Palestinian economic progress

I have long opposed aid for the Palestinians, when it inexclicably seems to disappear down a black hole. Donors and intended recipients become the victims to the owners of greed and violence.

So it is refreshing to come across some positive news.

Tonight, the Israel Palestinian Chamber of Commerce will hold a gala dinner. 

Guests of honour at the event will be President Shimon Peres, Tony Blair, official Envoy of the Quartet on the Middle East and his wife Cherie Blair, the Vice Prime Minister and Minister for Regional Development Silvan Shalom and Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon.

If this role of honour is impressive, of more importance for me is the sign of Palestinian commercial interests beginnings to take a lead. This is the beginnings of the creation of an independent economy, which looks to build wealth through normality and not via political dominance.

For example, The Portland Foundation is working in the Ramallah region, building new affordable homes. In a secondary field, they are developing long-term savings schemes. 

(Place this against the number of senior Palestinian officials, who have been accused of controlling the cement industry or similar rackets.)

Maybe Obama and Netanyahu should start by fostering similar positive schemes, create a stable framework, and then go for a comprehensive peace arrangement.

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