that Arab countries fulfill their financial obligations toward the Palestinians.
Fayyad denied that the donors had conditioned continued financial aid to the Palestinians on their abandoning efforts to unilaterally achieve UN recognition of a Palestinian state.
Fayyad, who attended the meeting in Brussels, complained that Israel was preventing the PA from carrying out a development plan in Area C of the West Bank which is under exclusive Israeli control and which constitutes nearly 60% of the land.