Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Bringing it upon themselves

Common foodstuffs to Westerners -- milk, cheese, fruit and flour -- are becoming very scarce in Gaza as Israel again closed the border at the town which serves as Gaza's trade conduit. One of the quoted Palestinians said, "I don't know why they are doing this. For political reasons? Security reasons? For what?" Another accused Israel's government of acting tough to win votes: "Our people have to pay a political price for the coming Israeli election."

As I noted last May, Palestinians are only bringing their woes upon themselves, suffering from the negative externality that some of their countrymen create. Do the Palestinians not realize that as long as they turn a blind eye to their own terrorists (whether gunmen murdering Israeli settlers in their sleep, suicide bombers or "militants" firing rockets), Israel has no choice but to seal off its borders? The protests over Karni have the same willful ignorance as those over the West Bank barrier that Israel is building. Palestinians protest that it prevents them from free travel throughout Jerusalem, including to their jobs. But hindering their movement is precisely the point: when some Palestinians took advantage of free movement to murder innocent Israelis, why should anyone be surprised that Israel will crack down as it has?

All that is required, as if it were as easily done as said, is for Palestinians to stop their terrorism -- then they can engage in peaceful, prosperous trade with Israel. Until then, Palestine's economy will remain in shambles as it fails to support itself. I would like to emphasize again that I love free trade, and I am extremely anti-protectionism. My blog is evidence of it. However, as I recently pointed out in my criticism of allowing a UAE-owned company to have administrative control of U.S. ports, sometimes free trade creates risks that are not worth any savings. Israel would certainly benefit in terms of money, goods and services by not hindering Palestinian workers from going to their jobs, but right now that is not worth the risk of the occasional Palestinian thug who will use openness to commit murder.

In the recent election, Palestinians demonstrated their commitment to overwhelming electing avowed terrorists (Hamas) to power, preferring them over a dead terrorist's terrorist successors (Arafat's Fatah party). To solidify their own power, Hamas has now voted to overturn powers that the preceding Fatah majority gave to Mahmoud Abbas. But lest you have any sympathy for Fatah, some of its members are threatening to kill any of their own who join a Hamas government. The Palestinian people clearly need a third choice, a party that will pursue real peace with Israel, but Palestinians must be willing to embrace real peace.


Blogger TKC said...

Here is the sticking point between free trade and security. The more free trade one has the more likely you're going to be secure. The more people who are fat and happy the less likely the boat is going to be rocked. By cutting off Palestinians from the prosperity of free trade Israel sets up a situation where the Palestinian will feel slighted and thus lead to more animosity. An animosity that is gladly stoked by reactionary forces among the Palestinians themselves. Is this really such a good policy? If the Palestinians will be more properous by trading with Israel then they would not be easily swayed by calls for destroying the Zionist occupier and other such nasty rhetoric.
The same goes for the UAE. By sinking the port deal do we not risk alienating a country that at the very least is somewhat of an ally in the Middle East? Is denying free trade with them really a good idea?

Then there is the other side. How much can you have free trade with a country where there is an entrenched movement bent on your destruction? How do you strike a balance between doing what is right and turning a blind eye to evil?

Wednesday, March 08, 2006 4:24:00 PM  
Blogger Perry Eidelbus said...

But Israel enacted trade restrictions in response to the terrorism. While the retaliation could incite more violence, the fact remains that Arab terrorism was first. The very problem is that Israel could withdraw to its original Balfour Mandate borders, and enough Arabs would still call for its complete destruction. Hamas has sworn to fight for that.

Regarding the port deal that's now been scuttled, allies are not necessarily friends. The UAE is only an ally; there are too many of its nationals who would love to worm their way in. We trade with China, which is certainly an enemy in attitude, though there is a difference. China, I don't believe, wants a full-scale war that could easily escalate into full use of nuclear weapons. What China wants is to harm the United States with subtlety, as it tries to expand its military so that it can stalemate us like the Soviet Union.

Islamic terrorists, however, are such a rogue element and exist at all levels of Middle East society and government. And they're not interested in a stalemate, or subtle harm. They're looking to attack Americans at home and abroad, and in any way they can. And if our "friends" are offended because we don't want them having administrative control over our ports, then I say, too bad: let them police their own people better, and we might have a reason to lessen our suspicion.

Thursday, March 09, 2006 9:55:00 PM  

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