Sam Bahour, a 1982 Liberty High School graduate, lives a long way from home, in Al-Bireh/Ramallah, Palestine, where he has worked 20 years as a entrepreneur and business consultant.
Bahour, an Arab American, went to Palestine in 1993, just after the Oslo Accords, which created a Palestinian self-government and called for withdrawal of the Israel Defense Forces from parts of the Gaza Strip and West Bank.
But Bahour, who spoke Thursday night at the Arab American Community Center on Belgrade Avenue in Liberty, says many people understand the Accord and its practical effect on Palestine only from a distance.
Though the agreement seemed to provide Palestinians with self-determination, a closer look at its details shows that the agreement was “lopsided, setting up the Palestinians for failure,” he said.
Bahour, who was keynote speaker at the Friends of SABEEL Conference in Chicago recently, said a section dealing with telecommunications is an example of how it limited the ability of Palestinians to develop their economy.
Bahour, who studied computer technology at Youngstown State University, was interested in telecommunications and discovered that the way the Israelis were implementing the agreement was to provide only a limited amount of radio frequencies for the Palestinian telecommunications industry to use.
The result was the “cost of the network was three times more than it should have been,” and when Bahour and his business associates tried to bring the equipment they needed into Palestine, the Israelis held their equipment at the port.
Read more about his experiences in Friday's Vindicator or on Vindy.com.