Daily TIP

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist questions orthodoxies about Palestinian statehood

Posted by Tip Staff - January 10, 2017


“Would a Palestinian state be good for Palestinian people?” columnist Bret Stephens asked in the opinion pages of The Wall Street Journal Monday.  Because of the failures of Palestinian political institutions, Stephens, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who formerly served as Editor-in-Chief of the Jerusalem Post, is not so sure. “A telling figure came in a June 2015 poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion, which found that a majority of Arab residents in East Jerusalem would rather live as citizens with equal rights in Israel than in a Palestinian state,” he wrote. “No doubt part of this owes to a desire to be connected to Israel’s thriving economy.” The notion that a Palestinian state is in the best interest of the Palestinian people is an unexamined idea that overlooks the facts on the ground, Stephens opined. The Palestinian Authority lacks even the bare minimum requirements for creating a viable state; it cannot, for example, maintain a monopoly of force.  A Palestinian state enacted tomorrow would likely be overrun by Hamas and other competing terrorist factions. The Israeli government's official position, supported by the U.S., is that a two-state solution is the desirable outcome of the conflict. While Israel has taken great risks for peace and has twice offered the Palestinians a state, the Palestinians have responded with rejectionism and violence, as Stephens pointed out in his column. Furthermore, Grant Rumley, an expert on Palestinian affairs, wrote last May that the failure to account for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' corruption and authoritarian rule in the West Bank, which has resulted in weak political institutions, "could have a devastating effect on the long-term prospects for a viable Palestinian state."  

In one of his final acts in office on December 30, outgoing United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon submitted a confidential report to the UN Security Council alleging that Iran may have violated an international arms embargo by smuggling weapons to the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah, Reuters reported Sunday. The report also contains a charge from the French government that an arms shipment seized in the Indian Ocean in March originated in Iran and was intended for fighters in Somalia or Yemen. UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which was not altered by the lifting of nuclear-related sanctions as part of last year’s deal with global powers, bans Iran from exporting weapons and specifically prohibits the transfer of arms to Hezbollah. Ban cited a speech that Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah gave in June, in which Nasrallah claimed that all of its “rockets and weapons are from the Islamic Republic of Iran.” “I am very concerned by this statement, which suggests that transfers of arms and related materiel from the Islamic Republic of Iran to Hezbollah may have been undertaken contrary (to a Security Council resolution),” Ban wrote. Hezbollah reportedly has an arsenal of 130,000 rockets, more than the combined total of all 27 non-U.S. NATO member states. Israeli officials believe that any future war with Hezbollah has the potential to cause “thousands of civilian deaths” in Israel. Hezbollah has, among other things, threatened to attack ammonium tanks in Haifa, which could kill tens of thousands of people. An Israeli defense official told The New York Times in May 2015 that the buildup of Hezbollah’s terror infrastructure in southern Lebanese villages meant that “civilians are living in a military compound” and that their lives were at risk. A few days later, a newspaper linked to Hezbollah bolstered the Israeli assessment.  

Bring on the shekels. Israeli high-tech firms raised a record $4.8 billion in 2016—easily surpassing the previous year’s gains by 11 percent.  “Traditionally, many of Israel's tech companies have sold out at an early stage to global giants like Cisco, IBM and Microsoft,” according to an article in Reuters. “But now start-ups are using a sharp rise in private investment to pursue growth, often aiming for eventual stock market flotations. With founders looking longer term rather than trying to make quick money, acquisitions of Israeli tech firms fell in 2016 to their lowest level in six years.” The uptrend in capital raising is expected to continue in 2017—though possibly at slower rates.


An internal brace for adolescent scoliosis from Israel’s ApiFix has continued to generate inquiries from readers since ISRAEL21c first wrote about its development in April 2012. Now there’s more good news to report for young people suffering from severe curvature of the spine. As of the end of 2016, the ApiFix device has been used on 110 patients in Israel and in eight European countries — Germany, France, Holland, Greece, Italy, Hungary, Romania and Poland – and is getting closer to approval by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), says CTO Uri Arnin. “There is significant interest from other places as well, and I believe in coming years we will start marketing in additional countries,” Arnin says. Scoliosis surgery, normally an invasive four- to six-hour procedure costing about $100,000 in the United States, uses 16 to 20 screws and results in significant permanent spinal stiffness. ApiFix’s Israeli-made titanium implant needs only two screws to secure it in place during a one-hour, minimally invasive procedure and allows the patient to maintain most of the flexibility of the spine. Approved for use in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis over 40 degrees, the implant corrects the curve gradually over several months. (via Israel21c)