Can we afford a Palestinian state?

Today Bush came out in another of his infamous speeches: too many compliments for Israel, and a pat on the back for Abbas. It is funny/sad to hear Bush speaking negatively of murders, people being thrown from rooftops, and masked militiamen! It sounded exactly as if Pieter Botha (then Prime minister of South Africa) coming out to congratulate the Zimbabwean people on their liberation from the racist rule in 1980.
Anyway, Bush reiterated his position in favour of a Palestinian state. Since 1999 we have heard a promise of declaring the state each year during the times of Arafat, and a less confident expression of hopes since Abbas came to power. In both cases Palestinians applauded the speeches. However, our presidents never told us if we can actually afford a Palestinian state now.
Let us have a look at the more recent history. In January last year, we had elections. Hamas won. Funding stopped. Employees had no salaries for 16 months. Hamas did not care. Fatah could not care less. What does this crisis tell us?
First, we have a 'country' with an economy that cannot support the government's current bill. In short, we are (I think) the only political entity on earth that begs even the salaries of its employees. Half of our GDP comes from foreign aid, half of the other half comes from remittances, and less than a quarter is actually produced inside Palestine. If we have a state now, we would stop being a pressing issue in the eyes of the world. We will stop receiving international aid. Hopefully, with some luck, fifty years from now we will have an economy resembling that of Afghanistan nowadays.
The ruling party could not take responsibility for the crisis, the opposition did nothing. We have political parties that are incapable of representing anyone. As a matter of fact, these parties, despite their large historic popular bases are merely puppets in a regional and international play. So we do not have a multi-party system, we actually have a multi-state system. Hopefully, with any luck, in 50 years from now, we will develop into Lebanon's current political system.
We have more military factions that our population size. A friend tells me that the Red Cross had to negotiate with 19 separate groups to secure their exit from Gaza. These were the moderate groups which agreed to negotiate, of course. Any two guys with guns can start a brigade and terrorise Palestinians before they do Israelis under the mask of patriotism we are intimidated into hailing them as the angels of the gods.
Of course, I am not required to mention the fact that institutions such as the police, the justice system, the health services are more crippled than those of the least developed countries of the world.
So Mr. Abbas, when you come up and tell us I will get you a state, do you know what you will do the next day?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Ned
Your opinions are always interesting.
So, I translated this one in Italian, and posted it on "dalMondo.info", for our Italian readers.