Several groups recently voiced an interest in developing Palestine economically. Jewish right-wingers imagine they can hold onto the territories by postponing the solution, and talk about the Palestinian economy rather than the state. Jewish centrists of Netanyahu’s ilk feel American pressure and know they must do something about the Palestinians, yet they are unable to give them a state, which would become a base for Iranian-sponsored terrorists. Israeli leftists, unable to arrange a Palestinian state now, help their pets economically. International groups profit from channeling development money to Palestine.

Palestine’s economic development plan is counterproductive. Historically, states become aggressive at the initial stages of wealth accumulation; when the government is rich but the wealth has not yet trickled down to the people, they are not yet affluent, and so are not averse to war. Likewise in early stages of economic development, corporations earn unusually high margins, invest a lot, and propel the economy. Later, demands for higher wages eat into corporate earnings and investment resources, and slow down the economy. It is likely that high personal income taxes make corporations more resistant to net wage increases, which disproportionately increase the corporations’ tax obligations; thus, higher personal taxes increase investment resources and boost the economy. In the initial stages of economic boom, both states and corporations are militarily and economically aggressive, respectively.

Ancient Rome and Persia were rich but aggressive, as were France, Britain, and Germany in the eighteenth through the twentieth centuries. Poor countries cannot afford large-scale wars. Countries with a long histories of affluence fight colonial wars and conduct faraway expeditions, but they do not fight wars which are likely to endanger the personal affluence of their citizens. It is newly rich countries that fight: witness industrialized twentieth-century Russia or industrialized nineteenth-century Germany. British industrialization gave a boost to its colonial adventures.

It is the same with the Arabs: Soviet aid made the Egyptian and Syrian governments economically capable of war-making, and Western oil purchases similarly empowered Iran. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia distributes a significant portion of its oil revenues to its citizens, and they do not support open wars, though they giggle as the Wahhabite regime spreads its ideology and supports terrorists tacitly. Israel’s biggest hope with Egypt is not Hosni or Gamal Mubarak’s crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood, but a slow development of the Egyptian middle class, which cares more about its mortgages than about Israel—provided that no economic downturn makes mortgage repayment impossible and turns them against Israel instead. Even in Egypt—the oldest Arab economy with decent traces of civilization—an all-embracing economic progress is unlikely as the elites enrich themselves from the government’s table and unskilled villagers pour into the cities, exceeding the demand for labor and decreasing average wages.

No similar progress is possible in Palestine. To be sure, compared to other Arabs the Palestinians have a sort of work ethic and are renowned for entrepreneurship. Most of them were busy developing their fields when the Saudis and Jordanians were riding camels; as age-old farmers, the Palestinians are more advanced than their herder neighbors. The early-twentieth-century immigrants to Palestine from Arab and African countries were enterprising too, similar to the sort of economic migrants from Europe who boosted America’s productivity. Feeding parasitically on Israel for six decades, Palestinians achieved the highest economic growth rate among non-oil-based Arab economies.

Lawlessness, however, puts a limit on their economic development. The Palestinians have created nice cottage industries, but cannot cooperate on the larger level to run large modern enterprises. It took European immigrants to America two centuries to mold themselves into a law-abiding society, all the way from Indian wars to cowboy shootouts to lynch-mob justice to decreasingly corrupt government institutions to the modern age of transparent government. Fortunately for Americans, their political development coincided with the industrial age: by the time the world economy switched to large industrial enterprises as its backbone, American settlers had developed a relatively law-abiding society. Or look at the Egyptians: millennia of strict governmental order made them law-abiding and suitable for an industrial economy.

The Palestinians, like the Afghanis, Somalis, and others, have lacked an effective state and area not used to submission and following rules. Worse than the Afghanis, the Palestinians have lost the commonsense morality of villagers during their decades of displacement, upheaval, and subjection to the oppression of the Israeli military and local thugs. UNRWA’s handouts greatly worsened the situation, as four generations of Palestinians were born, grew up, and died with the assumption that one’s income is unrelated to his work. Honesty, discipline, and hard work are terms lost on most Palestinians today.

Tens of billions of dollars in economic aid to Palestinians ended up in the bank accounts of top terrorists and in the pockets of their 110,000 associates from various Palestinian security services. Fayad’s government cut down on the explicit embezzlement a bit but continued with the sinecures, monopolies, and the leaders’ pet projects. Fayad has no options: refusing to pay salaries to a hundred thousand gun-toting Palestinians would sweep away his government, which is doomed in any case as the strongmen won’t put up with being deprived of their direct access to aid money.

In the evolutionary sense, societies are no different from other organisms: some have inborn illnesses, other develop lethal diseases, and a few survive and outperform the others. Palestinian society is dead, and any aid to it would only prolong the suffering of the Jews who must deal with it. That’s besides the sheer immorality of aiding your murderous enemy.