The Humanitarian Paradigm – Answering FAQs (Part 2)

Sequel to the dispelling of  doubts regarding the feasibility – and morality – of largescale, financially incentivized emigration as the only non-kinetic approach for resolution of the Israel-Palestinian impasse.

The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. -Widely attributed to Winston Churchill


Readers will recall that last week I began a two part response to FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) relating to the practical feasibility/moral acceptability of my proposed Humanitarian Paradigm (HP), which prescribes, among other measures, large-scale financially incentivized emigration of the Palestinian-Arabs, living across the pre-1967 lines as the only route to attain long-term survivability for Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.


To recap briefly


In last week’s column, I addressed the question of the overall cost of the funded emigration project, and showed that, given the political will to implement it, it would be eminently affordable – even if Israel had to shoulder the burden alone. If other industrial nations could be induced to participate, the total cost would be an imperceptible percentage of their GDP.


I then went on to demonstrate that there is ample evidence indicating a wide-spread desire in large sections of the Palestinian-Arab population to emigrate permanently in search of more secure and prosperous livee elsewhere. This point was underscored by a recent Haaretz article , describing how thousands of Gazans had fled their home to Greece, undertaking perilous risk to extricate themselves from the harrowing hardships imposed on them by the ill-conceived endeavor to foist statehood on the Palestinian-Arabs.  Significantly, according to the Haaretz report, none of them blamed Israel for their plight—but rather the ruling Hamas-regime, which, it will be recalled, was elected by popular vote to replace the rival Fatah faction, ousted because of its corruption and poor governance.


Finally, I dealt with the question of the prospective host nations, pointing out that the funded Palestinian-Arab émigrés would not arrive as an uncontrolled deluge of destitute humanity, but as an orderly regulated stream of relatively affluent immigrants spread over about a decade-and-a-half, whose absorption would entail significant capital inflows for the host nation’s economy.  Moreover, given the fact that, globally, migrants total almost a quarter billion, Palestinian-Arab migration of several hundred thousand a year would comprise a small fraction of one percent of the overall number—hardly an inconceivable prospect.  


Following this short summary of previously addressed FAQs, we can now move on to tackle several additional ones.

FAQ 4: Won’t fear of fratricide deter recipients?


One of the most commonly raised reservations as to the practical applicability of the HP is that potential recipients of the relocation/rehabilitation grants would be deterred from accepting them because of  threats of retribution from their kin-folk who allegedly would view such action as perfidious betrayal of the Palestinian-Arabs’ national aspirations.


In contending with this question, it is necessary to distinguish between two possible scenarios, in which such internecine intimidation will be either a phenomenon whose scope is (a) limited; or (b) wide-spread and pervasive.  


Clearly, if the former is true, it is unlikely to have any significant inhibiting impact on the conduct of prospective recipients of the relocation/rehabilitation grants.


If, however, the assumption is that the latter is the case, several points need to be made:

– If this objection  to the HP is to have any credence, its proponents must present evidence (as opposed to unproven supposition) that potential violent opponents of the HP program have the ability not only to inflict harm on prospective recipients (as opposed to issuing empty threats) , but that they can sustain such ability over time.


– In this regard, it should be kept in mind that implementation of the HP entails the disarming, dismantling and disbanding —if need be, coercively—of the ruling Palestinian regime, and reinstating Israeli governance over all territory under Palestinian-Arab control.    



Inhibiting internecine intimidation


The HP is hardly unique with regard to this latter point. All other proffered policy alternatives for the failed, foolhardy two-state formula entail such measures—either by explicit stipulation, or implicit inference—since preserving the current Palestinian regime intact would clearly preclude their implementation.  Indeed, they are even endorsed by some pundits who do not discount the eventual emergence of a Palestinian state, such as Middle East Forum president, Daniel Pipes.


Clearly, the dispersal of the central Palestinian governing body, together with the defanging of its armed organs and the deployment of Israeli forces in their stead , will greatly curtail  (although not entirely eliminate) the scope for internecine intimidation and the capacity to dissuade potential recipients of the relocation/rehabilitation grants from availing themselves of the funds.


In addition, Israel should task its own formidable military and intelligence services to protect prospective recipients of these grants by identifying, intervening and thwarting attempts to intimidate those seeking to enhance their lives by extricating themselves from the control of the disastrously dysfunctional regime under which they live.


Moreover, the international community should be called upon to cooperate with and participate in this principled endeavor to prevent fratricidal elements within Palestinian society from depriving their brethren of the opportunity of better, safer lives. After all, violence against Palestinian-Arabs, who choose to reside within any given host nation, would comprise an intolerable violation of that country’s national sovereignty.  


Appalling indictment of “Palestinian” society?  


Of course invoking the specter of large-scale fratricide as an impediment to the acceptance of the HP is an appalling indictment of Palestinian-Arab society.


After all, the inescapable implication of such an objection to the HP’s practical applicability is that its acceptance by otherwise willing recipients, wishing to avail themselves of opportunity to seek security and prosperity elsewhere, can only be impeded by violent extortion of their kin-folk.


Accordingly, if the concern over large-scale fratricide is serious, it is in fact, at once, both the strongest argument in favor of the HP and against the establishment of a Palestinian state.  After all, two unavoidable conclusions necessarily flow from it: (a) any predicted reluctance to accept the relocation/rehabilitating grants would not be a reflection of the free will of Palestinian-Arabs, but rather a coerced outcome that came about despite the fact that it is not; (b) Similarly, the endeavor for a Palestinian state is not one that manifests any authentic desire of the “Palestinian people” but rather one imposed on them, despite the fact that it does not.


As a result, any Palestinian-Arab state established under the pervasive threat of lethal retribution against any dissenter will not be an expression of genuine national aspirations but of extortion and coercion of large segments of Palestinian-Arab society, who would otherwise opt for an alternative outcome.


In summation then, if the fear of fratricide can be shown to be a tangible threat, it should not be considered a reason to abandon the HP formula. Quite the opposite! It should be considered an unacceptable phenomenon to be resolutely suppressed –by both Israel and the international community—in order to permit the Palestinian-Arab public the freedom of choice to determine their future.


FAQ 5: Would funded emigration not be considered unethical “ethnic cleansing”?


I have addressed the question of the moral merits of the HP extensively elsewhere (see “Palestine”: Who Has Moral High Ground?), where I demonstrate that the HP blueprint will be the most humane of all options if it succeeds, and the least inhumane if it does not.


I shall therefore refrain from repeating much of the arguments presented previously and focus on one crucial issue: The comparative moral merits of the widely endorsed two-state paradigm (TSS) and those of  my proposed Humanitarian Paradigm (HP).


Since there is very little doubt (or dispute) as to the domestic nature of any prospective Palestinian state, anyone seeking to disqualify the HP because of its alleged moral shortcomings must be forced to contend with the following question: Who has the moral high-ground?


(a) The TSS-proponents, who advocate establishing (yet another) homophobic, misogynistic Muslim-majority tyranny, whose hallmarks would be: gender discrimination, gay persecution, religious intolerance, and political oppression of dissidents? ; or


(b) The HP-proponents who advocate providing non-belligerent Palestinian individuals with the opportunity of building a better life for themselves elsewhere, out of harm’s way, free from the recurring cycles of death, destruction and destitution, brought down on them by the cruel, corrupt cliques that have led them astray for decades.


Furthermore, TSS advocates should be compelled to clarify why they consider it morally acceptable to offer financial inducements to Jews in Judea-Samaria to evacuate their homes to facilitate the establishment of said homophobic, misogynistic tyranny, which, almost certainly, will become a bastion for Islamist terror; yet they consider it morally reprehensible to offer financial inducements to Arabs in Judea-Samaria to evacuate their homes to prevent the establishment of such an entity?


FAQ 6: What about those who remain?


This is, of course, a serious question and a detailed response would depend on, among other things, the size of the residual Palestinian-Arab population who refuse any material compensation as an inducement to emigrate.


The acuteness of the problem would undoubtedly be a function of its scale. Clearly, the smaller this residual population, the less pressing the need will be to deal with it. For example it seems plausible that if, say, only a hundred thousand Palestinians remain, consideration may well be given to the possibility of offering them Israeli citizenship – subject to stringent security vetting and sworn acceptance of Jewish sovereignty as the sole legitimate source of authority in the land – without endangering the Jewish character of the country.


However, it should be remembered that, unlike the two-state approach which advocates perilous concessions, and the one-state prescription which calls for incorporating the Palestinian-Arabs resident across the pre-1967  lines into  Israel’s permanent population, the HP does not involve any cataclysmic irreversible measures.


At the heart of the HP program is a comprehensive system of material inducements to foster Palestinian emigration, which includes generous incentives for leaving and harsh disincentives for staying. As detailed elsewhere, such incentives would entail substantial monetary grants, up to 100 years GDP per capita per family in Palestinian terms; while the latter entail phased withdrawal of services (including provision of water, electricity, fuel, port facilities and so on) that Israel currently provides to the Palestinian-Arabs across the pre-1967 lines.


Accordingly, should it be found that the initial proposed inducements are ineffective, the former can be made more enticing, and/or the latter more daunting, until the proffered package is acceptable.


Seen in this context, it is difficult to envisage that many non-belligerent Palestinian-Arabs would prefer to endure the rigors of discontinued provision of services rather than avail themselves of the generous relocation/rehabilitation funds—especially given the dispersal of the Palestinian regime as an alternative source of such services.


FAQ 7 What if the same kind of offer were made to induce Jewish emigration?


In addressing this question several points should be borne in mind:


The offer would clearly not be made by an Israeli government. After all, the HP is  intended as a measure to: (a)  Ensure – not undermine – the survival of Israel as the nation-state of the Jews, and (b) Relieve the genuine humanitarian predicament of the Palestinian-Arabs—precipitated by the dysfunctional administration they have been subjected to since the 1993 Oslo process—not Jewish disgruntlement with the imperfect functioning of the Israeli government.


Of course, it would be impossible to prevent Arab elements from offering Jews financial inducement to emigrate from Israel, but in this regard it should be recalled that: (a) As a sovereign nation Israel can control the financial flows into the country and impede money from hostile sources reaching Israeli citizens, considerably complicating the transfer and receipt of  funds. (b) Arab governments have been singularly reticent in providing large sums  to advance the “Palestinian cause” and there is little chance (or evidence) that they would advance the hundreds of billions required to finance large scale Jewish emigration;  (c) The overwhelming majority of Israelis enjoy living standards of an advanced post-industrial nation with a GDP per capita around 20 times higher than that in the Palestinian-administered territories; (d) Accordingly, it would be commensurately more difficult to tempt them to leave. Indeed, sums offered would have to be considerably higher to create a comparable incentive, running into millions rather than hundreds of thousands per family. (e) Moreover, a slew of recent polls show the large majority of Israelis are satisfied with their lives – thus the prospect of material incentives to induce large-scale emigration seems remote.  

Urgent Zionist imperative.


The HP is the only Zionist-compliant policy prescription that can save Israel from the perilous dangers of the two-state formula and the specter of Lebanonization/Balkanization  inherent in other proffered alternatives. Embarking on its implementation is a Zionist imperative that is both urgent and feasible.


The Humanitarian Paradigm – Answering FAQs (Part 1)

Dispelling doubts as to the feasibility (and morality) of largescale, financially incentivized emigration as the only non-kinetic approach to resolve the Israel-Palestinian impasse.

Consideration should be given even to the heroic remedy of transfer of populations…the hardship of moving is great, but it is less than the constant suffering of minorities and the constant recurrence of war

President Herbert Hoover, The “Great Humanitarian”, in “The Problems of Lasting Peace”.


With all the money that has been invested in the problem of the Palestinians, it would have been possible long ago to resettle them and provide them with good lives in Arab countries.  Andrei Sakharov, cited in “The New Republic, June 22, 2009.

The rise in the number of international migrants reflects the increasing importance of international migration, which has become an integral part of our economies and societies. Well-managed migration brings important benefits to countries of origin and destination, as well as to migrants and their families-. Wu Hongbo, UN Under-Secretary-General, 2016.



Followers of this column will recall that for well over a decade I have promoted what I have designated: “The Humanitarian Paradigm” (HP).  This paradigm prescribes, among other things, large-scale financially incentivized emigration of the Palestinian-Arab population, resident across the pre-1967 lines, as the only comprehensive, non-kinetic policy blueprint that can enable Israel to adequately address both the Geographic and the Demographic Imperatives, which it needs to contend with in order to endure as the nation-state of the Jewish people.


Unfounded skepticism


Several reservations have been raised regarding my proposed prescription on various grounds, including skepticism as to its economic affordability, political feasibility and moral acceptability. Some have claimed that an alleged sense of “intense nationalism”, social pressures, and fear of retributory fratricide will preclude any chance of large-scale emigration of Palestinian-Arabs.


Such skepticism flies in the face of logical reasoning, historical precedents, empirical findings and the revealed preferences of significant segments of the Palestinians-Arabs themselves.   


Accordingly, in the ensuing paragraphs I will attempt to address these reservations, show them to be largely unfounded, and demonstrate that the HP is not only eminently feasible but unequivocally imperative if the Jews are to preserve their national independence and political sovereignty.


But before addressing the FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) regarding such feasibility, allow me to convey—in brutal brevity—what sets the HP apart from ALL other proposals for resolution.


This differentiation resolves chiefly around two elements: (a) the atomization of implementation; (b) the de-politicization of context.


With regard to the former, since the envisaged compensation will be offered directly to individual family heads/breadwinners, no agreement with any Arab collective (whether state or sub-state organization) is required—merely the accumulated consent of fate-stricken individuals, striving to improve their lot.


With regard to the later, this reflects a sober recognition that, after decades of effort, involving the expenditure of huge political capital and economic resources, there is no political formula for resolution of the conflict and efforts should be channeled into dissipating the humanitarian predicament of the Palestinian-Arabs.


FAQ 1: How much will it cost?


One of the most common queries raised as to the practicality of the HP is the question of cost.


In addressing this issue, it is important to keep three things in mind:


(a) The absolute cost of implementation is irrelevant; (b) There is inherent difficulty in reaching precise estimates of the required outlay; however (c) There is no need for fine-tuned precision estimates, since political resolve is the real constraint on implementation– not economic resources.


As to the first of these points, it is crucial to grasp that the absolute cost of the proposed measures is not really the issue, but rather the comparative cost, relative to other proposals – including the two-state formula – whose implementation is also certain to entail an ongoing multi-billion dollar price tag. Indeed, one of the few (arguably, the only) comprehensive study of the overall cost of the Oslo Process suggests that by 2014 it inflicted expenditures—excluding the cost of the 50-day long Operation Protective Edge—of almost a trillion shekels (a quarter trillion dollars) on Israel’s economy—producing nothing but trauma and tragedy for Jew and Arab alike.  

As to the second point: The overall cost for large-scale relocation and rehabilitation of the Palestinian population across the  pre-1967 lines clearly depends not only on the scope of emigration grants offered, but on the  actual size of the Palestinian-Arab population in Judea-Samaria and Gaza.  In this regard there is fierce ongoing debate regarding the true population figures for Judea, Samaria and Gaza – with a discrepancy of well over a million between competing estimates.


Calculating Costs (cont.)


Fortunately, precise appraisals of the required costs are not essential for assessing the affordability of the HP. Rough order-of-magnitude estimates are sufficient for this purpose. Indeed, as we shall see, the amounts required are dwarfed by the expenditures on other international ventures—which, predictably, produced results which, charitably, can be dubbed “disappointing”.


As I do not wish to become embroiled in an argument as to the real size of the Palestinian-Arab population, and as the envisaged financial grants would be distributed per family unit, I shall sidestep the issue and take as my point-of-departure a figure of 850,000 families (just over 60% in Judea-Samaria). This is far closer to the official Palestinian figures than to the alternative, more optimistic (and plausible) demographic estimates, which are almost 300,000 families lower! Assuming an average emigration grant of US$250-300,000 per family (which is roughly 100 years of GDP per capita in Palestinian terms) this would amount to a total budget of US$200-250 billion for the full implementation of the HP project.


While these figures might appear somewhat daunting, two points should be borne in mind: Today Israel’s annual GDP is approaching US$300 billion. Accordingly the total outlay would be 8-10 months of GDP.


Assessing affordability (cont.)


Spreading this over, say, a decade-and-a-half (considerably less time than has been invested in the fatally flawed two-state endeavor) this would amount to 4.5-5.5% of total GDP. Accordingly, even if Israel was to bear this economic burden on its own, adding it  to the current levels of defense spending (5-6%), the economic burden would not reach the defense expenditure, as a percentage of GDP, through much of the 1980s and the first half of the 1990s (11-15%).         


Moreover, if the wider international community could be induced to help shoulder the task, the entire enterprise could be completed far more rapidly, at a cost which would be virtually imperceptible, amounting to a mere fraction of a percentage point of the GDP of the OECD nations.


It must be firmly emphasized that the sums referred to here are inconsequential in global terms. Indeed, they pale into insignificance when compared to the multi-trillion dollar cost of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, of which over 90% was spent after (!) Saddam Hussein was apprehended and the Taliban dislodged, and which, even by most benign assessments, produced, at best, meagre results.


Accordingly it would appear that financial resources for a program that would cost considerably less than 10% of the cost of those engagements is not a real impediment to its implementation.


FAQ 2: Is large-scale financially-induced Palestinian emigration feasible?


Of course, no-one knows precisely how many Palestinian-Arabs can be induced to emigrate without putting the matter to test. However, available evidence strongly suggests that extensive emigration is indeed eminently feasible. And there is certainly far more empirical support for it than there is for a stable two-state outcome.


A survey I commissioned as far back as December 2004 for the Jerusalem Summit, and conducted by a leading  Israeli polling institute, in collaboration with a well-known Palestinian center, showed that over 40% of the Arab residents of Judea-Samaria had actively considered emigration, while up to 50% did not discount such a possibility – even without being offered any material inducement. When the question of material compensation was introduced to encourage such emigration, the figure rose to over 70%!


It appears that this sentiment has only grown stronger over time.


Since then, a veritable slew of opinion surveys has emerged from Palestinian institutes showing a keen wish among the Palestinian-Arab population to emigrate. Thus, in 2007 the New York Times cited polls for Birzeit University, showing “35 percent of Palestinians over the age of 18 want to emigrate. Nearly 50 percent of those between 18 and 30 would leave if they could”.


Feasibility of financially-induced emigration (cont.)


Indeed the desire to emigrate grew so wide-spread that the Palestinian Authority’s mufti felt compelled to issue a  fatwa forbidding Muslims to leave, and berating the fact that “Many are continuing to rush to the gates of the embassies and consulates of the Western nations with requests for visas in order to reside permanently in those countries.”


Current polls conducted by the Ramallah-based Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research show, regularly and repeatedly, that between 25-35% of the Arab residents of Judea-Samaria and 45-55% in Gaza wish to emigrate permanently.

But perhaps more compelling than the findings of any poll are the revealed behavioral preferences of the residents of Gaza, who are paying massive bribes to extricate themselves from the grim realities of life there, risking drowning at sea in rickety boats, desperate to seek a better life elsewhere. These headlines in Al Jazeera and Al Monitor bear poignant testimony to their predicament and despair:  Palestinians paying thousands in bribes to leave Gaza; Escaping Gaza, hundreds of Palestinians drown; Gaza’s intellectuals are fleeing abroad.

Surely then, establishing an orderly system of ample financial aid to enable them to extricate themselves from the dire situation which the misguided attempt to foist statehood on them has precipitated, would  be eminently more humane, moral and pragmatic.


FAQ 3: But who would accept them?


One of the most frequently asked questions regarding the feasibility of the HP is “Which countries will accept them?”


I find this question particularly puzzling – especially given today’s realities of massive global population flows. Indeed, the UN recently published a report on global migration, revealing that in 2015 there were almost a quarter-billion migrants globally (up 40% since 2000), the majority of which were motivated by economic considerations. Thus it is difficult to understand why an envisaged yearly increase of a fraction of 1% in this number over the next decade would be such an inconceivable event.


Moreover, it should be recalled that, in contrast to many other migrants, the Palestinian-Arab recipients of generous relocation grants would not be arriving as a stream of destitute refugees.  Rather they would be arriving in an orderly fashion as individual immigrants of relative affluence by global standards, who traditionally have brought great benefit to the host countries that have accepted them.


In addition, the funds the Palestinian-Arab newcomers would bring with them would constitute a very significant influx into the host countries’ economies. Indeed, for every hundred Palestinian families admitted, the host country could count on the influx of around US$25-30 million into its economy. Absorbing 2,500 new Palestinian-Arab family units could mean the injection of up to three-quarter billion dollars into the host nation’s economy.


Who would accept them? (cont.)

Consider the following example, which if not entirely realistic, is instructive in conveying the principle involved.


Suppose Indonesia – the world’s most populous Muslim country – were to open its gates to the Palestinian-Arabs across the pre-1967 lines, who, in turn, decided to emigrate to that country. This would entail an increase of a little over 1% of the Indonesian population (around 270 million) but an influx of over US $ 250-300 billion into the Indonesian economy, where total GDP is around US $ 900 billion. Moreover, each of the Palestinian breadwinners would arrive with a sum worth around 80 years of Indonesian GDP per capita (around US$ 3,500)  – the equivalent of over US$ 4 million in the US. Accordingly, they would in no way be impoverished refugees, or a burden on the local society/economy. Quite the opposite. They would be rather well-to-do individuals, capable of making a positive contribution to their new homeland


It is of course unrealistic to believe that all the Palestinians would head for a single destination. However if Palestinian-Arab emigration was distributed over several countries, they could be absorbed, resettled and rehabilitated with very little difficulty by a number of host nations with compatible domestic socio-cultural and religious environments – with the financial benefits accruing to these host nations being proportional to number of Palestinian-Arab immigrants they accept.


Next week…


Given the crucial importance of this issue, I intend to continue this response to FAQs regarding the HP and to address further economic aspects, the question of threatened fratricide and the moral superiority of the HP over all other proposed policy prescriptions. Until then Shabbat Shalom.