1 August, 2014 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter | Mobile





mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 03/02/2009
PALESTINE
Aid for Gaza being decided amid difficulties
by Paul Dakiki
Donors’ conference is underway today. It is likely to settle on US$ 2.8 billion in aid. But willingness to rebuild will be shaped by political problems like Hamas’ status as a terrorist organisation according the West, intra-Palestinian divisions, truce with Israel and the Saudi-Iranian fight for regional supremacy.

Beirut (AsiaNews) – The Conference in Support of the Palestinian Economy for the Reconstruction of Gaza which opened today in Egypt should provide at least US$ 2.8 billion in aid to the Palestinians. About US$ 1.3 billion should go for reconstruction this and next year and 1.5 billion to support the annual budget of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA).

At least that is the prevailing hope at the summit organised by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak who has acted as mediator between Hamas and Fatah and between Hamas and Israel. About 75 nations are attending the meeting.

But some more or less openly acknowledged political conditions are attached to the financial pledges. Thus a lot is left unresolved.

First the United States and the European Union view Hamas (absent from the conference) as a terrorist organisation and refuse to have anything to do with it, let alone give them money.

"Hamas is not getting any of this money,” said State Department spokesman Robert Wood for Gaza reconstruction. The United States announced that it would provide US$ 300 million for reconstruction and US$ 600 million to support the Palestinian economy as a whole.

The European Union is also sticking to the same position, pledging US$ 554 million.

“We [. . .] expect that as in the past there will be one mechanism, the Palestinian Authority,” said EU Foreign Policy Representative Javier Solana.

This is obviously going to create some problems because the Gaza Strip is under Hamas control.

What is more, this common EU-US stance flies in the face of yesterday’s visit by Tony Blair, representative of the Quartet (United Nations, United States, European Union and Russia).

The second difficulty lies with Palestinians.

After Hamas wrested control of Gaza in 2007 Fatah and Hamas have been at loggerheads, fighting each other even during Israel’s latest offensive last December with each side arresting the other’s activists and the assassination in Gaza of members of Fatah, accused by Hamas of collaborating with the Israelis in targeting Islamists.

In anticipation of the donors’ conference Palestinian factions pledged to set up a national unity government which would allow them to bypass the Euro-American veto on funding for Hamas. But given past failures doubts remain.

Also at the start of the conference PNA President Mahmoud Abbas after thanking donors said: “We appreciate your presence and the financial, economic and technical support that you are giving to the Palestinian people, but we insist on the pressing need to achieve substantial progress towards a just settlement” with the Israelis.

The Palestinian leader urged the international community to ask “the next Israeli government” to “commit to a settlement based on the two-state solution and honour agreements that have been signed.”

Abbas’ request echoes statements made by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who said that US aid “cannot be separated from our broader efforts to achieve a comprehensive peace.”

This is closely tied to the EU-US demand that Hamas recognise Israel, a step the Islamist movement has refused to do so far.

The PNA and the West have also linked Gaza reconstruction on the reopening of border crossings with Israel, which Israel has linked to the release of one of its soldiers, Gilad Shalit, captured by Hamas in 2006.

The various negotiations are thus interfering with each other. Indeed, the “success of the reconstruction of Gaza depends on several factors, including a truce (between Israel and Hamas) and reconciliation between the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian factions," President Mubarak said at the start of the conference

For him the “priority is to reach a truce between Israel and Palestinians” which is tied to their willingness to include a prisoners’ exchange.

Last but not least there is the issue of regional supremacy.

Saudi news agency SPA announced that the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman) are going to donate US$ 1.65 billion, a step which for many is an attempt to counter Iran’s pledge of US$ 1 billion and a manoeuvre to weaken Hamas because it is closely aligned with Tehran.


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
04/30/2010 ISRAEL – PALESTINE – US
Obama thinking about a conference to create a Palestinian state
11/18/2009 ISRAEL – PALESTINE
As Palestinian homes get demolished, new Israeli housing units are built
by Joshua Lapide
01/09/2009 ISRAEL – PALESTINE
United Nations votes for truce but bombs and rockets continue in Gaza
by Joshua Lapide
01/10/2009 ISRAEL - PALESTINE - UN
UN resumes distribution of aid in Gaza. Third week of war begins
01/25/2007 LEBANON
Lebanese government gets more than seven billion dollars from the West and moderate Arab nations

Editor's choices
VATICAN
"Stop! I am asking you with all my heart. Stop!" says pope as he speaks out on the Middle East, Iraq and Ukraine He mentions children, victims of war, "from whom we take away the hope for a decent life," urging the parties to address "every diatribe with the tenacity of dialogue and negotiation and the power of reconciliation". As tomorrow marks 100 years since the outbreak of the First World War, "a day of mourning," we should learn the lessons of history. The Gospel makes us know the true Jesus, the living Jesus, who speaks to the heart and is a life changer as he was for Saint Francis of Assisi. "The joy of finding the treasure of the Kingdom of God comes through, can be seen. Christians cannot hide their faith."
IRAQ - VATICAN
Saddened by "the timidity of the civilised world," Baghdad patriarch's heart bleeding "for the innocent in Iraq, Syria and Gaza" "Forget us not!" says Mar Louis Sako in a message to Card Barbarin on the occasion of the march of solidarity with Iraqi Christians, held today in Lyon.
VATICAN
Pope: I am with the persecuted Christians of Mosul and the Middle East "May the God of peace inspire in all a genuine desire for dialogue and reconciliation. Violence is never defeated with violence. Violence is defeated with peace." At the Sunday Angelus Francis comments on the parable of the wheat and the weeds. God is "patient" He knows "the same weeds in the end, may become good wheat". But "at the time of the harvest, that is, of judgment, the reapers will execute the order of the master separating the weeds to be burned".

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.