Letter to the Editor of The Washington Post (Unpublished)
Re: Have the Palestinians received ‘more aid than any group in history’? (May 8, 2019)
Many assertions in “Fact Checker: Have the Palestinians received ‘more aid than any group in history’?” Glenn Kessler, May 8, are uncertain or incorrect. Although other countries such as Syria or Kiribati (a tiny Pacific island) receive bursts of aid in response to immediate crises, the scale of assistance (estimated at $1.7 billion annually) to the Palestinians and the sustained flow year after year is far beyond any other recipient. In addition, in calculating an average amount, the $79 per capita listed by the World Bank for 1993 is clearly incorrect – UNRWA (the unique agency created in 1949 to promote the Palestinian cause) alone provided double that amount. Furthermore, the USAID and the World Bank estimates are based on official Palestinian claims for the combined West Bank and Gaza population, while evidence suggesting a lower population raises per capita aid calculations by twenty percent. In addition, the comparison with Israel, a democracy and US ally, mistakenly labels grants to repay defense loans, including for relocating military bases under the 1979 peace treaty with Egypt, as general economic assistance. In summary, the evidence supports concerns regarding the high level of sustained aid provided to the Palestinians.