Palestinian Economy is Unsustainable


Because of their heavy reliance on foreign aid the World Bank has said the recent economic growth in the Palestinian Territories is unsustainable. The institutions that have been established cannot be supported by the economy. Manufacturing and agriculture are shrinking and aid levels are falling because of the world economy.

The Palestinian Authority was confronted with a $500,000,000. shortfall last month. Security restrictions imposed by the Israeli government continue to stymie investment. However there is not much that can be done about that until there is a peace treaty with Israel. Direct talks between Israel and the P.A. have been suspended since September 2010.

The Palestinian Fatahparty (PLO) was beaten in parliamentary elections in 2006 by Hamas, a terrorist militant group. The following year Hamas gunmen drove Fatah out of the Gaza Strip and set up its own government there.

To solve the Palestinian economy problem step one would be to make peace with Israel, acknowledge that Israel is a state. Stop allowing rocket attacks and terrorist’s attacks, from Palestinian lands into Israel. Forget about your so-called holy war and make peace. Stop feeding your children a non-stop diet of pre-genocidal hatred of their Jewish neighbors.

Treaties may be negotiated in the halls of governments but true peace is made between real people.

Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the secular al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades are all formally classified as terrorist groups by the U.S. government,  operating from the Palestinian-ruled territories governed by Mahmoud Abbas.

A future Palestinian state should seek to emulate Asian countries that have managed to sustain high levels of economic growth by adopting an outward orientation and integrating into world supply chains.

Because of all the rockets fired at Israel by the Palestinians as well as the border disputes, Israel has had to build a security barricade so the borders can be protected. The route of that security fence is controversial, but Israel really is seeking some peace. The fence dividing the West Bank from Israel has created a problem for the people in the ancient Palestinian village of Battir. They have a most unique agricultural system. The simple irrigation used today is as it was in ancient times. Water is shared between Battir’s eight main extended families. A simple system of manually diverting water via gates and aqueducts means that fruit and vegetables from the small plots of land on the lower slopes are renowned for their freshness and quality.

These Palestinian people live in prosperity peace with Israel. In this part of the world, the supply and control of water is a major logistical and political issue. Yet the quaint village of Battir must be one of the most blessed communities around. Battir has water in abundance. For thousands of years, seven natural springs have given life and prosperity to the village. Children still play in the old Roman bath house built centuries ago.

Battir is built on the side of a steep hill just to the south of Jerusalem, in the occupied West Bank. The land is designed in the form of traditional terrace agriculture. The water flows from springs in town and flows down through the terraced gardens.

Akram Badir is head of the village council. He is a successful Palestinian businessman in his own right, but has spent a lot of his time in recent months mounting a legal challenge in the Israeli courts to the planned routing of the security barrier. “The land is everything to us, Akram says. “Without our land we are nothing. It’s been this way for centuries and our lives will disappear if the wall is built here.”

Israel is concerned about the lives of these villagers as well as their own security. About 30% of Battir’s lands lie on the Israeli side of the recognized pre-1967 boundary between Israel and the West Bank. Israel’s defense ministry has made it clear that the Palestinian villagers would still be able to access their lands and sustain their lifestyle and good economy.

The Israeli defense ministry said in a statement that the routing of the barrier is based on security considerations and any potential damage to the area would be minimized. The villagers will continue to have access to their lands, even if a security gate has to be built for them to have complete access.

“There are few, if any, places left in the immediate region where such a traditional method of agriculture remains, not only intact, but as a functioning part of the village,” Akram Badir remarked as we walked through olive groves that have not changed for as long as anyone can remember.

It is here in little Palestinian villages where people live in peace and a sustainable economy. They count on the rewards of their own labor and God given prosperity in this beautiful land.

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