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  • Peter Francis Fenwick

Peace and Prosperity in Palestine



Yarden Roman-Got
Yarden Roman-Got Israeli mother who spent fifty-four days as a hostage of Hamas  

On Friday, 13 November 2015, in a series of coordinated Islamist terrorist attacks in Paris at the international football match at the Stade de France, in crowded cafes and restaurants, and at a concert in the Bataclan theatre hundreds of people were killed and injured.


Eight years later, on Saturday, 7 October 2023, Hamas terrorists murdered, raped, and terrorised people in their homes on kibbutz and at a rock concert in southern Israel. Operation Al-Aqsa Flood. 1140 were killed and another 240 were taken hostage.



It has taken a while for the evidence of that pogrom to be gathered. But the story of gang rapes and physical mutilation of women and babies by Hamas terrorists has now been documented by the New York Times.


NYTimes Dec. 28, 2023. It is an horrific story.


Five months later, on April 26, 2024, the documentary Screems before Silence was published on YouTube. It is compelling viewing.


These are events that should be seared on our memories. There are others too. These are not isolated events. They are the actions of people who do not share our values. They are the actions of people who are dangerous to be in our midst.


Hamas does not believe that Israel has a right to exist.  Its intention is to eliminate Israel entirely – ‘from the river to the sea’. Since October 7, Hamas has fired over 10,000 rockets into Israel.


In response to the barbaric Al-Aqsa Flood attack, Israel has declared war on Hamas believing that it needs to remove them from power in order to ensure its own long-term survival.


Significantly, Hamas has done nothing to protect Palestinian citizens from this foreseeable response. Palestinians have no access to the security of the 500 kilometres of tunnels, and the supplies of food, water, fuel and medicines stored there. These are solely for the Hamas elite.


The consequence of the war is a humanitarian crisis. Much of Gaza has been laid waste. 1.9 million people have been displaced. The UN has called for a ceasefire.


The deficiency of the UN ceasefire proposal, agreed to by the Australian government on Wednesday, 13 December, is that it does not address the threat of a repeat of the Al-Aqsa Flood pogrom and similar aggressions. Australia should not be a party to the United Nations' partisan condemnations of Israel.


It would be better if the UN were to persuade Hamas to surrender. But that is unlikely. The war will continue until Hamas’ political and military structures are dismantled and Gaza is made safe from booby-trapped tunnels and unexploded ordnance.


Israel, in collaboration with the Arab states, can then set about creating peace and prosperity for the Palestinians and a secure environment for themselves.


So how might they go about this?


Palestinians are very young; the median age is 19.4 years. (Compare Israel: 29.1 years). Young Palestinians need to aspire to more in life than to become martyrs by killing Jews. They need a purpose and a future and opportunities to experience life and to grow in wisdom and wealth.


A prosperous and peaceful Palestine is good for Palestinians. It is also good for their neighbours and for the rest of the Middle East, especially Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.


Currently the GDP per capita for Palestinians - $5,643 - compares to $42,061 for the Israelis, $12,977 for the Lebanese, $11,566 for the Egyptians and $9,223 for the Jordanians.


GDP per capita comparisons
GDP per capita comparisons

 

For comparison, Australia’s GDP per capita is $49,774. Societies, like ours, which have embraced liberal democratic principles – individual rights, private property, the rule of law, and representative government – have thrived, creating free and affluent nations where people can live productive lives in peace and harmony.


The liberal ideology that is the basis for such societies first flourished in the Anglosphere over 200 years ago. Its concepts are now commonplace throughout Europe and in parts of Asia, including Singapore, Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea. It is possible to achieve wonderful results regardless of culture, race or religion, and as the experience over the past twenty-five years in Czechia, Lithuania, Poland, Panama, Chile, and Vietnam has shown, quite quickly.



GDP per capita fast growing countries
GDP per capita fast growing countries

 

My recommendation is that the Palestinians should accept the reality of Israel’s right to exist, accept the two-state solution creating the Palestinian state that has been proposed many times previously, and try to emulate Israel’s success.


A new leadership will be required in Palestine. Whilst Palestine must be led by Palestinians, it cannot be led by gangsters or youngsters. There will be a need for leaders who can bring wisdom and experience to the tasks of renewal. Perhaps some ex-patriots who have experienced the benefits of living in a liberal democracy and running profitable businesses might return to lend a hand. With the right attitudes, one could expect cultural and economic support and investment from fellow Sunnis – Saudi Arabia, Quatar, and United Arab Emirates. Perhaps they could make Gaza a special economic zone, a low tax haven to support rapid growth.


The Israelis have shown through the Abraham Accords that they are willing to form peaceful, cooperative and constructive diplomatic and friendly ties with Arab nations. They are likely to be good neighbours to a prosperous and peaceful Palestine; they would have no cause to be otherwise.


Economic activity will become more commercial, replacing military expenditure on weapons and tunnels. There will be considerable construction work including the restoration of roads, water, sewerage, electricity and communications infrastructure. A rejuvenated Palestine should seek to establish a tourist industry by building resorts on its mediterranean coast. There will be many new jobs created, and opportunities to learn new skills. There will be visitors – businessmen and tourists - from many other nations and cultures. Interaction with these people will widen the horizons of young Palestinians. War will be less likely; the locals will have better things to do with their lives and the foreigners will want to protect their investments and their holiday destinations.


Of course, if the Palestinians can make a success of Gaza, then the Lebanese may choose to dismantle Hezbollah and rebuild Beirut.


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Still, we may need to be on our guard, not only in Tel Aviv, but also in Paris, London, Berlin, Copenhagen, New York and Sydney. The threat of terrorist violence will remain even if Hamas and Hezbollah do not. Jihadist Islamism is not solely a Jewish problem.


We need to work hard in our schools and universities and communities to change hearts and minds that have been corrupted by error and half-truths.


We need to promote the benefits of our liberal democratic way of life.


We should be proud of our heritage, confident in our achievements, and prepared to fight against forces that might unwittingly seek to destroy them.


If we wish to convince others that our ideology is superior, then firstly we must understand its concepts and its roots, and secondly we must live its truth.


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