“Neoliberal Consensus on Palestine”
Posted by uscsjp on April 29, 2011
First, some recent headlines from Democracy Now!:
Palestinian Civilians Wounded in Israeli Attack on Gaza
Several Palestinian civilians have been wounded in an Israeli military attack on the Gaza Strip. Israeli tanks shelled an area near a refugee camp in Gaza earlier today. The victims included two children. The attack comes just two days after the Palestinian factions of Fatah and Hamas announced an agreement to form a unity government and hold general elections.
Egypt to Unseal Rafah Border Crossing
Egypt has announced it plans to open up the Rafah border crossing with Gaza after years of closure under former president Hosni Mubarak. Speaking to Al Jazeera, Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil al-Arabi said Egypt will unveil further steps to address the “blockade and suffering of the Palestinian nation.”
Interview: Raja Khalidi on the neoliberal consensus in Palestine
Earlier this month, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO) each published reports backing the Palestinian Authority statehood program. They claim that from an institutional point of view, the PA is ready for the establishment of a state in the near future.
In August 2009, the PA published a strategy paper called “Ending the Occupation, Establishing the State.” The Palestinian statehood program states that the establishment of a Palestinian state within two years “is not only possible, it is essential.” The PA stresses the building of “strong state institutions capable of providing for the needs of our citizens, despite the occupation.” As concerns the economic system, “Palestine shall be based on the principles of a free market economy,” the program states.
Recently, Palestinian economists Raja Khalidi and Sobhi Samour published a highly critical article on the PA’s neoliberal policies in the Journal of Palestine Studies entitled “Neoliberalism as Liberation: The Statehood Program and the Remaking of the Palestinian National Movement.” Khalidi and Samour argue that the statehood program “cannot succeed either as a midwife of independence or as a strategy for Palestinian economic development.” They claim that the PA is offering the Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank “a program predicated upon delivering growth and prosperity without any strategy for resistance or challenge to the parameters of occupation.”
The Electronic Intifada contributor Ray Smith interviewed Raja Khalidi, a senior economist with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), about the PA’s economic policies and its implications for statehood. The views expressed in this interview do not represent those of the UN secretariat…
–Ray Smith, The Electronic Intifada, 25 April 2011