The Guardian’s “Palestinian Economics for Dummies”: Blame Israel

As with so many reports of Israeli villainy, Jonathan Glennie’s Guardian piece, “Aid alone won’t help the desperate Palestinians“, Aug. 24 – which blames Palestinian economic problems on Israel’s “checkpoints, the separation wall, and general restrictions on the movement of people and goods” – doesn’t once acknowledge Palestinian moral agency.

Reading Glennie’s report, which completely erases the context of terrorism, you’d think that such defensive measures weren’t motivated by legitimate security concerns as the result of the 2nd Intifada but, rather, by Israeli malice. 

Glennie argues:

“Israel continues [their] attempts to undermine any chance the [Palestinian] economy has to get back on its feet, let alone prosper.”

However, the fact is that, despite Israel’s security measures, Palestinian Arabs are still better off than many of their neighbors, per the UN’s own Human Development Index (HDI).

HDI is a comparative measure of life expectancy, literacy, education and standards of living for countries worldwide, and is used to measure each nation’s quality of life.

The Palestinian Authority HDI rank is 97, right in the middle of the 193 countries in the world – ahead of Egypt, and well ahead of other Middle East nations such as Syria and Morocco – and is even, surprisingly, significantly higher than non-Middle East countries such as South Africa and India.

Moreover, even the UN Report cited by Glennie shows quite clearly that real GDP (Gross Domestic Product) in the Palestinian Authority has increased dramatically over the last several years, and is now above pre-Intifada levels:

Characteristically, Glennie completely omits any hint that Palestinians have some responsibility for their plight: No mention of the Palestinian Authority’s notorious and well-documented corruption and lack of transparency, their culture which promotes anti-Semitism, terrorism and intransigence (including PA payments to families of terrorists), and the absence of basic democratic checks and balances. 

Glennie concludes thusly:

While donors [to the PA] showcase their increasing generosity to Palestine in their annual reports, that generosity appears more than ever to be a function of their inaction in the face of. Aid, as so often, is a sop for political failure.

Yes, Palestinian cultural, moral and political failures continue to create the biggest obstacle to economic and social progress.

No amount of international aid – nor a unilateral declaration of statehood – will ameliorate such endemic and institutional political pathologies. 

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