In Biden, Palestinians seeking freedom get a permit instead

For more than two years, the Biden administration has stated that Palestinians have the right to the same “freedom, security, and prosperity” measures that Israelis enjoy. Instead, they allowed them to work in Israel and its Israeli settlements with the help of the United States.

Contradictions are likely to occur this week when President Joe Biden visits Israel and the occupied West Bank for the first time since taking office.

Israeli officials have pointed out thousands of work permits issued to the West Bank and Palestinians in Gaza, where they earn much higher wages and the long-awaited cash in an economy plagued by Israeli regulations. Will allow injection.Biden is probably Tens of millions of dollars aid To the Palestinians he recovered after it was cut off during Trump’s year.

Proponents say such economic measures help improve the lives of Palestinians and maintain the potential for a final political solution.

But Biden is Israeli Towering separation barrier He will hear a very different story to meet the Palestinians in the West Bank town of Bethlehem. There is no end to how Israel is consolidating its decades-old military junta against millions of Palestinians.

“Economic measures have the potential to actively contribute to the realization of peace, which requires Israel and the United States to have plans to end this 55-year-old military occupation,” Palestinian Americans said. Sambafour, an American business consultant, said. West bank.

“Because this is not the case, so-called economic” confidence-building measures “are merely measures to establish a profession,” Bafur said.

Israel’s short-lived coalition government has issued 14,000 permits to Palestinians in Gaza. Gaza has been blocked since Hamas, an Islamic extremist group, took power 15 years ago. Israel says a blockade is needed to prevent Hamas from being armed.

Israel has also increased the number of permits issued on the west bank of the Jordan River. In the West Bank, well over 100,000 Palestinians work in Israel and settlements, primarily in construction, manufacturing and agriculture. It has begun to allow a small number of Palestinian professionals to work in higher paid jobs in Israel’s booming tech sector.

The government has taken these and other economic measures, Thousands of additional settlers’ homes On the occupied west bank.

The Biden administration has adopted a similar strategy, providing financial assistance to Palestinians, but not motivating Israel to end the occupation or give them equal rights.Even the relatively modest plan to reopen the US Consulate in Jerusalem to serve Palestinians Hit the wall of the Israeli opposition..

Ines Abdel Razek, advocacy director at the Palestinian Institute for Public Diplomacy, said both the U.S. and the European Union are “throwing money at Palestinians” rather than accepting conspiracy to occupy them. ..

“All Biden is trying to do is maintain a certain quiet and calm state, which means established colonization and oppression for the Palestinians,” she said.

Israeli analyst Michael Milstein, who advised the army in charge of civilian affairs in the territory, said the theory of “economic peace”, the promotion of economic development in the absence of peace negotiations, decades ago. It says that it goes back to.

He says it is resurrected due to a long-term lack of peace process. Political crisis in IsraelHowever, it only brings a temporary calm at best.

“This is a way to maintain stability,” he said. “This is not a way to solve deep political problems.”

For individual Palestinians, a permit is a godsend. According to the World Bank, their average wage in Israel is about $ 75 a day, twice the wage on the West Bank. In Gaza, where the unemployment rate is about 50% Tens of thousands were lined up for the permit last fall.

However, critics say that a permit that Israel can revoke at any time is yet another means of control that undermines the development of an independent Palestinian economy.

“All the permits Israel issues to Palestinian workers contribute to Israel’s economic development and hollow out the Palestinian workforce, leaving us in the private sector unable to create different economic realities. There is, “said Bafur.

Despite issuing a work permit, Israel Tighten the grip What is known as Area C — 60% of the West Bank under full Israeli control, according to a provisional peace agreement signed in the 1990s. The Palestinian Authority limits autonomy in the archipelago of cities and towns.

Area C contains most of the open spaces and natural resources on the west bank of the Jordan River.World Bank, lifting Strict restrictions Palestinian access to the region will boost their economy by a third. Israel occupied the West Bank in the 1967 Middle East War, and Palestinians hope that the West Bank will form a major part of the nation of the future.

It’s not at the table.

Israel’s political system is dominated by right-wing parties that see the West Bank as an integral part of Israel. Even if Rapid, who supports the two-state solution, manages to form a government after the November 1 election (which suggests that recent polls are unlikely), his coalition is almost certainly part of it. Will depend on hardliners.

Even if economic measures do not lead to a political solution, it is often argued that it still promotes stability, but history does not support it.

In the 1980s, almost half of Gaza’s workforce was employed in Israel, making it easy for workers to get in and out. Hamas, who opposes the existence of Israel, rushed into the scene in 1987 with the outbreak of the first Palestinian Intifada, or a rebellion against Israeli rule. The second Palestinian uprising in 2000 also broke out during a relatively prosperous period.

The first Gaza permit issued since the acquisition of Hamas provides a strong incentive for militant groups to stay calm, as rocket fires can cause thousands of people to lose high-paying jobs. It seems that.And again, the conflict between Israel and Hamas is always happening. Amazing cost for Palestinians..

On the west bank of the Jordan River, where far more Palestinians have the coveted permit Recent waves of violence It resulted in deadly attacks and almost daily military attacks within Israel.

A recent poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy Research found that 65% of Palestinians support so-called confidence-building measures, including the issuance of permits. The survey included 1,270 Palestinians from the West Bank and across Gaza, with an error of 3 percentage points.

However, the same poll also found some impressive measures of despair. Support for two-state solutions dropped from 40% to 28% in just three months, and 55% of the surveyed support “return to conflict and armed Intifada.”


Klaus reported from Ottawa, Ontario. Jerusalem’s Associated Press author Emily Rose contributed to this report.