Posted by: Lister | December 18, 2007

Political help not handouts

Checkpoints mean farmers cannot deliever enough of their produce to make a living:

Nablus is just 16 miles away and the truck driver’s return trip ought to take little more than an hour.

But the route is circuitous and the driver must pass through a large Israeli military checkpoint where he can expect to be delayed for several hours.

[…] Today the international community meets in Paris to pledge an unprecedented $5.6bn (£2.75bn) to the Palestinian Authority over the next three years. This money is supposed to support the political process begun last month at Annapolis: the return to peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

But although the sums of money on offer are formidable, little is likely to trickle down to the most vulnerable Palestinians. The World Bank has warned that unless Israeli closures and checkpoints are lifted the money will only slow a “downward cycle of crisis and dependence”.

So far about $10bn has been given to the Palestinians since 1993, but poverty and unemployment have only increased, the result of poor management, continued conflict with Israel and the occupation.

[…] Jiftlik, home to 5,500 Palestinians, is surrounded by settlements, Israeli military bases, nature reserves and roads set aside mostly for Israeli-owned cars only. The past 40 years of occupation have swallowed most of their grazing and farmland, and the farmers describe constant harassment from Israeli soldiers.

Many farmers live in tents because it is almost impossible to get an Israeli permit to build a house; in 2005 and 2006 the Israelis demolished 24 homes and structures there. Only a quarter of the residents are connected to the electricity and water network.

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