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Gaza’s economy is not ‘falling.’ It was pushed.

Israel/Palestine
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The economic and social situation in Gaza that has been declining for over a decade, has deteriorated exponentially in recent months… The situation has reached a critical point.

Economic Monitoring Report to the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee, Sept 27, 2018 (PDF)

The latest Economic Monitoring Report to the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee [AHLC] quantifies the collective punishment and mounting hardship of the Gaza Strip:

  • – 6% growth in the first quarter of 2018, compared to the same months of 2017.
  • 53.7% unemployment, over 70% for youth and 78% for women in Q1, 2018.  The first figures from Q2 suggest that unemployment has risen a further 5%.
  • 53% of Gazans – every second person – lives below the poverty line.
  • 2% of Gazans receive an uninterrupted supply of water.  98% do not.

The cause is not in doubt:  the government of Israel imposes “restrictions that are the main impediment” to normal economic activity.  “The blockade has caused Gaza’s economy to deindustrialize”. As proportions of GDP, manufacturing and agriculture have declined by more than half since 1994.  The blockade and repeated wars have caused Gaza’s economy to grow more slowly than all of its comparator economies (including the West Bank).

And try doing business in an economy this volatile:

(Source: Economic Monitoring Report to the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee, September 27, 2018)

The structure of the problem explains Gazans’ vulnerability to the cuts made by Israel and Donald Trump this year.  The blockade has strangled normal economic activity, such that the public sector is nearly all that remains. Rather than being an economic actor, entrepreneurial Gaza has been reduced to being a recipient.  Gaza has been “kept afloat by… transfers”, rather than trade. In 2014 (the most recent figures), the expenditures of UNRWA, the PA and Hamas roughly equalled Gaza’s GDP. Their activity was the only significant spending.  This phenomenon will have become even more pronounced since the war.

As they were prevented from earning a living, Gazans increasingly needed assistance.  Now 79% of Gazan Palestinians receive some form of assistance, compared with 15% of West Bankers.  Aid represents up to 45% of poor Gazans’ income. The poorest, and those living in refugee camps, show the greatest drop in their household expenditures – and these indicators of escalating financial distress were compiled before the most recent cuts took effect.

Hardship is, at last, evident in the declining secondary school enrolments.  Education has always been Gaza’s signature, and among wealthier Gazans, it remains so.  Among the poorest, it is becoming impossible, or futile, to keep their children in school after they have reached working age – especially their boys.  Last year, 13% fewer Gazan boys completed Grade 9 than girls.

(Source: Economic Monitoring Report to the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee, September 27, 2018)

The blockade forced Gazans into deep dependence on financial transfers rather than earned income.  Since 2017, for reasons of politics, the transfers have diminished.

The PA’s monthly expenditures have fallen by nearly $30 million since 2016.  Reconstruction funds, pledged at the Cairo Conference after the 2014 bombardment “have been drying up”, although most of the homes that were heavily damaged have not yet been replaced.  Donald Trump has seen fit to precipitously defund UNRWA, and US development and project aid worth $50 – 60 million annually, has also been lost. Israel’s added restrictions at Kerem Shalom and in the fishing zone have “severely exacerbated” the losses of 2018, especially the availability of fuels.

It bears repeating that each choice to withhold funds is a choice that disproportionately punishes the poor.  Add to Gaza’s economic free fall the “rapid collapse in humanitarian conditions”.

Gazans continue to lose their salaries by the thousand, ensuring that more people will be in urgent need of the very assistance that is being cut.  The PA has eliminated 22,000 Gazans from its payroll (and 4000 West Bankers). UNRWA has begun to lay off staff, while the search continues for new funding to offset Trump’s withdrawal from American commitments.

Technology and start-up sectors offer a bit of light.  Start-ups are notable for the youth (27.7 years on average) and presence of women (23%) among founders.  There is no other good news.

Without significant investment or political change, the report foresees a 5% contraction of real GDP this year.  The report also notes just how easily political steps could reverse the decline. “Ending economic isolation and easing the blockade” could lead to cumulative growth around 32% by 2025.  Relaxing the dual-use restrictions could lead to 11% growth.

The report is a trove of current statistical information – and there it ends.

Although the Monitoring Report observes that “bold actions are needed by all parties”, it initiates none.  It does not enquire beyond economics to economic justice. Politically, it urges Israel to loosen the blockade, and it recommends that the Palestinian factions establish “legitimate institutions” under PA leadership, to earn the donor states’ confidence.

The AHLC’s role and composition explain its limitations:

The Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) serves as the principal policy-level coordination mechanism for development assistance to the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). The AHLC is chaired by Norway and co-sponsored by the EU and the US. In addition, the United Nations participates together with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The AHLC seeks to promote dialogue between donors, the Palestinian Authority and the Government of Israel.

Each AHLC report therefore reflects both Gaza’s compounding losses and the ineffectual global response.  Israel is not pressured by describing the disaster. Gazan Palestinians’ living conditions are not eased by it, either.

In Gaza, one always fears that new losses will become the new normal.  The report’s annex validates that fear. It features a table, summarizing the progress made on its 42 current recommendations.  Half of the recommendations show “no progress” in the past two years, and only four are “on track”.

Meanwhile, on the fields, near the fence, Gazans are being killed and their deaths risk being subsumed into the new normal.

I dedicate this post to the member of my Gazan team who asked me in 2011, “Do you think it is the plan, to make every business impossible and make every Gazan dependent?”  I told him that I wasn’t ready to concede to ‘impossible’ then. I am ready now. Atik Al’afiah.

marilyng
About Marilyn Garson

Marilyn Garson worked with communities affected by war, including Afghanistan and Pakistan (2005 – 2010) and the Gaza Strip (2011 – 2015). She is a co-founder of the Gaza Gateway, a social enterprise creating employment in Gaza. She writes from New Zealand, and blogs at Contrapuntal: Transforming Gaza. You can follow her on Twitter @skinonbothsides.

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23 Responses

  1. Maghlawatan
    Maghlawatan
    September 27, 2018, 3:53 pm

    This is Israel’s true face. And we are told Gaza could be Singapore. Singapore isn’t occupied by sociopaths.

    • Bumblebye
      Bumblebye
      September 28, 2018, 12:58 pm

      Sociopaths on an endless killing spree.

      Six dead in Gaza so far today, including three children.

  2. bcg
    bcg
    September 27, 2018, 3:54 pm

    Let’s play Hasbara: if Hamas didn’t spend so much money on weapons then the people in Gaza would be so much better off – that’s the line, right? Ok, here’s an estimate from the Times of Israel that Hamas spends 100 million a year on ‘military infrastructure’:

    https://www.timesofisrael.com/hamas-spends-100-million-a-year-on-military-infrastructure/

    If we round up a little but and assume the population of Gaza is roughly 2 million, that means that 50 bucks a year per person is spent on military hardware, tunnel digging, etc. the average wage in Gaza is $419 a month ( https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3460845,00.html ), or about $5,000 a year – about 1% of the average Gazan’s income goes to the military stuff.

    The claim that Gaza’s economy is held back by Hamas military expenditures doesn’t seem credible to me. Did I do the math right?

    • dionissis_mitropoulos
      dionissis_mitropoulos
      September 27, 2018, 6:59 pm

      Even more to the point, the money comes from Iran, and is given explicitly for the purpose of strengthening the resistance against Israel, which means that if Hamas diverted this money to the people of Gaza Iran would simply cease paying. I quote Amos Harel, the voice of the Israeli defense establishment in Haaretz:

      https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/palestinians/.premium-its-not-the-rockets-that-will-lead-to-war-1.5630015

      “During Friday’s demonstration, Israeli soldiers killed one Palestinian and wounded dozens.Israel is worried about Iran’s growing influence over Hamas. For several years Hamas’ leadership was reluctant to get too close to Iran because of Tehran’s support for theAssad regime, which slaughtered members of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas’ parent movement. But the money Iran has been sending to Gaza, through Gazan banks and couriers, helps to pay the salaries of members of Hamas’ military wing and to produce weapons.”

      Israel is blaming Hamas for spending for resistance money that Hamas wouldn’t have had if it were not spending it on resistance.

      An additional point: since when is it morally reprehensible for a population to make financial sacrifices in order to be in a position to fight back an occupier?

    • Nathan
      Nathan
      September 28, 2018, 4:47 am

      Well actually, bcg, you didn’t do the math correctly. The cost of running a conflict is not measured merely by the price of buying weapons. Being in conflict might mean, for example, closed borders and siege. It also means that much manpower is not dedicated to production (sending kites into Israel doesn’t put bread on the table).

      I have a revolutionary idea that might be helpful. I’m certain that it might come as a real surprise, so I hope that everyone is sitting down. Here it is: It might be a good idea to end the conflict with Israel. First of all, the pointless storming of the border every Friday afternoon could finally end. It really is a pity that lives are lost, and that people get injured. It’s really sad that there has never been an article in Mondoweiss, criticizing the Gazans for repeating a maneuver that has obviously failed to advance the interests of the Palestinians – and at such a terrible cost of human lives and well-being. How can it be that no one here cares about them?

      Secondly, ending the conflict with Israel would allow for the opening of the border and the end of the blockade. Gazans could trade with Israel and they could seek employment in Israel. The Gazans would be able to develop tourism and other fields of endeavor.

      Finally, and most importantly, peace is good (and war is bad). Obviously, it happens that people find themselves in a position that justifies (in their eyes) the necessity of going to war. It has happened everywhere in this world throughout history. However, a moment arrives when you have to draw your conclusions regarding the effectiveness of your war efforts. You can then declare that you have always believed in peace and brotherly love – and very heroically you turn your sword into a plowshare, or your kites into an amusement park.

      Yes, my friends at Mondoweiss, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that my “revolutionary idea” is actually a call to surrender. I understand that in the anti-Israel world, making peace with Israel is likened to a surrender. Well, if you think that ending a conflict is surrender, then it is time to learn that surrender is sometimes the very best policy.

      • Talkback
        Talkback
        September 28, 2018, 8:07 am

        Nathan: “I have a revolutionary idea that might be helpful. I’m certain that it might come as a real surprise, so I hope that everyone is sitting down. Here it is: It might be a good idea to end the conflict with Israel. ”

        That’s brilliant, Nathan. Absolutely brilliant! Ending the conflict with Israel! Marvelous!

        But how are you going to bring the Palestinians to give up occupying and blockading Israel, illegaly settling in it, preventing Jews to return or giving up their exclusive right to all of Jerusalem? It’s obvious that they don’t want peace, but an Arab State of Palestine in 80% of Palestine, all of Jerusalam and that they only pretend to offer a Jewish demilitarized bantustan while controlling its borders and airspace.

        Nathan: “I understand that in the anti-Israel world, making peace with Israel is likened to a surrender. Well, if you think that ending a conflict is surrender, then it is time to learn that surrender is sometimes the very best policy.”

        I understand that in the anti-Palestinian world, making peace with Palestine is likened to a surrender. Well, if you think that ending a conflict is surrender, then it is time to learn that surrender is sometimes the very best policy.

        Yes, Tokyo Rose Nathan. Your phrases really are that hollow.

        But if you want peace, why don’t you ask Israel the question when is is going to abide to international and human rights law, give up it’s illegal annexations and illegal settlements and implement true equality? It doesn’t take much, if someone really wants peace as defined in the international legal world and not according to the aggressor.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        September 28, 2018, 8:26 am

        Will Israel end its conflict with the Palestinians? Will Israel allow the refugees to live in Palestine? Will Israel give equal legal rights to the Palestinians?

        Or will it continue to spread “settlements”, to drive them out of their homes and off their farms, to subject them discriminatory laws and regulations, to pursue the aim of maximum Palestine, minimum Palestinians?

      • oldgeezer
        oldgeezer
        September 28, 2018, 8:31 am

        @Nathan

        All a surrender will achieve is that Israel will continue to control Palestinian lives and economically strangle them at every opportunity while stealing their land and resources.

        That is exactly how it treats the West Bank.

        Israel has made it clear. No state. Israel has no desire for peace. Irsael has never desired peace and cannot be considered a partner for peace.

        It is a criminal and rogue regime.

      • bcg
        bcg
        September 28, 2018, 9:13 am

        @Nathan: So what does ‘making peace’ consist of? There are no proposals from Israel – by far the stronger party – on the table. In fact, when Trump announced his support for two states a few days ago, the mainstream media here reported that many members of Netanyahu’s cabinet were opposed to a Palestinian state under any conditions. Hamas and the PLO have recognized Israel in a dozen ways, as people here have endlessly pointed out.

        Here’s a more radical proposal: how about if Israel makes an offer, stops demolishing Palestinians homes, stops putting people in jail without trial or even formal charges (‘administrative detention’), stops expanding the settlements, and allows freedom of travel for Gazans?

      • dionissis_mitropoulos
        dionissis_mitropoulos
        September 28, 2018, 9:13 am

        @Nathan

        You said:

        “Well actually, [you commenter] bcg, you didn’t do the math correctly. The cost of running a conflict is not measured merely by the price of buying weapons. Being in conflict might mean, for example, closed borders and siege.It also means that much manpower is not dedicated to production (sending kites into Israel doesn’t put bread on the table).”

        On the contrary, commenter bcg did the math perfectly: he was responding to the often heard Israeli argument that Hamas spends amount X for resistance instead of using this money for the people of Gaza. The Israeli argument implicitly makes the point that this amount X by itself would improve the well-being of the Gaza people if only Hamas were to decide not to spend it on resistance. This particular type of Israeli argument that specifically mentions an amount X that is spent on resistance does not allude to the opportunity costs that you say the Palestinian choice to resist carries with it, it only alludes to the actual costs incurred, to the amount of money that is spent on resistance. The putative Israeli argument that you Nathan are alluding to (“Gazans would be better off financially if they abandoned resistance”) is a distinct argument, but it is not the argument that commenter bcg was replying to. Yours is a distinct argument that doesn’t need to make any mention of the amount X. The Israeli argument to which commenter bcg was responding needs to make reference to the amount X. If the Israeli argument was, as you claim, all about reminding the people of Gaza the total cost of the war (i.e. actual costs for resistance plus the opportunity costs you alluded to) then it would be inexplicable that it mentions the specific amount that is spent on resistance, because that amount X is irrelevant to the opportunity costs that you mention, opportunity costs that far outweigh any amount X that Hamas could spend on resistance (“Gaza could be Singapore” is a variation of this alternative Israeli argument). In other words, the Israeli argument, according to what you have said, should have been, “Gazans suffer financially because they don’t surrender”. But the fact that there is an actual Israeli argument that mentions the specific amount X shows that it is a distinct argument that is concerned solely with the amount X that could have been directed to the people of Gaza. So commenter bcg was spot on in his response to the often made Israeli argument that specifically talks about an amount X.

      • Misterioso
        Misterioso
        September 28, 2018, 9:47 am

        @Nathan

        “I have a revolutionary idea that might be helpful. I’m certain that it might come as a real surprise, so I hope that everyone is sitting down. Here it is: It might be a good idea to end the conflict with Israel.”

        Wow, “end the conflict with Israel.” What a brilliant idea!! Now, how do we go about doing that? Hmmm. Wait a second. To state the screaming obvious, by first ending Israel’s illegal and brutal occupation of the Gaza Strip. In case there are some people who are still unaware that Israel is illegally and brutally occupying the Gaza Strip, here’s a few facts:

        “Human Rights Watch, 2005: “…Israel will continue to be an Occupying Power [of the Gaza Strip] under international law and bound by the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention because it will retain effective control over the territory and over crucial aspects of civilian life. Israel will not be withdrawing and handing power over to a sovereign authority – indeed, the word ‘withdrawal’ does not appear in the [2005 disengagement] document at all… The IDF will retain control over Gaza’s borders, coastline, and airspace, and will reserve the right to enter Gaza at will. According to the Hague Regulations, ‘A territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army. The occupation extends only to the territory where such authority has been established and can be exercised’. International jurisprudence has clarified that the mere repositioning of troops is not sufficient to relieve an occupier of its responsibilities if it retains its overall authority and the ability to reassert direct control at will.”

        The International Committee of the Red Cross: “The whole of Gaza’s civilian population is being punished for acts for which they bear no responsibility. The closure therefore constitutes a collective punishment imposed in clear violation of Israel’s obligations under international humanitarian law. The Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, ratified by Israel, bans collective punishment of a civilian population.”

        To quote Dov Weisglass, then PM Ariel Sharon’s senior adviser:
        “‘The significance of the [then proposed] disengagement plan [implemented in 2005] is the freezing of the peace process,’ Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s senior adviser Dov Weisglass has told Ha’aretz. ‘And when you freeze that process, you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state, and you prevent a discussion on the refugees, the borders and Jerusalem. Effectively, this whole package called the Palestinian state, with all that it entails, has been removed indefinitely from our agenda….’ Weisglass, who was one of the initiators of the disengagement plan, was speaking in an interview with Ha’aretz for the Friday Magazine. ‘The disengagement is actually formaldehyde,’ he said. ‘It supplies the amount of formaldehyde that is necessary so there will not be a political process with the Palestinians.’” (Top PM Aide: Gaza Plan Aims to Freeze the Peace Process, Ha’aretz, October 6, 2004)

        To quote a well informed and righteous Jew:
        “Israel has assaulted Gaza heavily three times since the end of 2008, which caused the deaths of thousands as well as enormous damage to its infrastructure and crippling Gaza’s economy. Severe cuts to electricity have had a devastating impact on medical aid, food and technology. The water situation is dire – since Israel destroyed Gaza’s sewage infrastructure, raw sewage flows into the ocean, polluting their beaches and leaching into and polluting almost all of Gaza’s groundwater, making it undrinkable. Almost everyone in Gaza depends on water delivered by tanker trucks. Since building materials are prohibited from being allowed into Gaza, valuable infrastructure cannot be rebuilt. Being a fisherman in Gaza is now a very dangerous occupation, for the IDF routinely fires on fishing boats, injuring, arresting and killing fishermen, as well as confiscating and even destroying fishing boats. How might any of us react to such an inhumane blockade? Would we risk our lives to protest?

        “That is exactly what Palestinians in Gaza have been doing with The Great March of Return. This spring, tens of thousands rose up in mass solidarity, in an unarmed and civilian-led protest. As of this writing, Israeli snipers have shot and killed more than 150 Palestinians, and injured more than 16,000. Confronting their jailers has unified the people of Gaza in the hopes of sending a clear message to the international community to demand an end to the blockade. Meanwhile, Israel explains this collective punishment of Gaza’s 1.8 million Palestinians as necessary for the security of the Jews in Israel.” (https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/palestine-l/mDI7SMY2Avo – “Coming to terms with my Jewish upbringing” by Tsiporah Grignon, August, 2018)

        Regarding Hamas:
        On 16 June 2009, after meeting with former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Ismail Haniya, prime minister of Hamas’s Gaza Strip government, announced that “If there is a real plan to resolve the Palestinian question on the basis of the creation of a Palestinian state within the borders of June 4, 1967 [i.e. 22% of historic Palestine as per 1949 armistice agreements] and with full sovereignty, we are in favour of it.” The entity known as “Israel” ignored the offer.

        http://www.haaretz.com/isra…
        “‘We accept a Palestinian state on the borders of 1967, with Jerusalem as its capital, the release of Palestinian prisoners, and the resolution of the issue of refugees,’ Haniyeh said, referring to the year of Middle East war in which “Israel” captured East Jerusalem and the Palestinian territories. ” (Haaretz, December 1, 2010) No response from “Israel.”

        In its revised Charter, April, 2017, Hamas again agreed to a Palestinian state based on the 4 June 1967 borders. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, “Israel” rejected the Hamas overture instead of using it to open a dialogue.

        https://www.haaretz.com/isr…
        “Senior Hamas Official: ‘I Think We Can All Live Here in This Land – Muslims, Christians and Jews.’” By Nir Gontarz. March 28, 2018, Haaretz. Again, no response from “Israel.”

      • dionissis_mitropoulos
        dionissis_mitropoulos
        September 28, 2018, 11:47 am

        @Nathan

        You said:

        “I understand that in the anti-Israel world, making peace with Israel is likened to a surrender.”

        This is a very narrow understanding. That the Palestinians and maybe the supporters of Palestinians see a deficient peace with Israel as surrender is just an instance of the more general state of affairs where nations tend to refuse to surrender to what they see as a humiliating peace, or even more generally, to what they see as a humiliating resolution of a controversy with another nation.

        So it’s not just “in the anti-Israel world” where dignity considerations against surrender enter, it’s everywhere. And not just in national affairs.

        Now, if you were a post-nationalist, like me, I could understand your inclination to remind people that surrendering in national conflicts is ok – I would have surrendered to my Zionist overlords before you could utter “expelling”, because i am not the fighter type (though, unlike Abu Mazen a.k.a. Palestinian President Abbas, I wouldn’t have collaborated with the overlords, ever). But you are not post-nationalist, so where does your motivation stem from? You answered this question I just posed in my comment in your very next sentence where you said:

        “Well, if you [mondoweiss audience] think that ending a conflict is surrender, then it is time to learn that surrender is sometimes the very best policy.”

        So it is the well-being of the Palestinians that forms the grounds of your call for surrender: “Let go of your Palestinian national dignity and you will be better off”, that’s what you are telling them. And the nations of the world, through their actual behavior, reply to your call: “Do you really think it’s that easy”?

        You are asking for too much of the Palestinians, that’s what I am trying to tell you. And the way to see that you are asking too much of them is the following: ask yourself if you the Israelis are willing to give the Palestinians east Jerusalem, all of it, Western Wall included, Jewish neighbourhoods included, in exchange for guaranteed eternal peace. The answer you (and the Israelis) would give is “of course not, this is a matter of our ethnoreligious dignity”. But then, the only reason for you to prefer eternal war than a peace with east Jerusalem safely out of Israeli hands is that you think that your well-being is not threatened by perpetual war as much as it is threatened by letting go of east Jerusalem. You do consider the salvaging of your dignity as part of your well-being.

        To which my response is this: forget about the fact that you are acquiescing to all the future child-killings and adult-killings that the Israelis will perpetrate (never mind if the killings are perpetrated intentionally or, far more often, as it used to be the case until the beginning of the Gaza Marches, with utter disregard and apathy), don’t you at least mind that you are bringing your children in a world where good people will be looking at Israelis with a mix of apprehension and revulsion? Perhaps you think it’s “thick skin” not to care at all what good people say. Me, I think it’s Israeli libido dominandi. And I predict that if the Israelis keep on indulging this libido dominandi they will, as they already have destroyed democracy in their neighbourhood, they will utterly destroy their own psyche. There’s only so much you can soothe yourself by allegations about others seeing you that way because they are anti-Semites, or because they are “snowflakes”, or because they are “moral narcissists”. The truth is that they see you that way because of your calculated cruelty. That’s the harm to your well-being if you indulge your libido dominandi: you turn cruel.

        If I were you I would be more concerned with the emotional well being of future Israeli children than with finding smart arguments about Palestinian well-being.

      • Nathan
        Nathan
        September 28, 2018, 4:01 pm

        dionissis mitropoulos – The article on which we are commenting is about the Palestinian economy. Therefore, it occurred to me to comment on ways to be helpful from the Palestinian point of view. The economic woes of a society in an armed conflict could conceivably be solved by ending the conflict. If I would have stumbled across an article on this website about the well-being of future Israeli children, I might have been inspired to comment about such an issue.

        Anyway, it seems that the conflict is not coming to an end, so we need not guess about the future. We’ll see for ourselves soon enough how this conflict affects the well-being of both societies in the future. There is only one comment that I can make regarding predictions in general: Things generally work out very differently than expected.

      • dionissis_mitropoulos
        dionissis_mitropoulos
        September 28, 2018, 6:31 pm

        @Nathan

        You said:

        “The article on which we are commenting is about the Palestinian economy. Therefore, it occurred to me to comment on ways to be helpful from the Palestinian point of view. The economic woes of a society in an armed conflict could conceivably be solved by ending the conflict. “

        I only pointed out that commenter bcg, who concentrated on a particular Israeli argument that presents the money that Hamas spends on resistance as being by itself enough to make a difference in the well-being of the Gaza population, was spot on in his response, contrary to what you told him (namely, that he “didn’t do his math correctly” because he allegedly mistakenly ignored the opportunity costs).

        You also said:

        “If I would have stumbled across an article on this website about the well-being of future Israeli children, I might have been inspired to comment about such an issue.”

        The reason i mentioned the Israeli children was the following: you were expressing the belief that the Palestinians would be better off if they surrendered. I contested the idea that they would be better off according to your own metrics, because, as i suggested, the Palestinians too value their dignity as part of their well-being in the same way the Israelis value their dignity as part of their well-being — that was the point of my observation that you, like the Israelis,would be completely unwilling to surrender east Jerusalem for dignity reasons. The implication was: why then do you expect the Palestinians to find it easy to surrender if you yourself cannot surrender on east Jerusalem? And, after this, the well being of Israeli children naturally popped in the discussion, because the only relevant to your concerns about well-being argument that you can make in favour of Palestinian surrender instead of Israeli surrender is that the Israelis do not risk their well being if they refuse to compromise for peace, whereas the Palestinians do. The future Israeli children’s emotional development entered the discussion as something that could make you reconsider your well-being calculus by reflecting on the well being of future Israelis — i think that people who grow up with a weaponized mindset are having their well-being reduced compared to what it could have been. Maybe I am right, or maybe I am too much of a snowflake. I am convinced of the former – though I don’t really mind the latter as a characterization because the majority of those I have seen invoking it are boors.

        Finally you said:

        “Anyway, it seems that the conflict is not coming to an end, so we need not guess about the future. We’ll see for ourselves soon enough how this conflict affects the well-being of both societies in the future. There is only one comment that I can make regarding predictions in general: Things generally work out very differently than expected.”

        The people in Gaza have no future if Israel does not lift the blockade/siege. That’s why they are fighting unarmed at the fence right now. The protests and the return Marches, far from being pointless as you claimed in your first comment, have managed to put Gaza and its siege under the spotlight. Keep the occupation forever if you wish, but stop this barbaric siege, even the IDF acknowledged the futility of this collective punishment of the Gaza people:

        https://mondoweiss.net/2018/08/defenses-columnists-protesters/

        ( please see my second comment in the link above)

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        September 28, 2018, 8:47 pm

        Nathan, I know your aim is to twist the story in such a way as to shift all moral responsibility from the Zionists and pile as much as possible onto the Palestinians, but you don’t need to distort English grammar as well.

        “If I had stumbled across an article on this website about the well-being of future Israeli children, I might have been inspired to comment about such an issue.”

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        September 29, 2018, 12:02 pm

        “Nathan”, how patient you are in explaining! And so articulate. You are a real credit to Zionism.

  3. Maghlawatan
    Maghlawatan
    September 28, 2018, 3:32 pm

    The Jewish ghetto in Warsaw also had a weak economy. Gaza never had a chance.

  4. bcg
    bcg
    September 28, 2018, 5:43 pm

    @Nathan: “The article on which we are commenting is about the Palestinian economy. Therefore, it occurred to me to comment on ways to be helpful from the Palestinian point of view. The economic woes of a society in an armed conflict could conceivably be solved by ending the conflict.”

    Ok, we’re listening. What – exactly – would you have the Palestinians, in particular the people living in Gaza, do? Be specific.

  5. Ossinev
    Ossinev
    September 29, 2018, 2:11 pm

    @Nathan
    “First of all, the pointless storming of the Warsaw Ghetto fences every Saturday afternoon could finally end. It really is a pity that lives are lost, and that people get injured. It’s really sad that there has never been an article in the Western Press, criticizing the Jews in the Ghetto for repeating a maneuver that has obviously failed to advance the interests of the Jews – and at such a terrible cost of human lives and well-being”.

    “Well, if you think that ending a conflict is surrender, then it is time to learn that surrender is sometimes the very best policy”

    Those silly impetuous Jewish Resistance Fighters – never recognising when surrender was the best policy.

  6. Brewer
    Brewer
    September 29, 2018, 10:33 pm

    “Then Levy found ten more women who had lost babies at Israeli checkpoints. “And nobody could care less any more. Today, I can publish it and people will yawn if they read it at all. [It’s] totally normalised, totally justified. We have a justification now for everything. The dehumanisation of the Palestinians has reached a stage in which we really don’t care. I can tell you, really, without exaggeration, if an Israeli dog was killed by Palestinians, it will get more attention in the Israeli media than if 20 Palestinian youngsters would be shot dead by snipers on the fence – without doing anything – in Gaza. The life of Palestinians has become the cheapest thing. It’s a whole system of demonisation, of de-humanisation, a whole system of justification that ‘we’ are always right and we can never be wrong.”
    https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/gideon-levy-robert-fisk-haaretz-israel-palestine-gaza-a8557691.html

    • dionissis_mitropoulos
      dionissis_mitropoulos
      September 30, 2018, 8:15 am

      Levy is great in the interview, it’s very worth reading. His perception of the Israeli society’s mindset very closely tracks my own impressions — and there is a swath of corroborating evidence concerning the apathy of the Israelis towards Palestinian suffering that Levy talked about.

      • Maghlawatan
        Maghlawatan
        September 30, 2018, 2:42 pm

        And Israelis will ask why Poles didn’t help Jews while repeating the behavior with Gazans. Groupthink is fascinating

  7. Maghlawatan
    Maghlawatan
    September 30, 2018, 2:34 pm

    Gaza means Israel deserves BDS.

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