December 30, 2006 2:12am CST
Commentary Magazine Efraim Karsh 2002 http://www.palestinefacts.org/what_occupation.html Abstract: Few subjects have been falsified so thoroughly as the recent history of the West Bank and Gaza. The history of Israel's So-called "Occupation" of Palestinian lands and the ways in which Palestinians and Arabs have distorted Israeli actions in the West Bank and Gaza are discussed. [.....] THE BRITISH proved to be prescient. Neither Egypt nor Jordan ever allowed Palestinian self-determination in Gaza and the West Bank-- which were, respectively, the parts of Palestine conquered by them during the 1948-49 war. Indeed, even UN Security Council Resolution 242, which after the Six-Day war of 1967 established the principle of "land for peace" as the cornerstone of future Arab-Israeli peace negotiations, did not envisage the creation of a Palestinian state. To the contrary since the Palestinians were still Not viewed as a distinct nation, it was assumed that any territories evacuated by Israel, would be returned to their pre-1967 Arab occupiers-Gaza to Egypt, and the West Bank to Jordan. The resolution did NOT even mention the Palestinians by name, affirming instead the necessity "for achieving a just settlement of the refugee problem"-a clause that applied not just to the Palestinians but to the hundreds of Thousands of Jews expelled from the Arab states following the 1948 war. At this time-we are speaking of the late 1960's-- Palestinian nationhood was rejected by the entire international community, including the Western democracies, the Soviet Union (the foremost supporter of radical Arabism), & the Arab world itself. "Moderate" Arab rulers like the Hashemites in Jordan viewed an independent Palestinian state as a mortal threat to their own kingdom, while the Saudis saw it as a potential source of extremism & instability. Pan-Arab nationalists were no less adamantly opposed, having their own purposes in mind for the region. As late as 1974, Syrian President Hafez alAssad openly referred to Palestine as "not only a part of the Arab homeland but a basic part of southern Syria"; there is no reason to think he had changed his mind by the time of his death in 2000. NOR, for that matter, did the populace of the West Bank and Gaza regard Itself as a distinct nation.." [...] Thus it happened that, at the end of the conflict, Israel unexpectedly found itself in control of some one million Palestinians, with no definite idea about their future status & lacking any concrete policy for their administration. [...] Israel's Restraint in this sphere-which turned out to be desperately misguided-is only part of the story. The larger part, still untold in all its detail, is of the Astounding social & economic progress made by the Palestinian Arabs under Israeli "Oppression." At the inception of the occupation, conditions in the territories were quite dire. Life expectancy was low; malnutrition, infectious diseases, and child mortality were rife; and the level of education was very poor. Prior to the 1967 war, fewer than 60% of all male adults had been employed, with unemployment among refugees running as high as 83%. Within a brief period after the war, Israeli Occupation had led to Dramatic improvements in general well-being, placing the population of the territories ahead of most of their Arab neighbors..." cont'd "In the economic sphere, most of this progress was the result of access to the far larger/more advanced Israeli economy: the number of Palestinians working in Israel rose from zero in 1967 to 66,000 in 1975 and 109,000 by 1986, accounting for 35 percent of the employed population of the West Bank and 45 percent in Gaza. Close to 2,000 industrial plants, employing almost half of the work force, were established in the territories under Israeli rule. During the 1970's, the West Bank and Gaza constituted the fourth fastest-growing economy in the world-ahead of such "wonders" as Singapore, Hong Kong, and Korea, and substantially ahead of Israel itself. Although GNP per capita grew somewhat more slowly, the rate was still high by international standards, with per-capita GNP expanding tenfold between 1968 and 1991 from $165 to $1,715 (compared with Jordan's $1,050, Egypt's $600, Turkey's $1,630, and Tunisia's $1,440). By 1999, Palestinian per-capita income was nearly double Syria's, more than four times Yemen's, and 10 percent higher than Jordan's (one of the betteroff Arab states). Only the oil-rich Gulf states and Lebanon were more affluent. Under Israeli rule, the Palestinians also made vast progress in social welfare. Perhaps most significantly, mortality rates in the West Bank and Gaza fell by more than two-thirds between 1970 and 1990, while life expectancy rose from 48 years in 1967 to 72 in 2000 (compared .. 68 years for all the countries of the Middle East/North Africa). Israeli medical programs reduced the infant-mortality rate of 60 per 1,000 live births in 1968 to 15 per 1,000 in 2000 (in Iraq the rate is 64, in Egypt 40, in Jordan 23, in Syria 22). And under a systematic program of inoculation, Childhood Diseases like polio, whooping cough, tetanus, and measles were Eradicated. No less remarkable were advances in the Palestinians' standard of living. By 1986, 92.8% of the population in the West Bank and Gaza had electricity around the clock, as compared to 20.5% in 1967; 85% had running water in dwellings, as compared to 16% in 1967; 83.5% had electric or gas ranges for cooking, as compared to 4% in 1967; and so on for refrigerators, televisions, cars. Finally, and perhaps most strikingly, during the two decades preceding the intifada of the late 1980's, the number of schoolchildren in the territories grew by 102%, and the number of classes by 99%, though the population itself had grown by only 28%. Even more dramatic was the progress in Higher education. At the time of the Israeli occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, Not a Single University existed in these territories. By the early 1990's, there were Seven such institutions, boasting some 16,500 students. Illiteracy rates dropped to 14% of adults over age 15, compared with 69% in Morocco, 61% in Egypt, 45% in Tunisia, and 44% in Syria. ALL THIS, as I have noted, took place against the backdrop of Israel's hands-off policy in the political and administrative spheres. Indeed, even as the PLO (until 1982 headquartered in Lebanon and thereafter in Tunisia) proclaimed its ongoing commitment to the destruction of the Jewish state, the Israelis did surprisingly little to limit its political influence in the territories..." http://www.palestinefacts.org/what_occupation.html EFRAIM KARSH is head of Mediterranean studies Kings College, University of London Apartheid! Genocide! ? ? ? ? ?