National / International News

Can a rebuilt Gaza build an economy?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-08-06 13:37

Wednesday is day two of a three-day ceasefire between the Israeli Army and Palestinian fighters in Gaza. In Egypt, indirect talks have proceeded between Israeli and Palestinian officials, aimed at extending the ceasefire and opening up Gaza's borders to trade and people.

Israel has largely sealed the borders it shares with Gaza since 2007, when Hamas took over. Recently, the military-led government in Egypt severely restricted its border with Gaza, shutting down the smuggling of goods, people and weapons through a large network of tunnels there.

As the ceasefire began on Tuesday, Palestinian deputy economy minister Taysir Amro estimated the direct damage from Israeli bombing and ground incursions at $4 billion to $6 billion. At least 10,000 homes and 140 schools are believed to be destroyed or damaged; Gaza’s power plant is heavily damaged, as is water treatment and other public infrastructure. Norway is reportedly organizing an international donor’s conference in September to begin the process of raising funds to restore services and rebuild.

“Even if you bring in $5 billion, $6 billion, $8 billion or $9 billion, all that will do is replace what they had, put them where they were,” said Shibley Telhami, a political scientist at the University of Maryland and author of “The World Through Arab Eyes.”

“We know that where they were was an awful place," he says. "Some people were calling it an ‘open prison.’”

"There's no economy in Gaza"

Since 2007, when Hamas seized power from the Palestinian Authority in Gaza after winning an election there, Israel has kept all but a trickle of humanitarian supplies and people from crossing the border. Except for what has been smuggled through tunnels from Egypt, virtually no building supplies are allowed in by Israel for Gazans to use — Israel says these could be used for military purposes. And virtually no produce or furniture or other goods go out to sell in the West Bank, Israel, or farther afield.

“There’s no economy in Gaza — you can’t export from the Gaza strip,” said Khaled Elgindy, senior fellow at the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, who has served as an adviser to Palestinian negotiators in Ramallah.

Elgindy says there is little in the way of industry, agriculture or services in Gaza that could bring capital into the economy. So most development — in fact most consumption — comes from international aid, which 70 percent of residents receive. The unemployment rate is at least 40 percent, according to the World Bank. GDP has been falling in recent years.

Gaza’s "real" GDP growth, according to World Bank. (Source: World Bank)

What would have to happen to get economic development going in Gaza? The experts interviewed for this story said the first prerequisite is more open borders — for supplies coming in, goods for export going out and people (foreign visitors, expatriate family members and workers) going in both directions.

Second, they said Palestinians need more control of key infrastructure and economic relationships with immediate neighbors and potential trading partners.

“It would make a huge difference, in terms of normalizing Gaza, to have a seaport,” said Elgindy. The airport should also be rebuilt and opened to international flights, he said.

Telhami said if Palestinians controlled their own seacoast and airspace, and could clean up the beaches: “Gaza does have a waterfront. In good times, if they ever come, it could be turned into a relatively inexpensive vacation spot.”

Fishing has been severely limited by Israel, which controls the waters off the coast; Telhami said that industry could expand as well, supplying fish to the West Bank.

Leila Hilal, senior fellow at the New America Foundation, said Gaza has human capital that could drive economic development.

“Gazans are very enterprising, they’ve been surviving under total isolation,” said Hilal, adding that the population of Gaza is young, educated and urban. She said the Palestinian diaspora could potentially help — providing expertise, export markets and investment dollars.

But, she said, a political opening in the peace process with Israel, and significant progress in opening borders and normalizing the ability of Gazans to travel and trade freely, would have to come first.

It's all monkey business for Wikimedia

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-08-06 13:35

Remember that picture that was floating around the internet a while ago?

The one a monkey had taken of herself using a camera it had liberated from a British wildlife photographer. It was basically a monkey-selfie.

Anyway, The Telegraph reported today that Wikipedia has declined the photographer's requests to stop distributing the picture without his permission because the site says the monkey pushed the shutter button and so it owns the copyright.

Murdoch 'resolute' over Time Warner

BBC - Wed, 2014-08-06 13:28
Rupert Murdoch says he is 'resolute' in his decision to drop a bid for Time Warner, as 21st Century Fox reports better than expected results.

Councillors accept Exploris funds

BBC - Wed, 2014-08-06 13:27
Ards Borough Council accept an offer of almost £1m from the executive to keep open and redevelop Northern Ireland's aquarium.

Mosul air strike 'kills dozens'

BBC - Wed, 2014-08-06 13:25
At least 60 people have been killed in an Iraqi air strike on premises controlled by rebels in the northern city of Mosul, officials say.

VIDEO: Can horses help autistic children?

BBC - Wed, 2014-08-06 13:18
Rupert Isaacson believes he has found a method to ease the dysfunctional symptoms associated with autism.

Q&A: Surrogate babies

BBC - Wed, 2014-08-06 12:52
The legal minefields surrounding international surrogate babies

DC to vote on cannabis legalisation

BBC - Wed, 2014-08-06 12:49
Voters in Washington DC will join those in Oregon and Alaska to decide whether to legalise cannabis on Election Day, city officials confirm.

Do You Want To Be Happy? Don't Set Your Expectations Too High

NPR News - Wed, 2014-08-06 12:47

Pretty much everyone thinks that rewards bring happiness, but it's not the size of the payoff that matters, researchers say. Rather it's whether the reward exceeds your immediate expectations.

» E-Mail This

Is Your Watch Or Thermostat A Spy? Cybersecurity Firms Are On It

NPR News - Wed, 2014-08-06 12:44

The Internet can reside in almost anything inside your home, which heightens opportunities for hacking your personal privacy. Cybersecurity firms face the tall task of keeping you protected.

» E-Mail This

Carroll, Iowa: Where The Childhood Paper Route Is Alive And Well

NPR News - Wed, 2014-08-06 12:44

Most newspapers today are delivered by adults in cars, not kids on bikes. But in Carroll, young people who want to make some money on a paper route are growing up in the right place.

» E-Mail This

Celtic 0-2 Legia Warsaw (agg 1-6)

BBC - Wed, 2014-08-06 12:38
Celtic's ambitions of a third successive Champions League campaign end after 6-1 aggregate loss to Legia Warsaw.

Donald Trump Sues To Remove His Name From Atlantic City Casinos

NPR News - Wed, 2014-08-06 12:34

The real estate mogul was a pioneer of the New Jersey shore town's gambling industry. Its decline is hurting his name by association, Trump claims in a court filing.

» E-Mail This

Minister scuppered talks - fire union

BBC - Wed, 2014-08-06 12:27
The Fire Brigades Union accuses the government of "walking away" from talks ahead of strikes over eight consecutive days.

Putin orders retaliatory sanctions

BBC - Wed, 2014-08-06 12:27
Russian President Vladimir Putin bans or limits agricultural imports from countries imposing sanctions on Russia over the crisis in Ukraine.

Truth In Labeling: Celiac Community Cheers FDA Rule For Gluten Free

NPR News - Wed, 2014-08-06 12:22

The Food and Drug Administration now requires all food manufacturers to be in compliance with a labeling standard for gluten-free food. Advocates for people with celiac disease say it's about time.

» E-Mail This

As Ebola Spreads in Nigeria, Debate About Experimental Drugs Grows

NPR News - Wed, 2014-08-06 12:21

The death toll in the Ebola outbreak has climbed above 900. In response, the World Health Organization will look into whether it's ethical to use experimental medicines in the outbreak.

» E-Mail This

Microsoft alerts police to child porn

BBC - Wed, 2014-08-06 12:07
A man is arrested in Pennsylvania after Microsoft discovered suspected child abuse images in his OneDrive and email accounts and alerted officials.

VIDEO: Ebola drug 'poses ethics questions'

BBC - Wed, 2014-08-06 12:06
Tarik Jasarevic from the World Health Organisation told the BBC that an experimental drug has been used.

Construction Industry Missing Key Tool: Skilled Workers

NPR News - Wed, 2014-08-06 12:02

Construction is booming once again in the Gulf Coast, Midwest and Rocky Mountain states. But there are about 20 percent fewer skilled workers in construction than there were in 2008.

» E-Mail This

KBBI is Powered by Active Listeners like You

As we celebrate 35 years of broadcasting, we look ahead to technology improvements and the changing landscape of public radio.

Support the voices, music, information, and ideas that add so much to your life.Thank you for supporting your local public radio station.

FOLLOW US

Drupal theme by pixeljets.com ver.1.4