What’s that? It’s the P.S.E., or Palestine Securities Exchange. Based in Nablus, in the West Bank, the Al-Quds Index has actually been having a solid year — and therein lies a tale.Which, alas, Tom proceeds to tell in typical eye-glazing fashion:
“It has outperformed the stock exchanges of most Arab countries,” said Samir Hulileh, the C.E.O. of Palestine Development and Investment, which owns the exchange. The P.S.E. was established in 1996 with 19 companies and now has 41 — and 8 more will join this year. The companies listed there include the Commercial Bank of Palestine, Nablus Surgical Center, Palestine Electric Company and Arab Palestinian Shopping Centers. “Most are underpriced because of the political risk component,” said Hulileh. So if you don’t mind a little volatility, there is a lot of potential upside here. Indeed, there will soon be an E.T.F. — an exchange-traded fund — that tracks the Al-Quds Index so you can sit in America and go long or short peace in Palestine.Still awake after that snooze-a-thon? Me neither. To spare you having to read on, I'll summarize the rest: Tom is tickled to see the Fatah faction getting its act together "under the leadership of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, the former World Bank economist who has unleashed a real Palestinian “revolution.”" It's the prelude, he thinks, to a sovereign Palestine.
Nothing wrong with that, right?
Well, no. Not if you believe that anything called "Al Quds" could, as they say, be good for the Jews.
Me? I don't happen to think that just because Abbas and the boys got themselves a little "stock exchange" going on, they have any intention of allowing a Jewish Israel to remain on the scene.
But, hey, that's just me. Tom, who has never failed to fall for a smooth Arab with a slick line, thinks "Al Quds" is good thing; in Friedmanian terms, a Jetsons thing. In reality, though, the name says it all. Al Quds (which, to me, always sounds like a grunt) is the Arab name for a Jewish city--a name that obliterates Jewish history, in the same way that "Istanbul" obliterated the Christian history of Constantinople. In that way, it is really more of a Flintstones thing.
And "Fred" Friedman? Sadly, he remains as tin-eared as ever, concluding with this swipe at the "right":
(F)or Israelis on the right, particularly West Bank settlers, who love the notion that there are no responsible Palestinians to talk to so the status quo will never change, Fayyadism is a real threat. Akiva Eldar, a columnist for the Israeli daily Haaretz, described this group perfectly the other day when he wrote how they “won’t relinquish the Arabs’ ‘no’s. Or, as the poet Constantine Cavafy wrote in ‘Waiting for the Barbarians’ ... : ‘And now, what’s going to happen to us without barbarians? / They were, those people, a kind of solution.’ ”As the poet Dr. Seuss wrote in Yertle the Turtle: "Oy to the vey!" (He didn't really write that, by the way.) A kind of "solution," huh? Ripping idea. Presumably, though, it won't be one of those barbaric "final" ones: we Jews have had quite enough of those.
Some people are Jetsons. Some are Flinstones. And some, like Tom, think they're Jetsons, but have rocks in their head.