Letter: West Bank’s economy no different from surrounding economies | AspenTimes.com

Letter: West Bank’s economy no different from surrounding economies

West Bank’s economy no different from surrounding economies

In response to Paul Andersen’s commentary (The Aspen Times, Commentary, May 12), we hope Andersen had a great time in Israel. We hope, for example, that he enjoyed visiting the ancient temple steps on which Jesus tread; steps that were off-limits to non-Muslims during the Arab occupation of East Jerusalem before it was liberated by Israel in the 6-day war in 1967. But we digress.

Andersen observed the backward economy of the areas occupied by Palestinians. How he came to attribute their plight to Israel must reveal a lack of research. The Palestinian Authority has full economic control of those areas. The Palestinian Authority has received rivers of money for years from other Arabs, the U.N., the U.S. and many other governments. Mostly, it lines the pockets of the Palestinian Authority’s “leadership.” (That’s why the Palestinian Authority “leadership” never changes; they enjoy the money too much). That’s one big reason for what Andersen observed. Israel has nothing to do with the Palestinians’ economic suicide.

It is curious that Andersen compares the economy of the West Bank to that of Israel. The West Bank’s economy isn’t much different from those of Lebanon, Jordan or Syria, where the rich few control everything and the masses have little opportunity. By that measure, the Palestinians are typical of Arabs living in countries that have no oil wealth. Israel didn’t deprive them of a darned thing. They simply don’t have a productive system.

Further, Andersen wrongly confuses the plight of Arabs living in the West Bank with that of Arabs who live in and are citizens of Israel. The latter Arabs are equal citizens with votes, serve on the Israeli Supreme Court and have access to modern education, economic opportunity and health care just like other Israelis.

Not surprisingly, Andersen was able to find an Israeli who was critical of his government’s policies. Welcome to a democracy, Andersen. It’s called Israel. Maybe Andersen and his “man on the street” would like to try criticizing Abbas openly in the West Bank and see what happens. Netanyahu is not prime minister of Israel because Andersen’s man on the street holds the view prevailing in Israel. There must be a lot more Israelis who have different opinions about who is at fault or they would have a different prime minister.

Then there is the rich irony (obviously ill-informed) of attributing Palestinians’ plight to U.S. Jews who support Republicans. Please. U.S. Jews overwhelmingly support and collaborate with Democrats; the average U.S. Jew would be highly insulted to be accused of being Republican or even knowing one (to our dismay, but that’s another story).

We wouldn’t get upset about yet another frankly ignorant opinion being published about this subject except that a fairy tale seems to be developing popularity that is totally divorced from fact, and many Israelis could unjustly pay the price.

Maurice Emmer

Aspen

Alan Altman

Aspen


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