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Let us struggle to increase the role of the working class and the real proletarian leadership, not the vanguard that, once in leadership, tails the bourgeoisie and forgets its masses. We want the leadership that remains among the workers and the peasants and lives as they live and raises their voices, carrying their pains!

- Al Hakim (1980)

Contents

Introduction

On February 17th 2022, a delegation of Congress members met with the Zionist Entity, the Palestinian comprador class, and the Palestinian Authority to:

In fact, USAID launched a project entitled: Small and Medium Enterprise Assistance for Recovery and Transition (SMART). SMART is the first in a series of USAID rewards for those who serve the US imperialist agenda following an economic crisis spurred by Trump’s cuts in aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA). SMART was launched as a USAID project to infiltrate the private sector of the Palestinian economy and uplift the PA’s favor in the eyes of a struggling Palestinian working class.

SMART represents a bipartisan effort across the Zionist spectrum in Congress to safeguard the PA’s legitimacy. In fact the funding for SMART came alongside Congress’ approval to provide 3.3 billion in military aid to the Zonist entity in the 2021 Appropriations Bill.

USAID is a soft arm of US imperialism, and this project is strategic in its attempts to infiltrate any aspect of the Palestinian economy to control the Palestinian working class and their autonomy in favor of Zionist settler colonialism.

Congress Sets the Stage

"The formation of the State of Israel is the greatest political achievement of the 20th century.”

- Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House (2022)

According to Pelosi, the goal of the delegation was to “reaffirm [the United States’] commitment to pursuing an enduring two-state solution that supports security and economic growth in the region.” During this same visit, she declared before the Zionist Knesset, "the formation of the State of Israel is the greatest political achievement of the 20th century.”

Following several Congressional decisions to allocate USAID funding to the Palestinian Authority in a post-Trump era, Pelosi led the delegation to Ramallah to officially launch USAID opportunities.

Under Trump, $200 million dollars in aid to the Palestinian Authority was slashed, which hindered the role of the Palestinian Authority and its ability to fulfill its role to a U.S. led agenda. During this time, the Palestinian public outrage for the Palestinian Authority surged.

It also impacted the inflated NGO sector, which is blanketed by US influence in education, health, trade, environment, and agriculture.

Trump’s slashing of aid reduced the Palestinian Authority’s role and validity in “negotations.” In a swift move the US finalized decisions such as a US embassy in Jerusalem or more land theft and settlement expansion without the complication of staged negotiation. Trump's Peace Plan was viewed as tumultuous and risky to Democrats, especially those who felt this would threaten the possibility of a two state solution because he promoted a “total take over” that would lead to a one state.

The nature of USAID, often said to be “a gift on behalf of the American people,” is not a gift. It is to cultivate and control an aid dependent economy.

The revival of USAID is a tool for the Biden administration to “resume negotiations.” The nature of USAID, often said to be “a gift on behalf of the American people,” is not a gift. It is to cultivate and control an aid dependent economy. While the trip reinforced the U.S. and Zionist alliance, particular attention must be paid to the role of the Palestinian comprador bourgeoisie class.

In 2021 alone, $110 million was sent to both the West Bank and Gaza for a variety of projects. In December, it was through a USAID brokered deal that Jordan agreed to pay the Zionist entity for stolen water from Tiberias through a new pipeline.

The Partnership for Peace Advisory Board

To undo Trump’s strategy, $250 million of aid was awarded to the Palestinian Authority in the 2021 Appropriations Bill. An exclusively Democrat delegation visited Ramallah on February 17th, 2022 to reinvigorate the comprador Palestinians and their direct service to US imperialism with $40,000,000 of this funding.

The delegation is a tool in the toolkit of Palestinian American lawyer George Salem, who directs the inaugural Partnership for Peace Advisory Board that informs USAID strategy and steers people to people “peace” and “business” projects on the ground. He served the Reagan and Bush administrations and a Palestinian two state lobby group. On this advisory board are representatives for AIPAC, the Jewish Institute for National Security of America, the US-Israel Education Association, the Arava Institute, and the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace. These representatives are all selected by Congress. The creation of this advisory board came to be through the passage of the Nita M. Lowey Partnership for Peace Act in 2021 which was pushed by the spectrum of American Zionists, including AIPAC and Jstreet into the Appropriations Bill.

This act emphasizes the need to grow the Palestinian middle class to achieve “stability” through the private sector and encourages collaboration between the Zionist, Palestinian, and American business sectors. The imperialists believe this will help create “long lasting peace.” Economic turbulence, Congress holds, will deter any “possibility of a negotiated settlement leading to a sustainable two-state solution with the democratic, Jewish state of Israel and a demilitarized, democratic Palestinian state living side-by-side in peace, security, and mutual recognition.”

As a result of the pandemic, 93% of businesses in the West Bank and Gaza had a decrease in the delivery of goods and services, and a 50% drop in sales.

During the session held on February 17th in Ramallah, the USAID representatives claimed that it was the pandemic alone that had a “devastating impact…on economic activity and business prospects." As a result of the pandemic, 93% of businesses in the West Bank and Gaza had a decrease in the delivery of goods and services, and a 50% drop in sales.

There was of course no acknowledgment of Obama’s heavy hand in dumping millions for the NGOization of Palestine, when he stood next to Mahmood Abbas in Ramallah in 2013 and said, “Projects through USAID will help strengthen governance, rule of law, economic development, education and health. We consider these to be investments in a future Palestinian state -- investments in peace, which is in all of our interests.” Nor was there an acknowledgement of how disruptive Trump’s reversal of this policy would be to the role of the Palestinian Authority for their American bosses. Instead Nancy Pelosi introduced to a crowd of comprador and business owners the first phase of a program called SMART.

The SMART Project

The Small and Medium Enterprise Assistance for Recovery and Transition (SMART) Project, which partners with global investment firm DAI, will provide cash, technical assistance, marketing help, and most importantly assistance in overcoming “trade barriers” for 100 private Palestinian businesses that apply and qualify for the financial incentives. Funded by USAID, the SMART project will allocate 40 million dollars from 2021-2025 under the direction of George Salem.

The Palestinian economy under the Palestinian Authority is estimated to be $15 Billion (2020). The SMART Initiative will inject approximately 8 million dollars a year (40 million over 5 years) into the Palestinian economy. This tiny amount can hardly be considered a serious investment given SMARTs stated purpose of reversing the losses of COVID-19. Rather the underlying purpose is imperialism.

As of 2020, the largest export partner of the Palestinian Authority ruled areas was the Zionist entity, which accounted for receiving 80% of all Palestinian exports. Palestinians have struggled to export their goods to a more diverse range of countries due to a multitude of trade barriers on the ground that the Zionist entity maintains as part of an economic seige.

Prior USAID Monopoly Tactics in Palestine

Since the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, a massive complex of U.S, European, and Zionist financed NGOs have emerged in the West Bank. These NGOs provide jobs, take over vital public works, and in many cases serve as a tool of de-radicalization by absorbing some of the most talented individuals into their networks.

The effect of these NGOs was to replace actual Palestinian Civil Society with USAID funded NGOs while disempowering the community based structures that were informed by the people and for the people, as evident during the first and second Intifadas, that have sustained Palestinians for centuries.

It became the business of NGOs to report local matters to Washington through a comprador class of Palestinians.

Local matters under NGOs disrupt community based organizing, cohesion, community aid, and voice. It became the business of NGOs to report local matters to Washington through a comprador class of Palestinians.

Under their watch not a single inch of Palestinian land has been liberated from occupation. These NGOs stand by as thousands of square miles of territory were ethnically cleansed of their native Palestinian populations.

In 2008, the US trialed microfinancing through selected banking institutions in the West Bank to finance businesses and land development. SMART contrasts to that initiative by centering decision making power back in the hands of the US and its global investment partner DAI.

The Comprador Maintain Access to Outside Economies

USAID’s attempted monopoly does not threaten the Zionist economy, and those who participate in USAID initiatives gain access to US capital while others get targeted, ransacked, and even murdered. The Security Apparatus and the Zionist Forces are both funded by US imperialists.

One of SMART’s stated goals is to remove trade barriers for companies that qualify for the SMART program. This means selected businesses will be able to export more freely and thus be in a much more competitive position than Palestinian businesses that are not part of the SMART initiative.

For example, USAID supported agricultural products from Palestine by Al Ard Company are being seen across Arab grocery stores in the U.S. The model of collaboration that Al Ard reflects between Palestinian-American investors and businesses in Palestine has long been trialed to inform the SMART strategy.

Al Ard’s collaboration has been documented for at least five years, while other agriculture initiatives like the Kufr Dan Cooperative have been showcased by USAID even while Trump was president. The Daraghmeh company which has a supply chain that stems from Palestine to Jordan has also actively participated in USAID initiatives.

The strategy to overtake Palestinian agriculture and the other sectors that bolster it is the bedrock to USAID, and their access to farmers and the land has enabled an insidious framework to control the farmer class.

The launch of SMART and the examples of “agricultural success stories” is not accidental after the completion of a European led census on the agricultural sector in 2020.

The Swiss leaders of that initiative announced that their “data on the structure of agriculture, especially for small administrative and geographical units, rare items and detailed cross-tabulations” was released in 2021 for “agricultural cooperative societies and individual Palestinian private sector investors. Universities, research institutions, NGOs as well as bilateral and multilateral development agencies will also use updated data.”

USAID Targets Palestinian Autonomy

In an NGO dominant economy, there are limited choices for Palestinians. The plight of the six NGOs who were targeted as terrorist organizations, for example, have always refused USAID and were left vulnerable to other forces.

The Palestinian working class will be the biggest losers under this program.

USAID creates a dichotomy amongst Palestinian businesses that comply with the dictats of SMART and other USAID projects and those that refuse imperialist meddling.

The Palestinian working class will be the biggest losers under this program. Already facing dire employment opportunities and exploitation by the Zionist entity, USAID projects restrict their employees from organizing or resisting the Zionist entity with a broad “anti terrorism” clause that is buried in contracts.

A Focus on Tech

The need for data is crucial to US imperialism. Under the Obama era, there was a spike in investment in the Palestinian tech sector that was motivated by massive investments by USAID, Google, and Cisco.

The spirit of USAID tech initiatives at the time was under the guise of “encouraging entrepreneurship” since academia, the Palestinian Authority, and the private sector had failed to cultivate a business spirit among Palestinians, according to Palestinian-American Silicon Valley based investors. In fact, those leading USAID initiatives in Palestine rose from the Silicon Valley itself to “support global efforts” of US imperialism and normalization.

The tech strand of USAID is an insidious framework of connecting Palestinians to the imperial core via Silicon Valley, which collaborates heavily with the Zionist entity.

A US contained and influenced tech sector within the colonized areas of Palestine stamps US and Zionist influence on Palestinians pursuing careers in tech as well as the technology Palestinians can access. The tech strand of USAID is an insidious framework of connecting Palestinians to the imperial core via Silicon Valley, which collaborates heavily with the Zionist entity. In the past ten years, the Emirates also entered this normalization effort to coordinate with Palestinian tech companies as highlighted in its recent Dubai expo.

Tech does not have physical restrictions, and collecting data that studies Palestinian behavior is extremely valuable to imperialists. The Palestinian Authority has reiterated to the US and international donors the need for better internet and infrastructure in order to better mine data, for example. The monopoly of tech by USAID also provides easy opportunities for normalization without having to confront the geographic limitations of walls, checkpoints, and visas.

The only space that Palestinian tech has had limited success is in IT outsourcing which condones their exploitation. The most talented Palestinian engineers end up working for Zionist start-ups, some of which have even set up offices in Ramallah.

The SMART project carries forward those strategies from the Obama era, “by encouraging partnerships between Palestinian firms and American IT companies or multinational firms based in Israel.”

The Impact on Specific Industries

The harm of USAID gets more severe, as its propaganda, language, and agenda seep into the Palestinian way of life.

Education

Obama’s administration pushed heavily to infiltrate Palestinian education with USAID, directly poisoning primary and secondary schools, learning centers, and universities across Palestine or implementing projects within educational settings.

This agenda was revived through the launch of SMART. Pelosi and her delegation visit had a “roundtable discussion” with Palestinian students.

The economic diplomacy the US wages today through the SMART program upon Palestine will be mirrored with an investment in education to meet the demands of the private sector.

$99 million dollars was recently promised by the Biden administration specifically for UNRWA, which runs schools throughout Palestine, and State Department NGOs like Amideast often operate in UNRWA schools, influence curriculum, and train educators. Likely to follow this SMART project launch will also be the cultivation of Palestinian university faculty and school teachers to nurture a young workforce of Palestinians ready to serve a USAID dominated economy.

Agriculture

Agriculture is not just a symbol of Palestinian resistance, it is what continues to sustain the survival of the land and the people, which are both deeply rooted in each other.

Palestinians are an agrarian people, and farming has been a preserved and active way of life rooted in the land. The farming class has long played a valuable role in resisting imperialism and settler colonialism. While USAID funds and supports the comprador land owners and business owners who farm Palestinian land, the Palestinian relation to their own land is disrupted violently.

Over 100,000 Palestinian families rely on the annual olive harvest to produce olive oil, yet obstacles caused by land degradation from settler colonialism, water theft, transport, and export restrictions yielded one of the lowest recorded harvests in decades.

The Union of the Agricultural Work Committees, one of the six NGOs condemned to be a terrorist organization, has long resisted USAID and farmers from the union have been arrested and targeted for years.

The principled farmers are under pressure to forgo generationally held relationships to their ancestral land, leading to labor migrations to Ramallah and office jobs that serve the NGO invasion.

While USAID compliant agricultural companies gain privilege by normalizing, Palestine’s agricultural landscape is under attack by settler colonialism and imperialism. The principled farmers are under pressure to forgo generationally held relationships to their ancestral land, leading to labor migrations to Ramallah and office jobs that serve the NGO invasion. This is coupled with the physical invasion of white supremacist, Zionist settlers from the imperialist core who wage violence across Palestine and disrupt the farming way of life for thousands. Tools of settler colonialism include the construction of the apartheid wall, water theft, direct settler violence, land theft, land degredation, transport and export restrictions, and permits, have created a settler colonial designed food insecurity crisis in the West Bank and Gaza.

Conclusion

In all likelihood, those businesses that qualify for SMART will most likely have connections to that section of the Palestinian Comprador Bourgeoisie that already dominate those aspects of the West Bank economy allowed by the colonizers. Proponents of SMART and other USAID projects may claim that these types of programs level the economic playing field, but in reality they only reinforce and consolidate the existing power structures of imperialism.