In an article published by the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies on July 23, Professor Hillel Frisch defends the US Government’s large-scale aid package to the Palestinian economy. Since there is no peace waiting in the near future, it is extra necessary, he argues.
Hamas truly rejects peace with Israel for ideological reasons. The dream of a Palestine “from the river to the sea” lives on, and if the Islamist group begins to compromise, they will lose their military support from Iran and economic support from Turkey and Qatar.
The Palestinian Authority (PA), led by Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah, may be even less interested in a peace deal. It will mean the end of Israeli security operations in Palestinian cities. These operations protect the PA from enemies such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad. “If the IDF is forced to withdraw for the sake of peace, the PA and its political elite will be threatened with nightmare scenarios,” Frisch writes. If Israel’s security control disappears, the Palestinians in the West Bank could risk a civil war between the various clans in the area. At worst, Hamas and Islamic Jihad can take over.
Israeli voters also do not believe in peace in the near future. They learned their lesson from the Oslo process. Although it was called a peace process, it only led to more violence and terror. If Hamas takes control of the West Bank, it could mean grenade attacks on key Israeli transport routes and the international airport.
“It is this absence of real prospects for peace that makes Trump’s economic plan so necessary,” Frisch continues. He refers to a 30-year article by two political scientists from Columbia University. Alfred Stepan and Cindy Skach found that in societies where the gross domestic product per. per capita is $ 8,000 (equivalent to $ 16,000 today) is not involved in violent political actions, either because they have too much to lose or because they have become accustomed to air-conditioned malls or both.
Frisch goes back to the fall of 2000 to emphasize a point. At the start of the second intifada, Arab citizens of Israel were involved in the uprising for about ten days, while the wave of terror from the West Bank and Gaza lasted for more than three years. Either the Israeli Arabs felt they had too much to lose, or those whom Arab party activists often complain about spend more time in the mall than in demonstrations. Israeli Arabs have not been involved in widespread violence since then. “
Frish concludes: “Providing economic well-being does not resolve deep political conflicts, but it shows that differences of opinion can be expressed in less violent ways. Trump’s plan could save both Israeli-Jewish and Arab lives as long as it is not followed by a peace process based on false hopes. “