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This study focuses on a single analytical question: How can an independent Palestinian state be made successful?
Identifying these requirements became a pressing policy need for the United States with the adoption of the "Roadmap," which calls for a Palestinian state in 2005. President Bush recently revised this timetable and is now calling for a new state by 2009. Following a March 2002 UN Security Council Resolution, which called for the creation of a Palestinian state and was supported by the United States-in June 2002, President George W. Bush expressed explicit U.S. support for creating a Palestinian state. To this end, the United States joined the European Union, Russia, and the United Nations to pursue the Roadmap initiative in 2003. The same year, the Israeli government under Prime Minister Ariel Sharon also formally endorsed the eventual creation of an independent Palestinian state.
When President Bush made his initial declaration, he called for creation of an independent Palestinian state within three years, and the Roadmap was designed to meet this timetable. As this chapter is written, however, the prospect of an independent Palestine is uncertain. Nevertheless, a critical mass of Palestinians and Israelis, as well as the UnitedStates, Russia, the European Union, and the United Nations, remains committed to the establishment of a Palestinian state.
This book proposes options for structuring the institutions of a future Palestinian state, so as to ensure as far as possible the state's success. This study does not examine how an independent Palestinian state might be created, nor does it explore the process or terms of a settlement that would lead to its creation. In fact, one of the book's strengths is that by concentrating on factors that are key to making an established Palestinian state successful, it develops conclusions about what must be present both at the beginning and throughout the process to achieve success.
This work should be seen as a living document that will need to respond to the constantly changing realities in the region and that will need to be expanded to cover areas that were beyond the scope of this study. In particular, key areas such as housing, transportation, and energy are not dealt with in this study, although a companion study will deal with them at a community level. A second companion study will deal with security issues not dealt with here. Furthermore, the rapidly changing dynamics in the region and the death of Yasser Arafat demand a deeper analysis of the option for establishing good governance in a new state. The chapter on internal security must also be updated as geopolitical and security realities change and because of changes in international, Palestinian, and Israel leadership.
U.S. experience in Afghanistan and Iraq since 2001 has underscored our conviction that nation-building can only benefit from detailed consideration of governance, security, economic development, health, education, and natural resources, among other factors. Recent experience also clearly demonstrates the need for thoughtful detailed planning if nation-building experiences are to succeed. Furthermore, the lessons of U.S. experience in Iraq indicate clearly that, in order to seize the opportunity to build a state when it arises, advance planning is extremely important. Failure to have feasible options on the shelf can result in lost opportunity at the least and disaster at the extreme. Many of the policy options laid out here-including those in the areas of health, education, and water-can be initiated even before the establishment of a state.
Creating a state of Palestine does not ensure its success. But for Palestinians, Israelis, and many around the world, it is profoundly important that the state succeed. If the failed or failing states of recent years-Somalia, Yugoslavia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Afghanistan-have endangered international security, consider the perils in the Middle East and beyond of a failed Palestine, or the costs and risks of one so weak that it must be propped up and policed by the United States and others. The true challenge for a Palestinian state is not that it exist, but that it succeed.
Organization of This Book
In our discussion, we first consider the essentials of a successful state-the nature of the institutions that will govern it and the structures and processes that will ensure its internal security. We then describe the demographic, economic, and critical water resource on which a Palestinian state can draw, while also identifying factors that can limit the state's ability to use these resources effectively. Finally, we consider what a Palestinian state must do to strengthen its human capital, through ensuring its citizens health care and educational opportunities.
In each substantive area examined, we draw on the best available empirical data to describe the requirements for success, to identify alternative policies for achieving these requirements, and to describe the consequences of choosing each alternative. We also provide initial estimates of the costs associated with our recommendations over the first decade of independence. The specific methodology in each chapter differs with the nature of the analytic questions and the availability of data. Each chapter describes its individual approach and identifies the constraints and uncertainties that accompany the analysis.
In the remainder of this chapter, we consider goals for a successful Palestinian state in more detail. We then turn our attention to three major issues that cut across all parts of our book: the degree to which movement of people and goods is possible between an independent Palestinian state and other countries, which we refer to as "permeability"; the degree to which the territory of an independent Palestinian state is integral or fragmented, which we refer to as "contiguity"; and the nature of the security arrangements for Palestinians, Israelis, and the region. Finally, we describe the methodology we have used to estimate the costs of the options put forward in the various chapters.
In our view, "success" in Palestine will require an independent, democratic state with an effective government operating under the rule of law in a safe and secure environment that provides for economic development and supports adequate housing, food, education, health, and public services for its people. To achieve this success, Palestine must succeed in addressing four fundamental challenges:
Security: Palestinian statehood must improve the level of security for Palestinians, as well as that for Israelis and the region as a whole. Good Governance and Political Legitimacy: A Palestinian state must be governed effectively and be viewed as legitimate by both its citizens and the international community. Economic Viability: Palestine must be economically viable and, over time, self-reliant. Social Well-Being: Palestine must be capable of feeding, clothing, educating, and providing for the health and social well-being of its people.
When a Palestinian state is established, its success is not only important as an end in itself; it could influence the course of political and social reform in the greater Middle East. The failure of a Palestinian state might discourage efforts to bring about reform in the region.
Conditions for Success
The success of an independent Palestinian state-indeed, its very survival-is inconceivable in the absence of peace and security for Palestinians and Israelis alike. Thus an independent Palestinian state must be secure within its borders, provide for the routine safety of its inhabitants, be free from radical subversion or foreign exploitation, and pose no threat to Israel. Moreover, these conditions must be established from the moment of independence. Security is not something that can be built gradually, like infrastructure or industry, but must be in place at the beginning of a new state if that state is to have a chance of succeeding. In fact, as shown in the security chapter (see Chapter Three), it is clear that even before a new state can be established, the present situation will need to improve considerably. Because of the breakdown in security within areas of Palestinian control in recent years, it is hard to see how Palestinians can assume the responsibility and gain the ability to provide adequate security, objectively and in Israeli eyes, without international support and involvement.
Successful security arrangements range from patrol and protection of the borders themselves to workable justice and public safety systems within them. There is no room in this chain for weak links: Internal leniency toward violent extremists will likely lead to Israeli reactions; and failure to monitor and manage who and what enters Palestine can only weaken internal public safety. The borders of an independent Palestinian state, including the degree of territorial contiguity and whether Palestinian territory surrounds Israeli settlements, will significantly affect the success of any security arrangements.
It will take more than Palestinian good faith and effort to meet such standards of security, even under the most favorable conditions. It will also require extensive international assistance and close cooperation among security personnel.
Good Governance and Political Legitimacy
Palestinian national aspirations have evolved over time since the creation of Israel in 1948. Through the establishment of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 1964, Palestinians formally rejected the existence of Israel and called for a Palestinian state in the whole of all the territory that was governed by the British under the League of Nations mandate of 1920 (excluding Transjordan). As the "two-state solution" gained legitimacy internationally and among Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza, the PLO formally changed course in 1988, recognized Israel, and proclaimed a Palestinian state based on the earlier UN partition resolution. This evolution in Palestinian goals was pushed further with the 1993 exchange of recognition letters between Israel and the PLO and the establishment of the Palestinian Authority (PA) by the Oslo Accords. Since 1994, however, the PLO has formally committed itself to a two-state solution. Moreover, surveys suggest that some three-fourths of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza would support reconciliation with Israel following a peace treaty and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.
Of course, even a small number of rejectionists can be dangerous, as the past decade has shown. Such factions could target Israel or the Palestinian state and its leadership. In practice, the willingness and ability of the Palestinian state to resist or co-opt such factions will depend on its political legitimacy. Legitimacy, in turn, will depend on a number of factors, including the form and effectiveness of governance; economic and social development; territorial size and contiguity; the status of Jerusalem; and the status and the treatment of Palestinian refugees, particularly those currently living in Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan.
Finally, the way that Palestinians govern themselves will affect the political viability of the new state (as well as its economic vitality and security). The thoroughness with which democratic institutions and processes are established will be critical from the outset-indeed, they are already critical even before the state has been created. Finally, the passing of Yasser Arafat is likely to generate new challenges and opportunities.
An independent Palestinian state cannot be considered successful unless its people have good economic opportunities and quality of life. Palestinian economic development has historically been constrained, and per-capita national income peaked in the late 1990s in the range of "lower middle income" countries (as defined by the World Bank). Since then, national income has fallen by half or more following the start of the second intifada ("uprising") against Israel in September 2000. An independent Palestinian state will need to improve economic conditions for its people as immediately and urgently as it will need to improve security conditions.
As we describe in this book (see Chapter Five), there are a number of prerequisites for successful economic development in a Palestinian state. These include security; adequate and contiguous territory (although we assume that the West Bank and Gaza will remain physically separate); stable access to adequate supplies of power and water; adequate infrastructure for transporting goods, both domestically and internationally, and the ability to use it; and an improved communication infrastructure. Since Palestinian territory has limited natural resources, economic development will depend critically on human resources, with stronger systems of primary, secondary, and vocational education as crucial down payments on any future economic success.
Historically, income from Palestinians working in Israel has been an important component of Palestinian national income. However, the degree of access by Palestinians to Israeli labor markets has fluctuated greatly and is minimal at the time of this writing. The extent of such access in the future is another important variable discussed in this book that will affect Palestinian economic development under independence.
A new Palestinian state will not be successful without significant economic development. Such development will require considerable external assistance in the form of investment capital in addition to good governance and human capital formation. It is also difficult to see how the Palestinian economy can flourish unless there is substantial freedom of movement of people and products across the state's borders, including the border with Israel.
Our study indicates that Palestine can succeed only with the backing and assistance of the international community-above all, the United States, the European Union, the United Nations, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund. Resource requirements will be substantial for a decade or more. During that period, aid should be invested, not merely consumed. Palestine's institutions and policies should be prepared to absorb many forms of foreign help-e.g., for external and internal security, health care and education, financing needs, and good governance. At the same time, an independent Palestinian state cannot be truly characterized as successful until the amount and scope of external assistance diminishes and the state becomes largely self-reliant.
The requirements for external assistance estimated in this study are considered essential to enable a Palestinian state to succeed. However, the availability of such resources should not be assumed at a time when many donor countries around the world are in, or are just coming out of, a recessionary period that has resulted in very tight budgets. This limited availability of resources places a special burden on the new state and intensifies the need for it to succeed quickly in the eyes of the international community-particularly among providers of private investment capital.
A fourth condition for the success of an independent Palestinian state is that the social well-being of its people improve substantially over time. Living conditions and provision of social services including health care and education have declined with Palestinian national income since the outbreak of the second intifada.
The final chapters of this book focus particularly on options for strengthening the Palestinian health care and education systems (see Chapters Seven and Eight). Both systems start with considerable strengths, but also require considerable development in the future. Such development will require effective governance and economic growth, as well as external technical and financial assistance.
Excerpted from Building a Successful Palestinian State Copyright © 2005 by RAND Corporation. Excerpted by permission.
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