Monday, December 21, 2015
The Lessons Palestinians Won't Learn
What Palestinians Can Learn from the Kurds - Bob Feferman & Dan Feferman
Northern Syria's 4.5 million Kurds have banded together in an enclave about the size of Connecticut called Rojava. Northern Iraq's 6 million Kurds have turned an area the size of Switzerland into the safest, most tolerant and stable part of the region. Upscale homes, malls, fancy cars and all manners of normal life cover the now-booming capital in Erbil. The Economist reports that the area has become a proto-democracy where "regular elections, a boisterous parliament, an array of political parties and a raucous media," secular government and even women's rights have become mainstays.
The key take-away is that the Kurds realized that the trappings of statehood meant little if the basis for a functioning society underneath was absent. Rather than apply for meaningless membership to myriad international organizations, in clear contrast to the Palestinians, the Kurds sought economic prosperity and good governance. If the Palestinians' end-game is an independent state alongside Israel, then the millions of (donor) dollars spent on supporting 106 diplomatic missions would be far better spent building a civil society from the ground up.
Rather than focusing on building a state in name but not in function to join other failed states, the Palestinians should look to Rojava and Erbil, where the Kurds have created functioning democracies that should serve as a source of inspiration for us all.
Dan Feferman is a major (res.) in the IDF. Bob Feferman is community relations director for the Jewish Federation of St. Joseph Valley in South Bend, Indiana.
The New Palestinians - Ben Caspit
The Israeli security establishment is seeking to define, characterize and restrain the young Palestinians leading the current terror wave. The new Palestinian defies authority and is not subject to any kind of higher hierarchy. He was around 3 or 5 years old during the second intifada (2000-2005) and doesn't really remember those years when more than 1,000 Israelis and 3,000 Palestinians were killed.
The new Palestinian goes to college. At least 30,000 Palestinians earn undergraduate degrees every year in the West Bank and another 20,000 in Gaza. But there is nothing they can do with their degrees. There are no decent positions, no high-tech jobs and no serious economic infrastructure. The new Palestinian has no tangible hope of accomplishing the things that he sees others achieving on social networks.
The new Palestinian is convinced that he is in the right, blind to the positions of others, and follows the international community's stance on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and draws encouragement from it. He is completely open to the various conspiracy theories about Israel that spread through the Arab street.
According to Israeli security experts, Israel is now "paying" for things that it is not even guilty of. The economies of the Arab states in general have long been weak, and the Palestinian economy in particular cannot give its youths any real hope of improvement.
The new Palestinian is unaware that compared to the other Arabs in the Middle East today, his situation is better than theirs. The only Arab region in which electricity is available 24/7 is in the West Bank. The same is true regarding infant mortality and the standard of medical care.