Sunday, September 07, 2003

Did you know that, according to Abdel Rahman al Tamimi, director of a Palestinian hydrologists group, in a Boston Globe article published today (USAID Palestinian funds frozen), "USAID is the largest aid provider for the Palestinians." USAID has recently begun to require Palestinian groups receiving US aid to sign "an agreement with the US government committing themselves not to provide resources to individuals or groups identified as terrorists by the US State Department." Most groups are refusing to sign this agreement.
"This demand has become the personification of the US policy of regarding the Palestinian struggle for freedom and independence as a form of terrorism," said Dr. Rabah Muhanna, chairman of the Union of Health Work Committees in Gaza. "USAID wants to control our NGOs and civil society after it has controlled completely the political Arab system."

In addition to his nongovernmental organization work, Muhanna is a member of the politburo of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a Marxist group devoted to the destruction of Israel. Israelis tracking the issue say the Palestinians' refusal to commit themselves to avoid working with the listed groups demonstrates that they condone suicide bombings and other deliberate killing of noncombatants as legitimate tactics in the Palestinian struggle to end Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

The antiterrorism agreement is part of a broad US government effort to choke off funds and other support for terrorism after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington. USAID grant applicants around the world are being asked to sign it.

The agreement states that as a condition for receiving a USAID grant, the recipient organization "certifies that it has not provided and will not provide material support or resources to any individual or entity" that it knows is sponsoring, planning, or engaging in terrorist activity. All the leading Palestinian groups that dispatch suicide bombers and launch attacks on civilians -- Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine -- are identified as terror organizations by the State Department, as are other Middle Eastern extremist groups such as Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, and Al Jihad.

This is very depressing, I must say. Even when the U.S. government is trying to do the right thing (fund Palestinian NGOs that actually help ordinary Palestinians), it runs up against the refusal by Palestinians to condemn the killing of innocent Israeli civilians.

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