The AP reports World Bank Says Palestinian Economy Unsustainable:
The study's author, John Nasir, said the Palestinian Authority has made steady progress toward establishing a future state, "but the economy is currently not strong enough to support such a state."
"Economic sustainability cannot be based on foreign aid, so it is critical for the Palestinian Authority (PA) to increase trade and spur private sector growth," he added.The bank noted that Israeli restrictions remain the biggest impediment to investing, creating high uncertainty and risk.Of course the World Bank would blame it on Israel. A more likely explanation is that the foreign aid to the Palestinians, who have been one of the highest per capita recipients of foreign aid in the world, has distorted their economy and discouraged private investment. (Not to mention that there's evidence that foreign aid has encouraged terrorism rather than coexistence.)
The article concludes:
The World Bank's assessment contradicts that of the International Monetary Fund, which last year said Palestinian financial institutions were ready for statehood.That suggests that the IMF's conclusion was not based on evidence but on political considerations as Mahmoud Abbas sought statehood in the UN.
Also the New York Times reports Gaza: Fears of Economic Isolation:
The diplomat, Robert H. Serry, special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, told the Security Council that the Palestinian Authority “faces an acute challenge in maintaining its solvency” and noted its late payment of government salaries. Mr. Serry also said that during a visit this month to Gaza, which is run by the anti-Israeli militant group Hamas, he was “struck by the fragility and unsustainability of the present situation.”Serry, of course, is silent on the continued attacks on southern Israel from Gaza ( according to the latest figures from the IDF, there have 431 rockets during 2012.) Somehow Hamas despite its "isolation" is able to maintain a steady flow of ordnance into Gaza.
2) The failure of the world's human rights bureaucracy
Kenneth Anderson asks Why does the UN still exist?(h/t Instapundit)Technorati Tag: Israel and Palestine and Hamas and Romney and and Election 2012.
It does not finally matter what the scandal, the appallingly bad behavior, the failure of management or of execution or of fiscal control happens to be. It can be wholesale mismanagement and corruption through the Oil-for-Food program (does anyone still recall that multi-billion dollar scandal?) and the flight of a senior UN executive to his extradition-free home state.It might be rape and sexual predation against the young, not only by UN peacekeeping troops trading sex for food but also by UN civilian staff in African conflicts—followed by stern pronouncements of zero tolerance but no actual criminal prosecutions. Or it might be the unveiling of a $23 million mural on the ceiling of the UN Human Rights Council chambers—the main sponsor, Spain, having raided its international development aid budget to help pay for it. It might be the relentless orchestration of reports, statements, declarations, resolutions, and investigations by that same Human Rights Council, beneath its magnificent mural, and its members and various “independent” experts and NGO enablers against a single state: Israel.These are points to remember every time the media cites the UN or any of its bodies as an authority on anything. The UN is hopelessly corrupt and ineffective.
Or it could be the utter and disastrous inability of the United Nations to actually get aid in a timely fashion to victims of the 2004 tsunami, as its aid czar held press conferences and sent observers to reconnoiter and finally fell into the usual default activity of blaming the United States. Or—at the largest political levels, looking back across UN history—it might be UN inaction in genocide in Rwanda and Bosnia.
So too are many NGOs. But Roger Simon notes one NGO that is doing something useful.
Remember those sanctions the administration is always telling us will bring Iran to its knees and force the mullahs to abandon their nuclear ambitions – yes, those same sanctions that always seem to have loopholes for the Russians, the Chinese, the Europeans, even for American and multi-national companies?Well, Shurat HaDin – the Israel Law Center that has done yeoman work suing those who aid and abet terrorism – is now challenging one of those companies, global mobile satellite giant Inmarsat PLC, whose guidance systems service Iranian oil tankers and military vessels (!).I wonder when the New York Times will report on Shurat Hadin instead of the next Amnesty International or B'tselem report condemning Israel for something. Needless to say media interest in international law is highly selective.
3) A pro-Israel New York Times op-ed!
It's a rarity these days, but the New York Times published an op-ed, Israel's settlers are here to stay by Dany Dayan, that can fairly be called "pro-Israel."
While the status quo is not anyone’s ideal, it is immeasurably better than any other feasible alternative. And there is room for improvement. Checkpoints are a necessity only if terror exists; otherwise, there should be full freedom of movement. And the fact that the great-grandchildren of the original Palestinian refugees still live in squalid camps after 64 years is a disgrace that should be corrected by improving their living conditions.Yossi Beilin, a left-wing former Israeli minister, wrote a telling article a few months ago. A veteran American diplomat touring the area had told Mr. Beilin he’d left frightened because he found everyone — Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Jordan and Saudi Arabia — content with the current situation. Mr. Beilin finds this widespread satisfaction disturbing, too.I think it is wonderful news. If the international community relinquished its vain attempts to attain the unattainable two-state solution, and replaced them with intense efforts to improve and maintain the current reality on the ground, it would be even better. The settlements of Judea and Samaria are not the problem — they are part of the solution.Of course, I wouldn't be surprised to see an editorial tomorrow citing this op-ed as a sign that settlements (Dayan boasts that soon 400,000 Jews will be living in Judea and Samaria) continue to be the single biggest obstacle to peace.
4) More on Romney's VFW speech
David French, an admitted Romney partisan writes in Mitt Romney Understands the Need for American Strength for the National Review:
This is exactly right. As we face an unthinking, draconian sequestration of our military budget, it’s worth asking: When has America ever suffered because of an excess in military strength? How many times have we suffered because of weakness?Throughout our history we’ve paid a bloody price for military weakness. Military weakness has meant a White House burned, a secessionist movement that fed off early victories over ill-prepared troops, horrifying carnage in World War I as we spent the better part of a year ramping up our military to aid allies on the brink of defeat, months of Japanese victories following Pearl Harbor culminating in the Bataan Death March, and panicked retreats marking the beginning of the Korean War. How many times do we have to learn the same lessons?In the present conflict, al-Qaeda exploited weakness in our will (it’s still astounding that we had to use Pakistani armor to help rescue American forces trapped in Mogadishu and that direct terrorist attacks resulted only in ineffectual volleys of cruise missiles) to build a terrorist sub-state in the middle of Afghanistan, and weakness in the face of 33 years of Iranian hostility has brought a terrorist state to the brink of nuclear capability.Walter Russell Mead was more restrained in his analysis.
It was not a speech that will change the election or define an era. No gushing acolytes pretending to be journalists will compare the governor to Abraham Lincoln, FDR and Daniel Webster combined. No phrases like “iron curtain”, “ask not what you can do for your country,” or “tear down that wall” rang through it.It was a little like Governor Romney himself: deeply earnest, Wonder Bread rather than pumpernickel or rye, flat when it tried to soar, seemingly plainspoken and yet somehow opaque, at its most cautious when sounding most bold. It was in places so bland and vague that one began to despair of it, yet behind the smoke and mirrors there is an impression of something solid, if hard to see. It seemed precisely calibrated and effectively delivered from a political point of view: aiming at opening a number of lines of attack on the Obama administration without offering many targets for return fire.Mead concluded:
If the Romney campaign hoped to showcase some potentially effective attack points in the campaign against the incumbent, this was a successful speech. If it hoped to establish the governor as a world statesman with a coherent vision of where he wants to lead the nation, it was, at best, a first effort.2012 is not a foreign policy election today, and barring dramatic developments overseas before Election Day, it won’t turn into one. But a successful presidential candidate needs to impress voters as someone to whom they can entrust their security in a dangerous world. Governor Romney will have to come back to the state of the world before November, and he will have to say more about it than he did in Reno.