Thursday, October 23, 2008

Peace tax for a peace dividend


While the Presbyterian Church, among other non-profits, has been discussing divestment as a way of not profiting from the occupation and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I wonder how willing we would be to start talking about a peace tax.

Many may not know, but right now the U.S. taxpayers are helping pay billions of dollars each year to both Egypt and Israel for the peace agreement between them negotiated in the Camp David Accords, signed in 1978. It can be said that such an investment helped in the transition of the Sinai back into the hands of Egypt and helped bring about stability between the two nations.

So it makes me wonder, if there is ever to be a peace dividend between Israel and Palestine, would churches and other non-profits be willing to encourage another set of peace taxes. Churches and other NGO's have been considering how to best help those most affected by the conflict, most notably the Palestinian poor. They have also considered how to invest for peace, though most of our funding mechanisms center around mission and grant funding of certain projects that we find consistent with our way of doing church. But I wonder if we would be willing to risk asking our nation, and others, to consider funding such a way of making peace where such conflict fuels the fire of hatred and animosity of much of the Arab world against the West. Such a peace tax would be necessary in any peace talks to provide for the compensation of the refugees of Palestine displaced by Jewish settlers since 1948, and the number of Sephardic Jews who were displaced from Arab countries after that war.

I believe the peace dividend of such a tool could be used to get over the thorniest issues of negotiations, and that it would show the wrongs made on all sides of the issue, including those states that contributed to European-American anti-semitism while displaying to the Arab world our desire for peace.

2 comments:

social.justice.for.all said...

"American aid to the Palestinians in 2008 now totals over $700 million"

FYI for all who read your "blog".

The following news story is on Internet today but will probably not get much if any news media coverage by the regular news outlets like ABC, CBA, NBC, CNN, Fox or the major newspapers.

Here is the story:


US transfers $150 million to Palestinians

The Associated Press
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
RAMALLAH, West Bank: The U.S. has transferred $150 million to the Palestinians, exceeding its original pledge of aid to the moderate Palestinian government in the West Bank.

U.S. consul General Jake Walles says Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad asked for the additional assistance last month to help with the Palestinian budget.

A statement from the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem says American aid to the Palestinians in 2008 now totals over $700 million and exceeds the amount the U.S. pledged at a donors conference in December 2007.

Walles made the official announcement of the transfer Wednesday alongside Fayyad at a ceremony in the West Bank town of Ramallah.

The Palestinian economy has been stifled by conflict with Israel as well as internal fighting among Palestinian factions.

Correction:
Notes:

Copyright © 2008 The International Herald Tribune | www.iht.com

Willy Mac said...

Thanks for this information, but there is an egregious imbalance in the amount and kind of aid being provided right now. What if the U.S. only gave peaceful aid to both Israel-Palestine instead of billions in military aid only to the Israelis?