Issue #45

Last Update October 2, 2006

 International A Letter from Israel by Sherwin Pomerantz January 27, 2006   Friends, a number of our US clients and contacts have asked me for a read on what occurred here earlier this week re the elections in the West Bank and Gaza.  While we have a policy of not involving our organization in political matters, permit me to share some generalized reactions:

(1) The push by the US for democracy in the Middle East, while it seems to be taking hold in some sectors, is not a guarantee that the resulting construct will be the US model of Jeffersonian democracy.  Other forms of democracy are also possible and it is unrealistic to expect that what we were used to in the US will be replicated here.  

(2) The democratic process of free elections and representative government carries with it the prospect that, sometimes, the "bad guys" win.  History is replete with examples of democratically elected leaders, even in our lifetimes, who have not exactly been promoters of world peace and mutual understanding. 

(3) While there are those who have said, over the last 24 hours that the Hamas win was a vote for terror, the words of Palestinian Chief Negotiator Saab Erekat are probably more to the point when he said on television Thursday evening that the people have lost confidence in Fatah and, as a result, voted for Hamas.  Should have not been such a surprise as it has been Hamas who has been addressing the Palestinian population's food, education, health and other social needs.   

(4) At the moment pretty much every political leader in the region is posturing as no one can tell what Hamas will do with this new found political power.  A big shift in thinking is required to move from the opposition to the majority and not every political group can do that successfully.  Will Hamas renounce terrorism and eliminate its call for the destruction of Israel? Too early to tell.  Intelligent leaders will bide their time in order to wait and see what the Hamas leadership will do now that they are in the majority. 

(5) As far as Israel is concerned, the country has successfully weathered the abrupt departure from the scene of Prime Minister Sharon and our political structure has proved its stability in the face of stress.  Economically, PER CAPITA GDP growth in 2005, which also compensates for population growth, was 3.5%, tourism to the country in 2005 was up 27% over 2004 and local economic activity remains robust.

(6) Regionally, our Associate Director, Seth Vogelman, returned to the office on Thursday afternoon after spending a day in Jordan and 3 days in Dubai (at the Arab Health Show) and reports that business people generally remain upbeat about prospects for continued economic growth in this area. 

In summary, any predictions made today are sure to be proven wrong in the future so none should be made.  But all of us here at EDI remain strong in our belief that progress in the region on any number of fronts is inevitable. 

New York Stringer is published by For all communications, contact David Katz, Editor and Publisher, at

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