Tuesday, February 21. 2006
There Is An Alternative!
(To Another Unilateral Withdrawal)
by Robert Barnes
It has become evident to the Israeli public that there is not, and will not be, a partner for peace. Thus, the question has arisen what to do with the Arab population of Judea, Samaria (aka the West Bank) and eastern Jerusalem. Reconquering and annexation have been ruled out for demographic reasons. The primary solution being proposed, even though it is apparently opposed by a significant majority of Israelis, is a! nother unilateral withdrawal. Various plans for the transfer of the Arab population have been rejected because they would fail due to lack of willingness of any third country to negotiate a population transfer treaty with Israel and accept the Palestinian Arabs, and lack of support for forced transfer among the Israeli Jewish population.
However, there is a practical alternative to both these. Numbers quoted in the media as justifying the need for a quick demographic solution are based on falsified data provided by the Palestinian Authority. In reality, there is a relatively stable 67% Jewish majority in pre-67 Israel plus Judea and Samaria (aka West Bank).
In polls of Palestinian Arabs, "70% identified some form of material measure, translatable into monetary terms (such as accommodation, educatio! n, financial compensation and so on), that could bring them to emigrate permanently. ...Furthermore, only 15% stated that that there was no inducement that could prompt them to leave their present place of residence permanently." In addition to this 59% of Israeli Jews support the government encouraging Arabs to emigrate.
This article argues that the establishment of an Israeli government funded Agency to provide the above mentioned incentives with the addition of legal and logistical aid would provide a practical long term solution to the demographic threat by encouraging the voluntary emigration of individual Arabs and immediate family units to third countries through normal immigration channels, thus bypassing the need to gain official agreement of any third party government.
This policy could result in an over 75% Jewish majority in Israel and the West Bank by 2025. The direct cost of this plan at 32 billion shekels spread over 20 years would have significantly less of an economic impact than that of a unilateral withdrawal from the West Bank at 100 billion shekels spread over 3 - 4 years.
To view and sign a petition calling for the implementation of this plan please go to:
After most of Israeli society has come to the conclusion that peace is not possible with the Palestinian Arabs (or at least not in our generation), a debate has erupted about what to do with Judea, Samaria and the eastern part of Jerusalem. What is at the heart of this debate, i.e. what is the perceived problem? In one word - Demographics. Conventional wisdom, both in and out of Israel, says that in the near future Arabs will outnumber Jews west of the Jordan River. While most of us rightly assume that this would be a significant problem, not many of us have taken the time understand in detail what the specific underlying issues are.
What are the underlying issues? There is one primary issue, which leads to a number of related issues. In classical Zionist thought Jews have no choice but to take exclusive responsibility for our own security under our own sovereignty, since based on our collective historical experience we cannot depend on non-Jews to safeguard our basic human rights and civil rights. In modern practice, this principle has been relaxed such that in a democratic state with an overwhelming Jewish majority the participation in the democratic process of a small non-Jewish minority, even if that minority is hostile, is perceived as an unavoidable risk, required by the need for international recognition as a full fledged democratic state. However, if the non-Jewish minority grows too large, it would have an ever increasing influence on issues of sovereignty and security, effectively taking those issues out of exclusive Jewish control. We have in fact seen this effect in recent times, in the form of the Oslo accords, which were formally adopted as a binding treaty only with the support of the non-Jewish parties in the Knesset. The perception and fear of the mainstream Israeli public is that by continuing to maintain the disputed, popularly misstated! as occupied (*1), status of Gaza, Judea and Samaria that the Arabs living in those areas will eventually demand and somehow obtain Israeli citizenship and thus voting rights, either through international pressure, the courts or some other unforeseen method and thus the Jews will irreversibly loose control of the state and their self-determination. Not only is retention of Judea, Samaria and the Arab populated areas of eastern Jerusalem perceived to be demographically problematic for the state's future, but even within pre-67 "Green Line" Israel demographics is considered to be a serious concern. This is based on popularly accepted figures showing an Arab population of 1.41 million in the Gaza Strip! , 2.42 million in Judea / Samaria (*2) and 1.3 million Israeli Arabs and Arab overall growth rates roughly 3 - 4 times Jewish growth rates. Based on these figures Jews only outnumber Arabs west of the Jordan River by about 200,000 and Jews will become a minority within about 5 years. While the state of Israel's unilateral withdrawal of all military forces and expulsion of its Jewish citizens from the Gaza Strip is perceived as a short term step toward solving this problem, many believe that the problem is still significant in the medium and long term.
All current solutions being proposed to the demographic problem under consideration by the mainstream Israeli public revolve around the idea that in order to preserve both Israel's Jewish and Democratic nature the state must abandon areas with dense Arab populations. While this has been mostly focused on Gaza, and Judea / Samaria (a.k.a. West Bank), mention has also been made of abandoning areas within "Green Line" Israel such as the Galilee triangle. As noted above, such a solution has already been implemented in the Gaza Strip, at an estimated final cost to the Israeli taxpayer of between 10 - 11 billion shekels. Currently a similar plan is under consideration for Judea and Samaria by all three major political parties. Labor, Kadima and Likud all have accepted the principle that area's with dense Arab population must be abandon! ed. They differ only on their timelines and the precise place where the final border will be drawn. Such an action would entail the forcible expulsion of about 80,000 Jews from their homes. Based on the above figures, it is reasonable to assume that the compensation costs for such a move would be around 100 billion shekels.
At this point two questions arise: is the problem actually as it is perceived and is there an alternative solution to this problem?
In fact, recently released demographic studies from an independent group have shown that the demographic consideration, while definitely a significant problem, is highly overstated. This new set of studies has shown that the true figures for the current size of the Arab population and its growth rates are sizably smaller than popularly believed. In reality, there are only about 2.41 million Arabs in Gaza, and Judea / Samaria, 1.06 million in Gaza and 1.35 million in Judea / Samaria. The group also found that current overall Arab growth rates are only slightly higher than Jewish growth rates and that the Arab growth rate is projected to be equal to the Jewish growth rate in a few years. What does this mean practically? It means that west of the Jordan river there is a 60% Jewish majority, in pre-67 Israel plus Judea / Samaria there is a 67% Jewish majority and in pre-67 Israel by itself there is an 81% Jewish majority and that these percentages are projected to stay more or less stable for the foreseeable future. (*3) Since Israel has already relinquished control over Gaza, the focus here will be on Judea / Samaria and eastern Jerusalem.
While the above numbers show that the problem is not as extensive as popularly believed, they also show that there still is a significant problem. As previously noted even the relatively small 19% Arab minority in Israel has already had a significant effect on Israeli security policy via the ballot box and its support for the Oslo process. Any alternative solution to the demographic problem must take the effect into account. So what then do we do with the 1.35 million Arabs living in Judea and Samaria and the approximately 200,000 Arabs in east! ern Jerusalem? For that matter, is there a way to reduce the number of Arabs in pre-67 Israel relative to the number of Jews which does not infringe on the Arabs civil rights? Currently, the primary method for trying to increase the Jewish population is to promote Jewish immigration. The state of Israel has a government ministry which encourages Jewish immigration in part by providing logistical and financial aid for Jews who wish to immigrate. However, at current and projected levels this immigration is not sufficient to significantly increase the relative size of the Jewish population to the Arab population. In this light, are there additional methods that can increase the size of the Jewish majority in pre-67 Israel plus Judea / Samaria without infringing on the Arabs civil rights? There is.
Just as the state runs a government ministry, The Ministry of Immigrant Absorption, dedicated to providing various forms of aid to Jews who immigrate to Israel, the state should establish a, "Ministry of Emigrant Aid", to provide parallel aid, an "Emigration Basket", to non-Jews who wish to leave Israel or Judea / Samaria. Of course, immediately upon bringing up such a proposal numerous important questions need to be answered, the first of which is such a proposal racist, or would it violate the state of Israel's racism laws? This and other important questions are listed below:
Is such a proposal racist, or would it violate the state of Israel's racism laws?
Would the proposal in theory be effective?
Would Israeli Jews support such a proposal?
Are there sufficient non-Jews who are willing to emigrate to make the proposal effective?
Would Western countries accept Muslim Arab and other non-Jewish immigrants?
What are the specific details of how the proposal would be implemented?
The first issue to deal with is whether or not such a proposal is racist, or would violate the state of Israel's racism laws. The short answer is no. The heart of this proposal is its voluntary nature and fulfilling the goal of providing a solution to the demographic problem without violating Arab and other non-Jewish residents' human or civil rights. Just as making aliyah is an independently made personal decision, so would be the decision of a non-Jewish resident to emigrate. There is absolutely no coercion involved in this. But this does not fully answer the question. Does not violating any groups' human or civil rights mean that the proposal is not "racist"? We have seen instances where, under Israeli law, simply expressing a view found to be offensive can lead to ! criminal charges (*5) such as in the case of Tatiana Susskind who went to jail for drawing a picture of Mohamed as a pig (*6). Could this proposal also become the target of politically motivated persecution? On the face it would seem not, since the demographic issue has been the center of political debate for at least a decade, and politicians across the political spectrum from extreme left to extreme right have openly discussed the "problem" of Israel having too many Arab citizens, on the left and center this being the justification for abandoning territory with dense Arab population. In addition, every Israeli government since the state's founding has ! made it a central policy aim to maintain and increase the size of the Jewish majority and for the past roughly 20 years there has been a political party in the Israeli Knesset which openly advocates various forms of population transfer. Moreover, at least one article has recently been published in a mainstream Hebrew language Israeli newspaper advocating monetary incentives for Arabs to emigrate (*7). Under these conditions it seems highly unlikely that a voluntary emigration proposal would draw any legal consequences.
Assuming that an Emigration Ministry was established and found a significantly large population desiring its services; would this in fact have a significa! nt effect on the demographic problem? According to the previously cited study, "Population Forecast for Israel and West Bank 2025" (*3), if 10,000 Israeli Arabs and 20,000 West Bank Arabs emigrated annually, then the currently 67% Jewish majority in pre-67 Israel plus Judea / Samaria would increase to 71% by 2025. Currently, about 10,000 Arabs are emigrating from Judea / Samaria annually. Taking into account actual measured Jewish growth rates which have been higher than projected, and West Bank growth rates which have been significantly lower than projected; increasing Arab e! migration to 50,000 per year would increase the Jewish majority to over 75% in 20 years. (*4) Over the long term it is expected that the effect would be even more pronounced. All of this means that encouraging an already strong Arab emigration trend provides a viable long term solution to the demographic problem.
Would Israeli's support a plan to encourage non-Jewish emigration with monetary and other aid? There seems to be a strong desire in Israeli society to, "separate", or get away from the Arabs. A major element of the campaign in support of the separation barrier has been the slogan, "Us Here, Them There". Not only is there the desire for physical separation, but for political separation as well. A headline appeared on the front page of Maariv December 19th, 2004 which stated, "51% of Israeli youth don't want Arabs in Knesset ". More specific to the idea of an Emigration Ministry, a poll was conducted by the Dahaf Institute on behalf of Madar, the Palestinian Center for Israel Studies, which found that 59% of Israeli Jews felt that the state should encourage Arabs to emigrate (*8). Thus it would seem that such a plan would garner widespread public support.
Now that those questions have been answered, we arrive at practical questions regarding implementation of a plan encouraging non-Jewish residen! ts to emigrate. The first question is whether or not there are sufficient people willing to emigrate. According to a poll carried out by the firm Maagar Mochot, in cooperation with The Palestinian Center for Public Opinion under the management of Dr. Nabil Kokli (*9), it was found that,
"according to a representative sample of the adult population in Judea and Samaria, over 40% respondents have considered emigrating permanently to some other country. Furthermore, only 15% (!) stated that that there was no inducement that could prompt them to leave their present place of residence permanently. By contrast, 70% identified some f! orm of material measure, translatable into monetary terms (such as accommodation, education, financial compensation and so on), that could bring them to emigrate permanently." (*10)
This data shows that the popular assumption that the Arabs of Judea and Samaria are committed to "their land" above all other things are patently false. In reality, the majority of these Arabs are more concerned with their physical and financial welfare than with nationalist issues, and significant portions of the population are willing to relocate given the proper aid is provided.
But where would these people go? What countries would accept them? While most Arab countries would not accept these peopl! e, evidence shows that they would not have a difficult time gaining entry through normal immigration channels to most other countries. First a common misunderstanding must be clarified. When people object to a population transfer proposal on the basis that no country would agree to accept those being transferred they are objecting to something other than what is being discussed here. They are objecting to a situation in which the government of Israel would make an agreement directly with the government of another country for the en mass transfer of large groups of people. Any such proposal would indeed be doomed to failure, for it is clear that no government in the world would give its formal agreement or assistance to any such proposal. For any transfer ! plan to be effective, it must first and foremost be executable unilaterally by the Israeli government and have the consent of the people being transferred. This proposal is such a plan. It hinges not on mass transfer, but on individuals and individual families immigrating to other countries through normal legal immigration channels. For example, looking at migration statistics provided by the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) for North American and the EU shows nearly 2 million permanent legal immigrants per year. This does not even count so called temporary immigrants such as people on student or work visas, many of whom eventually become permanent immigrants. This adds millions more places to the number of available legal immigration slots for first world countries. (*11) Looking outside North America and the EU to other first world countries (*12) shows Japan accepting over 300,000 and Australia accepting over 120,000 per year (*13). Expand the list of target countries to include Second and Third World areas such as Eastern Europe and South America and the number of legal immigration slots available increases by millions more. Unlike in the past, when countries had religious or ethnic based quotas, such as the famous anti-Jewish quotas of the 1930's, today they have more or less impartial and non-discriminatory regulations which govern the admittance of legal immigrants. And any other style of quotas, such as country of origin quotas, which might exist are unlikely to be a problem since 50,000 emigrants per year is only 2,500 people immigrating to each of 20 countries. It also appears that the level of education or skill set of those immigrating does not m! aterially affect their ability to qualify for immigrant status. (*26)
How would this proposal be implemented from the Israeli side? Part of the Ministry of Emigration would be logistical support. It would retain the services of immigration law firms in various countries who would help deal with filling out the paperwork for that country and guiding families through the bureaucratic and legal maze of immigrating. Each person / family could provide a list of preferred countries and the Ministry would help them apply in each of the countries. They could go wherever they get in. The Ministry would pay for transportation to the destination and also help them find homes, jobs and whatever else they need assistance with to get settled in. Pre-existing administrative infrastructure could be utilized for many of these tasks, such as the Jewish Agency. There would be monetary grants in addition to housing grant and grants for attending language course! s. Just like the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption, except in reverse.
In order to calculate the yearly cost it must be determined what a reasonable cost to the state is and what is the minimum amount which will be effective in persuading someone to emigrate.
In 2005 the state of Israel had a budget of approximately 266.6 billion NIS. (*14) This does not include the approximately 10 - 11 billion shekel cost of the "disengagement" plan which is planned to be spread over the 2005 - 2007 budgets, with part being financed by budget cuts and part by borrowing. (*16,*17,*18) Originally the total cost was estimated by the government at 5 billion shekels or about 1% of the projected 2005 GDP. (*16) Actual GDP for 2005 was NIS 531.4 billion. (*15) The projected cost as of Feb. 2006 is a staggering 2% of GDP, or about 4% of the yearly budget. Assuming that the original estimated cost of 5 billion shekels a year spread over a period of 3 years was considered an acceptable outlay with minimal economic impact, than 1.6 billion shekels per year could be considered a reasonable cost to the state which can be used as a base budget for the Emigration Ministry.
Can this assumed budget of 1.6 billion shekels per year (32 billion shekels spread over a 20 year period) provide sufficient funds for both the cost of! direct aid and administrative overhead to 50,000 émigrés a year? Calculating based on a family unit of 5, 2 parents and three children, this would provide a per family budget of 160,000 shekels or about $34,000 USD, including administrative overhead. In order to arrive at the actual amount available for direct aid to emigrating families, the administrative cost must be estimated. This is difficult; however two programs were found which could form a basis for comparison. The first is the "Israel Free Loan Association" which provides financial aid to Israeli immigrants in the form of interest free loans. This organization has an administrative cost of 2.9 %. (*20) The second organization is USAID. USAID is an independent federal government agency which runs various on the ground foreign aid programs around the world. USAID has an administrative cost of 7%. (*21) It is reasonable to assume that an Emigrant Aid Agency would have cost somewhere in this range. Taking the median cost of 4.95% would leave $32700 for direct aid to each family unit. Deducting average travel costs of $500 per person based on current one way international airfare rates leaves $30200 as the amount of the aid grant for a 5 person family.
Current per capita income in Judea and Samaria (aka West Bank) is approximately $1000. (*19) Such a grant would constitute nearly 30 years income for the average West Ban! k Arab family. In most Second and Third World countries the $30k grant would be sufficient to pay all of a family's living expenses for many years. (*25) Even in a first world country such as the USA, this amount would be sufficient for 2 - 3 years in the less expensive parts of the country. (*24) This, plus the ability to start a new life away from the current violent conflict would seem to constitute a significant incentive in light of explicitly expressed interest in emigration among the Arab population and the fact that over 10,000 Arabs currently emigrate annually by their own means. In compariso! n, about 900,000 Lebanese emigrated during the period of the civil war (1975-90) and hundreds of thousands more have emigrated since in order to escape conditions similar to those among the Arab population in Judea and Samaria. (*22) The primary practical difference between the two populations is that most of the Arabs of Judea and Samaria do not possess the means to emigrate on their own.
There is an alternative solution to the demographic problem, and the Ministry of Emigration is it. This solution would cost a fraction of the 100 billion shekels that another unilateral withdrawal would cost and would not subject the country to dangerous economic pressures (*23). It would also save Israeli society from the strain of setting brother against brother, and avoid the possibility of a civil war.
refs / footnotes:
FROM "OCCUPIED TERRITORIES" TO "DISPUTED TERRITORIES"
Arab Population In the West Bank & Gaza
The Million and a Half Person Gap
Population Forecast for Israel and West Bank 2025
Presentation at the Sixth Herzliya Conference January 23, 2006
This number is based on my own calculations which would take up too much space here. In short, I make the following assumptions:
1) Emigration abroad of 50,000 Arabs per year from the West Bank starting in 2008
2) West Bank Arab birth rates decline to current Jordanian levels by 2014
3) West Bank Arab birth rates stabilize in 2019 and cease to decline
The rest of the data comes from the "Green" scenario of "Population Forecast" and from the 2003 data from slide 20 in the Herzliya presentation.
If 2003 West Bank data from slide 28 of the study, "Arab Population In the West Bank & Gaza The Million and a half Person Gap", were used the resulting Jewish majority would likely be even higher.
It should be noted that the claims made in this document are unrelated to and are not endorsed by the authors of the pademographics.com studies.
[Hebron Pig Poster Incident:] How Clinton Adheres to the 'Rushdie Rules'
by Daniel Pipes
July 25, 1997
Tatiana Susskind Mohamed / Pig Picture
יש פתרון לסכסוך
Poll: Most Jewish Israelis favor emigration of Israeli Arabs
By Yoav Stern
Poll among Palestinians favors Humanitarian Solution
22 January 2005
Like any other people?
Dr. Martin Sherman
22 January 2005
Trends in International Migration
Continuous Reporting System on Migration
ORGANISATION FOR ECONOMIC CO-OPERATION AND DEVELOPMENT
Countries of the First World
One World - Nations Online
Countries of the World
Overview - Migration to Australia
The Israeli Budget for 2005
With the assistance of Noam Gruber
Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies
Growth slowed to 4.9% in second half of 2005
Business product rises by an annualized ! 6.6% in second half of 2005, after rising 6.7% during the first half
Zeev Klein 14 Feb 06 16:33
INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND
Staff Report for the 2004 Article IV Consultation
Prepared by Staff Representatives for the 2004 Article IV Consultation with Israel
Approved by Ajai Chopra and Martin Fetherston
March 1, 2005
! pg. 13
15. The authorities explained that the 2005 budget, which initially adhered to the
government’s commitments to limit the growth in expenditures and the deficit, has
been adjusted to accommodate spending associated with the Gaza disengagement plan.
After presenting a budget consistent with the government commitments to limit real
expenditure growth to 1 percent and the deficit to 3 percent of GDP, the government
announced its plan to raise the deficit target to 3.4 percent of GDP and real expenditure
growth to 2 percent in 2005 as a one-time adjustment to accommodate the cost of the Gaza
disengagement plan—estimated at about one percent of GDP.7 The authorities are fully
aware of the need to revert back to the original fiscal path in 2006. The mission agreed that a
temporary—and capped—deviation of up to 0.4 percent of GDP for an exceptional expense
should not raise undue concerns about the government’s commitment to fiscal discipline.
! However, the mission argued that given the high level of public debt and in the absence of
established fiscal credibility, the authorities needed to make a concerted effort to adhere to
the budget framework and resist any further deviations from their fiscal targets.
7 The cost of the disengagement plan is expected to be spread over 2005-2007.
"The cost of the disengagement plan, to be implemented in 2005 -07, amounts to 1 percent of GDP."
Disengagment cost soars
Gadi Golan, Zeev Klein
"The evacuation of settlements is complete. Rehousing evacuees in Nitzanim will cost NIS 2.2 billion, bringing the total bill ! to NIS 10 billion."
Volume 8, No. 3
The Disengagement Price Tag
CIA World Fact Book - West Bank
Hel! ping Israel's working poor
Cleveland native's Free Loan agency helps Israelis get back on their feet and may also boost economy
Possible Future Effects of Existing Events and Conditions
United Nations Developement Programme in Lebanon
TOKTEN Lebanon History
This is based on the following. 32 billion shekels spread over 20 years could be financed anually partially through the regular budget and partially through borrowing. The yearly amount would approximately be 1/3rd of 1% of GDP which is insignificant relative to the the size of the economy. A unilateral withdrawl however would have it's expenditures concentrated over no more than 2 - 4 years. At a cost of 100 billion shekels to forcibly expel 80,000 Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria, there would be a significant economic impact. Such a withdrawl would result in a dangerous breach of the country's budgetary framework in the amount of 7% - 8% of GDP over each of 3 years and would signific! antly impact macroeconomic policy.
Oklahoma Apartments for Rent - Area Details by Rent.com
Median rent for an apartment in Oklahoma City, capital of the American state of Oklahoma is $490 per month. Rent for a median priced apartment for 3 years would come to $17640, slightly over half of the monetary grant. This would leave more than suffcient funds for other living expenses and needs.
CIA World Fact Book
Rank Order - GDP - per capita
The per capita GDP in the USA is $41800 and is $8500 in Brazil. Assuming a similar relaishionship in cost of living, then the $30200 monetary grant could provide all living in expenses in a country like Brazil for approximately 15 years.
Strategy to reverse exodus of skilled people from Lebanon
By Kamal Dib
Friday, August 12, 2005
Out of approximately 900,000 emigrants from Lebanon from 1975 to 1990, only 320,000 were considered to be skilled and educated individuals; about 30 %.
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OK. I certainly appreciate people attempting to tackle such issues, and especially through so-called "politically incorrect" solutions.
Who's going to put the bell around the cat with regards to the non-Jewish [mostly] Russian, Byelarussian, & Ukrainians, the non-Jewish Americans who have been fooled into thinking that they're Jewish, the "foreign workers" now receiving more and more rights, and the Christian missionaries who always seem to have some way of not being kicked out?
The article is not worthy of posting on this site.
Because it starts with the underlying false assumption:
Thus, the question has arisen what to do with the Arab population of Judea, Samaria (aka the West Bank) and eastern Jerusalem. Reconquering and annexation have been ruled out for demographic reasons.
Look, we didn't take over the land in a defensive war with any concerns whatsoever about "demographics."
Further, the demographic nonsense is just that - a scam and a fraud. There is no "demographic" problem.
Sorry, but this article should not have been posted on this site. - it is giving credibility to our enemies.
THERE IS NO DEMOGRAPHIC THREAT. NONE.
I think what is being expressed is not an opinion, but an observation of current political attitudes in Israel.
Wether or not there is or is not a "demographic threat" the fact is that the majority of the voting Israeli public believes there to be one. And the fact is, that if we want to eventually annex Judea and Samaria, then what will we do with the Arabs living there? Just like the Arabs in eastern Jerusalem, they too will automatically receive the right to obtain Israeli citizenship. Quite frankly I don't want another 20 Ahmed Tibis in the Knesset, which mean getting as many Arabs to emigrate as possible before we annex.
I wanted to point out that this is an earlier version of my article. The final version can be viewed at:
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