Tuesday, May 04, 2010

No jobs for the boys

I have another observation to make about the boycott movement, namely what forward thinking is actually going on. My sense is very little.

My other question to the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement at last month’s meeting concerned the options available to Palestinian workers after this year when they are going to be stopped from working in the settlements. While this may seem like a good idea, I’ve yet to read in any report what the Palestinian Authority, or PA (which proposed the idea), plans to do with the resulting unemployment. If there were other jobs for these workers to take they would presumably have done so by now. But there aren’t and unemployment remains high in the West Bank.

For the BDS representatives, the PA’s answer will probably be these workers’ absorption into the public security apparatus or their employment in industrial zones similar to maquilas that dot Central America. Their distaste for the latter seemed apparent. And, more to the point, the private sector (which presumably would be the main driver of these zones) is in a sorry state at the moment, so the prospect of job creation is quite remote.

But what the BDS would do itself wasn’t that clear either. Instead I was treated to Hazem Jamjoun answering his own question which I didn’t ask. That involved his pointing out that during the 1990s there had been plenty of ‘normalisation’ projects done between Israelis and Palestinians and which downplayed political differences. The BDS was opposed to such actions and aims to stop them.

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