Show me the money

(Re: “It’s hard to see after the tanks knock it down,” letter, 7 February 2002)

I find it necessary to respond to Jamal Siddiqui’s assertion that the Arab world “has poured loads of money” into the Palestinian refugees. He claims that due to Israeli demolition of Palestinian houses (used as bases from which to shoot at Israelis and smuggle in weapons from tunnels leading to Egypt), 17 million euros worth of European Union-funded infrastructure has been destroyed. Clearly, the EU, comprised primarily of Christian countries, is not part of the Arab world, yet this is used as proof for Arab funding of Palestinian causes.

The main body from which the Palestinians receive funds and support is the United Nations Relief Works Agency. As recently as 1994, tiny Israel gave more to UNRWA than all Arab countries except Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Morocco. In 1999, mighty Egypt gave a grand total of $10 000 to this organization.

It should not be forgotten that, barring Jordan, not a single Arab country has opened its doors to accept their Arab brethren as citizens or often simply as workers. For example, Saudi Arabia chose not to use unemployed Palestinian refugees to alleviate its labour shortage in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Instead, thousands of South Koreans and other Asians were recruited to fill the jobs. Clearly, the Arab world has done very little to help their refugee brothers.

Adam Cutler

Jamal speaks the truth

(Re: “It’s hard to see after the tanks knock it down,” letter, 7 February 2002.

Jamal speaks the truth. After reading his letter, I just had to write in and lend my support. Arab economic support for the Palestinians is quite remarkable. Why, only a few weeks ago the Iranians were kind enough to send a $100 million gift to their Palestinian brethren. The 50 tonnes of weapons will certainly help alleviate the plight of the Palestinians.

Arafat’s $20 million bank account, two private helicopters and mansion further attest to the Arabs’ economic support. The lucky family of the Palestinian gunmen who slaughtered a mother and her 11-year-old disabled daughter recently will also be duly compensated for their commitment to the Palestinian people.

In a heart-warming gesture of support, Arab leaders from all over the globe have come to Ramallah to be by brother Arafat’s side. Their diplomatic support is touching.

As Jamal points out, Israel’s human rights record is deplorable compared to the Palestinians’. When Israel destroys a building, they actually have the nerve to force the occupants to leave the building first, unlike the Palestinians, who make sure the occupants are not aware of their intentions (as on November 20, 2000, when they blew up a school bus full of children). Keep on bringing the truth to the people, Jamal, we are with you.

Stephen Glazer

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