Peace, Political Economy and Industrial Zone in Bethlehem*

An Interview with Dr. Adel Samara

(Kana’an eBulletin – Volume X – Issue 2219)

Q. April, the 8, Palestinian authority and French minister should inaugurate the industrial area in Bethlehem. What do you notice about this project? What does it prefigure?

A. It prefigures a new step in the deepening dependency and integration of the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) economy into that of the settler colonial Zionist Ashkenazi Regime (ZAR). Modernization under the Israeli occupation, regardless of its level, represents more and deepening integration of the local economy into that of the occupiers who spread their rule over ALL HISTORIC PALESTINE. The French step represents, in one way or another, continuity and “refreshing” of the French colonial history which is still present in the memory and traditions of some people. Helping Palestinians can only be achieved through ending the occupation rather than providing a kind of financial support.

Q. These projects are very local, is there a risk concerning development of corruption?

A. The project is very contradictory! For, it will be soon controlled by the PA which has been described, by the Palestinians and the rest of the world especially the EU, corrupt. Through this project, and other similar ones, the French government strengthens the PA’s, which is no more than a Self-Rule (SR), local political economy that I consider a “Political Economy of Corruption”!

As corrupts, the PA will either integrate the project along with a series of projects which are controlled by the government and devoted to the political elite rather than the public sector, or it will privatize the project and sell it to the socio-economic elite. A third alternative is to sell it to ordinary capitalist in return of bribery. What a great present from French bourgeois?

Q. Who gains or will gain benefits from these projects economically and politically?

A. At the economic level, the groups mentioned above in addition to Israeli companies which are no less than partners, will benefit from the project. At the political level, the French will be more accepted by local westernized/externalized intellectuals; the Zionists will pretend, as well, that they facilitate the “industrialization” of the occupied West Bank (WB).

Q. Do you think there is a danger for the national construction purpose?

A. As mentioned in the answer of first question, a nation cannot be built under a settler colonial regime. Under the current circumstances any kind of construction in the West Bank will strengthen the enemy’s economy. This fact has been introduced since 1989 by Zionist economists like Izra Sadan and Simha Bahiri who argued that Israel should give business licenses and permits to Palestinians, because their (the Palestinian) economy can never be independent and will always rely on the Israeli economy. In other words, it is a small example of the centre-periphery relationship.

Q. Which consequences or benefits will it bring to the Palestinian people?

A. Some of the consequences have been mentioned above. In addition, it will subjugate more workers to be exploited by the two bourgeoisies and will bring more pollution of the area. The workers will gain some money, but they will spend that money in buying Israeli products, because the agricultural sector in the West Bank and Gaza is declining as a result of three reasons:

1) The Zionist theft, symbolized in the frequent closures and siege;

2) Lack of a PA development policy;

3) The availability of liquidity (liquid money) provided by donor countries to the PA enables them to employ people in its huge bureaucratic apparatuses. This attracts the youth to enroll in jobs which lack real productivity and avoid working in agriculture.

What a Joke? The local Comprador will gain some money – the share of trickle-down economy – but they will transfer the surplus value after being changed to money liquidity to banks abroad.

Q. Do Palestinians believe in economic peace?

A. It is the French right wing colonial regime which aims at achieving economic peace as a step to support the ZAR. Economic peace is a capitalist plan or understanding of the conflict which attempts to bribe Palestinians and at the same time but terminate their political/national character and their Right of Return (ROR).

But who are the Palestinians you are asking about? Palestinians can be categorised as follows:

a. The PA SR.

b. The popular classes.

c. The renegade Communists.

d. The oppressed women.

e. The westernized feminists.

f. The capitalist and intellectual comprador.

g. The peasants.

h. The resistance movement.

Every group of the above has its own position and attitude.

As for myself, I believe that economic peace – from the ZAR and the imperialists in the era of globalised capitalism – is another version of war. This is the aim of Oslo Accords; it is nothing but “Peace for Capital”.

Q. Which purpose does the International community – and so France – follow with such a project?

A. The purpose is to maintain the integration of the Occupied Palestinian Territories within the ZAR in a permanent centre-periphery manner. It is the dream of the centre to see any spot of permanent colonization to remember its colonial heritage their dreams of recalling it. They are like an old woman who dreams to “shape” her daughter according to her old wishes. In more political words, the centre is supporting integrating the ZAR into the Arab Homeland in a form of Integration through Domination (ItD).

Q. How does International community and Palestinian Authority’s plans are part o’ neo-liberalism and globalization?

A. The direct colonial example is even worse than this. Those who are part of neo-liberalism and globalization are independent states/nations. Here it is not. It is a colonial situation subjected to a settler colonial regime integrated with global capitalism and applies neo-liberalism ideology like privatization, open market, no protection…etc.

Q. Do you think Fayyad really believe it or use it?

A. Fayyad, the PA prime minister, both, uses it and he himself is used by others. He is used by the ideology of International Monetary Fund (IFM), and the US and ZAR politicians. At the same time, he is using the current Palestinian situation, the decline of resistance, to make himself the coming first representative of the triad enemy of our people, the US and other centre regimes, the ZAR and the Arab comprador rulers.

Q. Economically, Palestinian authority is liberal. Which similarities can we notice between its strategy and the IMF (International Monterey Fund) one?

A. It is not a mere similarity. The PA has been the first regime which from its mere emerge apply the World Bank and IMF prescriptions. It is the offsping of both ! Our economy and society are victims of the IMF World Bank, corruption, open door… etc, in spite of the bitter situation, World Bank declares that the business opportunities in the PA Self-Rule are better than other countries in the Region. (This in the last report of ILO). Is it impolite to say that these gigantic financial institutions are liars?

Q. There is a partnership public-private sectors within these projects. Is there a privatization of the economy even before this economy really exists through this kind of projects?

A. The PA Self-Rule has applied privatization for years. The non-privatized projects are the companies that provide the cabinet and the ruling party with money liquidity.

Q. Does the PA plan imitate any projects from another Arab country? Which one Palestine would look like if Authority success with the economic strategy it is leading now?

A. First of all the PA does not control Palestine. It controls part of the 1967 occupied part of Palestine and even not all of it. The Palestinians need to define their situation by themselves. Will you ever let me call France the northern part of Algiers? The Palestinians who call Palestine the West Bank and Gaza are the designers of Oslo Accords !!

Yes the PA Self-Rule follows/imitates the most open door policy applied in Arab Homeland, the Egyptian policy is an example. Open door has led “to closed mouths and empty stomachs” in Egypt. Even in politics, the Egyptian regime was, and still is, the supervisor for the PA Self-Rule.

Q. Is the Arab investment (from Gulf) important compared to other international investments?

A. There is no real international or Arab Gulf States investments here. Donation is being given in the form bribes to the PA Self-Rule to remain loyal to Oslo Accords. As dominated by the US, Gulf states cannot act without authorization from the former. Arab Gulf States pay mainly for charitable activities, in addition money liquidity for the PA Self-Rule to repair the damage caused by the Israeli “soft” bombardment which destroys civilians homes. None of the Arab Regimes dares to ask the US for permission to finance the PA Self-Rule economy or civil needs. This financial donation must come from or through the imperialists, US and Europe, in order to assure political subjugation of the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. Those donations are an “economic rent” to achieve political goals aimed at termination of the Right of Return.

Q. Do you think, like Julien Salingue, that neo-liberal system is beneficial for Hamas?

A. This might happen in the future rather than the present moment. Hamas is now obliged to obtain more popular policies to keep a kind of stability in Gaza.

Even before the armed conflict of 2007, Hamas applied many ideas of Development by Popular Protection (DBPP) to attract supporters. Under occupation and siege, neo-liberalism can never bring or maintain stability.

But if you mean that Hamas believes in capitalism, yes it even believes in Mercantilism.

Q. Today, is the Palestinian authority economic project efficient? Can we say it is “economy of security”?

A. Not at all! The PA economy is dependent. The PA sole role is to achieve security, the security of General Dayton, with a kind of economic activities.

Q. What is the real purpose of the Palestinian authority?

A. The PA has a mission and a purpose.

The mission is to gradually terminate the Right of Return, while the purpose is to stay in control of the authority which was given to the representatives of the Palestinian as a consequence of Oslo Accords. Authority here can be defined as material interests, power, domination…etc. Whether Israel allows the conversion of this entity to a tiny state or not is irrelevant for the PA Representatives.

Q. In which way this purpose is convenient for Israel?

A. This purpose provides Israel with more than it aims at. It never dreamt of such achievements.

Q. To finish, would you have few important statistics about Palestinian economic activity?

A. They are unavailable at the moment.

Q. Are these kinds of local economic projects a way to contain Palestinian market as a « captive market »? How are these projects convenient for the Israeli plan?

A. These projects will be located inside the Occupied Palestinian Territories of 1967 i.e. between the territories which were occupied in 1948 and those occupied in 1967. Being located inside the 1967 borders aimed at affecting the poor Palestinians by the pollution of the industrial zone and protects the Israelis. The labour will be carried out by Palestinians in return of low wages without any rights i.e. severance pay, retirement pensions … etc. These projects will also provide the Israeli market with cheap products. These projects will give share to the Israeli capital in a secret manner. This capital will buy a share of the machines, land, buildings … etc, i.e. It is not only colonizing, it owns of the space and the place. It is very convenient for the Israelis. Remember what I said about Sadan and Bahiri.

Thank you very much.

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* This interview with Dr. Adel Samara was conducted by French journalist, Clémentine Cirillo-Allahsa for the Paris newspaper, Politis, http://www.politis.fr/, where it will appear in French.