6.10.06

I am too drunk to argue at the moment, but I can't leave things unsaid. I work in development. This is what I studied, in one of the most prestigious universities in the world, and this is what I do for the most prestigious university in Palestine.
Israel, along with a small handful of countries in East Asia and Europe represent a rare phenomenon where development has actually worked. This phenomenon where a significant increase in living standards has occurred in the last fifty years is only evident in South Korea, Hong Kong, Ireland and Israel. Of course in some Middle Eastern Coutnries because of the oil boom. If we exclude rental states, we would be left with Israel, South Korea and Ireland.
I will leave the case of Ireland and SK since they are unimportant to my case. I will take only Israel.
Israel came into existence over a land which it did not really own. It used the floods of European capital from wealthy Jews immigrating into the country. It used existing cultivated areas which was forced empty by ethnic cleansing, and it also used a flood on non-ending financial support from Europe, America, and Holocaust reparations to pay for its development.
I cannot dare to claim that what Israel did is not amazing. It certainly is. However, considering that the founding fathers of the state were actually Europeans who were trained in Europe it is understandable. It is also understandable considering the amount of productive resources they have acquired from Arabs who were forced to flee under war. (and yes, they were forced to!)
On the other hand, Palestine has not been able to develop as I would have hoped it would. Of course there is the corruption of the Authority and all that crap. But also, there is Israel. Israel blocks any way of allowing Palestinian produce to leave the country except through its own agriculture export organisations- it goes without saying that Israeli produce is given priority. Palestinian markets are a dumping ground for Israeli products. When you buy your Tapozina for 8 shekels or more you get it in Ramallah for 5. Israel continuously destroys any productive infrastructure in Palestine, and if it doesn't it makes their production unfeasible by increasing transport costs and the cost of purchasing raw materials and new machinery.
As for education.... Palestinians do have a decent literacy rate compared with groups of same country... I believe that rate stands now at somewhere in the low 90's. However, At Birzeit University we are unable to get books as Israel does not allow any books to enter the Palestinian Territories. We are not allowed to receive visiting scholars as Israel wont grant them entry visa. We are not allowed to even dare to think of developing our infrastructure because Israel would place millions of constraints. Meanwhile, Israel continue to produce the highest quality academic research while it stops us from doing saw because we cannot have access to equipment or resources. I design projects for which I cannot get decent consultants to work on.
I used to be asked why is the UK so developed compared to India or Palestine. My answer would be, Indian cotton made the industrial revolution work, that's how they made all the economic surplus in England. As for Palestinians, read the Gaza Strip: The Political Economy of De-development, by Sarah Roy. It will give some answers.

Yes Israel represents a remarkable case. But it is only so because it has forced us into a state of underdevelopment.

1 comment:

steve said...

ned, ned. You appear to have a good education in some areas and certainly express yourself well. I would in fact take you for an American in your verbiage. Where were you raised? Yet you suffer from handicaps of poor knowledge of both economics and history,and seem to be constantly blaming others for the failings of the sad Pals.

Economics leading to success is not a "zero-sum" game. You do not do well by having others do badly,and prosperity and free trade benefits everyone. The free trade Israel has with the US or the Free Trade between the US,Canada and Mexico (NAFTA) helps everyone. Israel does not do well because the Pals are economic failures,and to think so is foolish bigotry. The need for increased security in Israel to protect itself from terrorism is a drain on the economy. Peace would benefit both parties.

Israel was founded by those who had nothing but their minds and determination. You may have missed the fact that there was a war in Europe about that time,and the whole continent was in ruins. That's why there was a "Marshall Plan",vast aid from the US to rebuild. The Jews who emigrated had far far less than most, for obvious reasons. While there was some support from the world Jewish commnunity, nobody had much--it was a rough time--and it was certainly far less than the massive charity the Pals have received from the EU,US, etc, most of which Arafat and cronies stole or wasted. And of course Israel had wars forced on it bythe Arabs , which were economic losers.

I suppose when you hear falsehoods enough, you tend to believe it,and if your education is not sufficient to enable you to question these things, you're out of luck. And, being young, you don't have much knowledge or history to help you.

Electing ignorant hate-filled murderous terrorists to office is not how you build a country or achieve peace or prosperity. Never. The troubles of the Pala are their own fault, brought on by their own actions and attitudes. Based on your beliefs and comments, I suppose the whole place is imbued with the ignorance, hatred, blaming of others you display,and is thus unlikely to ever change, doomed by your own thoughts and attitudes. Sad. I don't blame the sensible people for leaving if they can. You should, too. There is a better more reasonable world,but you'll never see it there.