Wednesday, October 25, 2000

You can look at the current problems in the Middle East in terms of the new economics that is usually called 'globalism'. Israel has been successful in creating a high-tech industry, which it would like to see get much bigger. Using a cheap Palestinian workforce would greatly reduce manufacturing costs, not to mention generally lower the cost of labour in Israel. If a somewhat 'normal' Palestinian state can be created, and everyone can get along, the Palestinians can be trained and used as really cheap labour either in Israel (in the same way that South African blacks could be confined to their 'homelands' but used as labourers in the mines), or in factories set up in the new Palestine (with customs laws set up as are in the Mexican maquiladoras). The corrupt Palestinian leaders would probably go along with just about anything. Key to this whole concept is the creation of a Palestinian state that is similar to the 'homelands' in apartheid South Africa. The new Palestine would have to be subject to Israeli control over water and power, and under effective Israeli military control. The latter would be accomplished in the guise of protecting the Jewish settlers who would remain in the middle of the new country (and would no doubt be constantly getting into trouble). It is completely understandable that the United States, the world champion of this sort of economics, would be mad at Arafat for not buying into this vision of a Palestinian future. It is also understandable that Arafat would do whatever he could to avoid it.