Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Shape of Groundhog Days to Come

Empress Trudy

I accept that the point of all of this is parochially domestic to appease the base of activists at here in the US at home so that they can kick the can down the road another year while continuing to lean on Israel because it’s worked for them so far. I accept that no one believes any of this means a thing. I accept that our leaders would rather make a splashy sound bite pretending to address the least significant regional issue than take a stand and possibly fail with a more significant issue because significant issues have fairly crisp success criteria and this does not, in fact success or failure can mean whatever they say it means. There might not even BE a difference between the two. I accept that our leaders are at best dull, blind and indifferent and at worst would rather be adulated for the genocide they intend than feared for the one they accomplished.  I accept that the Arabs can talk about ethnic cleansing because our better moral angels in the west tacitly agree with it. I accept that the west today cares no more for the fate of anyone in Israel or elsewhere any more than the foreign service mandarins who following WW1 carved up the Ottoman empire in a cartographer’s room in London and Paris without the least thought or concern of anyone who lived there and were simply considering their own ruthless agendas according to realpolitik.  I accept that Israel has talked about releasing 104 mass murderers in stages with the assumption that doing it in stages will guarantee that most of them are never released since the Arabs will blow off all talks sooner than later. I accept this Kabuki drama for no more than what it appears to be. I accept all of that.

Let’s give them their head and agree to it for a moment. Let’s even bless this disaster with the post modernist European theory of non-nationhood and declare that not having definable or workable borders in a world where states don’t matter only theories and transnational bodies and that this ‘palestinian’ state need not have a coherent shape though one would be preferable it’s not a deal breaker.  What would this place look like, how would it function, how would it be viable or sustainable.

Under Obama the PA receives about $980million a year (up from $150 million FY 2006). They get an additional $2.6 billion a year overall, from the EU. Arab aid since 2000 has totaled about $45 million. So round it off to $3.6 billion a year.  In March of this year the PA stated its budget was $3.9 billion and its shortfall was $1.4 billion. This means that 92% of their budget is aid and that 40% of that aid has to be accelerated to be useful. The CIA World Factbook lists their GDP about $8 billion;  45% of their GDP is foreign aid. This puts their percapita PPP GDP at about $2,900 which is higher than Senegal, Yemen, Nigeria, Bangladesh or Cote d’Ivoire.  Even Gaza which is relatively poor has a better infant mortality rate than Jordan, Bulgaria, Thailand, China, Saudi Arabia. A large chunk of Gaza’s funding comes from the PA which pays off people not to cooperate very much with Hamas. 

Where does Hamas funding comes from ? Iran, Egypt, Qatar, Turkey and crime and terrorism operations. Then we have to add in $1.2 billion from UNWRA which is not direct aid but the operating budget to function as their de facto civilian government.  The US and EU provide 42% or that budget directly.  This whole house of cards relies on above board and under the table charity. Without the billions in aid from all over the world Gaza and the Arabs in Yesha would actually begin to resemble the humanitarian disaster story they’ve sold the world on. 

What would such a ‘state’ look like? There are few civic institutions so there are few if any self funded infrastructure programs. While the economy in and around Ramallah is doing well now it relies on everything else being handled by some NGO or foreign government, from running the schools to picking up the garbage. Moreover they don’t produce their own electricity and are in arrears to the IEC for about $375 million. Virtually all of their water supply is run by Israel and Jordan. Even the pipes have to be laid by others and when they are, they’re used to illegally tap into the Israeli water system. None of their waste water is treated by them, they prefer instead to dump all the toxic sludge wherever they like.

Jobs are provided by Israeli firms who are then condemned and boycotted by the EU for providing them jobs in the first place. The tiny Arab agricultural sector can only deal with Israel because no other nation will and when the Israelis trade with them, it’s again condemned.  And the Israeli universities which operate there educating Arabs, are…..of course boycotted by the same people once again.

They don’t make or build anything, they don’t educate themselves, none of their civic institutions are indigenous or organic, their economy consists of foreign largesse, their titular head is an unelected dictator and half of their population is under an entirely different government with its own agenda and funding, and none of them pay their bills. There’s no such thing as contract law or a functioning legal system, there’s no economic, personal or civil rights and the only achievement they can point to is they openly embrace genocide, ethnic cleansing, race hatred, anti-Semitism, terrorism, murder and mayhem as the only entirely legitimate tools of foreign and domestic policy.

This state such as it is resembles nothing else seen in the world today. A virtual terrorist amusement park where the residents and inmates are free to kill or stay home and do nothing except wait for their check to arrive so they can continue to bemoan their own lack of initiative in everything except failure, crime and anarchy. It's turning an entire 'country' into a banlieue, a slum on the dole that's firewalled off from civilization because they throw rocks and firebombs at the ambulances sent to help them. There will never be a 'two state' solution because there can't ever be more than a state and a half: Israel, and all around it Thunderdome and Arab Humongous low on gas and high on crazy. As a formal institution we agree to call a 'nation'.

Borders even if you accept such things, don’t fix this. Land doesn’t fix this. Calling for an ethnic cleansing of all Jews near their ‘homeland’ doesn’t fix this. Repeatedly refusing all entreaties doesn’t fix this. Piling demand upon demand upon demand doesn’t fix this. Not even freeing every mass murdering psychopath fixes this. Because the problem isn’t ‘conditions on the ground’ or ‘final statuses’ or the ‘wall’  or whether Gazans can fish 12 miles offshore or 6. Doubling the number of Gazans treated in Israeli hospitals to 45,000 a year doesn’t fix this. Forgiving their electric bill doesn’t fix this. Locating more or fewer Israeli businesses that employ them or not employ them doesn’t fix this.

Nothing fixes this. The problem is them. It’s not what they do, it’s who they are that’s the problem. I have nothing to suggest how to fix ‘them’ other than to note that it’s probably hopeless. Every other ‘people’ in every other post colonial place in the world has managed to sort itself out for better or worse, than the Arabs in and around Israel have managed to do with far less help from the west and yet the Arabs for all their support for all their aid for all their rallies and protests and boycotts and terrorist attacks have stayed the same and not progressed politically, economically or socially. All the entire 'palestinian movement' has managed to do for the better part of a century is not make their own hopeless lot in life materially much worse than it was by killing thousands of Jews. Why should we hold out hope that anything more is possible?


  1. Well, I think we should all be making plans since fer sure Kerry's peace plan is gonna work and in nine months we will all need some other past time. I'm thinking about maybe starting a Unicorn Ranch.

  2. I separate the person from the people, and judge each of the former on their own merits. Societies and cultures get a bit trickier, and of course some are more civilized than others. I do not play the relativism game, as anybody who knows me can attest.

    There are surely terrible savages amongst our enemies, as there are amongst those of any race or ethnicity.

    To state that over 300 million people are all this or that, however, is wrong and is offensive. And in the end, those people aren't going anywhere, and they are going to be the neighbors of the Jews of Israel in perpetuity.

    I don't know, maybe I'm just a hopeless dreamer, but I'd like to think we can ratchet down the rhetoric a little bit, and work towards a calmer discourse, if not a calmer world.

  3. Individuals don't concern me. Societies do.

  4. For future reference, it helps to respond to things that people actually say and believe, rather than to flimsy strawmen.

    I guess there's nothing further to say, since you have clearly moved onto to discussion with somebody other than me.