Sunday, February 23, 2020

Palestinian Officials Condemn US for Offering to Help - by Khaled Abu Toameh

It is as if someone applies for a loan from a bank but demands that the bank accept his or her demands, and not the other way around. Usually, those who offer the money have the right to set the conditions.

Khaled Abu Toameh..
Gatestone Institute..
21 February '20..

Palestinian leaders have gone to great lengths to explain their opposition to US President Donald Trump's recently unveiled plan, "Peace to Prosperity," for Middle East peace.

While these leaders are entitled to oppose Trump's vision for peace, it is not clear why they are also rejecting US financial aid to Palestinians. By rejecting it, Palestinian leaders are denying their people the right to a better life and a strong economy.

The US Embassy in Israel has a Palestinian Affairs Unit that regularly offers Palestinians grants and funding opportunities that include, for students, US higher education and scholarships.

Recently, the Unit announced an open competition for grants to Palestinian individuals and not-for-profit organizations to implement activities that advance the organization's or individual's goals -- particularly if those goals include a comprehensive, lasting, negotiated peace between Israelis and Palestinians, a prosperous, stable, and transparent Palestinian society, economy and system of governance.

The program's main objectives are to provide students with the skills and experiences that will make them more competitive for higher education and work opportunities; build a culture of mentorship that cultivates leaders in Palestinian society, education and business; encourage citizens' engagement in participatory governance; foster entrepreneurship, critical thinking and problem-solving skills among the youth and between diverse communities, and to promote understanding, tolerance, pluralism and shared values.

The US Embassy's Palestinian Affairs Unit also announced a new funding opportunity to establish English-language summer camps for young Palestinians, and an open competition for Palestinian organizations to hold a conference on social media marketing for e-commerce.

These programs seem intended for the benefit of Palestinian youths. You would think that, notwithstanding political differences or controversy surrounding a peace plan, any leader who actually cared about the well-being of his or her people would welcome such an offer. You would be wrong.

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