Tuesday, December 18, 2007
The billions in aid secured at yesterday's conference may not be able to overcome the peace process's political failures
By Daniel Levy
".....The story of Palestine's economic collapse over the last several years is one of donor assistance being unable to paper over the gaping cracks in a failed political peace process. The rebuttal on display in Paris was that this time it's different, we have Annapolis, peace is back on the agenda. Except that Annapolis is anything but the kind of robust process that is required - witness already the Israeli announcement of the expansion of Har Homa in Palestinian East Jerusalem, the escalating conflict between Israel and Gaza, the lack of a visible change in the closure system and, most importantly, the continued American and international impotence in the face of these negative trends......
If these flaws are not addressed, then the results of the Paris conference will become the economic accompaniment to the Palestinian state-building process recently described here in Comment is Free by Ahmad Khalidi as one that "does nothing to address basic [Palestinian] needs" and is "largely a punitive construct devised ... to constrain Palestinian aspirations". And that is a recipe for dissatisfaction all around - of course among Palestinians but also for an already fatigued donor community, and even for an Israel whose insatiable appetite for hollow victories is so clogging up its arteries that it threatens self-destruction."