28 PA municipalities boycott US aid
PA: The American administration
"cannot extort the Palestinian people
and humiliate it with a bit of aid"
by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik
Twenty eight Palestinian Authority municipalities in the West Bank have announced "a boycott of the American consulate, its diplomats, and the American institutions in Jerusalem." The announcement was made by Hatem Abd Al-Qader, holder of the Jerusalem portfolio in the Fatah party, who explained that the Americans "cannot extort the Palestinian people and humiliate it with a bit of aid."
This message repeats PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's snub of US financial support , reported last week by Palestinian Media Watch . Abbas said he would not allow US aid to "dictate" PA policy.
PA TV news reported that it is specifically the American "aid organizations" that are being boycotted:
"Twenty-eight institutions and local councils in the Jerusalem district have announced their intention to boycott American aid organizations and to cancel the agreements signed with them."
[PA TV (Fatah), Feb. 24, 2011]
PA TV quoted Kais Abd Al-Karim, member of the political bureau of the Democratic Front:
"The Palestinian people prefer to start a boycott against these American organizations, which provide so-called assistance, because we prefer liberty and dignity over bread dipped in humiliation and submission."
[PA TV (Fatah), Feb. 24, 2011]
Al-Qader explained that the boycott "will continue until the American administration changes its stance... and apologizes to the Palestinian people and its president, Mahmoud Abbas."
It should be noted that the "bit of aid" that the PA is rejecting totaled more than half a billion dollars in 2010 alone [Hillary Clinton speech, Nov. 10, 2010, US State Dept. website]. The PA boycott of American "so-called assistance" will impact significantly on the 28 PA municipalities. The following is just one example of US aid listed on the USAID website under "Water Resources and Infrastructure/ EJP - Emergency Jobs Program":
"Successes : Completed 201 construction activities... Generated more than 350,000 person-days of employment benefiting approximately 1.5 million Palestinians. Graduated 117 Fellows from the Engineering Fellows Program... -Completed four women's centers... with a combined budget of $658,400, generating 6,700 days of employment. Completed a girls' school... one of 15 girls' schools completed throughout the West Bank through EJP with a budget of $428,997, generating 3,495 days of employment. Completed five youth club projects to... benefit more than 38,900 youth and have a combined budget of $2,608,675, generating 19,610 days of employment to date... EJP completed nine health clinic renovations and new construction projects impacting 86,093 beneficiaries with a combined budget of $319,894, generating 5,797 days of employment to date... Life of Project: 09/30/2007-01/30/2011; Total Estimated Cost: $34,000,000."
As stated, this list is just one of many listings of the "bit of aid" and "so-called assistance" the US is currently giving to the PA.
The following is the article in the official PA daily announcing the boycott:
"Hatem Abd Al-Qader, who holds Fatah's Jerusalem portfolio, announced a boycott of the American consulate, its diplomats, and the American institutions in Jerusalem, in protest over the American veto of the proposed law [i.e., resolution] at the [UN] Security Council denouncing the Israeli settlements.
Abd Al-Qader told Agence France Presse: 'The local councils and municipalities in the Jerusalem district, 28 in total, have decided to boycott the American consulate in Jerusalem and all the American institutions, American personnel and diplomats, in protest over the decision of the Barack Obama administration to use its veto power to sabotage a proposed Palestinian resolution denouncing Israeli settlements in the West Bank and in occupied East Jerusalem.'
Abd Al-Qader stated that 'the Palestinian factions in Jerusalem are inclined towards a comprehensive boycott' of American institutions in Jerusalem. He added that this boycott 'will continue until the American administration changes its stance concerning the Palestinian cause, and especially concerning the issue of settlements, and apologizes to the Palestinian people and its president, Mahmoud Abbas.'
Abd Al-Qader said that the American administration 'cannot extort the Palestinian people and humiliate it with a bit of aid and support for Palestinian institutions, and therefore we have decided to boycott these personnel, including the American consulate in occupied Jerusalem.'"
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 24, 2011]