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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Life for 'Palestinians' 'intolerable'?

In his June 4 speech in Cairo, President Obama described the life of 'Palestinians' as 'intolerable.' But like so many other claims that the President makes, that one is a demonstrable lie, at least if you compare the 'Palestinian' situation to that of other people in the Arab world. To put it simply, the 'Palestinians' in Judea, Samaria and Gaza are much better off than their counterparts in Arab countries.
The standard tables of gross domestic product (GDP) per capital show the West Bank and Gaza at US$1,700, just below Egypt's $1,900 and significantly below Syria's $2,250 and Jordan's $3,000. GDP does not include foreign aid, however, which adds
roughly 30% to spendable funds in the Palestinian territories. Most important, the denominator of the GDP per capita equation - the number of people - is far lower than official data indicate. According to an authoritative study by the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies [1], the West Bank and Gaza population in 2004 was only 2.5 million, rather than the 3.8 million claimed by the Palestinian authorities. The numbers are inflated to increase foreign aid.

Adjusting for the Begin-Sadat Center population count and adding in foreign aid, GDP per capita in the West Bank and Gaza comes to $3,380, much higher than in Egypt and significantly higher than in Syria or Jordan. Why should any Palestinian refugee resettle in a neighboring Arab country?

GDP per capita, moreover, does not reflect the spending power of ordinary people. Forty-four percent of Egyptians, for example, live on less than $2 a day, the United Nations estimates. The enormous state bureaucracy eats up a huge portion of national income. New immigrants to Egypt who do not have access to government jobs are likely to live far more poorly than per capita GDP would suggest.

Other data confirm that Palestinians enjoy a higher living standard than their Arab neighbors. A fail-safe gauge is life expectancy. The West Bank and Gaza show better numbers than most of the Muslim world:
Life expectancy in the 'West Bank' and Gaza is 73.4 years, which is exceeded only by Oman and Bahrain (75.6 each) in the Arab world. Of course, in 1967, the life expectancy in the 'West Bank' was 48 years, so guess whose fault it is that 'Palestinians' are living longer....

And here's another whopper:
Literacy in the Palestinian Authority domain is 92.4%, equal to that of Singapore. That is far better than the 71.4% in Egypt, or 80.8% in Syria.
It gets worse. The 'Palestinians' don't work at anything - except policing themselves.

Palestinian security forces - Ministry of Interior and National Security - account for 43 percent of all wages paid by the Palestinian Authority. 31 percent of the PA's total budget is spent on the Ministry of Interior and National Security. This large force exists despite the fact that the PA does not have regular armed forces to defend it from external aggression. In addition, there are numerous armed militias not on the Fatah-dominated PA payroll.

By way of comparison, Israel spends 3.8 percent of its total expenditure on public order (CBS Statistical Abstract of Israel, 2008 table 11.1). Another 20 percent goes to national defense.

Just how many 'police' do the 'Palestinians' have?
The Reuters report follows a piece in the Jordan Times announcing plans to train a 50,000-person police force for the West Bank. This translates to one police officer for every 42-70 citizens (depending on which population figures for the West Bank are accepted), an unprecedented concentration of police presence. Currently, there are only 7,000 Palestinian police officers in the West Bank (Reuters, January13, 2008), so the new plan calls for a seven-fold increase. The planned expansion would result in a density of police at least three to four times that of major American cities that have to contend with much higher crime rates than the West Bank.
In other words:
The Palestinians cannot form a normal state. They cannot emigrate to Arab countries without accepting a catastrophic decline in living standards, and very few can emigrate to Western countries. The optimal solution for the Palestinians is to demand a state and blackmail Western and Arab donors with the threat of violence, but never actually get one.
Is life for the 'Palestinians' intolerable? Yes, it's intolerable for us. The West needs to stop subsidizing the 'Palestinians' and make them work for themselves. Maybe then they wouldn't have time to engage in terror.


At 7:47 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

According to Abbas, things are fine as they are. The only one who hasn't gotten the message yet is Obama.

What could go wrong indeed

At 10:37 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

HAT TIP FOR CARL - Barry Rubin has just posted an interesting analysis of just how wrong-headed Israeli Leftists (of the Peace Now variety) can be about Palestinian and Fatah politics:

Peace Now Responds To My Analysis Of Palestinian Politics - And Convinces Me Far More That They Are Dangerously Wrong

Do you want to stake Israel's existence on wishful thinking?

Read it all.

At 10:39 PM, Blogger mrzee said...

"The Reuters report follows a piece in the Jordan Times announcing plans to train a 50,000-person police force for the West Bank."

The Oslo Accords limit the palestinians to a maximum of 12,000 police in the West Bank (and 18,000 in Gaza).


Just one more reason not to waste time negotiating with the PA and to never agree to American "monitoring" of compliance.

At 7:28 AM, Blogger Iron Chef Kosher! said...

If they listen to the "Palestinians" on this issue, then they have to listen to them on others - such as when they say that "Jenin was a victory - they tried to destroy us but failed!" And that they are NOT "desperate, & driven to terror," but rather warriors using their most effective weapon.



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