The Myth of Palestinian Disengagement from Israel

(Al-Monitor) Shlomi Eldar - The Palestinian government "will work on gradually disengaging from Israel," PA Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh asserted on May 20. As its first step toward disengagement, the PA had decided to freeze issuing referrals to Palestinians seeking medical care in Israel. "This is a game of false pride and honor," a source in Israel's Civil Administration said. "They are endangering the lives of the patients, mainly children and babies." The PA does not have many alternatives to the treatments provided by Israel for cancer patients or people suffering from genetic diseases, a relatively prevalent condition among local Palestinians due to marriage among close relatives. The second stage of the Palestinian disengagement process is to encourage local production to halt reliance on importing products from Israel. But according to Israeli sources, the PA is disregarding the reality in which it lives. Most of the raw materials the PA imports arrive via Israeli seaports or airports. The PA does not have its own currency. The Israeli shekel is the official legal tender in the West Bank as well as in Gaza. Because the Palestinian market is small and limited, the cost of production for creating alternative products would be high. Moreover, Palestinian consumers are familiar with Israeli products, and lower-quality, higher-priced alternatives will simply not survive market forces. The U.S. has recruited Qatar, Bahrain and other wealthy Gulf states to provide financial backing for the peace plan it will unfurl next month. The commitment of the Gulf states to the U.S. is significant. Abbas has almost no economic alternatives beyond Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and they are acting in their own interest to maintain good relations with the U.S. In other words: The Saudis and the Gulf states will not lift a finger to save Abbas from the dangerous corner that he is painting himself into. The writer has covered the Palestinian Authority and Gaza for Israel's Channels 1 and 10 for the past two decades.

2019-05-24 00:00:00

Full Article


Visit the Daily Alert Archive