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A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman
May 10, 2010- Israel Part of OECD, Proximity Talks Begin
Israel membership in the OECD was officially approved today by a unanimous vote. The OECD is made up of the world's advanced economies. Now, any remaining thoughts of Israel as developing country are gone. Israel is now officially one of the advanced nations. OECD membership provides no immediate gains for Israel, other than a new set of economic guidelines to strive toward. It should be noted that unanimous approval came, despite a list minute attempt by the Palestinian Authority to stop the approval; an attempt that gained no traction. Prime Minister Netanyahu eastablished a goal for Israel to become one of the top 15 countries, in terms of per capita GNP. Netanyahu's goal is hard to imagine, without a fundamental change in the status of the Charedim in the country. At the ceremonies announcing the acceptance of Israel into the OECD Netanyahu, surprisingly, criticized the high concentration of wealth in Israel among a few families and pledged to take action against it.
Netanyahu is having less success in his own Likud faction. At the party meeting today Netanyahu was attacked for announcing that building in Ramot Sharon would be put on hold for two years. Netanyahu answered that he had not agreed to anything more than he had said to Biden the day after the incident. It would take another year to get approvals and then an additional year before a bulldozer would start working. His words worked for the moment, but the sense is that Neratnyahu will not be able to hold together his party, if he moves forward with the peace process. While, Defense Minister Barak stated to the Knesset and Defense Committee today that the peace process is Israels only option. The indirect talks began yesterday between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, the goal of both sides being, not to be blamed by the Untied States for their failure.
There was a sad article on Israeli TV tonight, commemorating the tenth anniversary of Israels pull out from Lebanaon. The segment concentrated on the failure of Israel to take care of the members of Lebanese Christian Army who fought along with Israel and were forced to seek refuge in Israel.