The Greenhouse Effect. Gaza Palestinians now export vegetables to Israel as we read in the daily papers.
If there is any one act that can serve as a symbol for the hopes for a democratic Palestinian state, it is the fate of the greenhouses left behind by Israeli farmers forced to abandon their businesses in Gaza.
Rather than being dismantled like the settlements, the greenhouses were purchased for the Palestinians by American Jewish philanthropists. These wealthy individuals hoped this would allow a thriving agricultural business, which had been carved out of the sand by Israelis, might become an engine for Palestinian prosperity.
A very small part of these structures were smashed by Palestinian mobs, who surged through the settlements after Israel pulled out.
Through the mediation of James Wolfensohn – who is coordinating economic aid to the Palestinians on behalf of the diplomatic "Quartet" of the United States, United Nations, European Union and Russia – some 3,500 acres of greenhouses in the Gush Katif settlement bloc have been sold to Palestinians for some $14 million.
Mohammed Dahlan, the Palestinian Authority Cabinet minister in charge of coordinating the withdrawal with Israel, recently told Forbes magazine that the greenhouses would have created 7,000 jobs in the strip.
The greenhouses offered a rare example of cooperation among Israelis and Palestinians during the pullout in August. James D. Wolfensohn, the former World Bank president who is serving as a Middle East envoy, hammered out the deal to buy the greenhouses. He even gave half a million dollars of his own money to the donor group that spent $14 million for them.
Search on WWW learned me the adress of the World Bank, I wanted to thank JDW. So I did, I thanked him and gave him my ‘Warmest regards’.
After all, half a million dollars…. – I see this as a contribution to HOPE!