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Monday, October 22, 2007

WaPo on Palestinian Arab economy since the Intifada

Some choice quotes from this article in the Washington Post:
According to the World Bank, the Palestinian gross domestic product per capita has shrunk 30 percent -- to $1,129 -- since the uprising began. Unemployment and poverty rates have spiked across the territories, especially during the 16-month international embargo that followed Hamas's election victory.

By contrast, the International Monetary Fund estimates that Israel's per-capita GDP is $31,767, nearly double what it was on the eve of the Palestinian uprising.

It appears that the intifada hurt Palestinian Arabs far, far more than it hurt Israel. Just like in 1947, an attempt to hurt Israel economically (in this case, with terror) backfired badly, hurting the people it was supposedly meant to help. Israel adjusted to the situation to the point that tourism is now back at pre-intifada levels and the Palestinian Arabs, who cheered every bus bomb, are left with nothing.

Even so, rather than see the writing on the wall, they look at the facts exactly backwards:

The Israeli government says the steps it has taken help ensure Israel's security in the absence of a peace deal. But Palestinian officials argue that the impoverishing effects of the economic separation spawn unrest in the territories and increase the potential for attacks inside Israel.
Somehow, they didn't need that incentive back in 2000, when they decided to attack Israel while they still had jobs and money and a future. For some reason they managed to attack random Jews anyway.
On the eve of the uprising, 136,000 Palestinians, or nearly a quarter of the labor force, worked inside Israel or in Israeli-owned enterprises in the territories. ...Today, 47,400 Palestinians from the West Bank, or less than 9 percent of the workforce, have such permits.

Less than 5 percent of Israel's exports are sold in the Palestinian territories. By contrast, roughly 90 percent of Palestinian exports are sold inside Israel.

Half of the Palestinians with Israeli work permits are employed by Israeli-owned enterprises in the occupied territories.
According to these numbers, some 22,000 Palestinian Arabs are now employed by Israelis in the territories. The hated settlers are now responsible for a very large portion of the Palestinian Arab economy!

Just as Gaza suffered huge unemployment when Israel left (well before the Hamas takeover,) the ordinary Palestinian Arabs would suffer huge economic losses should Israel do the same from the West Bank.

The record over the pas century is clear - when Palestinian Arabs work together with Zionists, they prosper. When they choose terror instead, or they force a separation, they are the ones that suffer most. The settlements are not an impediment to real peace - they actually help the Palestinian Arabs who want to support their families in dignity.

Once again, the Palestinian Arab people themselves pay the price for their leaders' shortsightedness and arrogant pride.