Good news today: the European Union has offered 120m euros ($140m) to keep the Palestinian Authority running. The money is expected to cover basic needs for about two months. United Nations agencies will distribute about 64m euros to Palestinian territory residents most in need, the EU said. Other monies will be applied to oil and electricity bills, while some 20m euros are designated for Palestinian Authority salaries.
Meanwhile, the debate continues among international donor countries, who have mixed emotions about funding a Palestinian government headed by the militant group Hamas. Israel has cut monthly payments totaling $50m in tax revenues, a huge blow to the Palestinian Authority.
Meeting in Brussels, the European Union is considering whether or not it will maintain funding for the PA with a Hamas-led cabinet running the government. Since the Palestinian Authority's establishment in 1994 under the Oslo peace accord, the EU has been the PA's largest financial supporter. EU and other Western donors have appealed to Hamas to change its policies towards Israel, including recognising the state's right to exist and renouncing its own history of violence. In response, Hamas officials have asked aid donors to respect the Palestinian people's democratic choice of government.
Democracy is what you wanted, right President Bush and Prime Minister Blair? Surely you don't want to send the Palestinian Authority begging to Iran, simply because their choice of president isn't your preference? The Palestinians have endured decades of struggle while trying to achieve status of an independent state. Isn't it time their elected leaders have the opportunity to prove their mettle? Give the new PA government-----comprised of various Palestinian factions, not just Hamas----- a genuine chance. Undercutting their abilities to govern by prematurely withdrawing financial assistance isn't in any nation's best interests. After all, Democratic changes don't occur overnight.