Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. Next Financial Crisis Is Already Here! John Lewis 99% Profits CRASH - Retail Sector Collapse - Nadeem_Walayat
2.Why Is Apple Giving This Tiny Stock A $900 Million Opportunity? - James Burgess
3.Gold Price Trend Analysis - - Nadeem_Walayatt
4.The Beginning of the End of the Dollar - Richard_Mills
5.Stock Market Trend Forecast Update - - Nadeem_Walayat
6.Hindenburg Omen & Consumer Confidence: More Signs of Stock Market Trouble in 2019 - Troy_Bombardia
7.Precious Metals Sector: It’s 2013 All Over Again - P_Radomski_CFA
8.Central Banks Have Gone Rogue, Putting Us All at Risk - Ellen_Brown
9.Gold Stocks Forced Capitulation - Zeal_LLC
10.The Post Bubble Market Contraction Thesis Receives Validation - Plunger
Last 7 days
Next Tory Leader, Prime Minister Forecast and Betting Market Odds - 18th Nov 18
The Fed's Misleading Money Supply Measures - 17th Nov 18
Stock Market Outlook: Why the Economy is Bullish for Stocks Going into 2019 - 17th Nov 18
NO DEAL HARD BrExit Tory Chaos, Theresa May Leadership Challenge - 17th Nov 18
Gold vs Several Key Investments - 17th Nov 18
GDX Gold Mining Stocks Q3 18 Fundamentals - 17th Nov 18
Is Gold Under or Overpriced? - 17th Nov 18
Active Managers are Bearish on Stocks. A Bullish Contrarian Sign - 16th Nov 18
Will The Fed Sacrifice Retirement Portfolio Values For The "Common Good"? - 16th Nov 18
BrExit War - Tory Party About to Replace Theresa May for NO DEAL BrExit - 16th Nov 18
Aspire Global Makes Significant Financial Strides - 16th Nov 18
Gold Oil and Commodities …Back to the Future ? - 16th Nov 18
Will Oil Price Crash Lead to “Contagion” for the U.S. Stock Market? - 15th Nov 18
How NOT to Be Among the MANY Stock Investors Fooled by This Market Myth - 15th Nov 18
Tory BrExit Chaos Cripples UK Economy, Wrecks Housing Market Confidence - 15th Nov 18
Stocks Could End 2018 With A Dramatic Rally - 15th Nov 18
What Could Be the Last Nail in This Stock Bull Markets Coffin - 15th Nov 18
Defensive Stock Sectors Outperforming, Just Like During the Dot-com Bubble - 15th Nov 18
Buying Your First Home? Here’s How to Save Money - 15th Nov 18
US Economy Ten Points or Ten Miles to ‘Bridge Out’? - 14th Nov 18
US Stocks: Whither from Here? - 14th Nov 18
Know exactly when to Enter&Exit trades using this... - 14th Nov 18
Understanding the Benefits of Keeping a Trading Journal - 14th Nov 18
S&P 500 Below 2,800 Again, New Downtrend or Just Correction? - 13th Nov 18
Warning: Precious Metals’ Gold and Silver Prices are about to Collapse! - 13th Nov 18
Why the End of the Longest Crude Oil Bull Market Since 2008? - 13th Nov 18
Stock Market Counter-trend Rally Reaches .618 Retracement - 13th Nov 18
How to Create the Best Website Content and Generate Organic Traffic - 13th Nov 18
Why the Stock Market Will Pullback, Rally, and Roll Into a Bear Market - 13th Nov 18
Stock Markets Around the World are Crashing. What Not to Worry About? - 12th Nov 18
Cyclical Commodities Continue to Weaken, Gold Moves in Relation - 12th Nov 18
Olympus Tough TG-5 Camera Stuck or Dead Pixels, Rubbish Video Auto Focus - 12th Nov 18
5 Things That Precede Gold Price Major Bottoms - 12th Nov 18
Big US Stocks Q3 Fundamentals - 12th Nov 18
How "Free Money" Helped Create Sizzling Housing Market & REIT Gains - 12th Nov 18
One Direction More Likely for Bitcoin Price - 12th Nov 18
The Place of HSE Software in Today's Business - 12th Nov 18
Gold Asks: Are US Bonds Overvalued? - 11th Nov 18
Why the Stock Market Will Pullback Before Heading Higher - 11th Nov 18
GDX - Will you Buy This Hated Stock with Me? - 11th Nov 18
Christmas and Halloween LED Dynamic Projector Light Review - 11th Nov 18
Wall Street Veteran: Why I Don’t Lend to Family and Friends - 10th Nov 18
Stocks Breaking Higher, but Resistance Ahead - 10th Nov 18
Stock Market Was Supposed to “Crash Like 1987” - 10th Nov 18
SPX : The Incredibull Stock Market Plays On - 9th Nov 18
USD/CAD – The Moment of Truth Is Coming - 9th Nov 18
Is the Stock Market’s Rally “All Good To Go”? - 8th Nov 18
End in Sight for 'Unloved' Silver - 8th Nov 18
Outlook for Gold & Silver Precious Metals Sector is 'Positive' - 8th Nov 18
A Great Day for Metals as Platinum Price Breaks Out - 8th Nov 18
Future US Interest Rates, Financial Markets, and the FED - 8th Nov 18
Buying an Approved Used Land Rover From a Dealer - What You Need to Know! - 8th Nov 18

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

Free Online Trading Session

Israel’s 50-Year Time Bomb, Pushing Palestinians to the Edge

Politics / Israel Oct 19, 2018 - 06:08 PM GMT

By: Dan_Steinbock

Politics

Why Is the Trump Administration Compounding Palestinian Distress?

In the quest to change Israel's very nature, the Netanyahu government is pushing Palestinians to an edge - with the support of the Trump White House.

Recently, a report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned that “deepening rifts between key stakeholders and surging violence in Gaza further imperil prospects for peace.” That should not come as a surprise anymore.


While economic and strategic polarization is steadily deepening between Israel and the Palestinians, the "peace initiatives" of the Trump White House are undermining half a century of American diplomacy and pushing the region closer to an abyss.

In the past, the Netanyahu government has vehemently opposed all parallels with South African apartheid. Unfortunately, new data suggests that under apartheid South African blacks had more to hope for than Palestinians today.

Unsettling parallels

Between 1994 and 2017, Israeli GDP per capita, adjusted to purchasing power parity, increased by 150%; in West Bank and Gaza, the comparable figure was 160%. Yet, the Palestinian starting-point is so low that progress in living standards is largely fiction.

In 1994 - amid the peace talks in Oslo - Palestinian living standards were only 6.4% ($1,526) of the Israeli level ($23,693) (Figure a). At the time, the hope was that peace would bring increasing stability, which would foster prosperity and rapid catch-up growth – until the radical-right assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin triggered still another cycle of violence.

Last year, Palestinian living standards were about 7.3% ($2,494) of the Israeli level ($34,135). After more than two decades of new wars and friction, terrorism and restrictions, the catch-up has amounted to less than a percentage point.

Let’s set aside political debates about the causes and only focus on economic facts; i.e., changes in income polarization. And let's compare the last two decades of apartheid South Africa with the past two decades between Israel and Palestinians. In the mid-70s, black South Africans’ annual per capita income relative to white levels was about 8.6%; that is, two percent higher relative to the Palestinian level vis-a-vis the Israelis. By the time apartheid came to an end with the formation of a democratic government in 1994, black South Africans’ per capita income relative to the whites had climbed to some 13%. In contrast, the comparable Palestinian level was half of that figure last year (Figure b).

Figure   Unsettling Comparisons

  1. GDP Per Capita PPP: Israel Vs West Bank and Gaza (1994-2017)

  1. Living Standards: Palestinians/Israelis and Black/White South Africans

Source: a. World Bank. b. Palestinians/Israelis: World Bank. Black and White South Africans: OECD.

Ironically, South African apartheid was more conducive to economic progress in its last two decades than life in the West Bank and Gaza in the past two decades.

Moreover, the Netanyahu government’s economic policies have also dramatically increased economic polarization in Israel. In the early 1990s, the Gini coefficient, a measure of inequality, was around 35 in Israel, at the level of Portugal and Italy. Closer to 43 today, it is among the highest in OECD countries, and at the level of Nigeria and Zimbabwe. But there may be still worse ahead. 

Undermining Israeli Constitution

Protests in Gaza ahead of, and turbulence since Israel’s Independence Day and the relocation of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem in May, mark the most serious escalation since the 2014 war. With his decision, President Trump departed from the decades-long U.S. executive branch practice not to recognize Israeli sovereignty over any part of Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, a steep decrease in Palestinian Authority and external funding to Gaza since 2017 has worsened already dangerous humanitarian conditions there. According to the World Bank, Gazans’ real per capita incomes have fallen by one-third since 1994, owing largely to the West Bank-Gaza split and to Israel’s and Egypt’s tight controls on goods and people transiting Gaza’s borders.

Instead of seeking to alleviate acute distress in the region, the White House has given de facto support to the new nation-state law, which defines Israel as a Jewish nation-state, despite a significant Arab minority. Unsurprisingly, the new law has been opposed by demonstrations and a high-profile petition by Israeli intellectuals - including Amos Oz, David Grossman, A. B. Yehoshua, Eshkol Nevo, Etgar Keret and Orly Castel-Bloom - who demand the Netanyahu government to abolish it: "The nation-state law, according to which the State of Israel is the national state of the Jews only, expressly permits racial and religious discrimination, nullifies Arabic as an official language alongside Hebrew, does not mention democracy as the foundation of the country and does not mention equality as a basic value."

In this status quo, Trump's indiscriminate support for the Netanyahu government effectively nullifies any remaining impression about the U.S. as a “neutral arbiter” in the peace process. What makes the moment even more dangerous is Netanyahu's inclination to ignore the warnings of Israel's highest defense authorities, the willingness of the Trump administration to embolden these fatal shifts, and the erosion of any remaining hope on the Palestinian side.

50 years of missed warnings

At the eve of the Yom Kippur War in 1973, when I toured the West Bank and Gaza, what was most striking was the apparent calm on the surface and the lingering tensions behind the official façade. It was this odd mixture of hollow expectations and raw realities that accounted for the nightmares that ensued.

After the Yom Kippur War, the Labor coalition began to expand the boundaries of Jerusalem eastward, which encouraged a group of Messianic settlers to create a foothold in the West Bank, including Ma’ale Adumim by the Gush Emunim which sparked a protest by the “Peace Now” movement. I was there, as was my good friend Amos Oz, the famous Israeli author and one of the leaders of the peace movement. The concern was that if the settlers were permitted to create a substantial de facto presence, it might be legitimized over time with de jure measures, which would undermine Israel’s foundations, polarize the relationship between Israel and the Palestinians, while fostering cycles of terror and conflicts.

Despite a relatively broad popular opposition against the settlements, successive Israeli governments failed to contain them, despite Egyptian President Sadat’s bold peace initiative. Once again, the writing on the wall was ignored and the ‘80s wars in Lebanon ensued, along with the first large-scale Palestinian uprising against Israel in the West Bank and Gaza at the turn of the ‘90s. That’s when the Madrid Conference in 1991 and the subsequent Oslo Accords offered a glimpse of an alternative future scenario – but one that perished after Rabin’s assassination.

Today, half a century has passed from the Six-Day War and the Israeli conquest of the West Bank and Gaza. According to the Peace Index by the Israel Democracy Institute, last July three out of every four Israelis (74%) viewed the chances of Trump’s peace plan being a success as low or very low. According to the most recent survey, 89% of Israeli Jews do not see peace in the horizon. Almost half of Israeli Jews believe the Palestinians should have a state of their own. More think the two-state solution would be impossible to implement. After a generation of increasing bitterness, the share of the skeptics is relatively higher in younger age groups.

The message is fairly clear. Most Israelis believe that President Trump’s initiatives are undermining peace in the region. Most support a two-state plan. But since Washington is not seen as a neutral arbiter, a lasting peace plan is not enforceable.

As the U.S. provides one-third of the annual budget of the UNRWA, the vital relief agency for Palestine refugees since 1948, and has refused to make further contributions, some 5.4 million Palestinian refugees in the West Bank and Gaza, and in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria find themselves in a new situation.

Reportedly, Israel supported only gradual reduction of the UNRWA’s funding and no reductions in Gaza until Netanyahu changed course without consulting his own security officials. Meanwhile, leading Israeli defense authorities have suggested that steep UNRWA cuts could further radicalize Gaza and destabilize the West Bank.

As the IMF data suggests, the status quo is entering an entirely new stage, in which economic agony could result in a failed state before an actual state is formed, while militarization of the crisis and the absence of hope on the Palestinian side could unleash even more desperate waves of terror internationally. 

Half a century of policy mistakes should be an adequate warning.

Dr Steinbock is the founder of the Difference Group and has served as the research director at the India, China, and America Institute (USA) and a visiting fellow at the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies (China) and the EU Center (Singapore). For more information, see http://www.differencegroup.net/

© 2018 Copyright Dan Steinbock - All Rights Reserved

Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.

Dan Steinbock Archive

© 2005-2018 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

6 Critical Money Making Rules