Tuesday, September 20, 2005

UN Says Palestinians Better Off Economically
Than Other Arab States

Melanie Phillips analyzes the UN Development Prgrams Annual Report:

On the global political stage the UN is Israel’s implacable foe, helping create the impression that the country is grinding the Palestinians into abject poverty and destitution – that is, when it not committing genocide against them. Leaving aside the inconvenient detail that genocide wipes out whole populations while the numbers of Palestinians have actually been increasing, official data published this month by the UN gives the lie to its own propaganda about the lack of Palestinian well-being. The UN Development Programme’s Human Development Report 2005 is a massive tome. But chapter five which deals with violent conflict makes it clear that it was the second intifada beginning in Sept. 2000 which reversed a small trend towards improvement on the Human Development Index and resulted ‘in a sharp deterioration in living standards and life chances,’ more than doubling the poverty rate. Israel is commonly blamed for this deterioration. But as the report observes: ‘...violent conflict is one of the surest and fastest routes to the bottom of the HDI table’. And that conflict was started and promulgated by the Palestinians.

What is even more revealing is that in tables on p 220, the Occupied Palestinian Territories are in the medium cluster with an HDI of 0.729 – a better standard of living than the Arab states overall which have an HDI of 0.679. On the Human Poverty Index, the territories are ranked seventh on a list of 103 developing countries, with other Arab countries ranked below them. Saudi Arabia is ranked 32; Syria is 29; Iran is 36; Egypt is 55; liberated South Africa (all those who accuse Israel of ‘apartheid’, please note) is 56.

Now what is the one factor which the Palestinians have that other Arab states do not have, the factor which lifts their living standards above even those Arab states which have massive oil wealth? It is their close economic relationship with Israel, both in terms of the jobs that Israel provides for them and the massive amounts of aid that Israel pours in to the territories. And what has been the Palestinians’ response to this country which is so crucial to their living standards? Why, to murder its citizens in great numbers and try to destroy it altogether. And what has been the outcome of that genocidal campaign against Israel, apart from murdering large numbers of Israelis? Why, to put Palestinian development into reverse.

Is this the biggest self-inflicted wound in history?

There's that old saying, "Don't suicide bomb the hand that feeds.