Saturday, May 21, 2011

Misplaced Assumptions

GS Don Morris, Ph.D.

“The status quo situation is unsustainable… The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states. The Palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves, and reach their potential, in a sovereign and contiguous state. “ President Obama provided us with these assertions and has apparently based his Israel-Arab Conflict policies upon these and other assumptions. Let us examine them.

No context nor any explanation has ever been provided with respect to the unsustainable statement so one can only speculate. Since Israel’s entry to the nation states of the international community she has been under constant attack by her enemies and yet she has not only survived, she has thrived. Outnumbered by population, attacked a minimum of 12 times these last 63 years by our “neighbors” and having withstood thousands of rocket and homicidal bombing attacks, Israel remains the center piece of Democracy in the Middle East. Did you know that today our unemployment is 6% during an international time of recession, we had a 39% increase in high-tech investments during the 1st quarter of 2011 - $479MN invested in 140 companies – the best quarter in two years, compared with $234MN in 91 companies during the 1st quarter of 2010. 28% invested by Israeli investors (Globes, April 14).

Furthermore the following businesses and capital investment funds continue to find their way to Israel:
The London-based Sam Capital and the Minneapolis-based Piper Jaffray participated in a $60MN investment in Israel CleanTech Ventures; Pacific Technology Fund and the Menlo Park-based Bessemer participated in a $26MN 4th round by Israel's Altair (Globes, April 11). The Boston-based Spark Capital and the Menlo Park Bessemer and Redpoint Ventures participated in a $20MN round by Israel's AdaptTV (Globes, March 30); The Boston-based Globespan and the Menlo Park-based Sequoia Capital participated in a $15MN 3rd round by Israel's Kaminario (Globes, May 3). Motorola Ventures, the Needham-based Stata Ventures, the Tulsa-based Argonaut Private Equity, the San Jose-based Stryker Endoscopy and the Japan-based NTT invested $15MN in Israel's Amimon (Globes, March 25); The Waltham-based Northbridge Venture Partners, the Boston-based Egan Venture Capital and the Deerfield-based Vernon & Park Capital invested $4MN in a 3rd round by Israel's CurrenSee (April 21). The Boston-based Schooner Capital participated in a $4MN 1st round by Israel's Zixi (Globes, April 13). The Menlo-Park Benchmark and the Bellevue-based Trilogy Partners and Ignition Partners invested $4MN in a 4th round by Israel's Xeround (Globes, April 6). Eric Schmidt, Google's outgoing CEO invested $1MN in Israel's EyeView (Globes, May 2).(Ettinger).

Since the 1967 6-day war we have had 9 Nobel Peace winners. We have over 120 companies listed on the NASDAQ-this is more than any country outside North America. The list of accomplishments from a country of 7.5 million people go on and on, here is a partial list:

1. The cell phone was developed in Israel by Israelis working in the Israeli branch of Motorola, which has its largest development center in Israel.

2. Most of the Windows NT and XP operating systems were developed by Microsoft-Israel.

3. The Pentium MMX Chip technology was designed in Israel at Intel. Both the Pentium-4 microprocessor and the Centrino processor were entirely designed, developed, and produced in Israel.

4. The Pentium microprocessor in your computer was most likely made in Israel.

5. Voice mail technology was developed in Israel.

6. Both Microsoft and Cisco built their only R&D facilities outside the US in Israel.

7. The technology for the AOL Instant Messenger ICQ was developed in 1996 by four young Israelis.

8. According to industry officials, Israel designed the airline industry's most impenetrable flight security. US officials now look to Israel for advice on how to handle airborne security threats.

9. Israel's $100 billion economy is larger than all of its immediate neighbors combined.

10. Israel has the highest percentage in the world of home computers per capita.

11. Israel has the highest ratio of university degrees to the population in the world.

12. Israel produces more scientific papers per capita than any other nation by a large margin — 109 per 10,000 people — as well as one of the highest per capita rates of patents filed.

13. In proportion to its population, Israel has the largest number of startup companies in the world. In absolute terms, Israel has the second largest number of startup companies after the US (3,500 companies mostly in hi-tech).

14. With more than 3,000 high-tech companies and startups, Israel has the highest concentration hi-tech companies in the world — apart from the Silicon Valley, US.

15. Israel is ranked #2 in the world for venture capital funds right behind the US.

16. After the United States and Canada, Israel has the largest number of NASDAQ listed companies.

17. Israel has the highest average living standards in the Middle East. The per capita income in 2000 was over $17,500, exceeding that of the UK.

18. On a per capita basis, Israel has the largest number of biotech startups.

19. Twenty-four percent of Israel's work-force hold university degrees — ranking it third in the industrialized world, after the United States and Holland — and 12% hold advanced degrees.
AND 20. Relative to its population, Israel is the largest immigrant-absorbing nation on earth. Immigrants come in search of democracy, religious freedom, and economic opportunity. Courtesy of the Joint Action Taskforce

It is beyond my comprehension for anyone to suggest that we cannot sustain our way of life. Of course Israel will continue to contribute to humankind in spite of our enemies. Perhaps they should emulate our model for their own citizenry rather than be occupied with their resources trying to eliminate us from our rightful place in the international community.

Finally the idea that a state must have contiguous borders does not pass the test of international boundaries. For example, the USA has two major states, Alaska and Hawaii that are not contiguous with its mainland proper. The fact is that there are multiple countries with non-contiguous land masses: New Zealand; The French territories in/on the Caribbean (Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guyana; Kaliningrad is separated from the rest of Russia by Lithuania and Latvia or Belarus; Spain has Ceuta and Melilla and St. Pierre et Miquelon that is part of France.

Of course I have not begun to discuss the nature of the enclaves of the world. An enclave is a geographical territory that is completely surrounded by foreign territory [including foreign territorial waters]. Such a territory is called an enclave in respect to the surrounding foreign territory and an exclave in respect to the territory to which it is politically attached. ( There are 22 countries with enclaves and for the international community to insist that Gaza and the PA in the disputed territories of Samaria and Judea must be connected flies in the face of world reality. Yet, the mantra is these must be “connected”. I suggest that any future “peace plan” consider utilizing the notion of enclave status or as has been done successfully in the USA simply allow Gaza to be politically connected to its future state. This resolves multiple issues not the least of which is that Israel remains whole and not divided into two non-contiguous sections.

I humbly submit that the two afore-mentioned assumptions that are driving policy discussions and hence decisions are patently false. Israel need not nor should it fall prey to the politically driven strategy that rushes it to an unsafe and unwarranted “peace agreement” that is in fact based upon morally wrong assumptions.

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