Israel joins OECD; Is it really a donor country?

To the consternation of global NGOs and human rights groups, Israel has been invited to join the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. This, despite Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine and its abysmal record on refugees seeking asylum and other human rights issues.

The OECD does many things, including “helping to stabilize its members’ economies to serving as a focal point for assisting in the economic development of poorer countries,” according to Mark Leon Goldberg of the UN Dispatch website. One specifice requirement the OECD has of member countries is that they contribute at least 0.7 percent of their gross national income for development projects in poorer countries.

This is even laughable when you look at the poverty that exists for most Palestinian citizens of Israel – especially those residing in East Jerusalem. Al Jazeera reports that 75 percent of East Jerusalem’s Palestinian children live in poverty. Furthermore, only 10 percent of the city’s roughly 300,000 poor Palestinians have access to social services.

And Israel’s neglect of 20 percent of its population doesn’t stop there. Last year, the Israeli Ministry of Education admitted to a gross disparity in state funding for its segregated school systems. Israel paid more than $1,100 this academic year per Jewish student but only $190 per Palestinian student, who are educated in a segregated system that suffered from a shortage of more than 1,000 classrooms this year, according to “Making the Grade: The State of Education in Palsetine.”

Not surprisingly, a look at member countries’ expenditures relative to their income shows Israel at the bottom of the pack, according to the UN Dispatch.

~ Kristin Szremski 5/11.2010

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