Reality check for the economic equivalence argument

In today’s Guardian, there is a glowing review of Ron Paul, particularly with regard to Paul’s stance on American support for Israel:

If that weren’t enough, when the House of Representatives was recently passing another denunciation of Palestinian violence, Paul refused to support it. He abhorred all attacks on civilians, he said – but on Palestinians by Israelis as much as on Israelis by Palestinians.

“It is our continued involvement and intervention – particularly when it appears to be one-sided – that reduces the incentive for opposing sides to reach a lasting peace agreement,” he said. “We must cease making proclamations involving conflicts that have nothing to do with the United States. We incur the wrath of those who feel slighted while doing very little to slow or stop the violence.” It says something about US politics today that words as sane and humane as those come from an “extremist”.

No doubt this excellent man’s bid for the Republican nomination was by way of being a romantic gesture. But what about Ron Paul for secretary of state?

Frankly, I’ve considered Paul such a crackpot in so many ways that I never seriously considered the idiocy in this statement, now embraced by Geoffrey Wheatley, a Guardian columnist (or something).

It’s that bit about “our continued involvement and intervention — particularly when it appears to be one-sided…” that got me. I did some digging. According to one site, US aid to Israel in 2006 broke down to about $2.4 billion dollars.  I’ll accept that as true.

But is that really one sided? How about if we look at US aid to Israeli’s opponents, the Palestinians. And, if we’re counting outside help from other parties, how about aid from the rest of the world, including the UN, to the Palestinians. Here’s the aid information for 2006, when there was an ostensible embargo on Palestinian aid after Palestinians elected a government that boasted about its intention to destroy a UN member and commit genocide against its people (that would be Hamas):

Despite the international embargo on aid to the Palestinian Authority since Hamas came to power a year ago, significantly more aid was delivered to the Palestinians in 2006 than in 2005, according to official figures from the United Nations, United States, European Union and International Monetary Fund.

Finance Minister Salam Fayyad estimates that the Palestinian Authority received more than twice the amount of budget support in 2006 than in 2005.

Instead of going to the Palestinian Authority, much of the money was given directly to individuals or through independent agencies like the World Food Program.

The International Monetary Fund and the United Nations say the Palestinians received $1.2 billion in aid and budgetary support in 2006, about $300 per capita, compared with $1 billion in 2005.

While the United States and the European Union have led the boycott, they, too, provided more aid to the Palestinians in 2006 than 2005. Washington increased its aid to $468 million in 2006, from $400 million in 2005.

As for European giving in 2006:

In 2006, Ms. Udwin said, the European Union and its states spent $916 million on the Palestinians, not including United Nations contributions.

Even UN employees note the overwhelming outpouring of world money into Palestinian hands, as well as the deleterious effects of that money:

In 2007, the United Nations began a humanitarian appeal for the Palestinians of more than $450 million, twice the 2006 appeal, the third largest United Nations request, after Sudan and Congo, ahead of 18 other disasters.

“These numbers are quite stunning,” said Alexander Costy, head of coordination for Álvaro de Soto, the United Nations special Middle East envoy, “given the relatively small size of the population of the Palestinian territory.”

He added: “What we do know for sure is that Palestinians, and their economy and society, are becoming increasingly dependent on humanitarian handouts, and this dependency is growing fast. For a state in the making, I think this was a step backwards in 2006 and a cause for alarm.”

What’s amazing is that even the above, from the International Monetary Fund, from the UN, from the Americans, and from the Europeans, is not all that the Palestinians received during an embargo year:

But Salam Fayyad, the finance minister in the new Palestinian unity government, thinks the Palestinians received at least 250 percent more than that in direct support when cash from Iran and Arab nations is counted, as well as the amount smuggled in by Hamas officials after trips abroad.

“I say the minimum for direct budgetary support was $880 million in 2006 compared to about $350 million the year before,” Mr. Fayyad said. He estimates total aid in 2006 was closer to $1.35 billion.

Please keep in mind a few things:  (a) this was money during an alleged embargo on money and (b) most of this money goes directly into the hands of the terrorists, either as graft with which they enrich themselves (remember Arafat’s $10 billion estate) or to fund weapons.  Further the story above just looks at cash handouts.  It doesn’t calculate the massive amounts of military aid sent to Palestinians from Iran, Syria, Lebanon and Egypt.

The above report also doesn’t take into consideration the fact that Palestine’s have created for themselves just one enemy — Israel, which is a reactive enemy only, in that it simply seeks to take out weapons aimed at it, and terrorists handling those weapons.  Israel, on the other hand, faces active hostility from Lebanon, Syria, the Palestinians, and Iran.  (And let’s not forget that Hussein funded terrorism against Israel when he was alive and operating.)

All of which means that it’s nonsensical for Paul and his followers to pretend that America has been giving Israel an unfair advantage by giving her money.  America has, instead, been giving Israel a clearer path to a level playing field.  If Paul and his fellow-travelers truly wants funding in that region to stop, before they pull the plug on Israel, they’d better be damned sure to pull the plug on all funds flowing to the Palestinians as well — and they should stop funding nations that fund the Palestinians, such as Egypt.

I’m sure Israel would love to see the cash flow to Palestinians stop, because the latter might then be forced to turn their energies to creating an economy, instead of just to creating ever increasing numbers of zombies, trained only to kill.  Indeed, I’m willing to be that if the world promised to stop funding Palestinians, Israel might be happy, in exchange, to subsist on its own thriving economy.

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  • Allen

    Israel might not actually need any aid money if there were no groups actively seeking it’s destruction. In fact they could probably significantly reduce their defense budget.

  • Ymarsakar

    (a) this was money during an alleged embargo on money

    Western nations in this decadent and foolish age don’t have the guts for a full siege/embargo/blockade. When they talk about “embargos” what they are talking about are “kickbacks for me and my buddies”, not “starving enemies of life, food, and money”.

    I’m sure Israel would love to see the cash flow to Palestinians stop, because the latter might then be forced to turn their energies to creating an economy, instead of just to creating ever increasing numbers of zombies, trained only to kill.

    Except Israelis themselves aren’t willing to siege Gaza or the West Bank. They keept letting fuel supplies in or whatever.

    Kind hearted, yes, but also suicidal given the fact that they are fighting a war. Mercy is for after you win the war.