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Saturday, February 14, 2015

Why Won't Someone Help The Poor Palestinians? (Part II)

(Part II)

Funding from the west (the EU, UN and the United States...please see links) also poured into the Israeli-occupied West Bank.  The eternal optimists with all the loose cash continued to believe that they were paying for the rebuilding of homes, infrastructure, possibly an airport, harbor facilities in Gaza, a medical system for both the West Bank and Gaza, a unified education system for both primary and secondary education, etc.   None of it happened.  The Arabs and those that espouse the cause of the Palestinians try to find reason to blame the Israelis, but the reality is, the money was stolen, plain and simple.  It continues to be stolen and it will always be stolen until someone creates some system of accountability. A few Palestinians who have managed to reach the top of the political structure, not to mention the bosses in Hamas and the PA, have done very well.  But the five million Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank still live in absolute destitution.  Hamas and the PA (and the anti-Zionists) have tried repeatedly to blame the plight of the Palestinians on the lack of a political resolution to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank (and the continued Jewish settlements, and the Israeli control of the economy of Gaza, etc.)  But the reality is, if Israel were to pull out of the West Bank tomorrow and dismantle all of the Jewish settlements, it would not result in the building of one Palestinian home, supermarket, crèche, or hospital.  The Palestinian communities would continue to exist as the have for the last four decades.  One fact would change: Israel would be handing over territory that would OVERNIGHT become a base for terror operations into Israel proper.  If you don't see that coming then you are too blind to have a balanced conversation on the subject.  The groups and individuals that represent the Palestinians (in many instances chosen by the Palestinians) do not call for sharing the land and living peacefully together.  They are still dedicated to destruction of Israel, and make no effort to disguise their intentions.

As complicated as it seems in this short commentary, believe me, this issue is one hundred times more convoluted.  No one can be satisfied with the reality that five million Palestinians, whose parents and grandparents actually called Israel home sixty years ago (they called it Palestine, not Israel), are obliged to live under a military occupation and without any real hope for the future.  The PA, who should have used the financial aid from the west to build some sort of functioning economic system that creates jobs and grows wealth, builds new homes and sanitation systems, and improves the lives of the people.  It never happens.  The PA owns one plane, I think its an old 737, and they have no real airport from which to fly it (the operative word being "real").  Can you imagine the fishing industry that would take root in Gaza with a legitimate port facility, not to mention revenue and jobs from imports and exports that could be charged to Israel and Egypt?  The only way a port facility will ever be built in Gaza is if someone arrives TO BUILD IT.  Any funds donated for that kind of a project will be stolen.

I used to have this idea in my head that one day Israel would be able to foster the development of a separate Palestinian state in Gaza and the West Bank.  it won't be easy getting the Israelis to agree to leave the West Bank and to leave Gaza in peace, but I have a feeling that if a year passed without any terrorist attacks on Israeli targets originating from the West Bank or tunnels dug from Gaza, that the Israeli people would be amenable.  The next step would be to find some mechanism to ensure that development aid gets spent on infrastructure and education, instead of ending up in Swiss Bank Accounts.  I made an effort to calculate the total amount of money that had been given to the Palestinian people through their political representatives over the years.  I quit when I reached the thirty billion dollar mark.  That equals six thousand dollars for every Palestinian man, woman and child.  And there is nothing to show for it.  The development that has occurred in the West Bank and Gaza includes a few "showy" projects for the Europeans, and that's all.  The rest has been accomplished by the sacrifice and hard work of the Palestinian people, who are taxed, by the way.  I can't help but wonder exactly what they are paying for with their taxes.  In some cases, running water and electricity.  And the right to live under the authority of the PA or Hamas, within the occupation of the Israeli military.  Can you imagine a more discouraging environment in which to raise a family?

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