Monday, June 17, 2002

REALITY CHECK: Justin Weitz brings to my attention this piece in the Jerusalem Post, which lays out in plain, dispassionate language why a Palestinian state would not be economically viable at this time:

If created, there is a strong possibility of serious civil strife and an over-reliance on international aid from Arab and EU countries. Much of what was promised in the past never arrived.

The business sector has not developed as hoped back in 1993. The majority of successful Palestinian entrepreneurs live outside the boundaries of the proposed state, and have shown little inclination to invest in the PA, preferring markets where there is a stronger chance of financial return. Put simply, they continue to invest in the global markets for business and not nationalist reasons, and there is little sign that this would change with the creation of a state.

Consequently, many Palestinian families would become increasingly reliant on one or more members of the family working in Israel or Kuwait. In these circumstances it is difficult to see how a state could raise enough taxes to pay for even the most basic services for its citizens.

When the PA is ready to address these points in plain, dispassionate language, there may be a basis on which to elevate the discussion to level of negotiated implementation. But for now, as they remain fixated on tearing down instead of building up, there hardly seems any point in giving them so much as the time of day.

Adds Justin, for good measure:
I've heard some people say that if the PA is entrusted with the day-to-day upkeep of a state (schools, hospitals, waste management, and other boring stuff), the Palestinians will settle down, start nation-building, forget about explosive belts, and start to live in peace. The PA has had such control since 1994, when Israel withdrew from Jericho and Gaza. Nothing has changed and nothing has been developed. Guys, lend me some of whatever fabulous hallucinatory drug you're using. Life's too depressing for sobriety.


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