Thursday, June 3, 2010

Treasury's Neal Wolin Pushes Palestinian Economic Peace

U.S. Treasury Undersecretary Neal Wolin spoke at the Palestinian Investment Conference. He said:

Two years ago, representatives from across the Middle East and around the world gathered here in Bethlehem for the first Palestine Investment Conference. That conference – like this one – was both an invitation and a declaration:
An invitation to investors – from the Arab world, and from the United States, Europe, and Asia – to come to the West Bank to help unlock the tremendous economic potential latent here;
And a declaration that the Palestinian economy is open for business; that the Palestinian people and their government are committed to laying the foundation for an economically viable state, where private enterprise can thrive.

The first conference occurred in the West Bank in November 2008. A month later Israel dropped bombs over Gaza, using American made fighter jets. Quartet envoy Tony Blair indicated Hillary Clinton and General James Jones approved the change in strategy on Gaza.

What's not open for rebuilding, much less business? Gaza. Neal Wolin didn't address the Gaza blockade's economic strangulation, much less Israel's killing nine people in the Gaza aid flotilla. He did cite "Monday's tragic incident" as a reason to return to the bargaining table. Wolin didn't say how Fatah's return to negotiations would help Gaza.

The United States continues divide and conquer with its best friend in the Middle East. Where might the pair drop bombs two months from now?

Update: Wolin was in Tel Aviv discussing Palestinian-Israeli economic cooperation with experts. His legwork is the foundation of Obama's meeting with Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas. Obama and Abbas will "discuss steps to improve life for the people of Gaza, including US support for specific projects to promote economic development and greater quality of life," a US official said.

Update 4-9-13:  Three years later and Secretary of State John Kerry offers the same "economic peace."