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It's the Occupation, Stupid

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Abbas was chief negotiator. He sold out his people for benefits he derived. He got to be president. Israel rigged his election. He bears full responsibility.

He agreed to burden Palestinians with the same value-added tax as Israel. In September, it rose to 17%. Impoverished Palestinians are severely harmed. 

Oslo also denies Palestinian farmers and businessmen normalized foreign trade. Those permitted can only go through Israel.

Partial and delayed salary payments compound intense public anger. Palestinian civil servants see no end in sight. Israel deserves most blame. Abbas, Fayyad, and other Palestinian collaborators share it. 

Hass called Israeli negotiators "geniuses." Negotiating a Palestinian Versailles assured they'd be blamed for economic crisis conditions they caused. 

PA concern became panic. Speeches, interministerial committees, and other ways are sought to diffuse public anger and lower prices. Condescending paternalistic language doesn't help. Protesters understandably are angry. Venting rage at PA officials lets Israel off the hook.

Oslo shackled Palestine's economy to Israel. Palestinian salaries don't approach Israeli ones. Regressive taxes make things harder. Unaffordable prices compound crisis conditions.

In all respects, Oslo was a Palestinian Versailles. Unconditional surrender defines it. Arafat, Abbas, Ahmed Qureia, and others went along. Eighteen years later, conditions are considerably worse.

More land's been stolen. Israel has the choicest parts. It controls water and other valued resources. Settler numbers increased greatly. Intensified violence accompanied them. So has repression. PA security forces serve as Israeli enforcers.

It's unsurprising they're blamed for occupation harshness. Israelis get off largely scot-free. They establish rules. Militarized occupations enforces them.

Gaza's isolated and suffocating. Extreme hardships exist. It's economy is in shambles. Around 80% of its factories remain shut or barely operate. Unemployment is high. Poverty is severe. 

Most exports are prohibited. Farming on much of its most arable land is prohibited. Its best fishing waters are off limits. Food insecurity, power shortages, inadequate healthcare, other unavailable or inadequate services, and extreme aid dependency punish 1.7 million people.

It's called the world's largest open-air prison. Frequent land, air and sea attacks target it. World leaders turn a blind eye. They're mindless of West Bank abuses. Israel's worst crimes are supported. Palestinian suffering remains out of sight and mind.

Everything benefitting Israel harms Palestinians. Zero sum repression works that way.

They're locked down and economically strangled. Locking them up is policy if they resist. Institutionalized racism persecutes them. Sovereignty over their own lives is denied.

Security forces and settlers attack them. Children are treated like adults. Anyone not Jewish is considered subhuman. Muslims are persecuted for their faith, ethnicity and presence.

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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