The Palestinian economy

Last week, Israel’s ambassador to USA, Michael Oren, authored a telling item in the Wall Street Journal. His opening lines says it all.

Imagine an annual economic growth rate of 7%, declining unemployment, a thriving tourism industry, and a 24% hike in the average daily wage. Where in today’s gloomy global market could one find such gleaming forecasts? Singapore? Brazil? Guess again. The West Bank.

These are stunning stats, which are rarely seen around the global economic scene. They are based on the most recent assessment of the IMF.

Oren continues by differentiating between the West Bank and Gaza, where the latter is ruled by Hamas. In that fertile strip, 40% unemployment is a common number.

Certainly, we must take Oren’s glowing priase of economic success with some perspective. The ambassador gets paid a salary to hide the downside of the stats.

And this latest growth comes in the aftermath of the Palestinian initiated Intifada, when Palestinians paid a heavy social and financial price for their violence. For example, up to the Autumn of the year 2000, around 120,000 workers daily crossed over into Israel, receiving relatively high salaries. Much of that income disappeared for years.

However, Oren is hinting at something else, something far more positive for Palestinians. If this is what can be achieved with even a tiny smattering of reduced terror against Israel, then think what could be attained with a full peace treaty.

If that is the case, we have to ask ourselves why the Palestinian leadership cannot bring itself to negotiate with Israel, openly and properly?

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One Comment on “The Palestinian economy”

  1. Michael Horesh Says:

    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1094441.html See how luxury shopping malls have transformed Ramallah


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