Skip to comments.Arabs vow to 'break' aid blockade on Palestinians
Posted on 11/14/2006 9:52:53 AM PST by SJackson
Arabs vow to 'break' aid blockade on Palestinians Agence France-Presse - 13 November, 2006 www.gulfinthemedia.com/index.php?id=260504&news_type=Top〈=en Arab foreign ministers gathered in Cairo vowed to ignore the aid freeze imposed on the Palestinian Authority and start stepping up payments.
"We are determined to find means of getting aid directly to the Palestinian people," Qatari Foreign Minister Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabr al-Thani told reporters.
Palestinian foreign minister Mahmud Zahar hailed the decision as "extremely important", arguing it could pave the way for the formation of a national unity government and a lifting of the international boycott.
"The Arab decision to lift the blockade is extremely important, it means that Arabs will revert to using the usual means to transfer aid," he told reporters.
Western donors cut financial aid to the Palestinian Authority after Hamas took the helm of the Palestinian government in March, demanding the radical movement renounce violence and recognise Israel's right to exist.
Zahar admitted that "it will take time" before funds start flowing back to the Palestinian Authority's empty coffers but stressed that "the decision will facilitate the formation of Palestinian national unity government."
"We will build on this Arab decision to break the blockade to seek a lifting of the international blockade," said Zahar, who was attending his first Arab foreign ministers meeting at the League headquarters.
"The decision taken by the Arab League today constitutes an important political support to the Palestinians," he said.
The Palestinian Authority has been practically bankrupt since its two biggest donors -- the United States and European Union -- suspended direct aid after Hamas was voted to power.
Tens of thousands of civil servants have not been paid in months and banks have shied away from transferring donations for fear of financial sanctions by the West.
Arab officials in Cairo Sunday give no indication as to what the incentive might be for banks to resume transfers to the Palestinian Authority.
"Arab banks are to transfer the funds without abiding by any restrictions imposed on the banks. Arab banks must transfer the funds," Arab League Secretary General Amr Mussa simply said.
Zahar announced that Kuwait had just transferred 30 million dollars to the authority but did not specify how.
The Palestinian foreign minister said earlier Sunday that the costs of rebuilding the north Gaza town of Beit Hanun after deadly Israeli shelling amounts to 50 million dollars.
"The Beit Hanun region is a devastated zone which will require around 50 million dollars to rebuild all that was destroyed after the latest Israeli offensive, and to lend urgent and immediate help to the families of the martyrs and the wounded," he said.
On Wednesday, Israeli shelling of Beit Hanun killed 19 Palestinians as they slept, most of them women and children. The botched attack was blamed by Israel on faulty targeting radar.
Zahar had also voiced his hope that Arab countries would recognise the Rafah crossing point between Egypt and the Gaza Strip as a "Palestinian-Egyptian post only" and that pressure would be exerted to ensure it is permanently re-opened.
"We failed on this," he admitted after the meeting, suggesting Egypt had refused to challenge Israel's frequent closures of crossing point, Gazans' only gateway to the rest of the world.
In their final statement, Arab foreign ministers voiced their "utmost indignation" at the veto used by the United States Saturday to block a resolution condemning the Beit Hanun raid.
They also called for the "immediate release of Palestinian prisoners and the release of the Israeli soldier" Gilad Shalit, who was captured by Palestinian groups, including a group linked to the ruling Hamas movement on June 25, sparking a widescale offensive in the Gaza Strip.
The Qatari foreign minister called for a conference on a regional issues that would group "Israel, involved Arab countries and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council."
I was not aware that Arabs were prevented from giving aid to Palestinians. I have to problem with that. Why haven't they been doing that all along?
Isn't it amazing what comes out of the woodwork when our enemies think their friends, the libs, are running the show....
Gee, I wonder why Egypt doesn't want that crossing to be open?
Instead of letting the gangsters steal it? That really would be a change of pace.
Less money for mosques in the US.
The Palis are a bottomless pit, go for it "Arab brethren".
I actually saw the coverage of this on al-Arabiya yesterday. The bit that's been left out here is that the various Arab ministers admitted they didn't know how they'd manage to do this.
Also not covered: the Arab League ministers called for an international peace conference with the Quartet, Israel, and all the Arab nations attending with the aim of establishing a broad peace. It seems some of the more moderate Arab states are sick and tired of Hamas, sick and tired of the bottomless pit, and more than a bit afraid of radical Islam (i.e. Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas) and of Iranian influence. The al-Arabiya coverage was, for a change, completely free of anti-Israel tirades. Of course, I'm more than a bit skeptical when it comes to Arab intentions...
ME gonna blow skyhigh
Most Democratic leaders are no friends of the Arabs. Look at who is going to be running the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Senate, for example. Sen. Carl Levin is 1) a big supporter of Israel and 2) Jewish. The new ranking minority member is John McCain. The anti-Israel far left has few actual people in Congress. FWIW, this isn't my opinion alone. Former Defense Minister Dr. Moshe Arens (Likud) said the same in an interview on IBA News yesterday.
I'm actually more worried about the influence of James Baker, Brent Scocroft, and incoming Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who are all part of the very small but very real Arabist wing of the Republican party which came to the fore under the first President Bush. Caroline Glick wrote about this in the Jerusalem Post and she is very much correct about this.
They're worried about iran. They don't want the persians upsetting their applecart.
Yep, pretty much. Iran and radical Islam are more of a threat to many Arab regimes than Israel is. They may hate Israel but they love their own skins even more.