Disgracefully the Palestinian Authority helped Israel bury the Goldstone report and the mechanics of power are as murky and dirty cash soaked as usual, as well as Abbas being blackmailed in Washington with his keenness for Gaza to continue to be hit to destroy his rivals in Hamas, guess which Peace Envoy shows up in the deal…
…according to Israeli and Palestinian analysts, diplomatic arm-twisting was not the only factor in the PA’s change of heart. Haaretz newspaper reported last week that, behind the scenes, Palestinian officials had faced threats that Israel would retaliate by inflicting enormous damage on the beleaguered Palestinian economy.
In particular, Israel warned it would renege on a commitment to allot radio frequencies to allow Wataniya, a mobile phone provider, to begin operations this month in the West Bank. The telecommunications industry is the bedrock of the Palestinian economy, with the current monopoly company, PalTel, accounting for half the worth of the Palestinian stock exchange.
The collapse of the Wataniya deal would have cost the Palestinian Authority hundreds of millions of dollars in penalties, blocked massive investment in the local economy and jeopardized about 2,500 jobs.
Omar Barghouti, a Jerusalem-based founder of a Palestinian movement for an academic and cultural boycott of Israel, denounced the Palestinian Authority’s move: “Trading off Palestinian rights and the fundamental duty to protect the Palestinians under occupation for personal gains is the textbook definition of collaboration and betrayal.”
The deal to establish Wataniya as the second Palestinian mobile phone operator has been at the center of the international community’s plans to revive the West Bank’s economy and show that Palestinians are better off under the rule of Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, than Hamas.
Tony Blair, the Middle East envoy representing the so-called Quartet of the US, Russia, the UN and the EU, brokered the agreement last summer, saying Wataniya’s investment of more than $700 million over the next 10 years would “provide a much-needed boost to the Palestinian economy.”
Wataniya is a joint venture between Palestinian investors, including close allies of Abbas, and Qatari and Kuwaiti businessmen.
But while Netanyahu has welcomed the deal as part of his plans for an “economic peace,” an option he prefers to Palestinian statehood, Israel has been dragging its feet in allocating the necessary frequencies.
Wataniya’s planned launch earlier this year had to be pushed back and the company has threatened to pull out of the deal if the new 15 October deadline is missed. If it does, the Palestinian Authority will have to repay $140m in licensing fees and could be liable for hundreds of millions more that Wataniya has invested in building 350 communication masts across the West Bank.
This about Prof. Asa Kasher, the author of the IDF’s Code of Conduct is also alarming, this displays an institutional madness that will create even greater atrocities-
The army, Kasher thought, should have warned the civilians beforehand, and “whoever stayed, let the blood be on his head.” This is how generals who try to justify their criminal actions speak. But an intellectual? An expert on ethics?