Foreign Policy has just released its annual ranking of the world’s most failed states and there is good news and bad news for Israel. The good news is that it is one of the less failed of the failed states. The bad news is that it IS a failed state (using the terms adopted by Foreign Policy) ranked 58th out of a total of 177 states with a score of 84.6. The most failed state, Somalia, scored 114. The least failed, Norway, scored 18. It is listed as more failed than some fairly troubled countries like Papua New Guinea, Belarus, Madagascar, Fiji and Saudi Arabia, Armenia and Albania. Out of a color-coded five categories, Israel/West Bank ranked in the second most extreme category, “In Danger.”
The categories used to determine how failed a state was are demographic pressures, refugees, group grievance, human flight, uneven development, economic decline, state delegitimization, public services, human rights, security apparatus, factionalized elites, and (level of) external intervention. The issues Israel scored the highest (most troubled) on were external intervention (8), factionalized elites (8), human rights (8), group grievance (9.3), and refugees (8).
Israel’s champions may try to point out that Israel’s ranking included the West Bank and thus the problems facing the Palestinians became Israel’s albatross in its ranking. But that is precisely the point that the Magazine wished to make–that without solving the Occupation Israel will continue being a failed state. Neither Foreign Policy nor the world will continue accepting Israel’s claim that disarray among Palestinians is their own fault. Societal chaos in Palestine can be directly attributed to a conflict in which Israel is at least an equal partner.
This news will make the Israeli foreign minstry gnash its teeth. It’s been spending millions on marketing smoke and mirrors to make the world forget the simple fact of 42 years of Occupation and millions of subjugated Palestinians. Here Foreign Policy goes and undoes all that money and effort with a single article. How frustrating. Now the hasbara effort will have to pick up the pieces and start over again.
Richard Witty says
And still, where is the path?
What do you propose?
If Israel could remove all features of its occupation within a year (so as to be an orderly transfer), who would that transfer to?
Where would Palestine be on that list?
Funny that: ‘the only democracy in the Middle East’ and a state that fancies itself as a western liberal democracy is right in there with a majority of world nations that are the opposite of western liberal democracies – painted orange (‘in danger’ according to the key).
The countries that Israel aspires to be are painted green. Israel’s position in the ranking is currently 58. The closest nation to it that is in the green (‘stable’ according to the key is Hungary (ranked 141). Long way to go Israel!
Richard Witty, who cares where Palestine would be on that list? But, as you are insinuating that Palestinians are worse than Israelis, let’s say, for a minute, that you are right and that the Palestinian territories are number 1 on that list, what does that change for Israel? Besides making Israel 59th on the list, absolutely nothing.
By the way, Turkey is 85th and Jordan 86th. Shockingly, Saudi Arabia is 89th!
Interesting to see, of the eleven Arab nations in the region (Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, UAE, Yemen), five are below Israel (i.e. no better than) but the remaining six are above Israel in the ranking (i.e. better than).
Saudi Arabia: 89th
I’m beginning to understand why Israelis hate Arabs.
Richard Witty says
Its obviously an uninformative poll, not for the ethnic identities, but for the incogruity of the results.
The point was made that if Israel had not been occupying the West Bank, that it would be far higher on the list.
So, the question naturally comes up, of whether the problem is inherent in governing the West Bank and Gaza.
I agree strongly that Israel would be a better country if it ceased its occupation of West Bank and Gaza, and transferred authority in an orderly and convivial manner that could result in a good neighbor to good neighbor relationship.
Its unknown if that is possible, but Israel is clearly contributing significantly to the difficulty, and in ways that it has no possible rationalization for being necessary.
So, what is the PROPOSAL? What is the path?
The critical approach (rather than proposal and goal) yeilds that Hamas is not currently capable of leading democratic and good neighbor governance. The conventional wisdom is that Fatah is not. The only proposed leadership is one of the Barghouti’s (both unknowable. Marwan has been in prison for 15 years and not currently tested for political leadership. Mustafa is leader of a very minor party currently, and advocates for a single democratic state, which will never achieve consent with Israelis.)
Please suggest something. We desparately need a “prize” that we can keep our eye on.
My articulation of goal is:
Borders at green line (except for Jewish parts of old city of Jerusalem as part of Israel)
Accompanied by non-aggression pact.
Almost all title claims decided by color-blind courts in both Israel and Palestine, (including those resulting from 1948 – 1950) preferring residence over displacement but compensated, and NO ethnically exclusive property anywhere.
The features of the solution are peace instead of position as the basis of security. Equal due process under the law for ALL.
ANY agitation that makes the confidence in the peace weakened, will destroy the entire prospect. BDS for example, confuses the assertion of an actual reconciliation offer.
Certainly, ALL terror actions throw a monkey wrench into the deal.
So, what is the PROPOSAL? What is the path?
Arab countries and Palestinians have clearly indicated that 1967 borders is the “path”. It is amusing how the pro-Israelis always repeat like parrots to whom the responsibility of new state is given. Is it really Israeli Jews and Israel’s supporters right and responsibility to decide who will govern Palestinians and how? If it is then so should Palestinians have the equal right. Without doubt they would say that they do not trust the Jewish religious parties, Yisrael Beiteinu or Likud. Surely Bibi, Lieberman and the rest of the gang are as dangerous, extreme and unreliable as the Hams leadership is, if not more considering that they have a strong army and closets full of WMDs.
Israelis are demanding security, which is basically a rightful demand if they can provide an equivalent commitment. A binding promise to honour the international rules and not to attack the new neighbour using laughable excuses. If Palestine is demilitarized then the minimum commitment is that Israel (or Jordan) will in no circumstances will use military force against Palestine.
If and when the solution based on 67 borders is put in practice I suppose there will be a considerable amount of cross border terrorism, but in the different direction than we are used to. Certainly the frustrated and angry ex-colonialists (=settlers) and extreme nationalistic Jews will try to create the maximum amount of chaos. Can Israel fully block such Jewish terrorism? As well as the new Palestinian government can block their nuts actions. What will Palestine do when the fist Jewish home made rocket flies towards their region?
The only way to a peaceful solution is that Israel stops to making idiotic demands and begins to adapt to the 1967 borders idea. Let the 0.5 million settlers decide will they want to live in Palestine as Palestine Jews. A considerable religious minority in both countries would be good for the future reconciliation process.
Ouchhhh, that must hurt Israel boosters that Norway is #1. Norway as a nation, and even the government, has become more and more vociferously critical of Israeli policy these recent years. It has moved up there with Belgium and France as one of the more openly critical-of-Israel European nations in terms of the press, the people, and members of government. Just like we had demonstrations in New York celebrating the butchery in Gaza, civilized countries like Norway held passionate demonstrations protesting the injustice of the Gaza invasion. Come to think of it, maybe the old defunct Oslo peace accord does have something substantive to offer after all. How about the example of Oslo. A peaceful, freedom-loving city in a peaceful, prosperous and (fairly) functionally democratic country. Just a hint, Israel, if you starting acting a little more like the contemporary Norskies, you’ll be heading in the right direction vis-a-vis small “d” democracy, the better fruits of the Enlightenment tradition, that sort of thing (and yes, I know they get a lot of money from oil which has its own darker implications and today’s Norwegians are a little spoiled).
Israel is very distant on all sorts of levels from the more enlightened Western nations today (I explicitly do NOT include the U.S. in this group), and I don’t think her champions are really able to confront that reality. Let’s face it, it’s incredibly hard, quite impossible in fact, to picture Norwegians raining poisonous & lethal white phosphorus down on civilians and gunning down children in the streets and in their homes (as we saw in Gaza). This is the deeper meaning of the Foreign Policy report, it’s about civilization and enlightenment. You’ve come a long way from Erik the Viking, Norway!
And I do believe that if Israel can honestly face up to its demons and have a serious reckoning moment in the mirror, the nation could make substantial progress in terms of justice and humanism (there’s a looonng way to go). There’s no incontrovertible law of nature forcing Israel to act the way it does. It’s ultimately about people and choices, human agency.