Map of industrial zones, Israeli military bases, Zionist settlements and areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank
[This article describes the so-called industrial development zones being set up by Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Turkey, Japan and the EU imperialist powers in the Palestinian West Bank, Gaza and within Israel. The article also sets forth a plan for economic development that does not factor in: The Israeli military occupation of the West Bank and ongoing siege of Gaza; Israel’s severe restriction of trade and movement between Gaza and the West Bank; and Israel’s slicing up the West Bank into isolated cities and towns–all of which has made an independent Palestinian economy and state impossible. Economic development based on meeting the needs of the people in the West Bank and Gaza can only take place after Israel’s military and economic siege of Gaza is broken, the Israeli occupation forces and the 500,000 Zionist settlers are driven out of the West Bank, the Apartheid Wall is demolished, and the corrupt and collaborationist Palestinian Authority is toppled. This could be an important step toward the liberation of all of historic Palestine by the people’s forces.–Frontlines ed]
MERIP Report, November 19, 2010
Economic Prison Zones
by Sam Bahour
When a project mixes the feel-good words of jobs, economic development and Israeli-Palestinian cooperation, how can anyone complain? These things are some of what the international community has been promising to deliver through the construction of industrial free trade zones in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The free trade zone model has been promoted locally and globally by powerful third parties like the United States, France, Germany, Turkey and Japan for two decades, but none has much to show for the enormous efforts and amounts of money spent to bring these zones to life.
Nonetheless, the project’s proponents expect the zones to constitute the economic foundation for a future Palestinian state. They hope that, by bolstering Palestine’s economy, the zones will make Palestinians less prone to social upheaval, less insistent on their national rights and more amenable to the status quo. The idea is that a peace agreement with Israel will ensue.
While this expectation is unlikely to be realized — at least not in the way that the projects’ advocates anticipate — these mega-employment projects present a serious challenge to those who strive to build an independent and viable economic foundation for a future Palestinian state. Because the zones will depend on Israeli cooperation to function, and because they will exist within an Israeli-designed economic system that ensures Palestinian dependence on Israel, they cannot form the basis of a sovereign economy. Relying on them will perpetuate the status quo of dependency. Continue reading