The economics of despair
October 16, 2012 1:39 AM   Subscribe

With Gaza real estate soaring +100% a month, this is a recipe for further melt-down in a few years when the population increases ½ million.
posted by Schroder (1 comment total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: Anything related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is difficult to do well on Metafilter, so a having single link to a news story on this (admittedly interesting) topic is maybe a bit thin. Maybe flesh this out a bit and try again tomorrow? -- goodnewsfortheinsane

Indeed. The elephant in the room, of course, being exactly why Gazans have so little space, and why they can't take their capital elsewhere and invest it somewhere cheaper in a neighbouring territory.

This is Israel's most critical dilemma and, IMHO, underpins its highly aggressive stance towards the Palestinians. It is politically easier to sweep the problem behind large concrete walls than face the facts around land allocation and/or sharing: demographics are not on Israel's side. The Middle East is generally not on its side. International law is not on Israel's side in lots of cases. It is not a given that long term the US will be on its side.

The sideshow in all of this is the regional Shia-Sunni divide and where it places the important oil reserves. Hamas is Shia-backed (Iran). Iraq is largely Shia with a Sunni minority. But Palestinians are overwhelmingly Sunni. Saudi is Sunni. Bahrain is Sunni led but Shia majority. Kuwait is largely Sunni. Qatar is Sunni. Under pressure from China for access to oil, the US will be forced to dial back its support for Israel to win over Sunnis. This pressure increases if Iran continues its growth as a regional leader and makes nice to the Saudis, thereby reducing reliance on US support for security. Hence one strategic reason why an aggressive Iran is not always viewed as a bad thing.

The long term solution is highly unlikely to be found in taking more land and restricting the rights of Palestinians. In a best case scenario, even assuming the Palestinians suddenly all felt great about Israelis and Israel, Israel would still need to go through what Germany went through after the fall of the Berlin Wall. In a more normal scenario, Israel will be forced to make financial reparations and return land and property - the cost alone of which will probably lead to some Israelis exiting the country.

The interesting thing for me is when Israeli politics recognises the pressure cooker on its doorstep and starts to turn towards reconciliation and who steps up to fill that political gap. It won't be pretty.
posted by MuffinMan at 2:19 AM on October 16, 2012

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