Major Events in Israel and the Middle East
A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman
World Bank and State Comptroller Both Critical of Government
Wednesday May 9, 2007
The World Bank issued a report yesterday on the effect of Israel's security actions on the West Bank on the Palestinian economy. The report stated that checkpoints in and out of every city and along the roads have effectively turned the West Bank into a series of small cantons. According to the Bank's report, it has destroyed any semblance of a Palestinian economy. A panel of Israelis on London and Kirshenbaum today agreed with the assessment, and described the situation in more dire terms. The problem is that the security actions have been successful in stopping terror attacks. However, the question asked was how many future terrorists Israel is creating while doing this hung very much in the air. The American proposal to reduce the checkpoints in return for the Palestinians renouncing violence for the moment was vetoed by the Hamas.
Reports today in the Israeli media claim that Prime Minister Olmert is furious at former Prime Minister Barak for his call on him to resign yesterday. Barak's speech came as a complete surprise to Olmert and his confidants. Now Vice Prime Minister Shimon Peres has to make an important decision: whether or not to run for President as planned, which would make him ineligible to replace Olmert if he resigns. Peres fears he could end up with neither.
The State Comptroller came out with his annual report today. In addition to all the usual reports of corruption and incompetence, one of the most troubling aspects of the report was the claim that the army has not developed any significant plan for dealing with the Qassams rockets. The report stated that despite the talk of developing an anti rocket system, no money has been spend on it to-date.
Thomas Friedman has an excellent article in today's New York Times called the "Arab Commission". In it he writes about how Nasarallah praised Israel for having the Winograd Commission, as opposed to the Arab states that do not learn from their mistakes. Friedman suggests that Nasarallah should write his own report. That report would show what a disaster the war was for Nasarallah and for Lebanon. Reading FreidmanŐs article puts in perspective that despite all the internal criticism of the war in Israel, the war was actually a disaster for the other side as well.