Hamas or Israel? The answer is in the economy

Pick up any UN analysis or a report from a relevant NGO, you will find details of how Gaza’s economy is struggling. The facts seem overwhelming – how unemployment, low exports, little private sector growth.

For all the pages of statistics, something does not add up. According to the World Bank, under 30 years of Israeli sovereignty, the Palestinian economy grew by 5.5% annually in real terms until 1999. That is phenomenal by any standards, and Gaza was part of that achievement.

If you look for current information about Gaza, which has not been tampered by officials with an agenda to grind, then there is much anecdotal evidence. I have reported on the new cars from China that have become very popular in recent months. These have probably been purchased by the new elite of millionaires club, identified by the Arab media. And all this has been reported by corporate journalists staying in some very comfortable boutique hotels.

Life for people in Gaza is not simple. Israel limits travel on its side, although even in times of war passage is not totally closed off. The Egyptian border is open, but Bedouin tribes control the territory beyond. And the Hamas government runs an agenda that bothers little with principles of democracy and pluralism.

If the citizens of Gaza complain that Israelis live in a secluded paradise, one can understand their frustration. Since freeing up the economy from tariffs in the mid 1980s, Israelis has experienced a leap forward in standards of living. Today, the economy is growing at around 3% annually, one of the better performers in the OECD. JVP in Jerusalem is one of the world’s most successful venture capital groups in the world, reinvesting profits in cross-ethnic projects. to take a specific industry, the biotech sector has boomed in the past decade, creating thousands of jobs and billions in wealth.

Historically, Gaza has been known as a fertile territory with an educated populace. When Israel departed in 2005, it left behind and intact a thriving greenhouse industry. Not only has that been ransacked and confined to the sand dunes or converted to military training grounds. The leading export in 2012 has been the 1,200 rockets hurtled towards Israeli civilian areas.

The Palestinian leadership in Gaza would have the world believe that the poverty of the territory is caused by the Israeli military. The pain of that fallacy is most felt by the residents themselves. However, if only the problem was a few gross inexactitudes over economic policy.

As Hamas has proven, if you can lie during peacetime, it does not take too much effort to cover up the self-inflicted horrors of war.

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One Comment on “Hamas or Israel? The answer is in the economy”

  1. Transfer UK Pension Says:

    As always, really fascinating and definitely useful article on Hamas or Israel?
    The answer is in the economy � Afternoon Tea In Jerusalem.
    .
    Cheers.


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