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Friday, January 11, 2013

Being 'Palestinian' means living permanently on international welfare

I know I should not be amazed by this, but it's so blatant it's hard not to be amazed. The New York Times publishes yet another editorial crying over the horrific state of the 'Palestinian' economy without once stopping to think why the 'Palestinian people' are still entirely dependent on international welfare nearly 20 years after the signing of the Oslo Accords, and have made precisely zero progress in developing an economy of their own. In fact, they were better off under the 'Israeli occupation,' but don't tell the Times that.
There are many causes. After Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, won an upgrade for the status of Palestine as a nonmember observer state at the United Nations General Assembly last fall, Israel retaliated by withholding the $100 million in monthly tax revenues it collects on behalf of the Palestinians. Congress, meanwhile, has been withholding more than $450 million in American aid. Last year, Mr. Fayyad said he hoped to improve the authority’s financial condition by cutting spending and raising taxes on wealthier Palestinians. The tax plan ran into strong protest and the West Bank’s modest economic growth has slowed.
In the recent interview Mr. Fayyad put most of the blame for the authority’s financial distress on Arab donors who are “not fulfilling their pledge of support” made in Arab League resolutions to make up the money Israel is withholding. This should come as little surprise. Arab leaders have often promised political and economic support for the Palestinians and failed to deliver. Arab foreign ministers are expected to meet Sunday in Cairo to discuss Palestinian issues, including the promised aid. They should affirm their commitment to assist the Palestinian Authority and get the funds flowing.
Note that the Times is happy to blame the Arab states for not ponying up enough money, and Israel for existing. But it won't blame the 'Palestinian Authority's failure to make any effort at economic development for the fact that after 19 years, the 'Palestinian Authority' is still living hand to mouth.

Perhaps this is the place to retell a story I have told several times, but not in the past couple of years. A number of years ago (probably late '90's or early '00's), I attended a lecture under the auspices of the Columbia Alumni Club in Israel. The lecturer was Natan Sharansky, who was Minister of Industry and Trade from 1996-1999 under Binyamin Netanyahu. Sharansky said that every time Israel attempted to discuss economic relations with the 'Palestinians,' they would tune out. All that interested them was how much land they were going to get under any eventual arrangement.

That's not building a state from the ground up. Abu Mazen and Fayyad are failures. Too bad the Western media is scapegoating everyone else rather than placing the blame where it belongs.

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