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News ::
Why do refugee camps exist?
08 Apr 2002
The United States has given the Palestinians (some through Arafat and some through NGO's) approximately $1 billion in economic AID since 1993.
Following the September 1993 signing of the "Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Governing Arrangements" (DOP) by the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Government of Israel, the U.S. Government committed to provide $500 million over a 5-year period (FY 1994-FY 1998) for a program of assistance to the Palestinian people. Of this total, USAID was charged with administering $375 million; the remainder was to have been provided through the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. USAID's $75 million annual budget was maintained through FY 1999 and is expected to increase to $100 million in FY 2000.

Special mention should also be made of the details of the Wye agreement. All of the $400 million going to the PA under the agreement is economic aid, whereas all of the $1.2 billion for Israel is for military projects and programs. These include $40 million for armored personnel carriers and $360 million for Apache helicopters, again significant considering current events

In 1999 we found out this:
With this new aid, Japan's assistance to the Palestinians since 1993 amounts to about 476 million US dollars.

Well over $2 billion in international aid has flowed into the West Bank and Gaza since the signing of the Oslo Accord in 1993.

The $5 million contribution augments the approximately $10 million CIDA already allocates annually to the region. Since the signing of the Oslo Accords in September 1993, Canada has contributed some $165 million in support of development programs in the West Bank and Gaza and to address the humanitarian needs of Palestinian refugees in the territories and in camps in neighbouring Arab countries. Since the outbreak of the current round of violence last fall, Canada has contributed some $2.5 million to various emergency projects and initiatives for the Palestinians.

In 1997 Israel transferred some $540 million to the PA (for import taxes, VAT adjustments, fuel taxes, income taxes and health taxes), compared to $436 million in 1996, a increase of 24%! These funds, it should be remembered, constitute 63% of the Palestinian Authority's budget. In the first third of 1998, the funds Israel transferred some $182 million. The total sum transferred since 1994 is $1.5 billion.

WASHINGTON, July 15, 1998 — The World Bank approved a total of $20 million to support two development projects in West Bank & Gaza (WBG) during fiscal year 1998 (July 1997––June 1998). An additional $80 million was mobilized from other donors to co-finance these two operations. This compares to World Bank lending commitments of $83 million in FY97.

And we know about this story:

The degree of corruption is yet unexplored and as reported 1 on July 29, 1997, “a Palestinian legislative panel investigating government corruption today urged Yasser Arafat to dismiss his Cabinet and recommended charges be filed against some ministers.”

The investigative committee was set up in response to a “state comptroller's report two months ago that found $326 million of the Palestinian autonomy government's $800 million annual budget had been squandered through corruption or mismanagement. Privately, sources indicate that though the PA report indicates about 36% of the funds were misused, the true figure is up to about 85 to 90 percent. Conspicuous in its absence in the report — as in the comptroller's audit — was an investigation of Arafat's office itself.” 2. The report was damning; the Arab press . reported:

According to officials in Arafat's office, the next few days should see a major reshuffling in the PA's agencies. The shakeup will affect the Palestinian Council of Ministers and the security apparatus. The enquiry led by 'Abd-al-Rahim has completed its consideration and endorsed the findings of the GOA's report.

The misappropriated funds break down as follows: A total of $167 million as concessions offered by the Ministry of Housing to investors who bought state-owned land in line with a decision by the Palestinian Cabinet, which provided for a 40 percent discount on the land's value after it was assessed by a special committee; a total of $24 million in customs exemptions on 1,550 brand new vehicles bought by returnees; $80 million from tax evasion with dodgers pleading dire economic conditions brought about by the closures instituted by Binyamin Netanyahu's government; $24 million in medical expenses paid to cover the cost of treatment in Israeli hospitals; bills worth $5 million for cellular phones used by Palestinian officials; and $7 million paid for superfluous printed material.

The AP reported that, “The panel's six-week inquiry found wide-ranging abuses, including the diversion of contributions from international donors, and said much of the Palestinian autonomy government's $800 million annual budget had been mismanaged. It called on Arafat to “dissolve the entire Cabinet.”

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