Egypt Independent

Economy versus politics



The convening of the Bahrain conference means adopting a choice of economy versus political failure, and that the US administration’s approach derives from the basic idea that every political track the Palestinians and Israelis took since the Oslo agreement have failed.

This approach also assumes that the Palestinian issue is a result of poor economic conditions within Palestine’s territories and the Arab region in general, and that the solution is an economical alternative based on injecting investments of US$50 billion within Palestine, Jordan and Egypt.

It’s true that these countries need investments and economic development projects, and it’s necessary that America and the Arab Gulf countries seek to inject investments in the region that benefit everyone: investors and citizens.

But the problem remains when this economic aid substitutes a political solution based on respect for resolutions of international legitimacy, and the right of the Palestinian people to build their independent state in the West Bank and Gaza with Jerusalem as their capital in return for ensuring Israel’s security within secure borders.

It’s true that the political path has faltered, and it’s true that the Palestinian division and Hamas’ desire to control the ‘Gaza Emirate’ on its own has sent the world a message that we are facing an unresolved issue.

What’s certain is that the primary responsibility for what the Palestinian situation has reached lies in the Israeli occupation authority. However, the responsibility of the Arab and Palestinian division and the depth of conflict between Fatah and Hamas (each faction treating each other as the first enemy, not the Israeli occupation) can not be ignored.

Many details and incidents indicate this unfortunate situation is the reality. This will not be solved by jumping on and dealing with it as if it does not exist, or saying that we will solve the Palestinian cause with economic projects and investments, and this certainly will not solve the Palestinian problem.

We have to remember that the individual peace agreement signed by former President Anwar al-Sadat with former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin at the time was the framework of a political solution, with one of its consequences being America’s on-going aid to Egypt.

No one asked Egypt to accept half of Sinai so it could receive economic aid, but this aid came to support the political process, regardless of the opinions regarding it and not at its expense or against it.

I don’t expect the Manama conference to result in any solution to the Palestinian cause.

If economic aid is linked to a political solution that wouldn’t allow building a sovereign Palestinian state, this means that the economic and political paths have failed. Political failure in solving the Palestinian cause does not mean that the solution isn’t in politics. The economy is a subordinate component, and not vice versa. What’s happening now is like someone asking half of their people, for example, to emigrate abroad until the economic problems are solved.

The Palestinian cause, essentially, is a political crisis related to an occupation authority that has been lying on this land for 70 years and will only be solved by an independent Palestinian state.