Palestinians deserve better.

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Palestinians deserve better

By Gary Fitleberg, a political analyst specializing in International Relations with
an emphasis on Middle East affairs.

Israelinsider, December 16, 2003.

In a recent address at the Whitehill Chapel, President George W. Bush declared
that Palestinians deserve better leadership. Bush called for Palestinians to strive
for democracy as a way to peace with Israel.

“Peace will not be achieved by Palestinian rulers who intimidate the opposition,
who tolerate and profit from corruption and maintain their ties to terrorist
groups. These are the methods of old elites, who time and again have put their
own self-interest above the interest they claim to serve,” President Bush stated.

Bush concluded, “The long suffering Palestinian people deserve better. They
deserve the true leaders capable of creating and governing a Palestinian state.”

Are the Palestinians better off under Israeli jurisdiction or under the Palestinian
Authority (PA) jurisdiction? Palestinians deserve economic prosperity,
employment opportunities, educational development, a higher standard of living,
freedom of the press, and political and civil freedoms.

Let us now compare the so-called Palestinians’ economy, standards of living
and rights in the territories under Israeli jurisdiction with the situation under the
Palestinian Authority jurisdiction. Consider the accounting balance sheet.

Under Israeli jurisdiction, 1967-93 Economic prosperity. Israeli investment in
Palestinian business, industry, and infrastructure helped the PA GNP grow 13%
annually between 1967 and 1980; per capita income grew tenfold;
unemployment dropped from 40% to below 5%. Employment opportunities:
Except during terrorist upsurges, Israel employs about 120,000 Palestinians
from the disputed territories. Their earnings accounted for 43% of the West
Bank’s overall income.

Educational development. Israel built 6 universities and 20 community colleges
for the Palestinians. Illiteracy dropped from 50% to 30% between 1967 and
1980. Standards of living soared. Health gains: Israel built 166 clinics, provided
universal life insurance and medical programs for Palestinians. The morality rate
plummeted by two thirds (1970-1990). Israel built hospitals and schools. Israel
also expanded water, sewage, and electric systems.

Freedom of the Press. This basic right was extended even for press with
anti-Israel opinions. Other civil and political freedoms. Freedom of association,
trade unions, civic organizations and opposition parties permitted. Voting rights
extended to poorer classes and to women for local elections for the first time in
the Palestinian Arabs’ history.

Under Palestinian jurisdiction, 1993-2000 Economic stagnation. From 1992 to
1996, per capita income dropped 35% in Gaza. Unemployment increased to
over 20% in Gaza and the West Bank. Employment roadblocks: Arabs
intentionally exclude Palestinians during job recruitment efforts, importing
Asians and other Arab nationals instead. Kuwait denied citizenship to and
expelled all 300,000 of its Palestinian residents after the Gulf War.

Inadequate education. Schools are closed during uprisings to bus students to
the demonstrations. Elementary, high school and university students are trained
in the latest tactics of terror based upon wrongful hatred of Israelis and Jews.
This improper education is also promoted in camps and religious institutions.
Corruption and mismanagement: In 1997, 40% of the PA budget “disappeared”
and was reported “missing” although its leadership has profited personally from
the humanitarian aid money.

Control of the media. The Palestinian Authority has complete control over the
media. A few PA activities include arrests of journalists, closure of media
outlets, and using the media to promote hatred and terrorism; especially
homicide bombing attacks. A climate of fear and self-censorship exists.

Authoritarian government. Here are a few examples: Restrictions on
association. Intimidation and even “targeted” assassination of opposition
leaders. Arbitrary arrests and detentions. Torture and unfair trials, especially in
the new State Security Courts, which according to Amnesty International
“flagrantly” violate “fair trial standards” according to accepted jurisprudence standards.

That is not all. Let’s consider another important economic reality.

Between 1994-2000, the EU contributed $1.5 billion and the U.S. pledged
$500 million to the Palestinians. Israel allocated $90 million between
1993-1999. Israel also facilitated investments in the Palestinian private sector
and granted 2,522 fellowships to Palestinians for professional training between

Let’s get the factual record straight…

Israel does not want to govern the Palestinians. It has tried repeatedly to
negotiate a realistic solution that recognizes the Palestinian’s right to
self-determination. In the interim, Israel has tried to help them.

The Palestinians deserve better. The Palestinians deserve economic prosperity,
employment opportunities, educational development, a higher standard of living,
freedom of the press, and political and civil freedoms.

Are the Palestinians better off under the jurisdiction of the Israelis or under the
Palestinian Authority? You be the judge.



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