Reflections on a Visit to Israel and the West Bank

(Huffington Post) Jose Ramos-Horta - I recently completed my first State Visit to Israel and Palestine. I was surprised by the state of peace and economic prosperity prevailing in Israel and the West Bank. I envied the relative prosperity of the Palestinians in the West Bank who are far ahead of most sub-Sahara African states, and indeed well ahead of my own country, in economic well-being. Israelis were not bestowed with the same resources available to much of the Arab world. Yet Israelis are ahead of all their neighbors, and of many European countries, in such fields as humanities, science, food security, information technology, and medicine. They have harvested more Nobel prizes than any other individual country of its size. That this tiny country struggling with water scarcity is a major exporter of high quality agriculture goods to Europe and Russia illustrates the well-known Jewish resilience and creativity in the face of extreme adversity. In Israel and Ramallah there is deep resentment and opposition to radical Iranian meddling in Gaza and Lebanon. For many in Israel, Palestine and elsewhere in much of the Arab world, Iran presents the greatest threat to all. The writer is President of East Timor.

2011-03-09 00:00:00

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