February 01, 2006

Palestinian Aid Programs: Cut or Continue?

Mahmoud Abbas, the PLO/Fatah leader who lost in the Palestinian elections, has urged the world powers not to cut humanitarian and economic assistance to the Palestinian people.

According to the BBC, Saudi Arabia, the Palestinians' biggest Arab donor, also believes the international community are being "unreasonable".

Here is what Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said: "The European Union insisted on having elections in Palestine, and this is the result of what they asked for. Now to come around, and say [they] don't accept the will of the people that was expressed through democratic means, seems an unreasonable position to take." Prince Saud said he believed Hamas would act responsibly in government and that all parties needed "cool heads... rather than reactions that close the door to peaceful settlement".

The European Union and the United States, together, gave about $1 billion is aid to the Palestinian Authority in 2005. They are threatening to cut off this aid if Hamas does not announce major changes in its positions vis a vis Israel.

Hamas has categorically rejected the EU/USA position.

Here is the official Hamas website. It clearly lays out its positions on many different issues including its desire to destroy Israel.

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