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Failed Statehood Push Leads to Trouble in Palestine

The situation in the West Bank is deteriorating, according to the Washington Post. In addition to a budget deficit that now tops $1 billion and a decline in the foreign aid that the area relies on, the Palestinian Authority is facing political pressures:

“Most of the money is spent on security, and the security is not for the Palestinian people. It is for the world, especially Israel,” said Bassam Zakarneh, president of the Palestinian Authority workers union. “If they say we will cut your salary 50 percent to create a sovereign state, we agree.”

But that has not happened, and now some are calling for the Palestinian Authority — formed as an interim body more than 16 years ago — to be dismantled. Fayyad, an economist who in 2009 outlined a nation-building strategy based on economic development and good governance, said that would be a profound mistake.

This is a very sad but entirely predictable development. Last year’s push for UN statehood gave the Palestinians a short-lived emotional rush, but as that rush has faded, and ugly reality has once again set in, disappointment has taken its place. This is not exactly a recipe for stability.

Israel isn’t to blame for the consequences of an ill-advised Palestinian attempted end run around negotiations with the Jewish state, but there are nevertheless things it could do to help: namely, promoting economic recovery in the West Bank. One hopes Israel will see the wisdom of this; despite all the dark clouds and the obstacles in the path, the best prospects for lasting peace still come from a stable, thriving West Bank.

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  • BigFire

    What’s the point of appeasing those that would slit your throat rather than feed their own children? The Palestinian have their priority, and the Israeli have theirs.

  • Brett

    It’s hard to promote economic development in the West Bank. Much of it is cut-up by governmental barriers, and then there’s other instability-creating factors to consider (such as settlers cutting down your orchards, and the whole area’s dependence on the PA’s money). It’s not a good business climate.

    I’m not really sure Israel wants to promote real economic development in the West Bank. Impoverished, dissatisfied Palestinians are likely to emigrate as they are to riot.

  • vdorta

    Yeah, governmental barriers such as wholesale corruption (remember Arafat?). Maybe the example of developed Arab countries around them?

  • Brett

    Corruption and the checkpoints, to be more precise.

  • Kris

    Brett@2: I can’t be sure what Israel actually wants, but the fact is that the Palestinian Arabs have done best economically when under Israeli control.

    Tying this to the original post, one reason that Abbas is threatening to dismantle the Palestinian Authority is that he considers this effective leverage against Israel. Right now, the Palestinian Authority gets a lot of foreign aid. If it were to dissolve itself, the area and population would once again revert to full Israeli control and responsibility. While one can be sure that most foreign aid would come to a screeching halt, this doesn’t worry the Arabs, since they are confident that Israel will make up for it.

    Funny how their actions continually betray their claims that Israelis are the new Nazis.

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