On Palestinians, Pledges, and Budgets

(Council on Foreign Relations) Elliott Abrams - A fair measure of the dedication to the Palestinian cause on the part of Arab governments is whether they put their money where their mouth is. In that context, a news story conveys an answer: "The Palestinian Authority will pay its employees only half their monthly salaries in July...because of what he said was 'the failure of donors, including our Arab brothers, to fulfill their pledges.'" Only the UAE, Algeria, and Oman have met the pledges they made years ago via the Arab League. The rest, including the vastly wealthy Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, are delinquent. Despite the roughly $100 billion in extra domestic spending this year of the Arab Spring to buy off its populace, Saudi Arabia will record a budget surplus of about $25 billion. So the failure to assist the Palestinians is the product of hostility, neglect, or uninterest. By comparison, the EU significantly increased its aid to the PA this year, from 100 million to 185 million euros - and this does not count the assistance coming from individual member states of the EU. It is probably an exaggeration to say the Palestinians would be better off if instead of all those Arab pledges they got five dollars for every speech, TV or radio program, and newspaper article in Arabic that denounces Israel and swears eternal loyalty to the Palestinian cause. Or perhaps not.

2011-07-05 00:00:00

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