Palestinians Deserve Better

Arab Palestinians deserve economic prosperity, a higher standard of living, freedom of the press, and political freedoms. Let us now compare the so-called Palestinian economy, their standards of living, and rights during the period of Israeli jurisdiction, with the situation unerPA/PLO jurisdiction. Consider the balance sheet.

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Gary Fitleberg

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צילום: ערוץ 7
In a public address at the Whitehill Chapel, President George W. Bush declared that Arab Palestinians deserve better leadership. Bush called for Palestinians to strive for democracy as a way to peace with Israel.

"Peace will not be achieved by Palestinian rulers who intimidate the opposition, who tolerate and profit from corruption and maintain their ties to terrorist groups. These are the methods of old elites, who time and again have put their own self-interest above the interest they claim to serve," President Bush stated.

Bush concluded, "The long suffering Palestinian people deserve better. They deserve the true leaders capable of creating and governing a Palestinian state."

Are the Palestinians better off under Israeli jurisdiction or the PalestinianAuthority/Palestine Liberation Organization (PA/PLO) jurisdiction? Arab Palestinians deserve economic prosperity, employment opportunities, educational development, a higher standard of living, freedom of the press, and political and civil freedoms.

Let us now compare the so-called Palestinian economy, standards of living, and rights in the territories during the period of Israeli jurisdiction with that of the PA/PLO jurisdiction. Consider the balance sheet.

Under Israeli Jurisdiction, 1967-93

Economic prosperity. Israeli investment in Palestinian business, industry, and infrastructure helped the PA GNP grow 13% annually between 1967 and 1980; per capita income grew tenfold; unemployment dropped from 40% to below 5%.

Employment opportunities. Except during terrorist upsurges, Israel employs about 120,000 Arab Palestinians from the ancient biblical and modern disputed territories. Their earnings accounted for 43% of the territories? of Judea and Samaria (wrongly called the West Bank) overall income.

Educational development. Israel built six universities and 20 community colleges for the Arab Palestinians. Illiteracy dropped from 50% to 30% between 1967 and 1980. Standards of living soared. Health gains: Israel built 166 clinics, provided universal life insurance and medical programs for Arab Palestinians. The mortality (and morality) rate plummeted by two-thirds. Between 1970 and 1990, Israel built hospitals and schools. Israel also expanded water, sewage, and electric systems.

Freedom of the Press. This basic right was extended even for press with anti-Israel opinions. Other civil and political freedoms. Freedom of association, trade unions, civic organizations and opposition parties permitted. Voting rights extended to poorer classes and to women for local elections for the first time in the Arab Palestinian history.

Under Arab Palestinian Jurisdiction, 1993-2000

Economic stagnation. From 1992 to 1996, per capita income dropped 35% in Gaza. Unemployment increased to over 20% in Gaza and the ancient biblical and modern disputed territories of Judea & Samaria (wrongly called West Bank ).

Employment roadblocks. Arabs intentionally exclude their brethren and cousins who call themselves Palestinians during job recruitment efforts, importing Asians and other Arab nationals instead. Kuwait has denied citizenship to and expelled all 300,000 of its so-called Palestinian residents after the Gulf War.

Inadequate education. Schools are closed during uprisings to bus students to the demonstrations. Elementary, high school, and university students are trained in the latest tactics of terror based upon wrongful hatred of Israelis and Jews. This improper education is also promoted in camps and religious institutions.

Corruption and mismanagement. In 1997, 40% of the PA/PLO budget "disappeared" and was reported "missing" although its leadership has profited personally from the humanitarian aid money.

Control of the media. The Palestinian Authority/Palestine Liberation Organization, ever since its inception, has complete control over the media. No democracy has control over the media. A few PA/PLO activities include arrests of journalists, closure of media outlets, and using the media to promote hatred and terrorism--especially homicide bombing attacks. A climate of fear and self-censorship exists.

Authoritarian government. Here are a few examples: Restrictions on association; intimidation and even "targeted" assassination of opposition leaders; arbitrary arrests and detentions; torture and unfair trials, especially in the new State Security Courts, which according to Amnesty International "flagrantly" violate "fair trial standards" according to accepted jurisprudence standards.

That's not all. Let's consider another important economic reality.

Between 1994-2000, the European Union contributed $1.5 billion to the Palestinian Authority; the U.S. pledged $500 million. Israel allocated $90 million between 1993-1999. Israel also facilitated investments in the Arab Palestinian private sector and granted 2, 522 fellowships to Arab Palestinians for professional training between 1995-1999.

Let's get the factual record straight...

Israel does not want to govern the Arab Palestinians. It has tried repeatedly to negotiate a realistic solution that recognizes the Arab Palestinians' right to self-determination. In the interim, Israel has tried to help them.

The Arab Palestinians deserve better. The Arab Palestinians deserve economic prosperity, employment opportunities, educational development, a higher standard of living, freedom of the press, and political and civil freedoms.

Are the Arab Palestinians better off under the jurisdiction of the Israelis or the Palestinian Authority/Palestine Liberation Organization? You be the Judge!


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