Thursday, September 13, 2012

Economic exploitation of Palestinians flourishes under occupation

Despite claims to the contrary, the Palestinian economy is drowning in exploitation and debt.


By Ali Abunimah

"....Recent calls by Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman for Abbas to be replaced would undoubtedly have added to nervousness in Abbas' entourage that the PA's American and Israeli sponsors might try to oust Abbas and put Fayyad in his place....

...Other protests did turn against Abbas and the Palestinian Authority regime in general, and in Ramallah dozens of PA intelligence operatives shadowed demonstrators and harassed people in the streets whom they suspected of subversive intentions. If Abbas or his loyalists were behind any part of the protests, they risk unleashing a process they cannot control.

Against this background, both Abbas and Fayyad have been outbidding each other in their efforts to prove their loyalty and usefulness to the occupation regime and its US backers.....

Poverty and debt

As a recent World Bank report stated [PDF], virtually all the "growth" in the West Bank was the result of foreign aid and in the last few years, the PA "has become more donor dependent at an increasing rate", with "the majority of the recent donor aid" allocated "to pay PA salaries and arrears, which has pumped up consumption and imports of consumer goods".....

On top of this, the 1994 Paris Protocol, the economic counterpart of the 1993 Oslo Accord, gives Israel strict control over the Palestinian economy, including all imports and exports.....

Palestine's new capitalists

A new class of Palestinian middlemen and capitalists close to and sometimes part of the Palestinian Authority, have flourished while the rest of the population has floundered....

Economic liberation

Masri fits into a bigger picture, where holding companies like PADICO headed by billionaire Munib Masri, and the PA-owned Palestine Investment Fund, concentrate wealth and control of the Palestinian economy in the hands of a very few powerful men with no accountability whatsoever to the Palestinian people.

These men have been able to market their private interests as Palestine's "national aspirations" with full support of the so-called "international community" even as they depend on maintaining cordial and profitable ties with the occupation they claim to oppose.

What this means - and perhaps what protestors in the streets of the West Bank are starting to recognise - is that the Palestinian liberation struggle will have to be directed not just at Israel's racist colonial regime but also the global neoliberal economic system that has thoroughly penetrated Palestine and corrupted irreparably the idea of a "state" even before one is declared."

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