July 21, 2009

What the West Bank Actually Looks Like

Last week, the New York Times published an article about

Posted by Michael J. Totten at July 21, 2009 10:25 AM
Comments
Nice article Michael. This is what I found in my trips to Israel. The West Bank is much better off under Fatah that Gaza is under Hamas. There seems to be an investment in a narrative of the Israelis as monsters that is going to be hard to overcome. But we know that is not the case.
Posted by: Robohobo at July 21, 2009 11:30 am
Great reporting Michael. In an aternative reality, you would be working for the NYT.
Posted by: maxtrue at July 21, 2009 1:50 pm
It's just so ironic that from a pro-Palestinian PR perspective, positive economic news can be viewed as bad news. The Palestinians' greatest weapon is their ability to play the role of victim. And they'll be able to play this role so long as the rest of world continues to infantilize them. If the Palestinians were ever held to the same moral standards that we expect of the Israelis and ourselves, they'd lose sympathy over night. Unfortunately, heaping opprobrium upon Israel seems to assuage the latent guilt that some Westerners feel owing to historic European/Christian anti-Semitism.
Posted by: Zak at July 21, 2009 2:12 pm
I was in Nablus last September for a day -- on the outskirts, there are some pretty ramshackle areas, but I've seen sim ilar in Israel, Latin America, and parts of the Western US. The city itself is huge, generally modern, has significant wealth, was bustling, totally unpatrolled by Israelis... and large areas were pasted over with posters of local suicide-bomber martyrs and pictures of Arafat.
Posted by: AZZenny at July 21, 2009 10:47 pm
Man oh man.
Don't you realize THAT NOBODY IS SUPPOSED TO KNOW THIS???!!!!
Posted by: Barry Meislin at July 21, 2009 11:01 pm
Very nice, Michael.
Thank you. Its a breath of reality.
Hopefully more and more Palestinians will realize that peace starts from the ground up, not from the top down.
It also shows that in this, Netanyahu is correct. Economic prosperity is worth fostering and developing.
Posted by: JB at July 22, 2009 10:02 am
I don't know why more people don't bring up pure statistical measures of well-being such as life expectancy or the UN's own Human Development Index, which objectively make it clear that Palestinians don't live worse than their Arab neighbors.
For example, according to the UN, life expectancy in the Palestinian territories is 73 years; it's 74 in Syria, 72 in Jordan and Lebanon, and 71 in Egypt. In the sub-Saharan African countries, average life expectancy is around 50 or so.
It's pretty obvious that anyone with an agenda can paint a false picture by selectively focusing on a narrow range of human interest stories. It's a lot harder to argue against cold, hard numbers.
Posted by: johnchen at July 22, 2009 10:42 am
johnchen - not only in life expectancy, but in literacy and infant mortality. The Palestinians are not at the top but are certainly not at the bottom compared to the rest of the Middle East. In particular, they are significantly better off than - IRAN!!!!!!!!!! Maybe the mullahs could take some of that nuke money and spend it on their people. Maybe the sun will rise in the west tomorrow.
Posted by: Gary Rosen at July 23, 2009 3:16 am
This is good news. Maybe they've developed some political maturity and learned that continual provocation of your neighbors isn't good for your economy.
Posted by: Boojum at July 23, 2009 7:07 am
I haven't yet gone through:
http:/
/www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/About+the+Ministry/Deputy_Foreign_Minister/Speeches/Dep-FM-Ayalon-on-measures-to-ease-restrictions-on-the-Palestinian-population-08-Jul-2009.htm
However, the Israelis restrict Gazan exports by letting Palestinian fruit rot at the border. Or they delay delivery trucks for hours at checkpoints. Or they deny permits necessary for conducting business. These types of anti business, anti free market policies have to stop.
Posted by: anand at July 26, 2009 5:33 pm
"These types of anti business, anti free market policies have to stop."
Right, so Hamas can resume sending suicide bombers into Israel generating what anand desires above all - dead Jews.
Posted by: Gary Rosen at July 26, 2009 11:19 pm
Hamas has imposed a Hudna on suicide bombers attacking Israel. Hamas has offered Israel a 10 year Hudna (cease fire.)
There are many within Hamas open to a two state solution. Hamas isn't as crazy as some portray it. {There are some Sunni terrorist groups that are really scary.}
Some Hamas leaders have offered to help America fight AQ. America should explore working with Hamas.
Israel should respect whoever the Palestinians elect and negotiate with them.
Posted by: anand at July 27, 2009 11:51 am
Anand, real democracy isn't about voting one gang or the other into absolute power, but entails separation-of-powers and respect for the system. Hamas didn't do those things when it tossed Abbas & Co. out, they tossed their Fatah enemies from roof-tops. Since Hamas relies on tyranny rather than democracy to maintain power, why should they be respected as the choice of the Palestinian people, rather than their oppressors?
Posted by: Solomon2 at July 27, 2009 12:36 pm
Once again anand the compulsive liar spews his lies to glorify the annihilationists of Hamas. Do I have to link it *again*, liar, the charter of Hamas that shows their organizing prinicple is the extermination of Jews? Hamas has repeatedly refused to accept Israel because that would directly contradict their founding document that calls for the murder of *all* Jews - not Israelis, not Zionists, but Jews.
"There are some Sunni terrorist groups that are really scary"
Hamas is Sunni, you pathetically ignorant fool. The next time anand tells the truth about Jews or Israel will be the first but don't worry, this will never ever happen.
Posted by: Gary Rosen at July 27, 2009 2:11 pm
Please indicate what article in Hamas' founding document calls for the murder of Jews. I would like to research this.
Solomon2, both Hamas and Fatah strike me as thugs who use violence against each other, rather than work collaboratively to help the Palestinian people. This is why I hope the Palestinians elect other more capable leaders next time; leaders such as Barghouti.
This said, for now Fatah and to a slightly lesser degree Hamas are the most popular Palestinian political parties.
Posted by: anand at July 27, 2009 3:20 pm
"both Hamas and Fatah strike me as thugs who use violence against each other, rather than work collaboratively to help the Palestinian people"
Which is a very good reason to put your first trust in good democratic institutions rather than political players, don't you think? And if Barghouti or any one else is to establish them, they'll need all the help from "people power" on the street that they can get.
Posted by: Solomon2 at July 27, 2009 3:43 pm
"Please indicate what article in Hamas' founding document calls for the murder of Jews. I would like to research this."
I already did this once for you in another thread, liar, but I will do it again just so everyone can see what a phony POS you are:
http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/hamas.asp
Article 7, last paragraph. I've got it bookmarked just for clowns like you. So I will have it the *next* time you ask for proof, and the time after that and the time after that forever. I know your next move now: "They don't really mean it".
Posted by: Gary Rosen at July 27, 2009 4:34 pm
"Please indicate what article in Hamas' founding document calls for the murder of Jews."
http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/hamas.asp
Article 7, last paragraph.
"I would like to research this."
Frankly, I doubt it. I already showed this link to you once before. You have been repeatedly called by myself and others on your persistent misrepresentations of Israel's situation.
Posted by: Gary Rosen at July 27, 2009 11:06 pm
Thanks for the link to Hamas' founding document. I am looking into this.
I am familiar with the Koranic verse cited. The verse does not apply to all Jews, but to a specific tribe of Jews that betrayed and fought against the prophet Mohammed, may peace be upon him. This said, I think it is very wrong for muslims to repeat this quote out of context, as many bigots of the islamic faith have. There is a serious challenge with anti Jewish bigotry among muslims and christians around the world.
It is wrong to imply that muslims are especially anti Jewish. I would argue that Jew hatred in Spain, parts of Europe and Latin America might be worse than in the Arab world.
Posted by: anand at July 28, 2009 6:08 pm
"The verse does not apply to all Jews"
I knew you would try to whitewash it. There is nothing in that document that attempts to distinguish any Jews from any other. You are knowingly promoting the annihilation of Jews by trying to whitewash it.
"I would argue that Jew hatred in Spain, parts of Europe and Latin America might be worse than in the Arab world."
While there is still antisemitism in the rest of the world, it *can't* be worse than wanting all Jews dead, which is what your idols in Hamas and Hezbollah so fervently desire. As I noted above, you lie, and lie, and then lie again.
Posted by: Gary Rosen at July 29, 2009 2:03 am
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