Thursday, May 26, 2005

# Posted 8:13 AM by Patrick Belton  

'I'M REALLY QUITE FASCINATED BY PALESTINIAN POLITICS' WATCH: It's probably mildly less salubrious a habit than, say, crack or dating Brittney Spears*, but hey, that's what mid-life crises do for you. Abu Mazen is in Washington for a three-day visit; CNN reports the administration plans to break with Arafat-era precedent and give substantial aid directly to the Palestinian Finance Ministry rather than to non-governmental organisations operating in the territories. Dennis Ross contends in an op-ed that Abbas suffers principally among his constituents for not having delivered economic improvement; on his argument, Hamas's growing appeal comes from delivering services rather than from its Islamic programme. He adds, 'Last December, donor nations pledged $1.2 billion to the Palestinians. Six months later, less than 10 percent of the money has materialized. ... Per-capita income in the West Bank and Gaza was $1,800 a year in 2000 and is down to $1,000. Jobs are urgently needed; labor-intensive projects must be financed and launched now.' He goes on to criticise Gulf oil states for not providing aid on the order of $1 billion for the Palestinian economy.

* ah, the google hits we'll get today.
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