Most Popular
1. It’s a New Macro, the Gold Market Knows It, But Dead Men Walking Do Not (yet)- Gary_Tanashian
2.Stock Market Presidential Election Cycle Seasonal Trend Analysis - Nadeem_Walayat
3. Bitcoin S&P Pattern - Nadeem_Walayat
4.Nvidia Blow Off Top - Flying High like the Phoenix too Close to the Sun - Nadeem_Walayat
4.U.S. financial market’s “Weimar phase” impact to your fiat and digital assets - Raymond_Matison
5. How to Profit from the Global Warming ClImate Change Mega Death Trend - Part1 - Nadeem_Walayat
7.Bitcoin Gravy Train Trend Forecast 2024 - - Nadeem_Walayat
8.The Bond Trade and Interest Rates - Nadeem_Walayat
9.It’s Easy to Scream Stocks Bubble! - Stephen_McBride
10.Fed’s Next Intertest Rate Move might not align with popular consensus - Richard_Mills
Last 7 days
Stock Market Investor Sentiment - 8th June 24
S&P 494 Stocks Then & Now - 8th June 24
As Stocks Bears Begin To Hibernate, It's Now Time To Worry About A Bear Market - 8th June 24
Gold, Silver and Crypto | How Charts Look Before US Dollar Meltdown - 8th June 24
Gold & Silver Get Slammed on Positive Economic Reports - 8th June 24
Gold Summer Doldrums - 8th June 24
S&P USD Correction - 7th June 24
Israel's Smoke and Mirrors Fake War on Gaza - 7th June 24
US Banking Crisis 2024 That No One Is Paying Attention To - 7th June 24
The Fed Leads and the Market Follows? It's a Big Fat MYTH - 7th June 24
How Much Gold Is There In the World? - 7th June 24
Is There a Financial Crisis Bubbling Under the Surface? - 7th June 24
Bitcoin Trend Forecast, Crypto's Exit Strategy - 31st May 24
Zimbabwe Officials Already Looking to Inflate New Gold-Backed Currency - 31st May 24
India Silver Imports Have Already Topped 2023 Total - 31st May 24
Gold Has Done Its Job – Isn’t That Enough? - 31st May 24
Gold Stocks Catching Up - 31st May 24
Time to take the RED Pill - 28th May 24
US Economy Slowing Slipping into Recession, But Not There Yet - 28th May 24
Gold vs. Silver – Very Important Medium-term Signal - 28th May 24
Is Gold Price Heading to $2,275 - 2,280? - 28th May 24
Stocks Bull Market Smoking Gun - 25th May 24
Congress Moves against Totalitarian Central Bank Digital Currency Schemes - 25th May 24
Government Tinkering With Prices Is Like Hiding All of the Street Signs - 25th May 24
Gold Mid Tier Mining Stocks Fundamentals - 25th May 24
Why US Interest Rates are a Nothing Burger - 24th May 24
Big Banks Are Pressuring The Fed To Losen Protection For Depositors - 24th May 24
Another Bank Failure: How to Tell if Your Bank is At Risk - 24th May 24
AI Stocks Portfolio and Tesla - 23rd May 24
All That Glitters Isn't Gold: Silver Has Outperformed Gold During This Gold Bull Run - 23rd May 24
Gold and Silver Expose Stock Market’s Phony Gains - 23rd May 24
S&P 500 Cyclical Relative Performance: Stocks Nearing Fully Valued - 23rd May 24
Nvidia NVDA Stock Earnings Rumble After Hours - 22nd May 24
Stock Market Trend Forecasts for 2024 and 2025 - 21st May 24
Silver Price Forecast: Trumpeting the Jubilee | Sovereign Debt Defaults - 21st May 24
Bitcoin Bull Market Bubble MANIA Rug Pulls 2024! - 19th May 24
Important Economic And Geopolitical Questions And Their Answers! - 19th May 24
Pakistan UN Ambassador Grows Some Balls Accuses Israel of Being Like Nazi Germany - 19th May 24
Could We See $27,000 Gold? - 19th May 24
Gold Mining Stocks Fundamentals - 19th May 24
The Gold and Silver Ship Will Set Sail! - 19th May 24

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

How to Protect your Wealth by Investing in AI Tech Stocks

The flames of Hamas, Israel, apartheid, and Palestine

Politics / Palestine Oct 09, 2023 - 09:45 PM GMT

By: Dan_Steinbock

Politics The Israeli-Hamas War is a logical result of 50 years of failed military policies. Assertive pledges of “national security” will not achieve peace in the Middle East. That requires inclusive economic development.

On Saturday, Palestinian militant groups, reportedly led by Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and other groups, launched a coordinated offensive against nearby Israeli cities, Gaza border crossings, adjacent military installations, and civilian settlements.

Hostilities were initiated by a rocket barrage – literally thousands of rockets - against Israel and vehicle-transported incursions into Israeli territory. The offensive has already caused hundreds of Israeli casualties, up to 2,000 injured and dozens of captured, leading Israel to declare a state of emergency and war.

This is the first major direct conflict within widely recognized Israeli territory since the country's founding. It is a game-changer in the Israeli-Palestine conflict.

The war is also manna for heaven for Netanyahu’s far-right government, which has escalated the suppression of Palestinians as international attention has focused on the proxy war in Ukraine. And it certainly did not come out of the blue.

The 50-year time bomb

In the early hours of the offensive, Hamas spokesperson Khaled Qadomi said that the group’s military operation is in response to all the atrocities the Palestinians have faced over the decades, and in response to the recent "desecration of the Al-Aqsa Mosque” by the Israeli far-right. The offensive took place during the Jewish holiday and a day after the 50th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War and its aftermath when the first Jewish settlements were established in Occupied Territories.

Half a decade ago, I wrote a commentary for Robert Parry's investigative Consortium News on "Israel’s 50-Year Time Bomb" (Oct. 16, 2018), arguing that the status quo was untenable and another war just a matter of time. At the time, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had warned that “deepening rifts between key stakeholders and surging violence in Gaza further imperil prospects for peace.”

As the Trump "peace initiatives" pushed the region closer to an abyss, I warned that the situation was even worse. Under Netanyahu, Israel was morphing into an apartheid state. Those South African blacks, who lived under apartheid, had more to hope for than Palestinians.

That should no longer come as a surprise. Last year, Israel’s former attorney general, Michael Ben-Yair, said that “my country has sunk to such political and moral depths that it is now an apartheid regime.” Recently, the former speaker of the Israeli parliament, Avraham Burg, and the renowned Israeli historian, Benny Morris, were among more than 2,000 Israeli and American public figures who signed a public statement declaring that “Palestinians live under a regime of apartheid”.

And more recently, Tamir Pardo, the former chief of Mossad (2011-16), stated that Israel’s mechanisms for controlling the Palestinians, from restrictions on movement to placing them under military law while Jewish settlers in the occupied territories are governed by civilian courts, matched the old South Africa. “There is an apartheid state here,” Tamir said. “In a territory where two people are judged under two legal systems, that is an apartheid state.”

Yet, the Democratic Biden administration has continued Trump's Middle East policies, which effectively ignore the Palestinian nightmare. Washington's bipartisan consensus is driven by the priorities of the Pentagon and the Big Defense. In the past 5 years that has pushed Israel's democracy at the edge of autocracy fostering an apartheid state, as I warned in 2018.

Dangerous polarization revisited

In 1994, amid the peace talks in Oslo, Palestinian per capita income, adjusted to purchasing power parity, was barely 15% relative to the Israeli level. At the time, the hope was that peace would bring stability, which would raise living standards in the West Bank and Gaza. The hopes died with the Jewish far-right assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, which triggered a new cycle of devastation.

In 2017, Palestinian per capita income had slowly climbed to 16.2% relative to the Israeli level. After more than two decades, barely 1 percentage point. So, what about progress in the past 5 years?

Despite all the hoopla by the Trump and Biden administrations that the Middle East is at the "cusp of peace and prosperity,” Palestinian per capita income has actually fallen behind. It’s now 12.9% compared to the Israeli level. That’s over 2 percentage points lower relative to where it was over two decades ago. Things have not got any better in the Palestine; they’ve got a lot worse (Figure).

Figure          Per capita income in Israel and West Bank/Gaza, 1995-2023

GDP Per Capita PPP: Israel Vs West Bank and Gaza (1995-2023). Data from World Bank

This conclusion is supported by the new IMF report warning that “amid a deteriorating security, political and social situation, [Palestinian] per capita income is projected to decline over the medium term.”

So, how does the Palestinian stagnation compare with that of black South Africans in the days of institutionalized racism?

During the period of apartheid (1948-94), the per capita income of South Africa’s blacks relative to the whites climbed from 8.6% to 13.5%. Compared with South African blacks, the Palestinians’ starting point was almost twice as high in relative terms. But now it is lower than that of South Africa’s blacks at the end of the apartheid. The reversal has occurred during the Trump and Biden administrations.

In absolute terms, Israeli per capita income is today at par with the UK and higher than in Italy. By contrast, Palestinian per capita income is estimated at $5,700, which is lower than that of Nigeria and Cambodia; barely ahead of Myanmar.

And worse looms ahead.

Israel’s drift toward autocracy

The Israeli judicial reform is a series of changes to the judicial system and the balance of powers in Israel that was proposed in January. The arguments concern the so-called Reasonableness Amendment, which was passed by Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, in late July. This amendment seeks to curb the judiciary's influence over lawmaking and public policy. It reflects Israel's descent toward autocracy.

Under the Netanyahu government, Israel has experienced a deepening divide, as the coalition teeters on a precarious electoral majority. It comprises the conservative Likud party, along with Orthodox and the nationalist religious and the controversial Jewish supremacist factions, which advocate ethnic cleansing in Occupied Territories and a Greater Israel.

After a year of unprecedented events, Israel’s political and constitutional turmoil came to a head on Sept. 12, when the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the critical case that will determine the future of the Netanyahu government’s judicial overhaul. However, it will also have chilling implications for Palestinian rights.

After all, Israel's judiciary, mainly its Supreme Court, has regularly upheld policies, practices and laws that help enforce "Israel's system of apartheid against Palestinians," including upholding administrative detentions, green-lighting the destruction of villages, upholding a law imposing restrictions on family reunification.

In the past, the Supreme Court has intervened in protecting Palestinian human rights on few occasions. But if the institution loses power to the government, even this "slim and inconsistent" protection would likely disappear. Autocracy would codify apartheid.

That’s another motive for the ongoing offensive.

No peace without development

Today, there are some 5.4 million Palestinian refugees in the West Bank and Gaza, and millions more in the proximate countries, such as Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and internationally. But it is the Palestinians in the Israeli Occupied Territories that find themselves at the edge of an abyss.

Israel has a right to defend itself, and so do the Palestinians.  

With the ongoing war, the Israel/Palestine status quo has entered an entirely new, potentially far more desperate, lethal and coordinated stage. From an economic perspective, the apartheid conditions are pushing Palestinians to a nightmare that’s purely and simply untenable. Worse, the militarization of the crisis is likely to make things far worse before they get any better.    

Half a century of policy mistakes in the Middle East by the key stakeholders should be an adequate warning. Assertive pledges of “national security” will never achieve an enduring peace in the region or elsewhere. That requires inclusive economic development.

Dr. Dan Steinbock is the founder of Difference Group and has served at the India, China and America Institute (US), Shanghai Institute for International Studies (China) and the EU Center (Singapore). For more, see  

© 2023 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

© 2005-2022 - 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