Saturday, May 14, 2005

A Successful Palestinian State

RAND | News Release | RAND Studies Make Recommendations for a Successful Palestinian State

The RAND Corporation has just published the result of a very major study of the possibilities of building a succesful Palestinian state.

There have been different studies on different aspects of this issue before, but nothing as comprehensive as the RAND study. A follow-on volume to those already published will deal more in detail with the different security issues.

The broad conclusion of the study is that it could be done, that it's critical that such a state gets a contigous territory, that it will require substantial investments from the international territory and that it will indeed contribute to the stability of the region, including Israel.

The demographic problem is one of the major challenges. Even if one excludes Gaza, a Palestinian state will move towards a population density higher than Bangladesh. It will require major efforts to create jobs and hope for the future for all of them.

Failure will fuel resentment and rage - with all its consequences.

The study has been presented extensively in Washington and Brussels as well as Jerusalem and Ramallah, and will be the subject of follow-on discussions in the months to come.

At the moment, the challenges of state-building in Iraq are dominating the news headlines from the region, with the security situation deterioating at the same time as the new government starts working and discussions on the new constitution start in earnest.

But the challenges of state-building in Palestine should not be neglected. Proper policies need to be prepared.

We must succeed with the state-building efforts in both parts of the ancient Fertile Crescent.