Enduring America's Ali Yenidunya has dropped in on our partner website, Libertas, with a guest blog on the Israeli Government's new strategy on Palestine. His prediction? Prime Minister Netanyahu, trying to block a "two-state" resolution, is only making trouble for himself with an economics-first approach:
A month ago, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opened a conference in Jerusalem. In contrast to other high-profile meetings such as that last week with US envoy George Mitchell and in May or June with President Obama, this was a quiet affair. However, the Jerusalem Wealth Management Conference, featuring Netanyahu’s participation, was far from insignificant.
The conference’s concern was difficulties with investments in Palestine and Israel, both for individuals and for companies. Amongst those considering the matter were the Bank of Israel, the Ministry of Trade, the International Monetary Fund, the Association of Banks in Palestine, the US Embassy in Israel, the new Israel-Palestine Chamber of Commerce, and the PalTel (Palestinian Telecommunications) Group. Discussions were in three main panels: Israeli Inc. as a Grade A Destination, Israel's Investment Opportunities, and Investment in the Palestinian Economy.
This, however, was a conference with political as well as economic significance. It was no less than a forum for Prime Minister Netanyahu’s strategy towards the Israeli relationship with Palestine. In his commitment to “economic peace initiatives”, he was also drawing the line against a political two-state resolution. Netanyahu was once again declaring that peace talks could focus on building the Palestinian economy and its governing institutions, but there was no need for them to engage other issues such as settlements, refugees, the status of Jerusalem, and borders.
While there is no record to dissent from the gathered bankers, financiers, and investors to Netanyahu, the weakness --- possibly even the folly --- of his approach was clear. A progressive peace plan cannot be achievable merely through “investment”, strengthening the Palestinian economy and the economic relationship between Israel and the West Bank.
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