Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

RAND Presents Plan for Palestine at MEI

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

RAND Presents Plan for Palestine at MEI

Article excerpt

The RAND Corporation's C. Ross Anthony and Steven Simon presented their organization's latest project, entitled "Conceptualizing a Successful Palestinian State," at the Middle East Institute in Washington, DC on June 6. The panelists' main message was that a successful state is crucial to Middle Eastern and international security. The two men particularly stressed that a viable Palestinian state was essential to Israeli security.

"Success," they explained, would be measured by four criteria: the level of "security" a future Palestinian state could offer its citizens and neighbors, its ability to maintain good "governance," a carefully-drafted plan of "economic development," and an emphasis on "social wellbeing." According to Anthony and Simon, it is necessary to afford legitimacy to the new Palestinian state on both internal and international levels. Economic development, they said, "can and must be spurred by international investment." Finally, they defined social well-being as involving "living conditions, health and access to education."

Following the presentation (for more details of the study see the July 2005 Washington Report, p. 13), a string of questions from audience members signaled some skepticism regarding the plan's comprehensiveness, or even viability. Its physical basis envisions an arc-shaped super highway of rail lines connecting cities in Gaza and the West Bank. When asked whether the arc would incorporate the existing Israeli settlements in the West Bank, the panelists referred vaguely to their key talking points of "territorial contiguity" and "permeability [of borders]. …

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