Unity is Not Enough

The reconciliation between the leaders of the two major Palestinian groups, Hamas and Fatah, that has just been negotiated in Saudi Arabia is being hailed as a major political breakthrough. But the national unity government created as a result of this agreement faces many daunting challenges. The agreement needs to be followed by an effort to end the economic and administrative siege of Palestine, as well as serious peace talks with Israel aimed at ending the 39-year occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. At home, the new government needs to pay its civil servants, restore law and order, and end the chaos that has become the norm in the Palestinian territories.

The internal fighting in Palestine began in part as a result of the political impasse caused after Israel and the international community imposed an economic embargo on the Palestinian Authority. This economic siege, zealously enforced even by Arab and Islamic banks, followed the new Hamas-led government’s refusal to accept the demand by the “quartet” – the United States, the European Union, the United Nations, and Russia – that it recognize Israel, accept all previous agreements with Israel, and renounce terrorism.

Palestinians complained that the international community acted unjustly, simply because they were unhappy with the result of a free and fair election in the Palestinian territories, which Hamas won overwhelmingly. The government created after the January 2006 elections has been unable to pay civil servants because of the international banking blockade and the refusal of Israel to transfer millions of tax dollars collected on behalf of the Palestinian people.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

Registration is quick and easy and requires only your email address. If you already have an account with us, please log in. Or subscribe now for unlimited access.

required

Log in

http://prosyn.org/i2sqpUn;
  1. Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images

    The Brexit Surrender

    European Union leaders meeting in Brussels have given the go-ahead to talks with Britain on post-Brexit trade relations. But, as European Council President Donald Tusk has said, the most difficult challenge – forging a workable deal that secures broad political support on both sides – still lies ahead.

  2. The Great US Tax Debate

    ROBERT J. BARRO vs. JASON FURMAN & LAWRENCE H. SUMMERS on the impact of the GOP tax  overhaul.


    • Congressional Republicans are finalizing a tax-reform package that will reshape the business environment by lowering the corporate-tax rate and overhauling deductions. 

    • But will the plan's far-reaching changes provide the boost to investment and growth that its backers promise?


    ROBERT J. BARRO | How US Corporate Tax Reform Will Boost Growth

    JASON FURMAN & LAWRENCE H. SUMMERS | Robert Barro's Tax Reform Advocacy: A Response

  3. Murdoch's Last Stand?

    Rupert Murdoch’s sale of 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets to Disney for $66 billion may mark the end of the media mogul’s career, which will long be remembered for its corrosive effect on democratic discourse on both sides of the Atlantic. 

    From enabling the rise of Donald Trump to hacking the telephone of a murdered British schoolgirl, Murdoch’s media empire has staked its success on stoking populist rage.

  4. Bank of England Leon Neal/Getty Images

    The Dangerous Delusion of Price Stability

    Since the hyperinflation of the 1970s, which central banks were right to combat by whatever means necessary, maintaining positive but low inflation has become a monetary-policy obsession. But, because the world economy has changed dramatically since then, central bankers have started to miss the monetary-policy forest for the trees.

  5. Harvard’s Jeffrey Frankel Measures the GOP’s Tax Plan

    Jeffrey Frankel, a professor at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and a former member of President Bill Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers, outlines the five criteria he uses to judge the efficacy of tax reform efforts. And in his view, the US Republicans’ most recent offering fails miserably.

  6. A box containing viles of human embryonic Stem Cell cultures Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images

    The Holy Grail of Genetic Engineering

    CRISPR-Cas – a gene-editing technique that is far more precise and efficient than any that has come before it – is poised to change the world. But ensuring that those changes are positive – helping to fight tumors and mosquito-borne illnesses, for example – will require scientists to apply the utmost caution.

  7. The Year Ahead 2018

    The world’s leading thinkers and policymakers examine what’s come apart in the past year, and anticipate what will define the year ahead.

    Order now