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Book Review: How Aid Hurt Palestine by Anne Le More

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For a scholarly work, this tome has stirred much controversy. A Google search will net 2,650,000 references with disagreements totaling close to that number. This wide range of comment indicates to me that Ms Le More has a great hold on the heart of the matter.

Also in my opinion, Ali Abunimah on 26 October 2009 has written the most objective review of the work in the Electronic Intifada. Mr Abunimah states the matter at hand most succinctly.

"From 1994 -- shortly after the Oslo Declaration of Principles was signed -- to 2006, when Hamas won Palestinian legislative elections in the occupied Gaza Strip and West Bank, international donors gave $8 billion in aid to the Palestinians, making them one of the most subsidized people on Earth. This aid ostensibly had three purposes: to support the peace process leading to a two-state solution, to foster economic and social development, and to promote institution-building. Yet, many years and billions of dollars later, Palestinians are poorer and further from statehood than ever before, and their dysfunctional national institutions face an unprecedented crisis of legitimacy."

The great tragedy in the region is that most Arabs and all Jews who would endorse the above statement would receive the heat from every quarter.
Ms Le More dares to ask the question. How did this happen?

Among international policy 'experts' the consensus is that reconstruction, humanitarian aid and economic development come together to resolve conflict situations. This belief encouraged much international assistance to such troubled areas as Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo.

The Americans were most duplicitous. They threw money at the problem labeling their effort as for independence and state building. This was a grand deception intended to mask military occupation and forced dependency. The funds rarely if ever trickled down to the common people.

In the case of Palestine it was a particular disaster. The Euro dollars fell into the hands of self-styled insurgents and autocrats, who paid the arms dealers. Far from the peace table, regional politics were conducted under the gun so to speak.

After Israel's violent suppression of the Third Intifada in 2000, the donor nations failed to consider the new realities on the ground. The Europeans insisted on supporting a peace process clearly beyond reach for everybody. They shifted to short term aid with no stated policy. The internationalists jumped from one view to the next. Still the largest donors to Palestine, they allowed the Americans and the Israelis to set the pace with negotiation attempts.

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Born a month before Pearl Harbor, I attended world events from an early age. My first words included Mussolini, Patton, Sahara and Patton. At age three I was a regular listener to Lowell Thomas. My mom was an industrial nurse a member of the (more...)
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