Economic measures to support the Intifada

Xxxx Xxxxx Xxxxxx xxxxxxxx at xxxxxxxxxxx.xxx
Tue Oct 31 21:29:39 MST 2000


Wednesday, November 01, 2000
Bahrain Local Time
6:15:25 AM

Bahrain Tribune

http://www.bahraintribune.com/column.asp?Art_No=5273

Economic measures to support the Intifada
Author By: Adnan Bseisso Al Ayam

The Arab summit that was recently held in Cairo adopted a resolution to
set up two funds. The first, the Al-Aqsa Fund, is to have a capital of
$800 million and will finance projects that aim to safeguard the Arab
identity of Jerusalem and enable the Palestinian people to be free of
their dependence on the Israeli economy. The second, the Jerusalem
Intifada Fund, will have a capital of $200 million.

The resolution is a sound one and is likely to mitigate the suffering of
the steadfast Palestinian people living under occupation. Some analysts
believe, however, that the resolution fell far short of the actual
requirements of the expected protracted struggle with the Israeli
occupiers so as to ensure that they will be compelled to withdraw from
the occupied Palestinian territories in the same way they were compelled
to withdraw from southern Lebanon.

Moreover, when establishing the two funds the Arab summit did not
clarify the mechanism of implementation or the purpose for which the
funds can be used. It is also not clear whether the objective is just to
collect contributions in the two funds and then spend them without
creating a mechanism for investing those funds.

In other words, will the two funds be established for one time only and
their task will be completed when the money is spent, or is the aim to
establish investment funds that yield returns that can be spent in
various fields as required?

The summit’s resolution does not make that clear, and such ambiguity
could impede the efforts to make the optimum economic use of the funds
in order to achieve the noble aims for which the two funds were
established, and to guarantee the continued financial support for the
Intifada to enable it to achieve its objectives, and to honour the blood
that has been shed in defence of Muslim and Christian sanctities in
Jerusalem.

If this important resolution to establish the two funds is implemented
it will be the first practical decision taken by the summit. There are
great hopes pinned on its implementation in view of the public
commitment to do so by Saudi Arabia which proposed the creation of the
two funds and announced that it will be contributing one quarter of
their capital once the implementation begins.

Our appreciation for the resolution notwithstanding, the economic
requirements that ensure the continuation of the Al-Aqsa Intifada are
much greater than is suggested by the two funds. What is required is not
to give the Palestinian people aid and assistance which may be rejected
by the majority, but to create opportunities for their trained and
qualified manpower to find jobs in the Arab states that have employed
millions of foreign workers. What is required is a phased and gradual
merger of the Palestinian economy with the Arab economies so that they
can be free of their dependence on Israel which has infiltrated the
structure of the Palestinian economy.

To complement this Arab consensus to champion and
support the Palestinian people – who stand on the frontline confronting
the Israeli occupiers who covet all Arab resources in a loathsome racist
manner – it is necessary to create, on the Arab League level, a body
that will draw up a well-studied interim plan that takes objective Arab
conditions and circumstances into consideration in order to restore the
Palestinian economy to the sphere of the Arab nation. Such a restoration
is a strategic pan-Arab goal to prevent the loss of the Palestinian
economy and to prevent it from being cut off from its roots and true
affiliation and from becoming ‘Israelised.’

Such a plan should allow for opening Arab markets to Palestinian
agricultural and industrial products, despite all obstacles and the
Israeli blockade. The Cairo summit has resolved to study the exemption
of Palestinian products from customs duties and taxes on their import
into Arab markets. That is an important step that will give an incentive
to the Palestinian economy to grow in accordance with sound commercial
standards. One last and necessary comment. At a time when the Arabs
agree on championing the Palestinian people and supporting their
uprising, there are many wealthy Palestinian businessmen who still shy
from channelling their wealth to their original homeland. That is very
regrettable. Wisdom and logic dictate that they should take the lead in
this regard. Perhaps the present awakening will make them feel that they
must contribute their share to the homeland, at a time when their
children, brothers, women, and fathers did not hesitate to give their
blood, the dearest contribution which anyone can make.

– Translated from our sister newspaper, Al Ayam.

--

Xxxx Xxxxx Xxxxxx
PhD Student
Department of Political Science
SUNY at Albany
Nelson A. Rockefeller College
135 Western Ave.; Milne 102
Albany, NY 12222



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