Mar 03, 2021
JERUSALEM WEATHER

A recent report showed that support from Arab countries for the Palestinian Authority dropped 81.5% in 2020. A closer look reveals that the situation for the PA is much worse than even that.

REPORT: 81.5% Less From Arab Countries

Elder of Ziyon, a pro-Israel blogger, frequently catches news that the mainstream media misses. This was clearly the case on Sunday when he cited the Arab-language news site Al Resalah which noted a massive hit on the Palestinian Authority’s annual budget:

Grants and financial aid from Arab countries to the Palestinian budget declined by 81.5% on an annual basis during the first eight months of last year.

Reports issued by the Ministry of Finance indicate that the total Arab support for the budget from the beginning of 2020 until last August reached $38.93 million.

EOZ noted that this contribution amounted to less than 1% of the total PA budget which, until 2017, amounted to approximately $4.5 billion a year. For at least three years, the PA has been classifying its budget reports as “emergency budgets” which lack transparency and are, therefore, unreliable. 

The amount of support currently given to the PA is dismal compared to the largesse shown by the Arab countries in years past. One example is the Arab League that donated $100 million every month to the PA at least until 2019.

How Much Do the Palestinians Recieve? No One Knows But It Is A LOT!!!! 

International aid has been provided to Palestinians has been one of the highest levels of aid in the world since at least the 1948 Arab–Israeli War provided by various foreign governments, international organizations, international non-governmental organizations (INGOs), and charities.  According to estimates made by the World Bank, the PA received $1.8 billion of international aid in 2008 and $1.4 billion in 2009. This does not include money given to the United Nations Relief and Works Association (UNRWA) which received $1.1 billion in 2013 of which $294 million was contributed by the US.

The signing of the Oslo Accords brought another $2.4 billion to the Palestinians from 1993-1998. After the signing of the Wye River Memorandum, a new donors’ conference was convened, and over $2 billion was pledged to the PA for 1999–2003. In 2007, during the Paris Conference, which followed the Annapolis Conference, donor countries pledged over $7.7 billion for 2008–2010 in support of the Palestinian Reform and Development Program. In October 2014, the Cairo Conference on Palestine, an international donor conference on reconstructing the Gaza Strip, garnered $5.4 billion in pledges, of which $1 billion was pledged by Qatar. Half of the pledges were to be used for rebuilding efforts in Gaza, while the remainder was to support the PA budget until 2017.

Not So Much Anymore

But this has been changing. In August 2018, the United States cut its annual contribution of $360m to UNWRA. At the same time,  President Trump signed the Taylor Force Act into law, which cut about a third of US foreign aid payments to the PA based on their payments of stipends to terrorists and their surviving families. Other countries have occasionally followed suit. In 2019,  the US stopped all USAID to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. 

Large chunks of this aid have gone to fuel corruption. At the time of his death, PA President Yasser Arafat’s personal holdings were estimated at about $1.3 billion. PA documents found in Ramallah and elsewhere in the West Bank demonstrate how the PA maintains a double reporting system for its salaries. It claims it needs around $60 million per month for salaries. But in fact, it needs only about $40.5 million. The balance is unaccounted for.

Most political commentators predict that US aid to the PA will return to its previous levels under the Biden Administration.