The American and European money is going down the drain. The Palestinian Authority needs extra money on top of the $1.1 billion it is getting this year. Gaza accounts for almost half of the P.A.’s expenditure while revenues from Gaza account for only 4% of the P.A.’s budget. This is a hole of over $1 billion in the P.A.’s annual budget because since 2007, when Hamas took control over Gaza, the P.A. does not receive taxes out of Gaza anymore. In fact, the only income which the P.A. is still receiving out of Gaza are the taxes which Israel collects on goods imported into Gaza from Israel and which Israel duly transfers to the P.A.
Meanwhile, the P.A. keeps paying the salaries of some 60,000 former P.A. employees in Gaza. This accounts for 40 percent of the 150,000 on the P.A.’s payroll. The P.A. has solved part of its budget shortfall by not paying its electricity bills to Israel. These unpaid now total $160 million. As Commentary Magazine noted, the party that is de facto picking up the bill is the same one that has been under constant rocket fire from Gaza: Israel.
All these facts are hardly known in Europe, where Israel-bashing remains one of the favorite pastimes of the media. A 2010 study showed that for every two stories reflecting negatively on the Palestinians, the BBC published 51 stories reflecting negatively on Israel. What is constantly missing in the coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the context in which events take place. The media simply do not tell the truth. If they were to do so, ordinary Europeans would have a more balanced view on the conflict. Which is why Fiamma Nirenstein has a point when she called last week’s demonstration in Rome a demonstration for the truth as well as for Israel.
Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.
About the Author: Peter Martino is a European affairs columnist for the Gatestone Institute.
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