Newsletter : 5fax0407.txt
| Previous file
| Next file
Publisher\Editor Don Canaan
April 7, 1995, V3, #64
All the News the Big Guys Missed
For subscriptions or back issues, please contact POL management
Israeli Satellite Can Read Iraqi License Plates
Israel has launched a 495 pound spy satellite that will orbit the
earth every 90 minutes. Israel Aircraft Industries officials said
the satellite can transmit video signals of objects as small as
license plates on cars in Baghdad. During its yearlong mission, the
Ofek-3 satellite's path will also take it over Syria and Iran.
Soon the Gaza Strip will be Competing with Singapore
Commentary by Gad Lior
This sounds like a city one dreams about: dozens of glass and stone
buildings, surrounded by rings of green lawns, well-groomed hedges
and fruit trees.
Between the expansive buildings, which will be built in a modern
architectural style, there will be wide parking lots. In the
center, a large building will be prominent -- it will have a bank,
a post office, a restaurant, a cafe, performance and convention
hall, and a mosque near it. There will be no chimneys, and no
smoke. Everything is green and blooming. Even noise from the
engines of the machines which will operate in the buildings will
barely be heard.
This description is not fictitious. This is one of the industrial
parks which the leadership of the Foreign, Industry and Finance
Ministries is planning at this very moment, under total secrecy.
The goal: to establish between eight to 11 such parks on the
cease-fire line between Israel and the autonomous areas, which the
Palestinian Authority will control within the next few months.
Foreign Minister Shimon Peres is the one who envisioned all this,
and those close to him say with pride: We are getting closer to
Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong, in huge steps.
Each industrial park will be established for about 10,000
employees, and will sit on about 500 acres of land, with
considerable financial assistance from foreign investors and also
governmental subsidies. The Palestinians will run them, and be its
workers, for the most part.
Workers from Gaza, Hebron and Jenin will no longer need to leave in
the early morning hours to reach Tel Aviv, Netanya or Hadera. The
building in which they will work will be on the Green Line -- only
a few minutes drive from their homes. And this will be the same at
the end of the work day: some of the workers will not be forced, as
happens today, to look for a wretched storage room or abandoned
roof to sleep the night within the borders of Israel.
The advantages to Israel are also quite clear: no longer will tens
of thousands of workers from the territories make their way into
the depths of the State of Israel. The chances that attacks will be
carried out will decrease, the amount of traffic on the access
roads from the Strip and Judea and Samaria into the heart of Israel
will decrease considerably.
Our ministers are already selling this idea to foreign investors.
Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, Industry and Trade Minister Micha
Harish and Finance Minister Avraham Shohat are trying to tempt
investors from the U.S., Europe and the Far East.
Yediot Ahronot has learned that among the goals are attracting
giant companies like Reebok and Nike, some of the most well-known
producers of shoes in the world. The Israelis are planning to
explain to them simply that: Why are you building plants in Korea,
Malaysia and Thailand, which are so far away from your European
"In Israel," says Yossi Shohat, head of Autonomy Affairs in the
Industry and Trade Ministry, "these company's owners would be able
to find incredible efficiency. The Jewish mind will develop
concepts for them, and they will be able to take advantage of the
opportunity to get cheap labor from workers in the territories."
A senior official in the Foreign Ministry explains: "With the help
of such parks, we will be able to really compete with Thailand,
Korea, Taiwan, Hong-Kong, Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia and
Indonesia, which are the powers which stand out in the Far East.
They have the advantage of speed, efficiency and cheap labor. We
will have all of these -- as well as a geographical proximity to
Europe. In addition, we have preferred trade agreements with the
U.S. and with the Europe Community. There is no country in the
world which can offer such conditions."
A senior Industry and Trade Ministry official, currently involved
in preparing the plan at an economic ministry in Jerusalem,
explained: "We will push for labor-intensive industry. It's not a
comfortable situation for us, but it may be that we will take not
a few factories from the Far East -- so we will do it in complete
Another reason that the Finance Ministry prefers to create the
parks within the Palestinian Authority is so as not to impose a
heavy burden on the State budget (now being cut). The Foreign
Ministry is also convinced that investors will come in droves, but
only if it is clear that we are really helping the Palestinians and
that we are establishing these parks mainly for them.
But the Industry and Trade Ministry challenges this view, and hopes
to implement this idea within the Green Line. According to Shohat,
"a serious investor will be very hesitant to invest in the
Autonomy. Who knows what will happen to Arafat or whether Hamas
will behave? Will there be quiet in the territories? Investors will
want political and economic insurance, which they will only get
from an existing, flourishing state like Israel."
And meanwhile, those in Shimon Peres' office are already dreaming
about the imminent realization of his vision. The man who, 20 years
ago, dreamed of shaking the Omani foreign minister's hand -- which
happened at the Casablanca Conference -- hopes to realize another
dream: Economically independent Palestinians.
(All material on these web pages is © 2001-2012
by Electronic World Communications, Inc.)