INTO THE FRAY: Incentivized Emigration: An idea whose time has come?

For your perusal, my latest INTO THE FRAY column

 Incentivized Emigration: An idea whose time has come?

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Of all the policy paradigms for the resolution of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian-Arabs, incentivized Arab emigration is the most humane if it succeeds and least inhumane if it does not


It appears this week on the following sites (in alphabetical order):

JERUSALEM HERALD: (To be posted)
JEWISH PRESS:  (To be posted)


Several short excerpts:

“Past attempts to encourage Palestinians to voluntary emigrate have always failed, so time and effort would be better invested in reaching an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.”Yossi Beilin, former Israeli government minister, and a principal architect of the Oslo Accords, Al Monitor, August 26, 2019

The above quote is from an article by Beilin, still an unchastened champion of the fatally flawed process he helped initiate in the early 1990s,  in response to a spate of recent reports indicating that Israeli officialdom is considering—albeit with some hesitancy—the idea of offering the residents of Gaza material assistance to facilitate their emigration to third party countries—see for example here, here, here, and here.

Disingenuous dismissal?

Yossi Beilin: Unchastened Oslo apologist


Of course, Beilin’s dismissal of the notion of Israel encouraging Arab emigration is more than a little disingenuous. For if past failure is his criterion for disqualifying a policy proposal, the first to incur such rejection should surely be his own preferred Oslowian land-for-peace, two-state formula.


Documented desire to leave

The gross misgovernment of Gaza has left the general population awash in untreated sewage flows, with well over 90% of the water supply unfit for drinking, electrical power available for only a few hours a day, and unemployment rates soaring to anything between 40-60%–depending on the source cited or the sector involved.

Devastation in Gaza

Unsurprisingly, this has led to a wide spread desire to leave Gaza and seek a better future elsewhere—which is reflected in both numerous media reports and in statistical polling, which regularly shows that between 40-50% of respondents are willing to openly declare their desire to leave.


Enhanced scale & scope

… past failures to induce emigration may not necessarily indicate that future attempts are futile is that any envisaged future endeavor must be qualitatively different in nature, in size and in scope to those previously undertaken….The point of departure for any successful incentivized emigration policy is to identify the Palestinian-Arab collective for what it is—and for what it identifies itself to be: An implacable enemy and not a prospective peace partner—and to differentiate between the inimical collective and non-belligerent individuals, which it may include.

Disincentives for staying; incentives for leaving

This brings us to the disincentives for staying.

As its implacable enemy, Israel has no moral obligation or practical interest in sustaining the economy or social order of the Palestinian-Arab collective—either in Gaza or Judea-Samaria. On the contrary, an overwhelming case can be made – on both ethical and pragmatic grounds – that it should let them collapse by refraining from providing it with any of the goods or services it – perversely – provides today: water, electricity, fuel, tax collection and port services to name but a few.

Which brings us to the incentives for leaving.

these need to be of a completely different order of magnitude to those of the past and sufficient not only to cover the travel cost of the recipients to their future countries of abode, but to make them relatively affluent and welcome emigres in those countries.

Approximating the Cost

It is not an easy task to determine the optimum compensation for prospective recipients, but for the sake of argument let us assume that 100 times the current Gazan GDP per capita per family is not an unreasonable point of departure. This would amount to about $250-300,000 per family. With the estimated number of families in Gaza around 400,000, the total cost would amount to about $100 billion or about one third of Israel’s total annual GDP….At first glance this might appear daunting, but if the implementation of the initiative were spread over a period of a decade and half—far less than the efforts to effect a two-state outcome have been tried—this would come to only 2-3% of GDP—something Israel could probably shoulder on its own

Who will host them?

…by absorbing Gazan emigrants, the host countries will generate significant capital inflows into their economies. For example, a country that accepts 3000 Gazan families can expect a capital injection of almost a billion dollars! …If additional international aid can be extended to the host countries, absorbing the Gazan emigrants could be an act that is both profitable and humane.

The moral high ground

Here of course, a trenchant question must be forced into the public discourse …Who has the moral high ground?”…

Is it those who advocate the establishment of said homophobic, misogynistic Muslim majority tyranny which would comprise the very antithesis of liberal values usually invoked for its establishment?…

Or is it those who advocate incentivized emigration and 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 that have been brought down on them by the cruel corrupt cliques that have led them astray for decades.

The most humane; the least inhumane

The proponents of incentivized emigration need not feel any sense of moral discomfort as to their policy prescription—especially when compared to that of the proponents of Palestinian statehood.

Indeed, as I have demonstrated elsewhere, the incentivized emigration paradigm is in fact the most humane of all policy proposals if its implementation is successful; and the least inhumane, if it is not.

This is the message they should be propounding vigorously, openly and unabashedly–as the harbingers of an idea, whose time has come.


As usual your talkbacks/comments/critiques welcome,

Best wishes,




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