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The aid model has been shunned internationally. It won’t work for Palestine either

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Last week, prospects for Palestinian development took a step backwards. On Monday, Australia announced that it would stop direct aid to Palestine, citing concerns by Australian MPs over whether the money was being used for so-called “martyr payments”. The move was slammed by the Palestinian Authority (PA) which accused Canberra of bowing to US pressure and labelled the move “part of a campaign launched to smear the Palestinian leadership”.

Australia had previously provided 10 million Australian dollars ($7.4 million) of funding annually to the World Bank’s Palestinian Recovery and Development Trust Fund, which enables donors to support the PA’s institution-building activities and development projects. Australian money will now be redirected to the United Nations’ Humanitarian Fund for the Palestinian Territories, which provides health care, food, water and sanitation to vulnerable families, but not development projects.

READ: EU, Norway to hold emergency meeting on Palestine aid

Also last week, the Palestinian Foreign Ministry issued a statement warning against dealing with the Palestinian cause as a humanitarian issue. The statement criticised the US administration under President Donald Trump for “reproducing Israeli proposals and positions” which treat the Palestinian question as “a population issue in need of relief programmes”. The statement added that this approach directs attention away from the “root cause of this suffering represented by the [Israeli] occupation.”

US threats of aid cuts – Cartoon [Arabi21News]

In treating the Palestinian issue as a humanitarian one, Australia, the US and others have contributed to a regression, rather than a development, of the terms of debate surrounding Palestine. This........

© Middle East Monitor