Photo Credit: Abed Rahim Khatib / Flash90
Palestinian businessmen are backing peace and compromise with the much bigger economy next door, Israel. To Palestinian nationalist intellectual, this represents the ultimate treason.
At the founding of the Jerusalem Arbitration Center (JAC) in 2011, British, European, Israeli and Palestinian business and arbitration leaders have collaborated to make it easier for companies on either side of the “green line” to work together.

At least the Al-Shabaka report is honest about the fact that neither Palestinian government possesses the competence required to run a modern state. Many warned that this would be the outcome of Oslo. Why should a gang of Arab thugs—whose main focus over half a century has been killing Jews and each other—be able to run a country?

Of course, the report blames it all on Israel, the World Bank and Palestinian businessmen. But the grim picture of the economy in the Palestinian heart of darkness cannot be denied:


“Palestinians are far worse off today than they were in 1993 using any economic or political criterion. According to the income-based definition of poverty, 50% of Palestinians lived in poverty in 2009 and 2010, 38% in the West Bank and 70% in Gaza. The World Food Program has found that 50% of Palestinian households suffer from food insecurity. Unemployment has been stuck at around 30% since 2009, with 47% unemployed in Gaza in 2010 and 20% in the West Bank. The unemployment rate for Palestinian youth under 30 is particularly alarming at 43%. The income and opportunities inequality gap continues to widen not only between the West Bank and Gaza, but also within the West Bank.”

There’s more:

“Public debt has doubled, while private debt has ballooned because of easier access to credit. At the macro-economic level, the celebrated economic growth of 7.1% in 2008, 7.4% in 2009 and 9.3% in 2010 was an aid-driven jobless growth that excluded Jerusalem and simply reflected an economy recovering from a low base. Instead, Palestinians have become completely dependent on foreign aid to sustain their isolated enclaves in the West Bank and Gaza, a captive market based on aid money used to buy most of its needs from Israel. NGO-aid induced inflation, personal debt and rising cost-of-living have been linked to the stalled peace process – a process that has steadily seen life for Palestinians get worse and aspirations of self-determination recede.”

The NY Times wrote just this morning that out of an estimated 2.5 million Arabs living under Palestinian Authority rule, a staggering 740,000 are refugees registered by the United Nations, “including those who fled or were expelled to the West Bank in 1948 during the war over Israel’s foundation, and their descendants. The refugees — whether they have remained in the camps or moved to the cities, like most in the West Bank — are entitled to social services and assistance provided by the United Nations agency.”

How can you possibly run a thriving economy when so many of your people are eternal welfare recipients? How can you hope for prosperity when any attempt to drive business through ventures with the strong, Western neighboring economy is shot down as an act of treason? How can you have a normal life when nothing works, all the infrastructure left behind by Jordan and then Israel is being left to rot?

I would urge Al-Shabaka to run their own survey among the palestinians both under the PA in Judea and Samaria and the Hamas in Gaza, asking how many would drop everything and rush to wait in line if Israel had promised them a “blue card,” meaning an Israeli citizenship.

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Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth,,, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.