SkyNews: ‘Palestine’ is ‘Awash with Money’
“Palestine remains a friendly place, welcoming, hospitable, full of air con, hi-fi, wi-fi and wine.”
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 7/19/2011, 2:35 PM / Last Update: 7/19/2011, 2:39 PM
The foreign affairs editor for Sky News has written a blog piece called "Palestine – ‘Occupation Incorporated'," which paints a rosy picture of the region supposedly suffering under a cruel Israel occupation and siege.
According to the journalist, Tim Marshall, “Palestinians are among the most foreign aid funded people in the world and the place is awash with money.”
Marshall says that NGO workers enjoy being assigned to the Palestinian Authority because, contrary to public perception, the PA territories are relatively safe and comfortable:
“Palestine is the best-kept secret in the aid industry,” a medical NGO worker recently told This Week In Palestine, “People need field experience and Palestine sounds cool and dangerous because it can be described as a war zone, but in reality it’s quite safe and has all the comforts that internationals want."
Journalists, too, like the material comforts of the “besieged” and “occupied” areas, including expensive fine dining in Gaza. Writes Marshall:
“At any moment the West Bank could explode, indeed there are scenarios you can paint which suggest violence this September after the declaration, or non-declaration, of statehood. But Palestine remains a friendly place, welcoming, hospitable, full of air con, hi-fi, wi-fi and wine. Journalists also take advantage of this state of affairs, writing of the poverty and suffering of Gaza for example, before retiring to very expensive sea front hotels after an excellent dinner in one of the expensive fish restaurants.”
The foreign NGOs pour billions of dollars into the local economy and employ Arab residents who have become professional refugees:
“The NGOs do fine work alleviating suffering, helping projects with expertise etc, but they also recruit the best of the local talent and take advantage of their charitable status to get tax breaks.“No Palestinian business can compete with NGOs which routinely triple what a local firm would pay. Many NGOs fork out ‘danger money’ and even ‘hardship payments’ to both local and international staff which further undermines the local private businesses. So the NGOs get the brightest and the highest paid, and the private firms get the rest but without the tax exemptions.”
Marshall draws specific attention to UNRWA, the UN body responsible for Palestinian “refugees”:
“This underlying economic problem is further complicated by the fact that UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees stipulates that not only are the Palestinians who fled their homes in 1948 refugees, but so are their sons and daughters grandsons and granddaughters, great grandsons and granddaughters and so on into the future. In Palestine many people are born refugees. There are people who have a vested interest in this continuing.”