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Palestinian study critiques USAID; PLO official complains that the funds hinge on “renouncing terror, which is a hint [that USAID] condemn[s] the Palestinian people's struggle”

Headline: “Salaries of foreign and local workers drain up two thirds of the international aid funds”
     “The donor countries have given more than 21 billion dollars over the last 20 years, whether [directly] to the PA or to organizations of the international community [who support the PA], in addition to 10 billion dollars for rehabilitation, the results of which the [Palestinian] citizens have yet to see in the areas of development and employment of the unemployed….
Director of the civil organizations in the Gaza Strip, Amjad Al-Shawa… called not to exchange the rights of our people for USAID funds by signing documents that condemn our people’s struggle. Likewise, he noted that approximately 200 million US dollars were budgeted by the US for non-developmental projects, and that the government and civilian organizations must determine a national plan and impose them on the funders…
A scientific study called The Role of American Institutions in the Implementation of American Foreign Policy in Palestine by researcher Muhammad Abu Ghneim from the Academy of Management and Policy concluded that the US aspires to realize its interests and goals through American institutions working in Palestine….
The study emphasizes that it is very hard to manage without external aid as a result of Western funding policies which have turned the Palestinian economy into a service economy dependent on the occupation’s economy and foreign markets. The master study calls for the revival of the role of the private sector in the framework of a general funding program and participation in it out of national obligation to provide the needs of Palestinian society so that we can renounce the aid being given by American institutions and their negative influence. Likewise, he called to be careful with the American institutions working in Palestine, as they are taking care of secondary issues and spreading ideas that are inconsistent with society’s principles, under the pretext of rescue aid and reform…
Young Ibrahim Sa’id, 23, a resident of Khan Younis, criticized the functioning of the organizations in general…
Ibrahim hopes that there will be justice in the distribution of the aid given by all the organizations, charity institutions, and foreign institutions, as most of the aid is distributed on the basis of connections and favoritism.
According to data that the head of the study gathered in the Gaza Strip, the number of foreign organizations registered in the Gaza Strip is 95, and the number of organizations in the process of registering is five to eight. The budget of the foreign and local organizations is 150 - 170 million dollars, and the salaries of the employees vary from organization to organization. The monthly salaries begin at 5,000 and reach 20,000, and there are a number of organizations with a high payroll. The local officials in the foreign institutions receive salaries beginning at 30,000 Israeli shekels and reaching 50,000 shekels. Likewise, the foreign employees receive varying salaries, the minimum being 100,000 shekels, and in addition they receive other benefits such as risk compensation, relocation allowance, travel- mission- and residency-allowances. In addition, in some of the institutions we documented, we found that the salaries of the foreign employees make up 60 percent of the total of the employees' salaries.
The foreign institutions focus on rescue aid as it has a direct influence, but it does not have any continuity, and they act to preserve the poverty without reaching wretched poverty. (the author claims the donors only offer rescue aid that will prevent poverty from getting worse, but that they do not offer any development aid that will help Palestinians develop and rise above poverty -Ed.) Half of the supporters' funds go toward rescue aid, and 75 percent (sic.) of the aid is paid to employees in the local and foreign organizations. Likewise, one of the officials in the Gaza Strip noted that one of the organizations was allocated 2 million dollars, but only 200,000 dollars reached the target community while the rest went to salaries of foreign and local employees…
Head of Information in the European Union (EU) Shadi Othman denied that the EU pays salaries that are higher than the aid given, and said: 'Salaries of foreign employees do not reach more than five percent of the aid given… and regarding salaries of employees in organizations of civil Palestinian society, they match the state's scale of salaries.' Likewise, he emphasized that the impression that the donors' money is returning to them (i.e., to the donors) is not correct.
He clarified that the EU gives 300 million euros every year, of which 150 million euros go to the PA as teachers; salaries, and to the health sector, 100 million euros go to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) for teachers' salaries and the health sector, and 50 million euros go to projects that serve the water sector, the private sector, and the rule of law.
Othman noted that the EU aids [the PA] in the establishment of development initiatives in Palestine in the private sector, water, and the rule of law, such as training police, the establishment of drainage systems, etc. A member of the Political Bureau of the People's Party (a PLO member –Ed.) Nafedh Ghneim emphasized that the financial aid given by the foreign institutions to civilian organizations in Palestine is political monies of the first level, and its purpose is to strengthen the consumer and dependent character of the [Palestinian] society, with all its negative values, and this is in relation to the conditions set by the USAID institution, which makes its aid for every project related to Palestinian institutions dependent on signing a document renouncing terror, which is a hint [that they] condemn the Palestinian people's struggle."

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