18 January 2007

Israel to generously give Palestinians their own money

In a rare burst of generosity, Israel is going to hand over $100-million to the Palestinians that is rightfully theirs in the first place.

Israel collects customs duties for the Palestinians which it then normally hands over to the Palestinian Authority. However, for the past year, in a fit of pique over the election of Hamas, Israel has arbitrarily refused to give the Authority its money. This contributed to a serious cash-flow crisis as government workers, including police and teachers, went unpaid.

The Israeli generosity has its limits, however. First, they aren't going to release all they owe, retaining over half a billion for further blackmail. Furthermore, they are dictating the rules by which it can be spent. None, for example, can be used to pay those now-desperate civil servants.

Withholding someone else's money, then parceling it out to them in portions, then telling them how they will be allowed to spend it, is I suppose a definition of "chutzpah."

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