Weekly Commentary: Is Turning the Screws on Israel More Important For
Democrats Than Actually Helping Palestinians?
Dr. Aaron Lerner December 6, 2020
When it comes to "delivering the goods" to their constituents, turning the
screws on Israel is undoubtedly the easiest thing for the incoming Biden
administration to do.
After all, it this will yield not only the visceral pleasure of acting
against nemesis Binyamin Netanyahu, but also the cheers and praise of an
amen chorus of photogenic retired Israeli security officials religiously
devoted to the dogmatic belief that withdrawal and the creation of a
sovereign Palestinian state is the pathway to utopia.
But will this help the Palestinians?
I appreciate that the well being of the Palestinians is frequently a
secondary or tertiary concern. Leaders of the radical Israel left have told
me that they would rather have Palestinians starve and wallow in poverty
than make good salaries employed in Jewish factories beyond the Green Line.
But, nonetheless, let us consider how the Biden Administration could
actually advance the short term and medium term interests of the Palestinian
Let's focus on two areas:
#1. Mobility: Exploit the Tel Aviv - Dubai air link to turn the Dubai hub
into the Palestinian's gateway to the world via Ben Gurion Airport. This
would be considerably more efficient than the current arrangement which
involves driving to Amman. It will also make the Palestinians part of the
exciting developments in the UAE and beyond.
#2. Industrial Zones in Area A adjacent to the Green Line: Nir Barkat has
just published an exciting plan according to which enterprises in these
zones owned by Palestinian and Israeli entrepreneurs could jump start the
Palestinian economy. These are factories and other commercial enterprises -
not residential housing, so they are arguably "neutral" in terms of creating
facts on the ground.
These are just two of the many win-win initiatives which the Biden
Administration could encourage and support.
It all comes down to a basic question: are we going to squander four years
in some kind of freeze or act to advance everyone's lives in policies and
programs which promise to also dramatically improve the "people to people"
relations which are required for any serious diplomatic progress.
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