Tactical Middle East
10 September 09
THE MOST RECENT New York Times opinion article is written by Zahi Khouri, the “chief executive of the Palestinian National Beverage Co.” – a businessman, who once left Manhattan to open his own business in Palestine. And his operation prospered – that is, until the evil Israelis suddenly, without any reason at all, imposed tough economic sanctions and movement restrictions on Palestinian people. Just like that – no reason at all.
Mr. Khouri is quite good at playing the numbers card, quoting World Bank and International Monetary Fund figures. For example:
Yet the International Monetary Fund’s projected growth of 7 percent in the West Bank for 2009 is largely the result of Palestinian reforms undertaken in spite of the obstacles Israel continues to place in the way of Palestinian development.
According to a June 2009 World Bank report, real G.D.P. in the occupied Palestinian territory has declined by a “cumulative 34 percent in real per capita terms” since September 2000.
Khouri understands that the economic growth is not God-sent and could be reversed, by saying that “7 percent growth is no sure thing”. He, however, knows exactly whom to blame:
Netanyahu’s economic and political dictums determine whether we grow or contract. He wields this immense power over us, although Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza had no role in his election.
Israeli spreading settlements, checkpoints and roadblocks that fragment the occupied Palestinian territory; Israel’s illegal Wall and its permit system that severely restrict where Palestinians can live and work; and Israel’s continuing siege of Gaza all not only threaten our nascent economic recovery, but threaten the very possibility of a two-state solution
President Obama recognizes this. President Mahmoud Abbas recognizes this. Yet Benjamin Netanyahu somehow thinks he can charm Palestinians, who are daily reminded of the occupation under which they suffer, with a 7-percent growth bubble.
You guessed it right – it’s the Israelis fault. If there is one thing missing from Khouri’s piece it’s Palestinian “activism” in form of murder of over a thousand Israelis, wounding or injuring another several thousands. Khouri would not direct blame on his fellow Palestinians in Islamic Jihad or Tanzim or HAMAS for opening armed battles with Israeli forces, sending dozens suicide bombers into Jewish neighborhoods and cities. It is okay to murder these babies – they are Jewish.
Khouri’s piece provides excellent insight into the propaganda machine run by some Palestinian individuals (both from the private sector and the political echelon), and supported or relayed by major press sources – both currently focus on Israeli settlement expansion as the reason for Peace Process being stuck where it currently is. No commentators mention Mahmoud Abbas’ refusal to recognize Israel and a state for the Jews; no columnists remind readers of religious sermons encouraging Palestinians to murder Jews. Yet, it is horrible when IAF hurts civilians when targeting a terrorist, but fully fine when a Palestinian hacks a 13-years-old boy with an axe.
Khouri claims Israeli actions “threaten the very possibility of a two-state solution”, yet fails to tell his reader that in Palestinian eyes there should be Palestine – the state for Palestinian Arabs – and Israel, a democratic (for a while, at least) state with Arab majority. Yes, that is correct – as Palestinians demand return of 4 million Palestinian refugees and their descendants into the borders of 1967 Israel, the Jewish state would soon become just another Arab state.