To the editor:
Mitt Romney's speech in Israel recently attempted to credit inherent characteristics for their economic superiority. To the contrary.
1. Only 6 percent of the land in the Jordan Valley is currently available for Palestinian use and development. Palestinian farmers and communities in the Jordan Valley are largely dependent on tankered water, which they have to pay for at a rate of up to five times more than regular water available to illegal Israeli settlements.
2. While the minimum wage in Israel is currently $6 per hour, Palestinians working on Israeli settlements in the Jordan Valley are paid only an average of $2 to $4.80 per hour. Palestinian workers do not receive the benefits that Israeli workers are entitled to by law, including holidays, overtime pay, transportation costs, health insurance, sick pay or payments from a provident fund.
3. The Palestinian pharmaceutical manufacturers must receive an import license from the Israeli authorities for all raw materials imported from abroad, regardless of their origin or possible usage. This demand is unique to Palestinian manufacturers, whereas Israeli producers are exempt from it.
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4. With the exception of two shipments of date bar snacks, for the past five years there has been a complete ban on the sale of Gaza-made products in the West Bank and Israel.
Before 1967, the West Bank/Jordanian economy was booming, and Israel was in a recession. The current situation reflects economic sabotage by Israel.
GEORGE DAVID MENDENHALL