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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

February 10, 2003

New York Times: U.N. Agency Warns It Is Running Out of Money for Palestinians
The United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees warned today that without immediate international help it would run out of money next month to feed more than a million people in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Since the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians broke out more than two years ago, the agency has relied on an "emergency fund" to supply growing needs for food, shelter and jobs in the occupied territories. It now feeds about 1.1 million people there, roughly a third of the Palestinian population, up from 115,000 before the conflict began.

For two months the agency has been appealing for donations totaling $94 million to replenish the emergency fund. It has received only one commitment, of $1.5 million, from Switzerland.
If the Palestinians are starving, a lot of the blame lies with uncaring Arab governments, who contribute just 2.4% of the UNRWA's $290 million budget (the US, by contrast, contributes the lion share—38%).
Workers with other aid agencies and nongovernmental organizations providing services to the Palestinians have recently expressed consternation at their role. They complain that they are in effect enabling Israel's military control over the territories by softening what might otherwise be intolerable conditions, or by providing services that Israel might otherwise have to finance.

Starting last June, Israel seized control of what by agreement are Palestinian-controlled territories in the West Bank, saying that Palestinian forces were not insuring Israeli security.

"The question is raised more and more frequently: Are we financing the occupation?" Mr. Hansen said. But he said that that concern was irrelevant to his agency.
Hardly. Keeping the Palestinians well fed and cared for diminishes their will to terrorize Israel, which by extension softens the hold Israel is forced to keep on the territories.