Thursday, February 02, 2006

Building an economy under fire - The Jews of 1939

The Hamas victory has put the spotlight on the Palestinian Arab-administered areas, especially how the Arabs will be able to maintain their economy when a huge percentage of their budget is in the form of welfare handed over from the West.

The Palestinian Arab economy is very interesting. It is wholly dependent on the one nation that it wants to destroy. According to the CIA World Factbook, when the second intifada started 100,000 Palestinian Arabs lost their jobs. Since they have no independent economy, the Palestinian Arabs went to the West begging for funds to pay for bogus "policemen" and pay them off to pretend to no longer be interested in terror.

No one seems to ask the question: why have the Palestinian Arabs, who have been there for decades, failed to build up any sort of decent independent infrastructure and economy on their own?

Many would answer that Israeli military actions have devastated any chance that Palestinian Arabs may have had to build such an infrastructure. This theory assumes that it is impossible to build something permanent in uncertain times, that one cannot expect people to think far ahead when they have to worry about today.

Let me introduce you to the Palestinian Jews of the 1930s.

During the 30's, the Jews (and many Arabs) of Palestine were under relentless attack by bands of Arab terrorists. I have documented this situation in many other postings here; check out this posting about a single day in 1938 and this one about 1936 Arab incitement to terror with predictable results, as well as an article on a 1936 massacre in Atarot.

And yet the Jews who were under attack, for whom going to work was dangerous in itself, continued to do what was necessary to build their land. As the Palestine Post reported in 1937:

Even as more Jews managed to move in, they had no skills in agriculture. Yet they managed to obtain jobs and pitch in despite the uncertain pre-war atmosphere, despite the constant terror attacks, despite the fact that the future was very unclear.

And without any nations contributing hundreds of millions of dollars.

Then as now, a main beneficiary of the nascent Middle East economic powerhouse was the local Arab populace. Indeed, this is the major reason that so many Arabs moved to Palestine (often illegally) during the 1920s and 30s. The Jews would make money, the Arabs would get the trickle-down benefits of jobs and markets for their own goods.

The difference between how the Palestinian Jews and Arabs acted during times of trouble is highlighted in this article from 1939. The Jews kept growing the economyduring the worst of the terror, the Arabs fled.

To be sure, the Zionists of the era had a lot of monetary help from their Jewish brethren across the world, especially the US. But a significant amount of this help was in the form of private investments - Jews who expected (and realized) financial gains from investing in the Zionist project.

One cannot help but wonder: where are the major Arab investors in a Palestinian Arab future? Why do we not see any mutual funds specializing in Palestinian Arab industry or agriculture? Where are the Palestinian Arabs who are looking ahead to building their possible future state and setting the groundwork now? Why do we see Saudi telethons for terrorist families and not for building towns and parks?

If the goal is a Palestinian state, the absence of these factors is puzzling. If the goal is the destruction of Israel, then it all makes perfect sense.