Israeli Economy Struggles for Appearance of Solvency

by Joe Stork
published in MER114

In a year when much of the world endured a protracted economic crisis, and Israel itself was politically torn by the invasion of Lebanon, that country&rsquos economy appeared deceptively unruffled. True, inflation rebounded to a near-record level of 131.5 percent, [1] but most of the country’s citizens seemed to be well cushioned from its effects. Unemployment stood even at 5 percent -- about 65,000 persons -- a rate that has not changed since 1979. Unemployment does not seem to have been exported to the Occupied Territories either, as a record number of workers from the West Bank and Gaza are currently employed in Israel.

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Turkey's Economy Under the Generals

by Altan Yalpat
published in MER122

In September 1981, on the first anniversary of the military coup, the Economist summarized the succession of events that set Turkey’s critically ailing economy of-the late 1970s on its new course.

The first step was an economic package announced on January 24, 1980. Designed by the government of Süleyman Demirel, it was the brainchild of his finance minister Turgut Özal. The second step was the freeing of interest rates on July 1, 1980. And the third was a series of measures introduced after the military takeover on September 12, 1980. [1]

Sudan's Economic Nightmare

by Tim Niblock
published in MER135

Ten years ago, Sudan was described in a Food and Agriculture Organization report as a potential “breadbasket of the world.” Hopes for the development of Sudan’s economy were running high at the time: the investment of Arab oil-generated revenues in Sudan's agricultural sector seemed to hold immense promise. Vast quantities of hitherto unused arable land could be brought under cultivation. This would transform the Arab world from an area of food deficit into one of food surplus, laying the basis also for the development of extensive processing industries in Sudan.

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"Poverty Is Not the Issue"

by Joe Stork
published in MER136

Henry Selz was for the last nine years the Middle East representative of American Near East Refugee Aid, based in East Jerusalem. He spoke with Joe Stork and Tom Russell in Washington in late August 1985.

You worked in the West Bank for nine years. How has your assessment of the situation changed from when you first got involved?

When I came, I thought it was a transitional situation. It certainly seems to me that any resolution is farther off now than it was when I arrived nine years ago.

How does Israel’s economic crisis affect the situation for the people under occupation?

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Israel's Economic Crisis

by Shlomo Frenkel
published in MER136

In the middle of August 1985, Minister of Science and Development Gideon Pat called on the Israeli public to disregard government declarations that the shekel would not be devaluated. The minister, on national radio, advised the public to purchase American dollars. The broadcast was aired on Friday night, during prime time. Pat’s advice was unprecedented, since trading in US dollars is a violation of Israeli law. Pat is a member of the Liberal Party, which is part of the Likud and represents merchants, industrialists and businessmen. The leader of the Liberal Party, Treasury Minister Yitzhak Modai, demanded that Prime Minister Shimon Peres fire Pat. Pat argued that his statement was taken out of context and he remained in the cabinet.

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Books on Saudi Arabian Economics

by Christian Huxley
published in MER140

Michael Field, The Merchants (London: John Murray, 1984).

John R. Presley, A Guide to the Saudi Arabian Economy (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1984).

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Books on Arab Economies

by Sharif Elmusa
published in MER140

Samir Amin, The Arab Economy Today (London: Zed Press, 1982).

Ismail-Sabri Abdalla et al, eds., Images of the Arab Future (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1983). (Translated from Arabic)

Adda Guecioueur, ed., The Problems of Arab Economic Development and Integration (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1984).

Robert Aliboni, ed., Arab Industrialization and Economic Integration (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1979).

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ESCWA, Economic Integration in Western Asia

by Danny Reachard
published in MER142

ESCWA, Economic Integration in Western Asia (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1985).

This collection of papers from ECWA’s December 1981 Expert Group Meeting on Feasible Forms of Economic Cooperation and Integration in Western Asia includes a useful review of various schemes for Arab economic integration -- the Arab Common Market, the Arab Trade Convention and so on -- and chapters on inter-Arab trade, labor migration and financial flows.

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Aspiration and Reality in Iraq's Post-Sanctions Economy

by Bassam Yousif
published in MER266

From 1990 to 2003, Iraq languished under comprehensive UN sanctions that prohibited foreign trade. When sanctions were finally lifted, many economists and pundits, as well as Iraqis themselves, hoped for a rapidly expanding economy, brisk reconstruction and a return to prosperity. They have been sorely disappointed.

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The Cost of Living Crisis in the West Bank

by Nu'man Kanafani
published in MER265

In September 2012, declining living standards ignited a firestorm of street protests and strikes in the West Bank. The immediate spark was a sharp increase in fuel prices, alongside an increase in the value-added tax (VAT) rate. It seems that the protesters had a message for Palestinian Authority (PA) policymakers: It is no longer acceptable to blame all of Palestine’s economic woes on Israeli occupation. Demonstrators were demanding that the PA manage the economy better, the occupation notwithstanding.

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