Those examining the world looking for the effects of US financial aid would find that its results were not in the best interest of those receiving it. They would actually observe the following results.
Financial aid from the US and other countries encourages dependence on others and adversely affects the activities of productive countries, because it causes a lack of work and activity and a lack of self-reliance. It also leads to achieving a limited sense of self-sufficiency. It creates laziness and reduces creativity in innovative work and looking for means and methods of self-development.
A gateway for foreign intervention
Aid begins fairly innocently, but it acts as a strong gateway for growing US intervention in countries’ internal affairs. The US gradually influences decision-makers in the countries, and often lures some into working in its security agencies. This opens the country to US intelligence agencies. A few years later, the state finds itself in the palm of America’s hand in terms of security, allowing the US to change the government whenever it deems it appropriate.
After some time, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) access the country’s internal arena and interfere in determining the country’s economic policy, such as determining the level of taxes and the types of goods for which the country should lift its subsidisation.
These funds then enter the world of politics, as the US uses it to determine the policy of a state on the regional and global level based on the needs of US interests. In other words, the state finds itself receiving aid but having no political will and, inevitably, under US colonialism. It can either adhere to the US’ will and act accordingly, or become subject to unrest, crises and attempts to change their government.
The course of US financial aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) is no different to the course it takes anywhere else in the world, except that the aid was never innocent because it was designed from the outset to help Israel at the expense of the Palestinian people’s national, inalienable rights. The people rejoiced when this aid was first granted, the PA applauded it and was happy because it convinced the people of the financial benefits of the Oslo Accords and the salaries that would come from it.
However, the majority of people did not realise that most of the US financial aid went to the Palestinian security agencies, which were tasked with stripping the Palestinians of their weapons, destroying combat capabilities and defending the Israeli army from the evils of the so-called terrorists, who were actually Palestinian people who resisted Israel’s ongoing occupation.
The US’ money was used to establish headquarters for the Palestinian security agencies, bring in the various cars and tools needed for security pursuits and build prisons to house arrested Palestinians. The money went into the pockets of those who cooperated, especially officials. The PA used this money to make security and military achievements for Israel that Israel itself couldn’t achieve. Israel was happy with these result, as was the US security coordinator, Keith Dayton, who told the US Congress that the Palestinians killed Abdul Majid Dudeen in Hebron, in the occupied West Bank, under the leadership of an Israeli officer.
USAID, along with the American consulate in Jerusalem, formed a strong centre of power in the West Bank that has controlled decision-making in many instances. This is why Israel turned to the US after it cut off aid to the PA, asking it to resume pumping at least some funds into the Palestinian security services because, otherwise, they will not be able to carry out their duties towards Israel.
I believe that the US will oblige, either directly or through Arab countries. The important thing is that they will not leave the Palestinian security services vulnerable to bankruptcy. If this issue is not reviewed, the PA will raise the tax rate and impose more fees and royalties on the official procedures and applications necessary to the daily life of Palestinians.
A service to the Palestinian people
Based on the above, cutting off US funding is a service to the Palestinian people, although it does not serve the security services. The Palestinians will also be served by the absence of financial aid, as it will motivate the Palestinian people to adopt the idea of self-reliance. In other words, it will push them to be more active, restore land, encourage local producers, gradually abandon imported goods, and to combat corruption in order to save funds for development and agricultural land restoration.
This will also relieve some of the pressure on the Palestinian Mujahedeen, and they will find that Palestinian pressure on them has regressed and that they only need to confront the Israeli security services.
Moreover, the pressure and burden of US aid will be taken off our shoulders and we will no longer be afraid to take action that will anger the US, resulting in it cutting its aid. This fear will no longer exist when aid is cut and we are freed from the burden of these funds.
We will also be liberated from the interference of others, such as the World Bank, in our internal affairs. This could open doors to economists to formulate an economic policy for the territories occupied in 1967.
The less money there is, the less corruption and less powerful the PA becomes. Its ranks also weaken, and the weaker the PA is, the strong the people are in their confrontation against Israel.
This article first appeared in Arabic on Arabi21, 14 February 2019.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.