Jeffrey Sachs: U.S. Failed Palestine Once Again

Haven’t we been saying this over and over again? Jeffrey Sachs blames the US for the Middle East conflict.

The leading American economist Jeffrey Sachs criticized the U.S. and Israel for the collapse of the Palestinian government and the current unrest in Gaza in an opinion article he published in The Jordan Times over the weekend.

U.S. and Israeli policies supporting one faction, Fatah, while deeply isolating the other, Hamas, have been in contradiction to the democratic process in the region that both nations ardently promote, said Sachs. While President Bush encouraged Palestinian democracy, he openly favored Fatah in the elections of January 2006. When Hamas won, the US and Israel immediately cut off funds to the newly elected government, including even Israel’s transfer of Palestine’s own customs revenues, which Israel collects as the occupying authority in control of the borders, said Sachs. Such policies set the course for a violent upset in the occupied territories.

“It is important that we recognize the source of America’s failure, because it keeps recurring, making peace between Israel and Palestine more difficult,” said Sachs. ”The roots of failure lie in the US and Israeli governments’ belief that military force and financial repression can lead to peace on their terms, rather than accepting a compromise on terms that the Middle East, the rest of the world and, crucially, most Israelis and Palestinians, accepted long ago.”

Sachs suggested that one realistic possibility for peace would be Israel’s return to its 1967-borders and economic arrangements for a viable Palestinian state including access to trade routes, water supplies, and other essential needs. Despite discussions and promises in the past decade, Israel has clearly refused to withdraw to these borders and to recognize the political pressure of the hundreds of thousands of Israeli settlers in Palestinian territories, the economist argued. In past peace discussions the U.S. and Israel have managed to come up with plans to protect and sustain the existence of these illegal compounds, especially those in the West Bank, according to Sachs.

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