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Thursday, April 29, 2010

The five-star occupation

In Ha'aretz, in an article about how ordinary Palestinian Arabs are warming up to Salam Fayyad (and Fatah is upset), Avi Issacharoff mentions that the PA communications minister referred to Israel's "five-star occupation." The reporter's point was to contrast how well the PA was doing while it cooperates with Israel compared to how Gazans are faring.

A, EoZ reader emailed Issacharoff to verify the quote. He wrote back that he heard it himself at a press conference in Ramallah yesterday, and that "it was a kind of a joke but a serious one..."

It is not the first time that this expression was used. A prominent Ramallah businessman, flush with success of his Italian restaurant in Ramallah, used the same term to describe his situation.

It seems that the "occupation" is not nearly as awful as it is portrayed in the media. In fact, it appears that Palestinian Arabs living under the yoke of this oppression in the West Bank are living better lives than their Arab brethren across the Jordan River or the Syrian border - specifically due to Israel's policies of helping them economically and easing up restrictions in return for better security.

Which brings up the question - how would things be improved if the "peace process" moved forward? Because, arguably, the biggest gains for Palestinian Arabs have occurred while it was moribund.