Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Will the UAE invest in "Silicon Wadi" in Arab section of Jerusalem?

Last summer, Israel announced a massive "Silicon Wadi" project in the Arab Jerusalem neighborhood of Wadi al-Joz, converting an industrial park that is now mostly garages into a high tech area specifically meant to provide quality, high-paying jobs for the Arabs of Jerusalem. It is meant to add 250,000 square meters for tech, 50,000 for tourism and 50,000 for commercial space, intended to add 10,000 jobs.

Naturally, the Palestinian leaders complained, saying that it was an excuse extend Israeli sovereignty over all of Jerusalem. They complained about the loss of the existing garage jobs and about Jews taking all the new jobs.

Now there is an interesting possible wrinkle in the plan. According to some reports, Fleur Hassan-Nahoum, deputy mayor of Jerusalem, specifically recruited UAE companies to invest in Silicon Wadi - in order to invest in the Palestinian Arabs of Jerusalem as well as a tech hub. UAE companies in the tech center would naturally recruit Arabic-speaking Jerusalemites for their ventures. 

Here would be a direct way that the UAE could invest both in Israeli tech and in the future of Arabs in Jerusalem. 

The question is, will the Jerusalem Arabs welcome Silicon Wadi if fellow Arabs invest in it? This would somewhat blunt their fears of Jews taking the new jobs. 

This may be a way to find out if Palestinian Arabs are as opposed to Israeli peace with the Gulf as their leaders are.  

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