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Why Palestinians Oppose Economic Prosperity by Bassam Tawil (Gatestone Inst.)

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May 17, 2019

  • To advance his goal, Ashraf Jabari recently announced the establishment of a new party that calls for focusing on economic prosperity for Palestinians. The Reform and Development Party seeks to solve the economic problems of the Palestinians, particularly high unemployment, he said. “We have an army of university graduates who are unemployed. We’ve reached a situation where a young [Palestinian] man holding a Master’s degree in law has to work as a street vendor because he can’t find work.”
  • Instead of giving Jabari a chance to carry out his initiative, Palestinians have waged a massive smear campaign against him, with many denouncing him as a “traitor” and “collaborator” with Israel and Jews. Some Palestinians have even gone as far as calling for his arrest or execution.
  • The upcoming peace plan, according to various reports, talks about giving the Palestinians billions of dollars and raising money for them from wealthy Arab countries. Yet, as Jabari’s case makes clear, the Palestinians are less invested in gaining economic stability than they are in hating Israel.
  • For Palestinians, the financial aid is a cynical attempt to lure them away from their struggle against Israel — and no Palestinian leader has the stomach to face the threats that Jabari is currently confronting. So, far from any “deal of the century,” the Palestinian leaders long ago struck a dirty deal of their own: they put their stock in Israel-hatred rather than in their own people.

In most normal societies, a businessman who seeks to improve the living conditions of his people by boosting the economy and creating job opportunities for the unemployed — including a host of jobless university graduates — is treated with respect. The Palestinians, however, do not seem to belong to those societies.

Ashraf Jabari is a 45-year-old businessman from the West Bank city of Hebron. A member of a large Palestinian clan in the city, Jabari believes in economic cooperation and peaceful coexistence with his Jewish neighbors, including settlers living in the West Bank.

Earlier this year, Jabari and some of his Jewish friends launched a new economic initiative to advance joint entrepreneurship between Israelis and Palestinians there.

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