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Wed 3 Nov 2010 11:27 AM

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Middle East ‘heading towards disaster’ – Lebanon PM

'Whole world is paying the price' for Israel's policies on Palestine, says Saad Hariri

Middle East ‘heading towards disaster’ – Lebanon PM
Economically-stricken Palestine is facing a massive shortfall in funding

The Middle East is “heading towards disaster” if the conflict
between Israel and the Arab world cannot be resolved, Lebanese Prime Minister
Saad Hariri has said.

The lack of peace in the region is aiding extremism and
forcing the whole world to pay the price for Israel’s policies on the
Palestinians, Mr Hariri said.

Israel’s actions were "not just inflaming the region
but ... affecting the whole world,” he said in an interview with the BBC.

"You're paying the price in London, you're paying
the price in Europe, you're paying the price in the United States, you're
paying the price everywhere," he said.

Mr Hariri, who is currently on a visit to the UK, said
that Iran had significant influence in the Middle East region but that the real
threat to stability was from failing to achieve peace between Israel and the
Arab world.

Palestine has been economically crippled thanks to
Israel’s closure policy, unemployment and massive infrastructure damage, with
per capita GDP still 30 percent lower than it was 10 years ago.

According to United Nations data, more than 80 percent of
Gazan households and 45 percent of West Bank residents live below the
breadline.

Unemployment is rife at more than 30 percent, with an
estimated 80,000 jobs lost each year to the occupation.

The latest round of peace talks were launched in
Washington in early September, under the auspices of President Obama. However
negotiations are landlocked over the issue of Jewish settlements in the
occupied West Bank.

Israel has refused to agree to a complete freeze on
settlement building.

A survey released on Tuesday reported that 90 percent of
Palestinians would no longer back the peace process with Israel if West Bank
settlement building restarted.

A poll of 434 Palestinian residents, carried out by YouGov Siraj, showed 60 percent of
those surveyed thought current peace talks between the warring states were unlikely
to succeed.

Slightly
more than half of respondents, 51 percent, said a two-state solution was the only
feasible solution to the conflict.

However,
47 percent of respondents would accept a single Israeli-Palestinian state if
they were given equal rights.

“I say
to them that the status of the Palestinian people is getting worse every day. I
wish there are solutions so we restore some of our dignity and carry on with
our lives,” said one respondent.

A United
Nations report published in September found occupied Palestine was losing as
much as $800m a year under the Israeli blockage; a cost that could mount to
$2.6bn if the closure continues into 2011.

The agency
found the 2008-2009 war on Gaza drained a further $1.3bn from the
territory’s economy, adding up to a $3.1bn loss.

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John 9 years ago

Sadly, with right-wing and dumbed down America on the rise again after the mid-term elections, Israel will once more get a free ticket to destroy hundreds of thousands of lives.