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473. Why a Functioning Palestinian State is not Likely

There are many reasons why a functioning Palestinian State is unlikely. Here are my top picks.
IT’S WORTH CONSIDERING
Recently, the UN General Assembly “officially” decided to recognize the Palestinian authority as a nonmember observer state. This has been enough to convince the Palestinians that they actually have a state (despite the fact that they meet none of the historically recognized and officially established requirements for statehood). Their ability to evolve into an actual functioning state seems doubtful to me. A brief look back shows what we can expect in the future. The Oslo Accords gave the Palestinians self-rule. They soon had their own stamps, money, and even an airport. But it was not a real state, and it didn’t take long for everything to start breaking down.

Not much has changed. The PA and Hamas are still two separate and divided groups with different agendas despite their so called truces. They’ve never gotten along, and that will likely never change. Beyond these two groups, there are many small factions, chiefly military ones, who will never submit to a central government.

Then there’s the problem with democracies. Democracy doesn’t mix well with Islam or the basic Middle Eastern traditions. Most nations over there are used to a strongman or even a dictator, whether they like him or not. Even if they get to vote for their next leader, they don’t really know what to do next. In a true democracy the people have an ongoing voice in the government through various kinds of duly elected officials, plus various checks and balances in the government itself. They’re not used to this. It remains to be seen what kind of “democracy” will emerge in the new Palestinian “state.”

And yet, an even greater problem remains. Muslims have always maintained a doctrine that calls for the annihilation of Israel. This is not a negotiable principle in Islam. Anyone who will not work for the destruction of the Jewish state is considered a traitor to Islam and to the Arab people. That doesn’t bode well for side-by-side cooperation.

AS I SEE IT
Even if these issues could somehow be resolved, the economics of the situation just don’t work. There is simply no way that Palestine, whatever form it may take, will ever be economically self sufficient. Here are my reasons:

1.    It is too dependent. Almost two-thirds of Palestinian government income (about $1.5-billion per year) comes from a tax collected by Israel and remitted to the Palestinians. This happens only because of the goodwill of the Israelis. Should something happen to disrupt the goodwill, the flow of funds will suddenly cease. This is exactly what happened when Hamas took control of Gaza in 2006. If Hamas plays any part in the new Palestinian government, it is wishful thinking to imagine that the gravy train will continue.

2.    Eighty seven percent of Palestinian exports now go to Israel. Once again, this source of revenue is totally dependent on good relations with Israel.

3.    Israel is the primary employer for West Bank Palestinians. The Israeli settlements there employ tens of thousands of Palestinian workers. If statehood is declared, all these workers will be barred from the settlements because the Palestinian government considers the work illegal. These settlement jobs constitute one-seventh of the total Palestinian workforce and constitute one-quarter of the total Palestinian payroll because Israeli employers pay two to three times that paid by their Palestinian counterparts.

4.    Many Palestinians commute to Israel for the higher paying jobs, 40,000 from the West Bank alone (legal and illegal). These would be in jeopardy should Palestine declare independence.

Consequently, should a Palestinian state be formally established, it will never survive.

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