Monday, November 30, 2009

Go Figure: Arab Boycott--Good For Israel, Bad For Palestinians

Back in June, I wrote about how Obama's plan to have Israel freeze building in the settlement was actually hurting Palestinian Arabs, quoting from an article in The Jerusalem Post:

The phenomenon of Palestinians building new homes for Jewish settlers is not new. In fact, Palestinian laborers have been working in the construction business from the first day the settlements began in the West Bank.

Today, Palestinian Authority officials estimate, more than 12,000 Palestinians are employed by both Jewish and Arab contractors building new homes in the settlements.

...He said that he and his colleagues working for Israelis earn almost three times what they would receive doing the same work for Palestinian construction companies.

"The Palestinian employers pay us NIS 100 to NIS 150 a day," Uwaisat said. "The Israeli companies, by contrast, pay NIS 350 to NIS 450 a day. That's why many of us prefer to work for Israeli companies, even if the construction is in the settlements."

Noteworthy is that these Palestinian Arabs who earn their livelihood by helping to build in the settlements are not being prevented by the same Palestinian leaders who kill 'collaborators':

"In the beginning there were threats and physical assaults on some workers," he noted. "But the leaders of the intifada later realized that depriving the laborers of their livelihood would have a boomerang effect on the Palestinians. That's why they allowed the workers to go to the settlements."

And speaking of boomerang effects--that seems to be the result of the Arab boycotts. In fact, it seems to be more of a double boomerang.

Elder of Zion quotes

Shaher Saeed, general secretary of the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU), told representatives of seven unions that the organisation had so little interest in the subject [of general boycotts against Israel] it had never discussed boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) and therefore had no policy on the subject.

“The only area where the PGFTU did have a boycott policy was with regard to produce from West Bank settlements. Even then, there was concern about whether that boycott could do more harm than good for the 30,000 Palestinians employed there,” said Steve Scott, director of Trade Union Friends of Israel (Tufi), who was with the delegation that met Mr Saeed.

...“Listening to people from both communities on the subject of the proposed international trade union boycott, it is evident that all parties oppose this action. In a meeting with the Jerusalem municipality workers, one view from the Palestinian contingent was that a boycott would be more detrimental to the Arab workforce than any other.

“The reason was that in the event of economic sanctions, it would cause a detrimental impact on the employment levels of their community.”

On another day, Mike Dixon wrote: “There was a discussion about the boycott and it is clear that Palestinians don’t want it — all they want is equal pay and a living.”

This is reminiscent of Khaled Abu Toameh's What Does "Pro-Palestinian" Really Mean? where he writes about self-proclaimed Pro-Palestinian 'activists' who believe that

inciting against Israel on a university campus or publishing “anti-Zionist” material on the Internet is sufficient to earn them the title of “pro-Palestinian.” But what these folks have not realized is that their actions and words often do little to advance the interests of the Palestinians. In some instances, these actions and words are even counterproductive.
The double boomerang effect of the boycott is revealed by Meryl Yourish, who writes about the benefits to Israel because of the Arab boycott. Meryl writes:

The Arab boycott has actually protected most Israelis from losing any money over Dubai’s credit implosion.

Thanks to the Arab boycott of Israel, which partially included Dubai, few Israelis have been exposed to the country’s financial crisis. Few Israelis export to Dubai, and it seems very few have business connections with the government’s Dubai World development arm, which has asked for a six-month moratorium on interest payments on its $59 billion in debt.

That does not mean that many Israelis did not try to do business in Dubai. Many made all sorts of connections and investment plans, but almost none of these joint ventures worked out.

There are a few Israelis who have significant financial stakes in Dubai, but for the most part, Israel’s economy continues to grow, even in the current worldwide recession.

And you can thank the Arab boycott for the minor impact on Israel.
Maybe it's time for those 'Pro-Palestinian activists' and other friends of the Palestinian Arabs to start living up to the titles they have assumed for themselves.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

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