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It's All Israel's Fault: PA Blames Israel for Need to Seek Aid

A PA donor conference is planned for April 2011. PA blames Israel for PA reliance on foreign aid while Norway calls for PA transparence.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 12/17/2010, 11:49 AM / Last Update: 12/18/2010, 6:56 PM

Flash 90

The Palestinian Authority blames Israel for the need for another  international donor conference scheduled for April 2011 and announced this week by Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere.

Stoere expressed hope that in 2011, the PA will have succeeded in creating a new Arab state in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. “We should all cling to the vision of 2011 being the year when we can see a new state on the world stage: the Palestinian state,” he said.

In order for the PA to create a state, “institutions need to be solid, governance needs to be transparent, security, schools, all these elements need to come in place,” Stoere said, speaking after a meeting with PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, who is second in command to Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

While Stoere spoke of the need for transparency, Fayyad blamed Israel for the PA's need for foreign aid. “Due to Israeli restrictions on our national sovereignty, the economy has not been able to operate up to its potential,” he said. The PA argues that Israeli security measures, which include inspection of imports to Judea and Samaria and checkpoints between PA-controlled territories and Israeli cities, are the main obstacle to a flourishing PA economy.

Israel has been widely credited for the improvement of the PA economy through easing security checks despite continuing terrorist attacks and working closely with Ramallah on joint projects.

Fayyad credited the PA for reducing its need for aid and did not mention Israeli initiatives to increase employment among PA Arabs. The PA is hoping to boycott Israeli employers in Judea and Samaria, but has not yet been able to find alternative workplaces for the tens of thousands of workers who would be forced to quit their jobs.

The international community has provided much of the funding for the PA and for Hamas-run Gaza. The PA received nearly $1.2 billion in international aid in 2010; in addition, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) provides food aid and free primary education for many PA Arabs.Some of the money is used for honoring terrorists.

Fayyad said in September that he hopes the PA will no longer need foreign aid by 2013, but then corrected himself to say that the PA would still need aid for development.

Abbas admitted this month that the PA is spending most of its money in Hamas-run Gaza, where it continues to pay 77,000 Fatah loyalists who are mostly unemployed under the new regime. Months earlier, a PA official had revealed that much of America's aid to Gaza ends up benefiting Hamas.

A PA expert who spoke at the United Nation's Seminar of Assistance to the Palestinian People in 2010 lamented that the large sums of foreign aid given to the PA had no impact on the PA economy. She cited the large PA public payroll and PA spending on its armed “police” forces as contributing factors.