Palestinian situation hopeless, not serious

Ethel C. Fenig
Writing in the Asia Times, the observer known as Spengler takes a clear eyed--and different--look at President Barack Obama's (D) assertion in his Cairo speech that "The situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable." In this Obama was merely echoing all the other observers who intone that if only the problems of the Palestinians were solved, voila! peace in the Mideast, the Arabs would love us and the sun would shine forever.

But no, Spengler summarizes. The problem is hopeless but not serious. And certainly not intolerable. We can all live with it, including the Arabs, who don't care about their brethren.

But intolerable?

Really? Compared to what? Things are tough all over. The Palestinians are one of many groups displaced by the population exchanges that followed World War II, and the only ones whose great-grandchildren still have the legal status of refugees. Why are they still there? The simplest explanation is that they like it there, because they are much better off than people of similar capacities in other Arab countries.

GDP per capita in the West Bank and Gaza comes to $3,380, much higher than in Egypt and significantly higher than in Syria or Jordan. Why should any Palestinian refugee resettle in a neighboring Arab country? Other data confirm that Palestinians are highly literate, richer and healthier than people in most other Arab countries, thanks to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency and payments of Western as well as Arab governments. As refugees, they live longer and better than their counterparts in adjacent Arab countries. It is not surprising that they do not want to be absorbed into other Arab countries and cease to be refugees.

Literate, richer and healthier. Soon, all the Arabs will try and become refugees to attain such a good life.
 


Writing in the Asia Times, the observer known as Spengler takes a clear eyed--and different--look at President Barack Obama's (D) assertion in his Cairo speech that "The situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable." In this Obama was merely echoing all the other observers who intone that if only the problems of the Palestinians were solved, voila! peace in the Mideast, the Arabs would love us and the sun would shine forever.

But no, Spengler summarizes. The problem is hopeless but not serious. And certainly not intolerable. We can all live with it, including the Arabs, who don't care about their brethren.

But intolerable?

Really? Compared to what? Things are tough all over. The Palestinians are one of many groups displaced by the population exchanges that followed World War II, and the only ones whose great-grandchildren still have the legal status of refugees. Why are they still there? The simplest explanation is that they like it there, because they are much better off than people of similar capacities in other Arab countries.

GDP per capita in the West Bank and Gaza comes to $3,380, much higher than in Egypt and significantly higher than in Syria or Jordan. Why should any Palestinian refugee resettle in a neighboring Arab country? Other data confirm that Palestinians are highly literate, richer and healthier than people in most other Arab countries, thanks to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency and payments of Western as well as Arab governments. As refugees, they live longer and better than their counterparts in adjacent Arab countries. It is not surprising that they do not want to be absorbed into other Arab countries and cease to be refugees.

Literate, richer and healthier. Soon, all the Arabs will try and become refugees to attain such a good life.