Monday, July 5, 2010

Economic Peace Redux

Bassim Khoury, the former Economics Minister of the Palestinian Authority, and the CEO of Pharmacare (whose generic drugs meet German import standards), answers in the current Foreign Policy those who would have us believe that economic development in the West Bank is either impressively robust or can continue irrespective of political change. In fact, as Salaam Fayyad insisted in his meeting with Ehud Barak today, the crimping of Palestine's economy, owing to the occupation of East Jerusalem and Area C, is among the status quo's most dangerous realities. (Check out, as Khoury did, this sobering report by the IMF team in East Jerusalem, led by the indomitable Oussama Kanaan.)

Incidentally, I once invited Bassim Khoury to participate in a panel at the Van Leer Institute, and when it was over, and we were walking out onto Jabotinsky Street, he looked across the way, to the house at the far corner, and said: "You know, my grandfather planted that tree." Khoury is making no claims to his family's old house in Talbiyeh, which is more than we can expect from the disturbed settlers in Sheikh Jarrah. If living well is really the best revenge, would not helping the Palestinians live well be our own best therapy?