Home > Conflict & Security, Economics, Middle East, Politics > Economy and territory in the West Bank

Economy and territory in the West Bank

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Last week I received a link to a video outlining infrastructure development in the West Bank as the backbone of a plan for economic development. The video is a component of a report by RAND Corporation, a think tank established by the US armed forces.

The plan, called The Arc, suggests it can help both as an instrument to peace between Palestine and Israel but also as a means of maintaining or encouraging peaceful coexistence. Watch the video at RAND and have a look at The Arc’s page.

In RAND’s words: “Presenting key aspects of the Arc, this video explores options for strengthening the physical infrastructure for a new Palestinian state.”

I feel that this plan assumes too much; one of the glaring problems is that the West Bank is in great part under the authority of Israel, and the Palestinians are enclosed in small, discontinuous islands. See the map below:

palestina

Compare this to this other representation that more clearly shows the outer border:

west_bank_2007

Below is a quote of what I received as an anonymous comment in an email discussion regarding the RAND video, and I would like to share it here:

i think the rand proposal is poor – and not just because it doesnt even nod toward the present reality so very different from that outlined…
– foremost the model is overly-enamoured with itself and would eventually direct too much growth and development along the new trunk (for example, it proposes the seat of local government be placed beside the new rail hub), at the expense of the historic cities, which the plan assumes offhand will be ‘revitalised’ without explaining how…
– it ignores what will be a natural impulse of the people to tend toward jerusalem and greater jerusalem (ramallah and bethlehem) as the centre of growth (as well as nablus as a secondary centre)… and also ignores that this natural impulse toward a strong centre(s) has immense power as a growth driver, as creative/professional/academic/industry/social clusters are more able to reach critical mass when aggregated together…
– it assumes [that] gaza’s airport should be revived, when there is a strong case for also reviving the airport southwest of ramallah
– it completely fails to address how it will be implemented in gaza, where the challenge of managing post-colonial development is much more fraught…
– but i like the idea of an infrastructure corridor, and i like the idea of a rail connection, including to gaza…

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