Dora McPhee (VIC) responds to Schneider’s “Pressing aims to sustain Palestinian economy” The Age, 22Oct09 October 22, 2009

The Age: “Pressing aims to sustain Palestinian economy” by Howard Schneider

Accompanying “Pressing aims to sustain Palestinian economy” (Oct 22) was a photo captioned “Palestinian farmers harvest their olives with the help of foreign volunteers in the village of Umm Salamunah”. Nowhere in the article was it explained why foreign volunteers were required. The answer is that for many Palestinians living under Israeli occupation they are unable to harvest their olives without the help of foreign volunteers who come to protect them from the violence of Israeli Jewish settlers intent on driving Palestinians off their land.Not only has the state facilitated the growth of illegal settlements on Palestinian land but its discriminatory protection of the settlers means Palestinians suffer destruction of their crops not only at the hands of the state but the settlers as well, who routinely destroy crops, poison water wells and prevent Palestinians from harvesting their crops.

While scant reference was made to the problems of  Israeli restrictions on the movement of goods and people and water and land access as well as restrictive permit requirements nothing in the article really indicated the extent of control exerted by these restrictions which have been the single most important factor causing the systematic de-development of the Palestinian economy. Until people realise the matrix of control Israel exerts through its apartheid policies and colonising practices they will not realise why a two state solution, which only promises limited autonomy at best for the Palestinians simply will not give the Palestinians the freedom and self-determination they yearn for in their homeland. While Israel can relax restrictions it can also tighten them at will indicating how even if they give the Palestinian a pseudo-state they will forever be under the yoke of Israeli control. This is the very model of Apartheid’s homeland self-rule
that the world rejected for South Africa.

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