Israel’s conflicted Arab Citizens

Summary: despite in some ways a second-class status in Israel and PM Netanyahu’s inconsistent position towards them, the country’s Arab citizens believe they are better off where they are than they would be under the Palestinian Authority.

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  1. Regarding the Saudi anti-corruption drive a useful analysis of where some of the vast oil revenues wind up is Omar AlShehabi’s recent LSE study “Show us the money: Oil revenues, undisclosed allocations and accountability in budgets of the GCC States”.
    His report concludes:
    “1. As of 2017, only Kuwait has a transparent, accountable and independently audited state budget, particularly in terms of oil revenues and their allocations. The rest of the GCC countries do not
    have an independently audited and accountable budget,
    with the spectrum ranging from no kind of public auditing at all to some form of public but not independently audited budgets.
    2. This was not historically the case, as there were cases of independently audited budgets with much stronger elements of transparency.
    3. With the exception of Kuwait, there is strong evidence to suggest that there are significant amounts of undeclared oil revenues, which go either into private hands or into secretive government transactions.
    4. Finally, the paper will reach a tentative conclusion that with increased moves by the states towards austerity and economic reform, this could be an opportune moment for the rest of the citizenry to demand in return greater transparency, independence
    and accountability in relation to oil revenues and state budgets.”
    And though I doubt that the citizens of Saudi Arabia or any of the other Gulf States are in any position to call for a transparent accounting of where oil revenues have gone and are going, the rest of the conclusions are valid and apposite. The author has most helpfully compiled two tables. One shows the total value of hydrocarbon exports according to the IIF over a ten year period (2002 -11), the other shows the total officially declared hydrocarbon revenues over the same ten year period for all six GCC states. The author stresses caution in citing the figures but does note that the gap in Saudi for example amounts to over US$300 bn whereas in Kuwait which has a much more transparent accountability structure the gap is US$7bn. So the question he poses is where did that $300bn go?
    Here is the essay which I highly recommend

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