Washington Post Reports On Arab States’ Unfulfilled Aid

Despite the controversial prisoner swap two weeks ago and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s ongoing trial, this has been a relatively quiet summer of Israeli news coverage in American papers.

Surely this is because of the ongoing, if shaky, cease-fire. Although we all have our own opinions of Israeli politics (and it isn’t for us at Moment to editorialize), certainly we can all agree that it is nice to see articles about anything other than acts of violence.

Without having to run around the scenes of bombings or shootouts, reporters have time to write more in-depth, wide-lensed stories. For example, the Post ran diplomatic correspondent Glenn Kessler’s article about Arab states’ unfulfilled aid to Palestinians. (Also see the graphic that ran alongside.)

Says Kessler:

Out of 22 Arab nations that made pledges, only three—Algeria, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates—have contributed funds this year, while oil-rich countries such as Libya, Kuwait and Qatar have sent nothing and still owe the Palestinian government more than $700 million in past-due pledges.

From a Jewish perspective, this funding shortage—”about $800 million for the rest of 2008″—is especially unseemly for those who advocate a two-state solution, with the Palestinians owning a self-sustaining West Bank and Gaza.

But this news is potentially disappointing to anyone who supports the Israeli economy (besides those who wish Israel had no Palestinian neighbors). A strong and self-sustaining future state of Palestine would ideally contribute to the Israeli economy, and there is simply no foreseeable way the Palestinian territories can mature into a self-sustaining economic entity without considerable assistance from their Arab allies.

The Palestinian Authority uses the contributions to help pay salaries for civil servants, health-care specialists and other workers in the Palestinian territories. European governments, the World Bank and the United States have provided more than three times as much money as Arab countries this year to keep the government afloat, but officials said the Europeans and the World Bank have virtually depleted their resources…

Benjamin Schuman-Stoler


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