Dollars for Peace, Dollars for War

View of the Mellanox Technologies offices in Yokneam. (Moshe Shai/FLASH90)

Two stories. One holds out hope for the Palestinians and for peace. The other promises continued despair and war.

The first involves an Israeli chip designer, Mellanox Technologies, which employs 100 Palestinian engineers from Yehudah, Shomron and Gaza. The company is being taken over by U.S. chip supplier Nvidia Corp., which means that some of the windfall will be shared with employees.

“We’re very proud that they [the Palestinian designers and coders] have equity, the same as all other employees in the company,” Mellanox Chief Executive Eyal Waldman told Reuters. “Thirty, forty thousand dollars for an employee in the West Bank or in Gaza is a lot of money.”

That’s an understatement. The median daily wage in the region is $28 and just $11 in Gaza, according to the Palestine Economic Policy Research Institute.

The second story is about handouts. A Qatari envoy arrived in Gaza last week with $25 million in cash to distribute to the enclave’s neediest families and to U.N. infrastructure projects.

Many of the needy lined up outside post offices to receive $100 — that’s right, $100 — only to be turned away in the disarray. All told, more than 100,000 families were slated to receive handouts.

The first story is about education, opportunity, cooperation. The second is about ignorance, hopelessness and confrontation.

Palestinian universities graduated around 3,000 engineers in 2018, according to Murad Tahboub, CEO of ASAL Technologies, a software firm that outsources some 350 Palestinian designers and coders. Though it’s not likely that these techies are as qualified as those graduating in Israel from the Technion, the Weizmann Institute and Hebrew University, they know enough to enter the workforce and make a contribution in a market that is starving for trained personnel.

Most importantly, the 100 employees of Mellanox, and others who are employed in Israel by Microsoft, Intel and Cisco, are getting the chance to earn good salaries at respectable, challenging jobs and to provide for their families. Whether or not they continue to dream of a Palestinian state, it’s doubtful that they will engage in terrorism and jeopardize the chance they’ve been given.

Moreover, their children and grandchildren, who are receiving opportunities that aren’t readily available to Arabs in Syria, Egypt, Libya, or elsewhere in the Middle East, are more likely to be open to peaceful coexistence with Israel.

The $100 handouts, on the other hand, are a stopgap. They don’t provide any real solution for the Palestinian Arabs in Gaza, and don’t pave the way to coexistence, much less peace.

The Gazans are being kept poor and uneducated by the terrorists who run the enclave. They are being told that Israel is to blame for their plight, in the hope that they won’t notice how their leaders are diverting economic aid meant for their benefit to terror projects.

The U.S. peace plan, at least the first stage in Bahrain, is all about creating stories with happy endings for the Palestinians and the region. The Palestinian leadership rejects Bahrain because pathetic stories better serve its interests.