Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A win-win situation?

Fatah, the largest political faction of the Palestinian Authority, has called for a boycott of the United States after last week's US veto of the UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlement activity. And the PA Prime Minister, Salam Fayyad, said he is prepared to give up any US aid that comes with political conditions.

In the Jerusalem Post article, Fayyad said the US gave the Palestinian Authority $223 million in financial aid in 2010 to help cover the PA operating deficit. But that's not the entire story. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, total aid to the PA in 2010 was almost $600 million. And last November the US also gave the PA a $150 million advance on aid for 2011.

So the PA wants to officially boycott the US and refuse our aid. Meanwhile, the US is looking for ways to reduce our budget deficit. Perhaps a win-win situation would be to eliminate all aid to the Palestinian Authority. It could help them accomplish their stated goal while taking a tiny step toward getting our own fiscal house in order.

The PA might want to be careful about making such public threats. At some point a frustrated Congress just might give them what they are demanding. And the real losers would be the people in greatest need. From what we've seen recently, those in power have likely already skimmed off enough to tide them over.

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