The international development agency, Oxfam International released results of a survey conducted in Palestine, highlighting “how the suspension of Western aid and Israel’s refusal to transfer money owed to the Palestinian Authority (PA) has led to grave humanitarian consequences for Palestinians.”The international development agency, Oxfam International released results of a survey conducted in Palestine, highlighting “how the suspension of Western aid and Israel’s refusal to transfer money owed to the Palestinian Authority (PA) has led to grave humanitarian consequences for Palestinians.”
The survey titled, “Poverty in Palestine: the human cost of the financial boycott – report and survey,” and conducted by the Palestinian Centre for Public Opinion (PCPO) found that “more than four out of five of the 677 families interviewed have seen a drop in their income following the year long boycott of the Palestinian Authority.”
Half of all the families reported losing more than half their income, said the report.
The survey also included interviews with 67 senior managers running schools, hospitals and water services in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The vast majority of them said that “services had been negatively affected by this boycott.” In addition, half of the essential service managers reported that they have cut their vital services by 50 per cent or more because of insufficient funding.
While Western donors argued that the goal of the embargo was not to punish the Palestinian people, but rather to change the policies of the Hamas-led government. However, Oxfam’s survey shows that the financial boycott has had a devastating impact on Palestinian civilians.
Jeremy Hobbs, Executive Director of Oxfam international demanded that aid should respond to needs of civilians instead of being used as a political tool to change policies of governments.
‘Oxfam opposes violence against civilians and supports Israel’s right to exist alongside a viable and independent Palestinian state. But suspending aid – and withholding tax revenue in violation of international agreements – is not an ethical or effective way to achieve these outcomes. And in this case, it hasn’t worked. Instead, parents have been driven into debt, children taken out of classrooms and whole families deprived of access to medicine and healthcare,’ Hobbs added.
Hobbs also slammed the European Union for not resuming financial aids to the Palestinians despite welcoming the National Unity Government and urged them to exert more effort to end the suffering of the Palestinians.
‘Despite welcoming the National Unity Government, the European Union has failed to restore aid payments. With Palestinian institutions collapsing and insecurity growing, the resumption of international aid to the Palestinian Authority is a necessary step to preventing further suffering and securing a just and lasting settlement on the basis of international law,’ Hobbs said.