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Opinion

Rethinking the notion of incentivized Arab emigration

There is considerable evidence, both statistical and anecdotal, indicating a desire among widespread segments of the Arab population in Judea-Samaria (and Gaza) to seek a more secure and prosperous future elsewhere, even without there being any purposeful policy to provide tempting tangible inducements to emigrate. 

Palestinian protesters burn an Israeli flag during a rally marking the 48th anniversary of the “Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine” in the West Bank city of Nablus, Feb. 18, 2016. Credit: Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90.
Palestinian protesters burn an Israeli flag during a rally marking the 48th anniversary of the “Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine” in the West Bank city of Nablus, Feb. 18, 2016. Credit: Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90.
Martin Sherman
Martin Sherman
Martin Sherman spent seven years in operational capacities in the Israeli defense establishment. He is the founder of the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), a member of the Habithonistim-Israel Defense & Security Forum (IDSF) research team, and a participant in the Israel Victory Project.

For more than a quarter-century, I have promoted the idea of incentivized emigration of the Arab residents of Judea-Samaria as the only “non-kinetic” policy prescription that can  ensure the long-term survival of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.

However, whenever I raise the topic for debate, it is greeted, with howls of protest and shocked disapproval—particularly by devotees of the two-state solution. In general, the criticisms of the incentivized emigration proposal centers on contentions: (a) it is impractical; and (b) it is immoral.

For several reasons, I do not wish to focus much on the practicality of the proposal. After all, as the two-state formula has failed disastrously over the last 25 years, wreaking death and devastation across the length and breadth of the country. It takes a lot of gall from two-stater proponents to demand that  alternative formulae to be “practical”—given the proven impracticality of their own  political credo.

Moreover, there is considerable evidence, both statistical and anecdotal, indicating a desire among widespread segments of the Arab population in Judea-Samaria (and Gaza) to seek a more secure and prosperous future elsewhere, even without there being any purposeful policy to provide tempting tangible inducements to emigrate

But moving from the question of practicality to that of morality, here matters are more clear-cut.

After all, to the best of my knowledge, no advocate of a Palestinian state has ever seriously claimed that it would be a pluralistic democratic state, characterized by its socio-cultural tolerance and openness. To the contrary, whenever, they are challenged as to the nature of the political entity they champion, two-staters typically  shrug their shoulders and insist that “it is not our concern” how the Palestinians choose to govern over their state and people. As if in Gaza, it was of no concern …

Indeed, there is little reason to believe that any future Palestinians state will be anything but (yet another) homophobic, misogynistic, Muslim-majority tyranny, a bastion for jihadi terror groups—a state whose hallmarks would be gender discrimination against women, relentless persecution of gays, religious intolerance of any non-Muslim faith and the political oppression of political dissidents. Certainly, no two-state proponent has ever offered a persuasive argument why this would not be the case!

We are therefore compelled to ask: “Who has the moral high-ground?

Those who promote the establishment of said homophobic misogynistic Muslim majority tyranny that will comprise the utter negation of the very values its advocates invoke for its establishment?

Or those who advocate providing non-belligerent Palestinian individuals an opportunity to build a better life for themselves elsewhere, out of harm’s way, free from the recurring circles of death, destruction and destitution , brought down on them by the cruel, corrupt cliques that, for decades, have controlled their lives and led them astray to one disaster after another?

Moreover, why is offering financial inducements to Jews in Judea-Samaria to evacuate their homes to facilitate the establishment of this homophobic, misogynistic tyranny, deemed morally acceptable; but offering similar financial inducements to Arabs in Judea-Samaria to prevent the establishment of such an entity, is deemed morally reprehensible?

Finally, is it not extremely perverse to consider those who promote the establishment of such Muslim-majority tyranny, moderate and liberal; while those who advocate providing non-belligerent Palestinian individuals with the opportunity of building a better life for themselves elsewhere, are considered… “right wing extremists”?

Martin Sherman is the founder and executive director of the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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