Robert Fantina: John Kerry Proposes Investments in Palestine,
while funding Israeli Apartheid Main Obstacle to Commerce. As US Secretary of State, John Kerry attempts to put his particular spin on resolving the generations old crisis of Israeli oppression of the Palestinians, he has traveled to the World Economic Forum. There he waved the possibility of $4 billion investments in the Palestinian economy, from a worldwide conglomerate of investors, over a period of three years. Of course, he hasn't specified who these investors would be. It was reported that Kerry did not identify specific companies with plans to set up shop in the West Bank, or how he hoped to remove obstacles to Palestinian commerce. The US government in 2013, will give Israel over $3.15 billion, an increase over the billions it gave Israel last year. Yet the US doesn't ever seem to have any problem determining where that money comes from: the US taxpayer has for decades been funding the apartheid state of Israel. Regarding removing obstacles to Palestinian commerce, perhaps we could take a look at what some of those obstacles are. Israel has established countless checkpoints all over the West Bank. Customers wanting to get stores that may be a few blocks from their home, may have to travel miles to get to them, because IDF, the Israeli Defense Forces soldiers arbitrarily close checkpoints, whenever the mood so strikes them. Or, they might leave a checkpoint open, but prevent people from passing through by asking countless questions, demanding assorted identification, or simply telling them they have to wait until the soldiers are good and ready to speak to them. That could be today, or possibly, tomorrow. Or maybe the day after. And if a potential customer decides to try a different route, through a different checkpoint, there is no guarantee the response there will be any different. Merchants attempting to get to their own stores face the same checkpoints and challenges. Farmers need to plant seeds, irrigate crops, care for them and eventually harvest them. This becomes difficult, when they require permits from Israel to plant and harvest on their own land. A Palestinian farmer may request a permit to plant during planting season, but be granted the permit only long after planting season has passed. If he or she is fortunate enough to be given permission to plant at the appropriate time of the year, he or she must simply hope that permission to harvest will be granted when appropriate. It is not unusual for Israel to grant permission to a Palestinian farmer to harvest their crops long after they have spoiled in the field. If a farmer is sufficiently lucky to be permitted to plant and harvest on his or her own land at an appropriate time, the challenges do not end. Once the crops are harvested, and loaded onto vehicles, to be taken to market, the checkpoints challenge is then faced. Often, farmers are delayed so long by IDF soldiers at checkpoints that their produce spoils before they are allowed to pass through.