Palestine and Western aid
Will it be cut off?
The Israelis ponder their next move in the wake ofPalestinian reconciliation
FEW Arab towns collect rubbish as smoothly as Bethlehem. No sooner have the merchantslowered their shutters at the end of the day than the dustmen under the command of Iyadabu Rudeineh are primed to enter its tangle of restored old alleys. Much of this success, headmits, is due to an American road-building project that has eased access. Yet in the wake of arecent reconciliation agreement between Palestine's two main rival parties, the secular Fatahand the Islamist Hamas, he fears that American support may cease. For the United States andmany Arab and European countries deem Hamas a terror group. They are prepared to supportthe Palestinian Authority (PA) run by Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah (pictured), but not if Hamas isinvolved. By the time the pope visits Bethlehem on May 25th, he may find the streets strewnwith rubbish.
很少有阿拉伯城镇会像伯利恒(耶稣降生地)那样平净地回收垃圾。繁忙的一天快结束了，商人们刚想拉下百叶窗打烊，受命于Iyad abu Rudeineh的清洁工人们就会涌进一条条充满活力却混乱的小巷。他认为这种成功归功于美国的道路修建计划，这计划大大消除了道路压力。然而随着近日巴勒斯坦的两个最大竞争党世俗主义的法塔赫与伊斯兰教的哈马斯和解声明公布，他担忧美国将会停止对以支援。究其原因则是美国和许多阿拉伯、欧洲国家将哈马斯视为恐怖组织。他们做好了支持由Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah所领导的巴勒斯坦民族权力机构(又称巴勒斯坦自治政府)的准备，但前提是哈马斯没有牵扯其中。在教皇于五月二十五日访问伯利恒之时，可能他会发现那里遍地垃圾。
The risks are real. Barely two years have passed since America ended its most recent boycottof Bethlehem. That lasted seven years, after its townspeople had elected representatives fromtwo factions designated by America as terror groups to its council. Mr Abu Rudeineh worriesthat the billboards recently erected hailing the accomplishments of America's aid arm, USAID,could soon look out of date. Palestinian officials say USAID officials cancelled meetings, albeitapologetically, the day after Hamas and Fatah announced their agreement. Congress, theAmerican officials explained, would not let them “finance terror”. Whereas the agreement offersGazans the prospect that their seaside enclave, run by Hamas, may no longer be boxed in byIsrael and Egypt, Mr Abbas's fief in the West Bank, inland, could end up paying the price.
But America has not yet cut ties as a result of the deal. The day that USAID officials cancelledthe meeting, the World Bank awarded 13m for wastewater projects and America's secretary ofstate, John Kerry, hosted a banquet for businessmen to drum up cash for a scheme forinvestment in Palestine. On the same day, says a senior Palestinian, Barack Obama talked to MrAbbas for half an hour on the telephone. While new projects may be put on hold, Americanofficials say old ones may continue. A music festival backed by USAID in Jericho, in the Jordanvalley, for instance, went ahead.
Israel's government says it wants the West to show “moral clarity” by cutting support for anyPalestinian government backed by Hamas, a group that has been responsible for killing morethan 1,000 Israelis, many of them civilian.
America's Congress may concur with the Israelis, and cut funds to the Palestinians inresponse to the Fatah-Hamas deal. But other American officials see a possible benefit if Hamascomes to accept the notion of a two-state settlement with Israel. These Americans argue thatHamas's dire straits in Gaza may enable Mr Abbas to secure an advantageous deal for himself,paving the way for his return to power there. And they fear that past boycotts of Hamas mayhave deprived Western countries of influence in Gaza and helped the Islamists to tighten theirgrip there. In any case, says one, it would be good if Europeans and Arabs were to make up theshortfall in aid to the Palestinians, should Congress prompt the American administration topull out.
So far the Israeli government's response has been more bark than bite. In response to theFatah-Hamas deal, Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel's prime minister, declared that he wassuspending negotiations with Mr Abbas and stopping the transfer of customs revenues whichcomprise two-thirds of Mr Abbas's PA budget. But he did so only after first allowing themonthly transfer to proceed, nervous lest the PA might collapse without it, thereby stokinggeneral mayhem in the West Bank. Israel, it has been noted, has itself bargained with Hamas inthe past, arranging repeated ceasefires with it since 2004.
Some Israelis think that they have something to gain by having Hamas on board. “Politicalaccommodation between the two major Palestinian factions offers Israel the assurance thatits negotiating partner has the political legitimacy, even if not the full backing, of thePalestinian people,” says Yonatan Touval of Mitvim, a liberal foreign-policy think-tank in TelAviv. Before cutting aid for good, Mr Netanyahu may wait to see who exactly will be in thePalestinians' unity government and what its programme will be—indeed, whether it will happenat all.
一些以色列人认为，拉拢哈马斯会获得相当可观的利益。“巴勒斯坦两大主要派别的政治和解确保了以色列的政治合作伙伴具有合法性和正统性，即使这并非为所有巴勒斯坦人所支持。”一位身处特拉维夫市、名为YonatanTouval of Mitvim的自由主义外交政策研究者如是说。在切断援助之前，内塔尼亚胡可能会先观察一下组建巴联合政府的都有谁，还有就是这个新组建的联合政府究竟会打什么算盘——确实是这样，不管这一切是否会发生。
1.cut off 切断;断绝
例句:The exiles had been cut off from all contactwith their homeland.
2.due to 由于;因为;应归于
例句:Council members are due to have informaldiscussions later on today.
3.prepare to 准备
例句:Different writers will prepare to varying degrees.
4.talk to 与谈话;和交谈
例句:Maria was talking baby talk to the little one.