Thursday, February 02, 2006

Sara Roy : ‘A Dubai on the Mediterranean’

Someone I know just sent me a paper copy of this article by Sara Roy. Yes, its about 3 months old, but I felt that it needed a response.

I believe that this is a very one sided document. I will not argue with her points, but from my perspective, she puts all of the blame on Israel. Even internal Palestinian in-fighting is Israel's fault. Basically, in her view, Palestinians are angels, trashed for years by the nasty illegitimate Israelis.

Let me try and present a different view.

The Palestinians and the Arab states need to decide what they want. If they want Israel's destruction, then there is nothing to discuss and whatever happens to them is a consequence of war. You take your chances when you start a war and sometime you lose. I don't recall hearing that the Germans at the end of WWII were oppressed. Certainly their economy was totally destroyed, their travel restricted and their cities leveled. They lost. They made the best of it and are not a major power in Europe. They never gave up.

The Palestinians have spent the last fifty years fighting a war that they lost fifty years ago. In contrast, Fifty years ago, Germany had just lost a their biggest war. The challenge for the Palestinians is to create a stable or even first class environment for themselves and their children. They should be looking to gain economic and cultural assets. They should start of with infrastructure. First and foremost is a safe culture where children, adults and foreigners can walk the streets safely. It doesn't matter what kind of employment levels you have, or what the average resident earns. It does matter if they can utilize their earnings to improve their life.

There are currently attempted kidnappings of foreigners in Gaza, where there is currently no Israeli presence. Gaza is controlled by warlords whose existence is directly tied to lawlessness and chaos. A stable lawful environment is great for business. It is the antithesis of anarchy.

If and when a culture of the rule of law occurs, then infrastructure comes next; Schools, Roads, Electrical power generators and Sewage systems. This is what the Americans are building in Iraq. They to have a problem with anarchy, but the US is trying to impose order. I wonder is post war Germany had similar problems? Were they so totally defeated that the only option was to rebuild?

I don't believe that the Palestinians need to or should depend on the Israelis. They have their destiny in their own hands. Its time to stop passing the blame and to start working for a better future.

I find myself on the horns of a dilemma after the recent PA elections. From what I've read, Hamas ran a slate of honest businessmen. Local people who had proven themselves to the people. What a refreshing option this must have been to people who had previously been offered a slate of politicians who have been feeding off of their condition for the past thirty years. I applaud the result of the election.

On the other hand, will these newly elected officials find themselves towing the party line of destruction to Israel, reneging on all previous agreements and continued war with Israel? If they do, then at least there is now a clear battle. Its Israel vs. The PA, winner take all. As I mentioned earlier, you take your chances in war.

If the new parliament members choose to rebuild and focus on getting themselves out of their current state then this is a golden opportunity. Olmert and his Kadima party will be only too happy claim that a cease fire is their doing. The international funds will funnel money into infrastructure is they believe that the money is really going to good use. Perhaps the PA should hire foreign corporations to manage the accounts and the rebuilding. It has a better chance of being fair and evenhanded.

The ball is in the PA's court. The Israeli's should do nothing until it becomes clear how Hamas will jump. If its war, then accept the outcome. The Israelis will loose soldiers and civilians. The PA may loose even more land than it currently believes it should hold, not to mention the incredible loss to lives both innocent and guilty.

Stop crying and start working for yourselves. Social Workers argue that one of the major steps to health is to admit to having a problem. Once you do that, you can look for a solution. The Palestinians problem is not the existence of Israel. Its how to build for themselves a better life. There is a major voting block on the left and center in Israel that will be more than happy to help.


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