- 'Land grab' fears for Jerusalem, BBC World News, Jan. 24, 2005
It has been broadly accepted that the root cause of terrorism is "a sense of diminished expectations," and economist Hernando de Soto, President of the Institute for Liberty and Democracy, has done extensive work connecting that feeling to what he refers to as property "meta-rights," or the right to have property rights. With Ariel Sharon molting his hawk's feathers it seems strange that his new government should be assaulting these rights shown to be most connected to that sense of diminished expectations. That's exactly what they're doing, however, when Palestinians, living in the West Bank who can actually prove their ownership of property in East Jerusalem, are losing property to the government under an absentee landlord law not in active use for fifty years. Sharon's political life has been bet on one hand of poker with the Palestinians. Is he really stupid enough to trade in a pair of jacks in hopes of a flush? For the peace process to succeed the Palestinians have to have hope. This marks two serious strikes against him (the first being the early shut down of communications with the Abbas government). Let's hope that he and his new government can get their act together and comprehend that a mutually beneficial agreement doesn't mean that they get all the land, power, and prosperity alongside the peace.