Wednesday, April 07, 2004

KRISTALNACHT: In Palestine, every night is "Kristalnacht" as Israeli brownshirts do everything they can to destroy Palestine's economy in an effort to drive the inhabitants of Palestine into bankruptcy, into the graveyard and into the sea.

That's brutal. That's reminiscent of Al Capone's Chicago. That's creating a monopoly. That's extortion. That's genocide. That's immoral. THAT'S ILLEGAL!

Israel needs to get their shirts together, practice some of their Ten Commandments and either form an inclusive democracy with the conquered Palestinians or let Palestine form its own state.

It's wrong to rub the fact that you are a conquered people in someone's face daily for over 50 years.

Here is an e-mail from a friend of mine, explaining the situation in Palestine in more rational terms. I myself tend to get a bit emotional when I think that Israel gets $8.5 million dollars per day from US taxpayers to expedite a land grab/Mafia take-over of people whose crime was to be born on prime real estate!

Best regards, Jane Stillwater

"Imagine a world where EVERY child is wanted, nurtured, protected and loved: World Peace in one generation!" Capitalism at its best: Resources put to their highest use!

Dear Jane.

The World Bank's March 2002 report "Fifteen Months..." says that the damage to the Palestinian economy (West Bank and Gaza) was already over $2 billion at that time, by their estimate (it's a long report and it describes in great detail how the estimate was arrived at).

That effect was NOT mainly destruction of property but rather the closures and checkpoints which deprived people of the chance to earn income by working in Israel, or which raised the costs for small businesses by enormously increasing the cost of moving things from one place to another.

This was BEFORE the major damage from the attacks beginning April of this year.
I have seen an estimate that the additional damage (both to property and to income earned) has been about $1 billion already this year, or somewhat more by now. The entire Palestinian GDP was about $5-6 billion, and so it has been very roughly cut in half. There are some documents that were drawn up in May or June which have detailed estimates of property damage from the April-May attacks. I think the total was around $700 million, but I would have to check.
I apologize for the rough nature of these numbers...I could go back and get the exact numbers later on if you want them. The World Bank has a quite useful web site on Palestine, and I recommend looking at the documents there.
The estimates of property damage are smaller, but they do not include furniture and household belongings, just structures (homes as well as infrastructure damage). It is the interruption of the FLOW of economic activity that seems actually to be more devastating. However, of course, if one's restaurant is blown up, one can't make a living as a restaurant owner any more.