Tuesday, May 28, 2013

US Offers PA $4 Billion Just to Return to Negotiations

Can the U.S. Government Buy Moderation? -Barry Rubin, PhD

On May 26, at the World Economic Forum in Jordan, Secretary of State John Kerry proclaimed a new plan. He wants to find $4 billion from investors. If he does this, he claims, the Palestinian economy will be doing great, people will be employed, and there will be peace.

Actually, this is a bribe to get the Palestinian Authority back to negotiations with Israel which would also mean, of course, that the Obama Administration can claim a foreign policy success. That's $4 billion to buy a negotiations'process that will meet a few times and break down in deadlock, as has happened over 20 years under far better potential conditions and additional billions of dollars of aid to the Palestinians. The initiative is also intended to get the Palestinian Authority to drop plans to seek statehood at the UN; file cases against Israel at the World Court; and to try to join other international institutions as an independent state.

What should the money be spent on according to Kerry? Why on tourism! No doubt tourists are just lining up to go to the West Bank. Are Palestinians going to become hotel managers, waiters, lifeguards at swimming pools, and so on? What will Hamas think about the influx of massive numbers of Western tourists? The sale of alcohol? Western women coming in wearing whatever they want?
What would happen to this investment if there was a single terrorist attack in the West Bank, much less one against tourists? Might events in nearby Egypt and Syria affect Western tourism?
And while Israel is successful at tourism it is a developed country with far more to see. Remember east Jerusalem—the main tourist attraction—is controlled by Israel, not the Palestinian Authority. Once you get beyond Bethlehem which tourists can visit easily while spending a night in an Israeli hotel—what’s there to do in the West Bank? Is this a good idea for a $4 billion investment?

Notice incidentally that these are not productive investments. Perhaps he could have proposed investment in green energy. After all, the West Bank has much better prospects for solar power than does the United States.

The supposed uses to which the money would be put further signals that this is a political bribe. If this money is found Kerry said the result would be to:

“Increase the Palestinian GDP by as much as 50% over three years…and reduce unemployment by two-thirds…and increase the median wage by 40%.” Should the secretary of state be talking on such a level of fantasy? Does a single one of his listeners believe this? Tony Blair, to whom the tourism project was turned over by Kerry, has been the negotiator for the quartet for 11 years. Guess how many visits he has made to Jerusalem? Answer: 87. And basically he's accomplished zero.

Kerry has chosen the worst possible plan, investment in an industry that is incredibly sensitive to political unrest.
Question: If billions of dollars have not bought PA support for a two-state solution in 20 years why should anything change now?

Predictably, the PA reaction was that Israel would have to give still more concessions before it would do Israel and the United States the favor of returning to negotiations so that it could obtain a state, even though it is so weak that these two have to prop it up and it only controls half the territory it is bargaining for. No matter how much time and money Kerry takes to restart the "peace process" nothing is going to happen. It is remarkable that the West still doesn't understand this. Or perhaps it does and is putting in all this effort for show?
[The Rubin Report]


Palestinian Poverty Is Related to Government Policy -Shoshana Bryen    

Secretary of State John Kerry has announced his determination to raise $4.2 billion in private investment for the West Bank.

In the real world, investment flows organically to places that have an educated population, security, and rule of law that protects intellectual property and the repatriation of profits. It flows, for example, to Israel.

Areas with corrupt financial practices, a dictatorial government, multiple security services and an education system that is heavy on ideology and the veneration of violence get less.

Palestinian poverty is intimately related to Palestinian government policy.

Palestinian leadership is at war with the country best able to employ its people - Israel - which has, in fact, periodically employed a great many of them. In 1992, 115,600 Palestinian workers entered Israel every day.
(Gatestone Institute)
Palestinians Want U.S. Cash, Not Peace - Jonathan S. Tobin

Secretary of State John Kerry offered a $4 billion plan to the PA to quit its boycott of peace negotiations. The Palestinian response was "no." The Palestinians say thanks for the cash but no talks except those that guarantee they get everything they're asking for while giving nothing in return and even then there's no guarantee they won't continue the conflict.
Almost from the beginning of the Jewish return to their ancient homeland, many Zionists thought the Arabs inside the country would be won over to the new reality once they realized that the Jews brought development and prosperity with them. But the underlying Arab animosity was always based in a refusal to accept the legitimacy of the idea that Jews would now be equal partners, let alone have sovereignty over part of the land.
Only a few Jewish leaders understood that the Arabs could not be bought with prosperity. For them the conflict was about honor and religion, not money. Only when they gave up their last hope that the Jews could be pushed out would they ever make peace.

More Peace, Less Process -Ben Cohen
  • Every day, it seems, an American politician declares that time is running out, that windows of opportunity are closing, that the Israeli-Palestinian dimension of the broader Middle East conflict is propelling the region towards apocalypse.
  • Negotiations that are not preceded by meaningful, internal political reform in the Palestinian entity will share the fate of the Oslo Agreement. The path to peace begins not with discussions about settlements, water rights or the size of the Palestinian security forces, but with what the Palestinians themselves believe about the world around them - and whether they are capable of change.

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