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Jobs and Jihad in Israel

At a time when the Palestinian Economy needs Israel more than ever, it is on a path to get less and less on a collision course with economic abstinance on the part of Israeli employers. brought on primarily through the uncompromising boldness of a governing Hamas, Elizabeth Young brings this economic reality into clear view with Palestinian Economic Dependence on Israel.

According to the World Bank, in 2000 the Palestinian economy was one of the most remittance-dependent economies in the world, with income outside the territories comprising 21 percent of Palestinian Gross National Income (GNI). While the World Bank has noted that it is important that Palestinians move “away from a dependency on labor exports to Israel to a growth-path based on the export of goods and services to Israel and other countries,” it also acknowledges that in the interim period “a priority must be given to preserving employment.” It estimates that every additional 10,000 Palestinians allowed to work in Israel would generate $120 million for the Palestinian economy and increase the GNI by 2.5 percent. This would have significant effects on the Palestinian economy, where unemployment stands at 22 percent, poverty remains at 43 percent, and 15 percent of the population lives in “deep poverty” such that they cannot meet subsistence needs.

Israel has announced plans to decrease the overall number of foreign workers and to phase out all Palestinian work permits by the end of 2007. Present regulations require all workers to be older than thirty-five and married with children. The current political situation may accelerate this process. Due to heightened concerns of a terror attack during the Jewish holiday of Purim and the Israeli elections, no Palestinian workers have been allowed into Israel since March 11, and Mofaz indicates that this will continue until further notice.

It has always struck as ironic when groups like Hamas would, with a backdrop of a charter that calls for the Jewsih state's destruction, attack Israel physically and verbally while, nearly in the same breath, also demand that it is their right to travel to and earn wages within their economy.

Perhaps they should choose one or the other. Israel has done just that for them.