What Israeli “democracy” is all about, funded by the US taxpayer:
Travelers along the “original” West Bank roads, the ones enabling drivers to bypass Palestinian villages, can see signs declaring “USAID from the American People.”
The roads are one of the initiatives of the United States Agency for International Development for building infrastructure in underdeveloped countries. Israel has already proudly left the club of developing countries and is not among the clients of USAID. Nevertheless, it appears the Smith family of Illinois is making the occupation a little less expensive for the Cohen family of Petah Tikva.
According to a June 2010 fact sheet on the USAID Internet site, last year American taxpayers funded the paving of 63 kilometers of asphalt roads in the West Bank. It also says completion of a road in the southern part of the West Bank dramatically increased the amount of trade between Dahriya and Beer Sheva.
What the site doesn’t say is that a significant segment of the road goes through Area C – the 60 percent of the West Bank under exclusive Israeli civilian and military control and responsibility under the interim agreement of 1995 (the second Oslo agreement ). The agreement states: “Territorial jurisdiction includes land (and ) subsoil.”
This is not the only occupation-perpetuating road funded by American money. Dror Etkes, an expert on the settlements, noticed a few days ago USAID workers energetically laying asphalt on two roads in the Samaria region (northern West Bank ) that crosses Area C. Israelis haven’t been traveling these roads for years now because the taxpayer (in this case, the Israeli taxpayer ) has already paved separate, wide, modern roads for them.
Etkes wondered how it is possible that the Obama administration, which is vociferously opposed to the continuation of the status quo in the West Bank, continues to subsidize the road for Israel. “If the state of Israel is insisting on continuing to hold on and de facto annex the West Bank,” he says, “it should also be allocating the money needed to take care of the infrastructure.”
I asked an American official why the administration isn’t demanding of Israel that it fulfill its obligations and pay the price of the occupation out of its own pocket.
“Who told you we aren’t demanding that?” replied the official. “We are also demanding a construction freeze in the settlements and you know at least as well as anyone else what is happening on the ground.”
It is worth mentioning that the when the Palestinians sought permission to pave a short road in Area C to enable access to the planned town of Rawabi, Israel pulled out the Oslo accord and kicked them down the stairs. The USAID tractors don’t have access to the area either.