On Wednesday, Mahmoud Abbas asked the world for $5.8 billion in aid; three days later the request had inexplicably grown to $7.1 billion. As many people have pointed out, per capita the Palestinians are by many orders of magnitude the largest recipients of foreign aid in the world, receiving vastly more, for example, than the destitute peoples of sub-Saharan Africa.
Accounting for where all of this money has gone has always been a rather unwelcome project among the charity-dispensers of the international community. On her blog, though, Anne Lieberman attempts, if not an audit, then a simple tally of the gushers of foreign money that have poured into the Palestinian territories in just the past few years. While I freely admit to being terrible at math, by my estimation the total runs easily into the many billions of dollars. I wonder if the officials who rush for their checkbooks every time the Palestinians come calling, actually believe that they are helping the cause of Palestinian self-determination and statehood? Related thoughts here from Rick Richman.