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This is Part 2 of a 3 part series. Watch for Part 3 next Monday, October 10, 2011. To read last week’s article, click the link below in the Related Articles box.
Summary of last week’s article: Last week Gangte examined the issues surrounding international, Palestinian and Israeli support for Palestine’s statehood bid, as well as the legality of any U.N. intervention.
Nation without unitary territorial boundary: For a territory to be recognized as a sovereign nation, it must have primarily a well defined territorial boundary with international borders. West Bank flanked by Jordon and Gaza located at the other end of the sea coast within Israel do not share a unitary territorial boundary to qualify for statehood status, which projects a very high risk for future conflict on boundary issues. The geographic location of being locked between two nations is bound to produce conflict with Israel (its target enemy and not Jordon) with concomitants effects such as illegal immigration, trespassing and encroachments as experienced with Bangladesh and Pakistan by India.
Nation with controversial holdings: Territorially, Palestine will not gain as much as it expects from U.N. intervention. The Oxford University law professor Guy Goodwin-Gill recently argued in a legal brief to Palestinian leadership, ‘the move to statehood would also terminate the legal status of the PLO as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. The state of Palestine’s authority would effectively be limited geographically to parts of West Bank and perhaps Gaza. Palestinian refugees outside of the newly recognized state would be left without any representation within international institutions. And Gaza would presumably be considered a Hamas-occupied Palestinian territory, given the failure to date to implement its April 2011 unity agreement with Fatah. At best, the state of Palestine would thus rule around forty percent of the West Bank. The other territories that the Palestinians claim–the remaining sixty percent of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza–would all be controlled by Israel or Hamas.’
Nation without economic base: Though Palestinian dependence on the Israeli economy is imposed through such tactics as control of Gaza, considered the golden egg, by outside powers through payment of money to Israel and Israel’s access to Jordon is mainly through Palestine; Palestine has for years relied upon using Israeli channels, where produce of Palestine, exported to Israel, is re-exported to other countries. Agriculture, as a primary economy of Palestine, is dependent on Israeli technology and irrigation systems. Palestine has no currency and coinage to market their goods internationally and their communication line is through Israeli territory, which they dream of grabbing by any means. The catastrophe of the conflict on innocent citizens, advocated to be protected by humanitarians will become a wicked mockery. Without primary economic base, the dream of statehood is a very unpleasant dream.
Nation depending on aid: Building capacity to govern is a costly subject loved by international organizations, who indulged in the pleasure of helping by creating more mess. Palestine is not a sovereign body with administrative structure in place, yet even before shaping itself to set up a structure; it has become a victim of corruption and embezzlement at the highest levels. This has had serious effects on industry and commerce, and living standards of ordinary Palestinians. The indication of this growing trend ensures rise in poverty level, which in turn will surely induce more conflict. To the interest of global humanitarians, aid may be the initial vitalizer, but it is proven to be a highly potent temptation to more corruption in the system, as has happened in Afghanistan. Currently, about 30 percent of the Palestinian GDP is aid, which will rise in the years to come. As the aid consumption increases with no accountability, the donors from humanitarian countries in economic doldrums will stop their aid under pressure from their own public accountability. To fill the gap, rich Arab brothers may be expected to come forward to dole out currencies but there is no certainty of the conditions they may impose on Palestine. Besides, China, along with Russia, will penetrate for global influence. In this way, Palestine will continue to remain a hot affair and a resort for international sportsmanship, while the poor and innocent will bear the brunt of the big players…all permitted by its own leaders. It is not always useful to have the brawn, it is more beneficial to have the brain to decipher and feel the possibilities.
Next week, Gangte will conclude this series by discussing dictatorship, humanitarian issues and suggested avenues to pursue in regard to the Palestinian statehood bid. Watch for Part 3 of this 3 part series next Monday, October 10, 2011.
Margaret Gangte is the director of the Ministry of Defense for the Government of India. Email: [email protected]