As the world’s powers shift their foci from military to economic conquests, the Middle East has become a paradigm for how land will be acquired and how disputes will be settled in the future. Just like the Cold War, no shots need to be fired. The parties will agree on what a post-war treaty might look like without suffering casualties, spending capital, or wasting precious natural resources.
Since wars have already been fought in the region, the parties can readily speculate on what the outcome of a war might entail. The end result will allow Israel to transfer funds from its military, which takes up more than half of the nation’s annual budget, to other domestic fields.
The country’s young people will be freed up to enter universities at age 18 instead of serving a mandatory army term and the Jewish Nation can become a place that is respected for its wealth, economy, intellectual heritage and religious fervor.
But to what gain is this to the Palestinians? They achieve their own nation, but it is one that is led by a corrupt, undemocratic, de-militarized government.
It is probable that the nation will be non-contiguous and poor. The average income of an Arab family living in Israel is about twice the amount of that of a family that resides in the Gaza Strip. Palestine will have few natural resources and a poor economy, while Israel will become something akin to a small European nation.
This is why the PA’s Yassir Arafat is asking that four million Palestinian refugees be allowed to return to Israel-something that George F. Will of Newsweek says would amount to “demographic suicide” for the Jewish Nation.
Arafat knows that what he controls is an impoverished and oil-free Arab land, one that will certainly have numerous growing pains, and has opted to attempt a land grab over the whole of Israel instead of becoming the soon to be hated leader of an unstable nation. The current intifadah is just another example of Arafat’s goal of controlling the whole of Israel.
This is not to say that Palestine is destined for failure. But, rather, that by perpetuating violence and hostility toward Israel, Arafat retains the respect of his people and shirks the duty of attending to domestic matters.
Leaders the entire world over are adept at maintaining external conflict in order to legitimize ignoring internal problems. In this case, since the Palestinians are the underdogs, the world community supports Arafat’s tactics.
Peace is only achievable when both sides have economic prosperity, and establishing a sound economic base should be Arafat’s goal well before he even considers carving up Jerusalem. The fact that President Clinton and Israel’s Prime Minister Barak do not see this, and instead choose to believe that
Israel will split as smoothly as Czechoslovakia did, is the fundamental flaw of present peace negotiations.