I originally posted this in another thread as a response...but it's intriguing enough to deserve it's own discussion. I adamently oppose the Trump administration's unilateral cutting off of all aid to the Palestinians. Trump has no Middle East plan - all he believes in is punishing people into submission without regard to human suffering. However, this article offers some good ideas on how aid could be structured more effectively. Reshaping US aid to the Palestinians With prospects for diplomacy dim, with the need to change reality on the ground to restore a sense of possibility, and with past lessons showing that assistance should be used to promote development and reduce Israeli-Palestinian friction, we propose three recommendations for Congress to reprogram the $200 million fiscal 2018 monies to create a more stable economic, political and security environment in Gaza and the West Bank: First, use that assistance to take water off the negotiating table. In the not too distant past, water negotiations were zero-sum, given the limited supply of water between the Mediterranean and Jordan River. Now, due to technological gains in water desalination, water use and reuse, water negotiations are no longer binary trade-offs. Instead, they can focus on the much simpler challenges of distribution and pricing. What could this mean in practice? U.S. assistance in Gaza can fund a small solar field to power the existing Gaza Wastewater Treatment Plant, build up the community-based solar desalination units piloted by MIT, expand the UNICEF solar-fuel facility in Gaza’s Khan Younis neighborhood, initiate additional phases of the World Bank-funded North Gaza Emergency Sanitation Treatment plant, and repair water infrastructure degraded by three wars. Water also is directly linked to electricity; progress in water and sanitation will yield a better, more predictable power supply. There is real potential for small-scale, renewable power throughout Gaza, supplying energy at the community level while minimizing the risk of disruption historically associated with Gaza’s power plant. Second, U.S. assistance should be used to substantially expand trade between Palestinians and Israelis. Consider the northern West Bank city of Jenin: Israel decided 15 years ago that if it opened a crossing point so Israeli Arabs could shop in the West Bank, it would be a stabilizer, even though the Second Intifada rebellion was ongoing. That calculation was successful; increased Palestinian trade has reduced unemployment in the northern West Bank from reportedly 50 percent in 2003 to below 20 percent now. These robust trading channels have opened sustainable opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses, improved local governance and fostered broad-based security for Palestinians and Israelis alike. In 2003, Jenin was the center for suicide bombers during the peak of the Second Intifada but now is one of the more successful Palestinian cities. The Jenin model is replicable. American aid can help establish similar trading zones in the West Bank city of Qalqilya where Palestinian traders, shopkeepers and small businesses can sell directly to the large Israeli Arab community a few miles away. The Jenin model also can work in Gaza: Palestinian textile manufacturers have relationships with Israeli designers and European markets; Gaza historically supplied much of the fresh fruits and vegetables in Israel. These relationships could restart in months with the sustained, predictable opening of the Karem Shalom crossing and additional trading corridors from Erez or elsewhere. Perhaps most interesting is the nascent but growing Gaza tech sector, where Gaza Sky Geeks is incubating Palestinian start-ups and more established firms are initiating software development with tech firms in Israel and beyond. Israel’s tech industry has more than 10,000 unfilled jobs which could be filled from the surplus of high-tech graduates in the West Bank and Gaza. Third, education is a key foundation for a better future. Israelis and Americans have long criticized the Palestinian Authority for not educating its people for peace. Why not engage American universities and NGOs to elevate the Palestinian education system and prepare Palestinians for a 21st century economy? Bard College has provided long-term teacher training at Al Quds University in which teachers and principals earn an American master’s degree in education and serve as leaders in their schools. Imagine if education programming and people-to-people funding allowed the best cohort of Palestinian youth to study in Israeli universities, intern at Israeli high-tech firms, and do residencies at Israeli hospitals.