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Palestinians growing desperate for money
JERUSALEM In the last two weeks, the Palestinian Authority has been given about $70 million - more than $40 million released by the World Bank, nearly $21 million from the European Union and $10 million from Norway.
But even once all that cash arrives, the Palestinian Authority will have only 95 percent of the money needed to pay February's overdue salaries, said the Palestinian minister of national economy, Mazen Sinnoqrot. How the Palestinian Authority will cover salaries for March, Sinnoqrot said, "remains a mystery."
"Mahmoud, c'mon, we got orders to knock over a bank."
And that is even before the victorious Islamic group Hamas names a new Palestinian government, which will put a stop to significant amounts of international aid. "We're bankrupt," Sinnoqrot said bluntly in an interview Thursday in his Ramallah office. "The world can't abandon us. It's in no one's interest, not for Israel or anyone, to have the P.A. public sector collapse. To increase unemployment this way would be a message of violence, not of peace."
How is that different from the message the Paleos have been sending the last, oh, 40 years or so?
Sinnoqrot is philosophical, but anxious. He needs $115 million a month just to pay the salaries of about 145,000 public-sector employees, about half of whom, he says, shaking his head, are listed as security forces, most of whom have weapons.
Can't have a security force without lots of guns and ammo.
The Palestinians get about $35 million a month from internal taxes. But Israel is withholding about $55 million a month in customs and duties it collects for the Palestinians, arguing that a Hamas majority in Parliament means that Hamas, considered a terrorist group, controls the Palestinian Authority.

The major donors - the European Union, the World Bank, the United States and a few Arab nations - do not agree, because Hamas has not yet formed a government, a moment the West wants to postpone until after Israel's March 28 election. Even if Israel were handing over the taxes, Sinnoqrot and the Palestinian Authority would still be in a significant hole, since the monthly budget is about $165 million.

Sinnoqrot calls the Israeli decision to withhold money "neither legal nor acceptable," a "collective punishment" of Palestinians for voting in Hamas.
Yup, pretty much.
Sinnoqrot, a devout Muslim but not a Hamas member, is a potential finance minister for a Hamas government. But he says that no one from Hamas, including the prime minister-designate, Ismail Haniya, has talked to him since the election.

Sinnoqrot urges the world to see the Hamas victory "as a real window of opportunity" created by democracy.
Oh it was, it was -- the world got to see just exactly what Hamas is.
But Israel and the quartet - the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations - have warned that a new Hamas government will face isolation and further cuts in funds unless it recognizes Israel, rejects violence and accepts the validity of previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements. Those are major hurdles that Hamas is unlikely to get over soon, if ever, but if Hamas does not, warned the U.S. assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, David Welch, the United States intends "to make their ability to function as a government enormously difficult."
Must be one of Condi's people.
On Friday in Salzburg, European Union foreign ministers warned Hamas that "money will not flow to the new authority unless it seeks peace by peaceful means," in the words of the EU's external relations commissioner, Benita Ferrero-Waldner. "We want to remain a reliable partner for the Palestinian people, but we will not go soft on our principles," she said. At the same time, the EU foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, said Europe "must find ways to support the Palestinian people," and he added: "We want to maintain what has taken us so many years to build up: a Palestinian Authority that is the embryo of a state we must complete and which one day will exist."
He really is sampling his own product, isn't he?
Hamas is considered unlikely to make the world's choices easy, so Solana, Welch and the quartet's envoy, James Wolfensohn, are exploring how to create a new structure to funnel money to the Palestinians through President Mahmoud Abbas, of the Fatah party, somehow bypassing the authority.

Sinnoqrot thinks that is a bad idea. "We shouldn't have a shadow government here," he said. "It's not our way."
"Our way is no government at all!"
A senior Fatah official and a crucial figure in controlling the Palestinian security services, Jibril Rajoub, warned in a separate interview the world must help ensure "that we keep the security apparatus out of this situation," in part by ensuring that the armed men get paid.
Maybe the Israelis could helizap a few, and the rest would decide to become auto mechanics.
Posted by:Steve White

#11  Motherly Fatah gets the $$$ while Male Brute HAMAS gets the blame???
Posted by: JosephMendiola   2006-03-12 20:24  

#10  Springtime for Yasser?
Posted by: Frank G   2006-03-12 15:28  

#9  Humm.....
South (not) Pacific!
West Bank Story (the jets win)
Fair Mines Lady (or you first)

Posted by: 6   2006-03-12 14:46  

#8  $55 million a month could buy a pretty fair musical. Found a new industry, employ out of work singers and waiters, annoy the bomb-tops and do it with the poor pali peoples money. What more do you want?
Posted by: 6   2006-03-12 14:41  

#7  EG1772---Iran funds the fundo paramilitary units. It's their gig. why not leave the funding of civil government and infrastructure to the marks from the World Bank, EU, and Norway. That stuff is not sexy enough in the eyes of the M²s. Boring boring.
Posted by: Alaska Paul in Hooper Bay, AK   2006-03-12 13:30  

#6  what happened too Iran funding them?
Posted by: Elmiting Gluger1772   2006-03-12 09:32  

#5  In the last two weeks, the Palestinian Authority has been given about $70 million - more than $40 million released by the World Bank, nearly $21 million from the European Union and $10 million from Norway.

Hope we can return the favor one day.
Posted by: gromgoru   2006-03-12 09:14  

#4  But he says that no one from Hamas, including the prime minister-designate, Ismail Haniya, has talked to him since the election.

That, in itself, should be a message. But I think this guy is a bit too dense to get it.
Posted by: CrazyFool   2006-03-12 08:58  

#3  Hamas hasn't been getting much of the money; it is going to the Fatah controlled bureaucracy. And Israel says that Fatah has a 10 to 1 advantage in weapons over Hamas. That is why Israel released $70,000,000 in tax receipt entitlements to the PA last month. Ironically, Fatah could use the security agreements that they repeatedly violated, as a means to jail Hamas leaders. Fortunately, Arafat can't enjoy this circus.
Posted by: Listen To Dogs   2006-03-12 08:29  

#2  It's funny how Palestinian terrorism ratcheted up after a Palestinian government was put in place that suddenly was able to get a hold of hundreds of millions in foreign aid every year. Terrorism can't flourish without big subsidies. It's time we cut those subsidies off.
Posted by: Zhang Fei   2006-03-12 00:33  

#1  Here's an idea: Do what everyone else does when they need money - WORK FOR IT.

(They could be selling fruits and vegetables right now for some income if they hadn't trashed the greenhouses the Israelis left them....)

Tap-tap. Nope, my Sympathy Meter™ is still pegged at minus 10 where these clowns are concerned.
Posted by: Barbara Skolaut   2006-03-12 00:07