December 20, 2007

Palestinian Aid: What are the Terms?

The headline from the BBC a few days ago was Palestinian Aid: Where Will it Go?. The article says that it will go to security forces, essential service costs (sewage treatment, schools, hospitals) and other development projects. These are all extremely important if Palestine is recover from their poor economic situation and move forward with building a better social relationship with Israel and a better quality of life for Palestinians. However, there is one question that wasn't answered, at least by this article or any other I could find, and needs to be examined with great care: What are the terms for Palestine to receive the international financial aid?

The question needs to be asked because there are at least two parties that are entrenched in the process that have a history of attaching strict terms that often have very consequential (and not in any positive sense) results on the recipient nation; These being the U.S. and the World Bank. There is also the issue that since it involves Palestine, it obviously involves Israel. And currently, Israel has issues of its own that concern some of its major companies making billions providing security technology and resources with many having their beginnings by doing this within the context of the Israel-Palestine impasse.

This isn't an anti-American, World Bank, or Israel post. While I have strong opinions against the past and present tales of American foreign policy and actions of the World Bank, they don't always operate so short-sited or in self-interest (but still too often). I also have a very 'middle-of-the-road' view on Israel and Palestine and believe that the root of the current problems lies with both nations, equally.

The way I see this situation is that it needs to be thoroughly examined before an opinion should cast. One can only hope that the same mistakes any of these parties have made in the past when it comes to helping a nation financially will not once again be made here and that Israel will be open-minded. That the interest in aiding Palestine is for the sake of Palestinians (and the Israelis) who deserve to be brought out of the poverty and wretched conditions they have been subject to for too long. I honestly believe that one of the best ways to counter a growing fanatical tide is to provide people with real hope and opportunities and way to heal as a society, together. That situation would be best and the where the aid is earmarked to be given is a positive start. The aid cannot be blindly given to multinationals as much as it cannot be blindly given to random, local organizations.

To avoid the problems of the past, this money has to be about more than opening a market for investors or channeling money to private corporations or personal agenda-driven groups. It has to go to the people with strict assurances that it goes to the projects it's intended to fund; a strict grassroots reconstruction that will assist with rebuilding and healing of both their nation and their neighbourhoods. That is why the terms for the money have to be known and understood because otherwise Palestine could end up in a worse position than they already find themselves in. For Israel and other parts of the Middle East that would mean greater issues for them as well. That is something that needs to be avoided. And it is the terms of the aid that will decide which direction this process will head.

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Quotes from people smarter than me...

"If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich" ~ JFK

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. " ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. " ~ Benjamin Franklin

"First it is necessary to stand on your own two feet. But the minute a man finds himself in that position, the next thing he should do is reach out his arms. " ~ Kristin Hunter

"When you're a mayor and you have a problem you blame the provincial government. If you are provincial government and you have a problem you blame the federal government. We don't blame the Queen any more, so once in a while we might blame the Americans." ~ Jean Chretien

"Which is ideology? Which not? You shall know them by their assertion of truth, their contempt for considered reflection, and their fear of debate." ~ John Ralston Saul

"It is undoubtedly easier to believe in absolutes, follow blindly, mouth received wisdom. But that is self-betrayal." ~ John Ralston Saul

"Everybody dies, Tracey. Someone's carrying a bullet for you right now, doesn't even know it. The trick is to die of old age before it finds you." ~ Cpt. Malcolm Reynolds (Firefly, Episode 12)