Who's aiding Judaisation?

Category: Middle East, World Affairs Topics: Occupation, Palestine, United States Of America, West Bank Channel: Opinion Views: 3869
3869

Since 1860, when the American Jewish tycoon Judah Touro donated $60,000 -- a fortune for that time -- towards the construction of the first Jewish settlement outside the old walls of Jerusalem, public and private American funds have aided the creation and territorial expansion of Israel. Israel today is the foremost recipient of US aid. According to a USAID green paper, between 1946 and 2008 Israel has received more aid than Russia, India, Egypt and Iraq. In fact, the US has poured more money into Israel than it did into the Marshall Plan for the reconstruction of Europe after World War II. However, a recent New York Times article adds a new dimension to the story. On 5 July, the Times reported that, over the last decade more than 40 American groups have collected more than $200 million in tax-deductible gifts for Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, indicating that the US Treasury is effectively aiding and abetting illegal settlement expansion and the Judaisation of Jerusalem. 

While the New York Times honed in on the irony of how a US government organ was facilitating the funnelling of private funds into activities and goals that ran counter to official US policy, and as significant as this is, the article failed to mention that the amount of private tax-exempt "donations" pales in comparison to the public funds that Washington has steadily poured into the Zionist project. For example, the US federal budget for 2011 has earmarked $3 billion in aid for Israel, or 42 per cent of the total amount of aid to be allocated to the so-called Near East for that year. It is also interesting to observe that the policies of USAID, an instrument that the State Department uses to pursue the US's objectives overseas, also conflict with Washington's official stances. USAID programmes for the Palestinians effectively exclude East Jerusalem. Its green papers and other official reports and statements make frequent mention of "the West Bank and Gaza" as headings for its activities, but rare are references to East Jerusalem. It is as though, for USAID, East Jerusalem is not an indivisible part of the occupied territories, in spite of Washington's official acknowledgement that it is and in spite of the inclusion of East Jerusalem among the final status issues in the US- brokered negotiating process between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israel, the occupying power. One cannot help but suspect USAID -- and by extension the State Department -- of perpetrating a certain calculated deception through its deliberate and systematic omission of East Jerusalem in its programmes and documents.

PA officials in Ramallah expressed outrage at the tax breaks for private US donations to fund Jewish settlement expansion in the occupied territories. One suspects that the sentiment was primarily geared for local consumption, because they were quick to stress that the Palestinians were not ungrateful to the US and urged USAID to keep up its efforts. "The US is the chief supplier of bilateral economic and development aid to the Palestinians, supplying more than $2.9 billion since 1994," wrote the Palestinian Investment Promotion Agency (PIPA) on its website in May. "The US helps facilitate the movement of Palestinian people and goods, while improving the security of Israel," it added, as though it and other PA agencies were somehow detached from USAID "efforts" and the policies it is helping to implement. USAID has slated $550.4 million for the PA in its budget next year. The continuation of this aid is contingent on the continuation of the Palestinian Fatah-Hamas rift and the blockade. Nothing is allocated for East Jerusalem and the bulk of the funds are to be spent on "fighting drugs, law enforcement and security programmes".

However, the reference to "facilitating movement" is even more suspect, and requires further elucidation in light of the part this aid plays in consolidating the occupation, entrenching Jewish settlements in the occupied territories and promoting the Judaisation of East Jerusalem. Successive US administrations and the countless shuttle visits by their envoys and emissaries have failed to lift the military barriers Israel imposes in the West Bank and around Jerusalem, to open a "safe corridor" between the West Bank and Gaza, or to open the crossings into Gaza even for the passage of humanitarian assistance. But they have been superbly successful in building "alternate" roads. These are the ring roads planned by the occupation authorities in order to link Jewish settlements that now control 42 per cent of the area of the West Bank, which does not include the area of occupied territory that Israel annexed to the Jerusalem municipality, according to the BTselem human rights centre. The ring roads also serve to carve the rest of the West Bank into cantons densely populated by Palestinians. 

The Applied Research Institute-Jerusalem (ARIJ) reports that USAID funded 23 per cent of the ring road network built by occupation authorities in 2004. Most of this roadwork is located in areas B and C which comprise more than 80 per cent of the area of the West Bank and which fall under the control of the Israeli occupation, which supervises all road works. The donor countries that are supervising and financing the "peace process" had approved the construction 500 kilometres of such roads, at the cost of $200 million, $114 million of which was footed by USAID. Another 120 kilometres is scheduled for completion by the end of this year. Most of this segment will skirt around the Jewish settlements in Greater Jerusalem, creating a wall of paved highway to reinforce the barrier wall severing the West Bank from Jerusalem and to reinforce the tipping of the demographic scale in Greater Jerusalem in favour of Jewish settlers and against its indigenous Palestinians. 

The rest of the roadwork, which snakes through the valleys and up the hills and down the ravines of the West Bank, is hailed as an "accomplishment" by the Salam Fayyad government in Ramallah. Indeed, Fayyad goes further to boast of these roads as Palestinian projects that "penetrate" areas B and C and, therefore, "defy" the security partitions of the West Bank as defined by the Oslo Accords. In fact, neither can USAID claim these roads as one of its "achievements" in facilitating the movement of Palestinians under the occupation, nor can the PA claim them as a subtle victory. As Suhail Khaliliey, head of ARIJ's Urbanisation Monitoring Department, explains, "What happens is that USAID presents this package of infrastructure projects to the PA and essentially says 'Take it or leave it.' So the PA is basically forced to accept Israeli-planned roads it doesn't want." 

Ingrid Jaradat Gassner, director of the Badil Resource Centre for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights, puts it more poignantly: "It's sad that the PA is helping to build its own cantons while the settlers control the main roads." 

Last month, Fayyad issued a statement denying that the PA contributed to the construction of a network of roads proposed by the occupying power. Ghasan Al-Khatib, a spokesman for the Fayyad government, added that the PA was doing all in its power to prevent the rise of "an apartheid system" in the West Bank. Unfortunately, realities on the ground belie such denials and assertions.

*****

Nicola Nasser is a veteran Arab journalist based in Bir Zeit, West Bank of the Israeli - occupied Palestinian territories. This article was translated from Arabic then published by Al-Ahram Weekly on July 22, 2010.


  Category: Middle East, World Affairs
  Topics: Occupation, Palestine, United States Of America, West Bank  Channel: Opinion
Views: 3869

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Older Comments:
AD FROM NIGERIA said:
What else is new? Or rather what do we (muslims of conscience) expect? Everyone by now know that the end game for the israelis and by extension all their supporters aka USA is to have what they call the 'greater israel' ie the area covering the whole of the known palestine including the West Bank and possibly Gazza. The next stage is the judaisation of the entire palestine under our eyes. The people of Gazza are being starved strictly for this purpose.
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ZAHIR SALAR FROM UNITED STATES said:
Ramesh. Again your are mis-representing the author views. Who is talking about jewish donation. we are talking all of about tax-payer money given to one of the riches people on earth to trample on other rights, invading their land and bull-dozing their homes.
If muslims in mosques and madrasah is talking about this then thats not anti-semitic but the truth.
Strangely, you used the word anti-jewish and not anti-semitic- you are trained very well my friend.
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YOHAN YISHAI FROM BHUTAN said:
What ails the author when Jews are blessing themselves in their patriarchal land of Israel? Is it any issue to be discussed and resolved? The rest of the communities of people living in the holy land for thousands of years inhabit ungratefully, ever aligning themselves against the God of the Whole World that promised to install His King on Zion.
May the Will of the Lord be done against all the odds appearing at the moment... The Lord chase the enemies/opponents of His people by fanning their own energies against themselves!

If this were humanitarian problem, it would solve humanly. But this is theological problem that needs to be solved theologically....There is two nations now contending against each other: Palestine in Israel or Israel in Palestine? Only one has to survive as a sovereign Nation of free people, freed from the tyranny of unjust Gentile dominion: Israel in Israel becomes most proper.
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JAMES SMITH FROM USA said:
Christians who believe in Biblical Christianity will help Israel financially, politically, etc.
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JOHN HOUSE FROM USA said:
Christians will continue to give financial aid to Israel.
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LEENA FROM USA said:
Romesh
Madrassah means school, an educational center. The west twisted it to mean something else....named and blamed during and after the colonization, sanctions and whatever the means they can to oppress and suppress the ideal Islamic schools, finding ways to cut the funds from their puppet governments to these schools to bring up their own secular missionary schools where the students forget the humanity, kindness, justice and become selfish and materialistic citizens so that they can do business to their corporate world. The world is a mess with a messy system. It outer looks bright but its creepy inside.
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ROMESH CHANDER FROM USA said:
Ah, why cry at US Jewish donations for Israeli settlements in West Bank?. After all, rich Arabs, private and public entities, send plenty of $$$ (probably to the tune of Billions) for support of madrassahs and mosques and prosleytization. What goes on at those mosques? Probably plenty of Anti-Jewish sermons? And what goes on in those madrassahs?

Each party is doing God's work. Only problem is that one party does not like the work of the other party. They must believe in different Gods, otherwise they will not be each other's throats. And both parties refuse to understand the logic of the other side.

In this game, nobody (and I mean nobody) is blameless. So, stop crying.
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