– around-the-clock electricity for these Arab populations went from 20.5 percent in 1968 to 92.8 percent by 1986; running water in homes rose from 16 percent in 1967 to 85 percent in 1986; and while only 4 percent of Arab Palestinians had electric or gas ranges for cooking in 1967, that number rose to 83.5 percent in 1986.
Finally, and perhaps the single indicator which should be most directly linked to a successful society is education. When Israel became “responsible” for the Arab populations in the relevant areas in 1967 there were no universities. However, by the early 1990’s there were seven institutions of higher learning, with nearly 16,500 students. Illiteracy rates dropped to 14 percent of adults over age 15, compared with 69 percent in Morocco, 61 percent in Egypt, 45 percent in Tunisia, and 44 percent in Syria.
And as Karsh further points out, there was very little “home-grown” Arab terrorism during the first twenty “post-Occupation” year period. That is, until the pre-Oslo and then Oslo periods, marked by the West -including Israel’s – propping up of the Palestinian Liberation Organization.
WHAT LED TO ARAB PALESTINIAN POVERTY WAS TERRORISM, NOT LACK OF AID OR EDUCATION
As Karsh explained in an email exchange with The Jewish Press on Wednesday, Oct. 6, the enormous financial, health, social welfare and other advances enjoyed by the Arab Palestinians were flushed down the drain once Arafat and his coalition of kleptocrats destroyed and or stole the vast majority of what had been the Arab Palestinians’ life support.
As he wrote in the epilogue to his 2004 book, “Arafat’s War,”
Within six months of Arafat’s arrival in Gaza in July 1994, the standard of living in the Strip fell by twenty-five percent. By September 1997, nearly two years after the PA had extended its control over virtually the entire Palestinian population of the West Bank and Gaza, per capita income in the territories had dropped thirty-five percent from its pre-September 1993 level. Even so, at the time Arafat started his war of terror against Israel, Palestinian income per head was nearly double Syria’s, more than four times Yemen’s, and ten percent higher than Jordan’s.
But the positive post-’67 results would not last forever. Karsh revealed that less than four years later, “this income had dropped to a fraction of its earlier levels, with numerous Palestinians reduced to poverty and despondency.”
An American economist, George Gilder, also wrote with great specificity on the topic. Gilder’s 2011 article “The Economics of Settlement” in the American Spectator, broadens the argument and the time frame to include the early twentieth century and brings it to the present.
Gilder reminds readers of the dessication of the former “land of milk and honey,” and how the stony plains and malarial swamps were cleared, drained and rebuilt in the late 1800’s by small bands of Jews returning to the area. Gilder not only documents the dramatic improvements made to the area before the official re-birth of the Jewish state. He also discusses the utter futility of pouring millions and billions of dollars worth of foreign aid into a government unable to govern itself, let alone the rest of its people.
So, the increase in Arab Palestinian wealth and outside economic support was not sufficient to either prevent or decrease the dramatic growth in terrorism and destruction for the Arab Palestinians. And conversely, the growth in terrorism and destruction has not abated with a renewed investment of billions of dollars from the outside world.
Perhaps the state department, or at least the U.S. congress, might want to hear from Karsh or from Gilder before handing out any more cash to the Arab Palestinians.
Because the problem is not financial support. To paraphrase Bill Clinton’s campaign advice: “It’s the terrorism, stupid.”
About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools. You can reach her by email: Lori@JewishPressOnline.com
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