Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Better Economy for Palestinians, But Worse Enmity for Israel

Improved living conditions aren't shifting political attitudes.

Dennis Mitzner
23 December '10

In the past few years, the annual economic growth rate in the West Bank has been 7 per cent. The wages have recently risen 24 per cent and the level of tourism is increasing. The well-executed economic policies of the Palestinian Authority have produced impressive results.

However, when looking at the past decade, two elements of the Palestinian attitude toward Israel remain constant: the unwillingness to reconcile and the insistence on supporting terrorism to reach political goals. It is revealing that improved economic conditions and strong economic growth in the West Bank have not resulted in significant improvement in political attitudes toward Israel. According to a recent survey commissioned by the Israel Project, two-thirds of the people living in Gaza and West Bank believe that Palestinians must work to get back all of Palestine for a future Palestinian state. The millions of dollars in foreign aid, pumped into the economy, have done nothing to significantly change the Palestinian view of Israel.

This November, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ ruling Fatah party held its Fifth Revolutionary Council in Ramallah. Setting the tone for the proceedings were speeches proclaiming admiration for Amin al-Hindi, the mastermind behind the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre of 11 Israeli athletes. Getting down to business, the Fatah council rejected the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.

Such unwillingness to reconcile seems odd, considering the substantial improvement of the standard of living in the West Bank. Could it be that when the idea of an independent Palestinian state became attainable, but not yet concrete, radical attitudes increased?

(Read full "A Better Economy for Palestinians, But Worse Enmity for Israel")

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