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World Bank Opposes Palestinian Sovereignty

By Stephen Lendman - Posted on 05 August 2012

  World Bank Opposes Palestinian Sovereignty 


by Stephen Lendman


Washington controls the World Bank. Current president Jim Yong Kim formerly was Dartmouth College president.


The World Bank and IMF were established to integrate developing nations into the Global North-dominated world economy. 


They've done it in ways other than originally mandated. The IMF was created to stabilize exchange rates linked to the dollar. Its purpose was also to bridge temporary payment imbalances. 


The World Bank was supposed to provide credit to war-torn developing countries. Both bodies operate exploitively. They use debt entrapment to transfer public wealth to Western bankers and other corporate predators.


They obligate indebted nations to take new loans to service old ones. Doing so assures debt entrapment. Remedies proposed don't work. Structural adjustment harshness is imposed. Neighborhood loan sharks are benign by comparison.


Both bodies are imperial tools. Debt freedom, equality, justice, and other democratic values are verboten. So is Palestinian statehood.


A new World Bank Report says Palestine isn't ready for prime time. According to economist John Nasir:


"The Palestinian Authority (PA) has made steady progress in many years towards establishing the institutions required by a future state but the economy is currently not strong enough to support such a state."


"Economic sustainability cannot be based on foreign aid so it is critical for the PA to increase trade and spur private sector growth."


Nasir may or may not know economics. He knows little or nothing about international law. He knows less about right and wrong. More on that below.


He says the Palestinian Authority faces financial crisis conditions. It's debt level is $1.5 billion. It's cash shortfall is $500 million. 


America's national debt approaches $16 trillion. About another $1.5 trillion is added annually. No World Bank official cries foul. No one says its economy can't support statehood.


According to Nasir:


"While the Palestinian Authority has had considerable success in building the institutions of a future state, it has made less progress in developing a sustainable economic base."


"....Israel's security restrictions continue to stymie investment and the recent growth has largely been driven by donor aid. This situation is unsustainable and aid levels have already begun to fall."


At issue is Israel's illegal occupation. Nasir left that issue unaddressed. It's key but wasn't part of his focus. Instead he misstated facts on the ground. He claimed talks broke down in September 2010.


Israel doesn't negotiates. It demands. Military occupation is hardline and repressive. Peace and sovereign independence are verboten. Resolving decades of conflict can't happen without world community help.


Nasir ignored reality, saying:


"Barring a political solution to the conflict, there is little that can be done about these constraints."


"However, there are a number of areas where the PA can focus its attention to not only improve current performance, but to lay the groundwork for a future state." 


"A future Palestinian state should seek to emulate Asian countries that have managed to sustain high levels of economic growth by adopting an outward orientation and integrating into world supply chains."


World Bank officials march in lockstep with Israeli lawlessness. So do heads of Western states. Israel gets away with murder. 


It prevents sovereign Palestinian independence. It qualified decades ago. It meets Montevideo Convention criteria. International law expert Francis Boyle explained.


It has a "determinable territory." It doesn't have to be fixed and determinate. Border negotiations can follow. Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem comprise its state. Palestinians lived there for centuries. It's their sovereign land.


Its population is fixed and permanent.


Its government functions. In 1988, Yasser Arafat declared the PLO Palestine's Provisional Government.


It's able to have diplomatic relations with other nations. The great majority of UN member states support its sovereignty. 


On December 15, 1988, the General Assembly recognized its legitimacy. It accorded it observer status. Full de jure membership is long overdue. 


So is universal world recognition. All UN Charter states provisionally recognized Palestinian independence in accordance with UN Charter article 80(1) and League of Nations Covenant article 22(4).


As the League's successor, the General Assembly has exclusive legal authority to designate the PLO Palestine's legitimate representative.


The Palestine National Council (PNC) is the PLO's legislative body. It's empowerered to proclaim Palestine's existence. 


According to binding 1925 Palestine Citizenship Order in Council provisions, Palestinians, their children and grandchildren are automatically citizens of the new state. So are diaspora Palestinians.


Sovereign Palestine exists. It fully qualifies for recognition. It's peace loving. It accepts UN Charter obligations. It's able and willing to enforce them. 


The General Assembly has sole authority to grant de jure membership by a simple two-thirds majority. The Security Council only recommends admissions. It has no veto power to prevent them. 


If Washington or another permanent member invokes it, the General Assembly can override under the 1950 Uniting for Peace Resolution 377. Nasir claiming Palestine isn't ready for prime time doesn't wash.


An April 2011 UN study concurred. The Office of the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process  (UNSCO) said:


In "territory under its control and within the constraints on the ground imposed by unresolved political issues, the PA has accelerated progress in improving its governmental functions." 


"In six areas where the UN is most engaged, governmental functions are now sufficient for a functioning government of a state."


It's "well positioned for the establishment of a state at any point in the near future."


At the time, separate World Bank/IMF assessments agreed. Nasir likely doesn't read WB reports. Its conclusion about Palestine contradicts his own.


UNSCO said Palestine qualifies in areas where UN bodies are most engaged. They include governance, rule of law and human rights, livelihoods and productive sectors, education and culture, health, social protection, and infrastructure and water.


At the same time it cautioned, as long as occupation continues, conflict conditions remain unresolved, and divisions between Hamas and Fatah persist, "the institutional achievements of the Palestinian state-building agenda are approaching their limits within the political and physical space currently available."


UN Special Coordinator for Middle East Peace Process Robert Serry said "further steps on the ground" are urgently needed. Occupation harshness must end. Unlike previous ones, legitimate independently monitored peace talks must be held. 


Israeli might has veto power. Overriding it is key. World leaders are empowered to do it. Political will alone is absent. Sovereign Palestinian freedom depends on reversing longstanding policy. Nothing else prevents what's long overdue.


Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at 


His new book is titled "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War"


Visit his blog site at and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.


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