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The Palestine solidarity movement should focus on Palestine

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Nada Elia holds no punches. A principled activist and an accomplished academic, she writes with honesty and vigour.

As I embarked on a worldwide speaking tour, an article she wrote two years ago was present in my mind. Entitled, "No More Mr Nice Guy: White Male Israeli Activists Exploiting Palestine Solidarity", the article details a degree of exploitation of Palestinian solidarity by ex-Zionist intellectuals, who seek high fees and special treatment when they travel the world talking about their moral awakening and ideological conversion.

Indeed, some of these "nice guys" generate so much income that they turned solidarity into thriving careers.

For the record, I don't seek honoraria myself, and if/when honoraria are available due to the rules of certain academic or research institutes, I request the money be sent to a charity that works to empower Palestinian communities at home.

It is the matter of principle. Money has corrupted the Palestinian cause. Donors' money, billions of dollars received by the Palestinian Authority (PA) in Ramallah has turned a revolution and a national liberation project into a massive investment with many benefactors and many beneficiaries. Most Palestinians, however, remain poor. Unemployment is skyrocketing.

With the billions raked in by the corrupt PA since its founding in 1994, most Palestinians in the Occupied Territories still live in dire economic uncertainty. Women are hit hardest.

A recent report by Al Jazeera's Harry Fawcett speaks of a depressing reality in the West Bank that effects women in particular. While 13 percent of all Palestinian women hold university degrees (compared to 9 percent of men), only 19 percent of all women are employed or seeking work.

Although Palestinian women are some of the most educated women in the region, they have the least work opportunities. The ratio of employment among Palestinian women, 19 percent, is significantly lower than that of working women in the Middle East and North Africa region, which currently stands at 25 percent, and even more negligible if compared with the global average of 51 percent.

This should not be the case, as 62 percent of all students currently seeking university degrees in Palestine are female.

According to Fawcett's report, the main reason behind the trials of Palestinian women is the Israeli occupation, which has battered Palestinian industries that traditionally employ women, namely agriculture and manufacturing.

Back to Elia's article - "No More Mr Nice Guy". "I have discussed........

© Al Jazeera