Israel-Palestine conflict and globalisation

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3. From your perspective and experience does globalization have the potential to resolve a conflict not related to this phenomenon, for example, the Israel-Palestine conflict, or to possibly make it worse?

Jana Hybášková:

From my perspective globalization in its overall result is neutral. Certainly, it has great potential to be a positive engine of change. Globalization is kind of river flow, bringing lots of energy. If the energy is used in a sustainable manner, supporting not only foreign trade, industry and financial sector and related parts of societies, but if managed carefully, as inclusive public development, it can also bring great benefit. If not, in some cases geographical as well as “social” places are left behind; they become marginalized and excluded.

In Europe, we have a great tool - cohesion funds. NUTS, geographical-statistical areas with less than 60 % of the average GDP should prepare development plans, then be co-financed by the EU. The cohesion fund of the strongest economy of the world, which the EU is, is a great example of positively managed globalization. Cohesion funds develop infrastructure, although sometimes it is understood as helping only the construction lobby. If managed properly, it solves environmental issues, industrial declines, repopulates rural areas, helps ecological fishing, preserves identity, and recreates traditional service sectors…

Europe distributes important financial aid within the framework of European neighborhood policy – ENP. The ENP program in this financial perspective represents 600 million Euros annually, for instance for Egypt, and there is a similar allocation for Syria and Palestine. This money can be used for recreating small and medium-sized businesses in all these countries, can help co finance micro credit loans, agricultural exports, can be used for the recovery of energy grids, water and waste water treatment, and of course classical infrastructure. You might try to go to the AIDCO website to see the types of projects financed by the EU in the areas hit by Arab-Israeli conflict.

The current Israeli government tries to minimize the public damage of the occupation – or start reconciliation. The first step was to begin the "economic development" of the West bank. If the West Bank is more free of checkpoints, has better infrastructure, can export its production to EU, can build small and medium-sized companies, repair the taxation system, pay for better education, functioning administration and police, life in the West Bank will improve substantially. If the citizens of the West Bank can be employed, send their kids to school, repair their houses, achieve a basic health care system, live in a cleaner and safer environment, they will definitely refuse to support Martyrs, terrorists and Hamas.

The precondition is clear: the world, Israelis and Palestinians should allow for the West Bank to be opened to globalization, and not to be totally left behind, as is happening now. How to achieve it? The issue very much is about time planning. We can not call first for a substantial increase in security and then allow for economic development. The process should be parallel – a gradual opening, a gradual increase of opportunity, a gradual connection to globalization, a gradual decrease of the security threat. If managed properly, globalization can bring potential energy. The higher the security risk, the higher the security measures, the lower the chance for globalization renewal. The wise decisions of the EU are, together with US support, a functioning security sector: the police, state prosecution, and prison and detention system. If Palestinians are able to control their own security threats, it will be much easier to pressure Israel to decrease security measures. If this happens, the West Bank can be more open to globalization opportunities.

A short negative scenario: if Syria seriously sues for peace with Israel and signs a unilateral peace treaty with it, then the world donors, and financial and trade support will go in this direction. Syria will earn enormous potential sharing water resources and land with Israel. It will gain a big market and enormous investment. If such a “dream” scenario goes well, Israel can develop the Syrian oil and gas sector. The West Bank would stay occupied, a backyard territory, and left out of any economic opportunity. Hundreds of years of old disputes between Palestinians and Syrians will be resolved.

Jule Kathinka Plawitzki

Hey there,

Before I start with my thoughts about the answers (or at least about a few of them) I’d like to make a short, personal comment - I hope that’s ok in this student discussion forum. I was really impressed by the answers - lots of information about very different topics. I have to admit that I was a little bit disappointed by the original text - it was so general, without a main emphasise… But, as I said before: The answers to the questions made up for it. To all of our tutors: Thank you for this great opportunity to discuss issues with a real politician!

To the third answer: “The current Israeli government tries to minimize the public damage of the occupation – or start reconciliation.”; “"economic development" of the West bank.”; “[…] allow for the West Bank to be opened to globalization, and not to be totally left behind, as is happening now. How to achieve it? The issue is very much about time planning.” Do you think the current Israeli government tries to start reconciliation? But what about the settlers in the West Bank? There is still a consolidation - and it has to do with the structure of the Knesset, doesn’t it? As far as I know, there is a very small electoral threshold for entry into parliament (just 2%?), and therefore there are many more parties in parliament than in other democracies - as well radical parties. Therefore, there is not a coalition of two parties, but rather there is a coalition of five or more parties - a small radical party has a huge impact. And there are religious parties with a purpose that is not rational, and they are unwilling to compromise in reference to the Holy Land. Therefore, how can the current government actually start reconciliation (with all these hopeful ideas for the economy in the West Bank Jana mentioned) - when it depends on the party of Liebermann?

Saturday, 5 December

Jana Hybášková

The electoral threshold for participation in the Knesset is 3%. Israel is a country with an incredibly rich historical background: within 60 years it accommodated holocaust survivors, Jews from Arab countries, Russia, Africa, and many from the US. To ensure the stability of such an incredibly fragmented political and historical background, and to ensure true representation of its political components, this threshold is a unique solution. Nowhere in the modern world was such a high degree of proportionality and representation needed. A true and stable peace can only be achieved by adversaries. It is only Israel’s right wing that can bring both societies to a settled and negotiated peace.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Andrew Barton

Note: The electoral threshold for entry into the Israeli Knesset is 2% - up from the 1% threshold until elections to the 13th Knesset. See [1].

Thursday, 4 February 2010