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October 1, 2016 / 28 Elul, 5776
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Strangers in their Own Land

Israel’s forced Evacuation/Compensation law for Jews was considered to be legitimate, but when I propose that the same principle be applied for Arabs, it is derided as unrealistic.


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A Gazan showing the money he withdrew from an ATM in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

A Gazan showing the money he withdrew from an ATM in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.
Photo Credit: Abed Rahim Khatib / Flash 90



In his recent Makor Rishon column, Hagai Segal wondered why Israel’s forced Evacuation/Compensation law for Jews was considered to be legitimate, but when I propose that the same principle – on a volunteer basis – be applied for Arabs, it is derided as unrealistic.

I propose that instead of the money Israel spends every decade per the terms of the Oslo Accords, we could invest half a million dollars per Arab family interested in emigration. Israel could invest in an emigration package that includes purchase of property, assistance with finding work abroad, and cash payouts. We could also offer less than half a million dollars and invest the rest of the money that we are pouring into the Oslo Accords into improving the quality of life for society’s most vulnerable, e.g. the elderly.

For the sake of argument, we will stay with the proposal to pay half a million dollars. Polls show that some Arabs are definitely interested in this option. We will not consider factors that are difficult to calculate, such as the expected decrease in the price of land and housing inside the Green Line after this plan’s implementation. These factors strengthen my premise, but are difficult to calculate.

Another small introduction: My calculations will not use the true demographic data determined by Israel’s Yoram Ettinger and his expert Israel-American team. Instead, we will use the inflated data provided by the Arabs of Yesha.

I asked my friend, Uri Noi, a meticulous, hi-tech professional whose expertise is exact calculation, to examine this subject in depth. Noi presented the results of his research in a 12-page document. Here are his conclusions:

Cost to Israel of the Oslo Accords:

1) Money transfers to the Palestinian Authority: 86 billion NIS (since Oslo) plus 4.53 billion NIS annually.

2) General Security Service: 2.85 billion NIS plus 1.5 billion NIS annually.

3) Border Police in Judea and Samaria: 13 billion NIS plus 0.7 billion NIS annually.

4) IDF in Judea and Samaria: 57 billion NIS plus 3 billion NIS annually.

5) Security guards everywhere: 68 billion NIS plus 3.57 billion NIS annually.

6) Bypass roads: 20 billion NIS plus 1 billion NIS annually.

7) Separation Wall: 4.7 billion NIS, a one-time expense.

8) Murder victims: 3.5 billion NIS for loss of productivity.

9) Defensive Shield Operation: 14 billion NIS, a one-time expense.

10) Loss of revenue from tourism: 129 billion NIS plus 1 billion NIS annually.

11) Decrease in price of land for housing: zero – for now.

In all, the Oslo Accords cost the Israeli public approximately 423 billion NIS for Judea and Samaria alone. In addition, they continue to cost the taxpayers 15.3 billion NIS annually – with no end in sight.

The roughly 423 billion NIS that we have already paid is one and a half times more then the 284 billion NIS that [Moshe] Feiglin proposes.

Since the Oslo Accords were signed, instead of spending $500,000 on every Arab family that could be convinced to emigrate, we have spent $750,000. This sum is constantly increasing. It is a shame that we didn’t listen to Feiglin earlier. He made this proposal years ago, and this week he simply repeated it.

If so, a question remains: Why is forced Evacuation/Compensation for Jews considered reasonable, while voluntary Evacuation/Compensation for Arabs is considered unrealistic?

This is the real price we have paid for the Oslo Accords. An entire generation – people approximately 35 and under – has come of age after Oslo, recognizing the Arab claim to the Land of Israel. These Israelis have grown up believing that the “salt of the earth” is the Arab, while the Jew is living in the Jewish homeland on borrowed time. An entire generation has grown up thinking that they are guests in their own land, and that they must pay – and constantly bribe – the “true sons” of this land in order to justify their continued presence here.

This is why the proposal to encourage emigration is considered unrealistic today. Not because there is no money to enact it, for it actually saves money. Not because it is unethical, for there is no plan more ethical. Not because the Arabs are not interested, for many are very interested. Not because they have nowhere to go, for they have a wide array of possible destinations.

It is considered unrealistic simply because we have stopped believing that this is our land.

This is this plan’s real greatness. It is not the calculations and not the question of whether it will cost us half a million shekels or 300,000 shekels. It is all about the principle that dictates that when the movie ends, those who will be here will be the Jews. The greatness of this plan is that it gives the Oslo generation of “visitors” the political tools to once again develop their sense of belonging in their land.

Moshe Feiglin

About the Author: Moshe Feiglin is the former Deputy Speaker of the Knesset. He is the founder of Manhigut Yehudit and Zo Artzeinu and the author of two books: "Where There Are No Men" and "War of Dreams." Feiglin served in the IDF as an officer in Combat Engineering and is a veteran of the Lebanon War. He lives in Ginot Shomron with his family.


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