Lisa Liel

Let Their People Go

Image created by Lisa Liel
Image created by Lisa Liel, used with permission

There was a tiny bit of talk about encouraging the emigration of Arabs from Gaza, but then it went silent. I suspect American pressure had a lot to do with that.

But I don’t understand it. It can’t have been half as much as the pressure being put on us to send aid to Hamas or to risk the lives of our own soldiers in order to be overly careful not to hurt Palestinian “non-combatants”.

Yes, I’m aware that every time we talk about voluntary emigration, or encouraging emigration, people start shrieking about “ethnic cleansing”, but they’re going to be shrieking at us no matter what we do, so why accept their false labeling?

We’re not talking about forcing or pressuring people to leave. We’re talking about flat out bribery. The good kind. We’re talking about offering an emigration basket that includes a generous amount of money that can be used to start a new life — a better life — elsewhere, and advocacy with other countries to help them in their resettlement.

Bad Objections

The first thing I always hear when I talk about this is, “What country would be dumb enough to accept terrorists?” And that’s true. I’m not talking about offering this to actual armed combatants. Those should have only two choices: leave or die. No money, no nothing.

But Arabs who live in Judea/Samaria and Gaza, regardless of the fact that they support these terrorists, might make different choices if they weren’t under the thumb of those same terrorists.

The second thing I always hear when I talk about this is, “Western countries are overrun with refugees. Why would they want to accept more of them?” And that brings us back to the money.

Refugees are a problem for a couple of reasons:

  • They are culturally different, and when showing up in large numbers in a single place, don’t tend to assimilate in. Rather, they maintain a version of the culture from which they came, which is often not compatible with their place of refuge.
  • They are a major drain on a country’s resources. Both in terms of social welfare programs, and in cases where their home cultures are permissive in areas that are illegal in their new home, the cost of additional law enforcement.

This is true of most refugees, who show up with nothing but the clothes on their back. But refugees who show up with between 100-250 thousand shekels a household? And possibly college degrees? Those aren’t a burden on their new country. They’re assets.

Palestinian Arabs are the most highly educated subgroup of Arabs in the world. Doctors, engineers, and so on. And even those who aren’t university educated often possess trade skills, such as construction, plumbing, carpentry, and the like.

Israel can afford to provide this kind of opportunity for non-combatant Palestinians who want to start a better life elsewhere. But more to the point, Israel cannot afford to allow them to stay.

“The Right of Return”

The core of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is the poison pill of “The Right of Return”. No other group has ever been given an international guarantee that they could return to a land they left, particularly when the whole reason they lost the land was their own choice to make war against others. No. Actions have consequences, and everyone in the world has to live with the consequences of their actions except for the Palestinians. They alone have been guaranteed a “right” to “return” to the Land of Israel. And not only them, but their descendents, forever.

Most of them weren’t even from this land. They arrived in the early 20th century, seeking the jobs that returning Jews had created. But even those few who had been here for longer than that chose to leave. There’s no justice to their demand that they be allowed to escape the consequences of that.

When several countries started defunding UNRWA, some of the Palestinians, along with their supporters, posted on Twitter that since it’s UNRWA that keeps the records of who counts as a Palestinian refugee and is therefore entitled to the “right to return”, UNRWA couldn’t be allowed to fall. They were less afraid of losing the free food and services than they were of losing their place on this list.

Screenshot from X
Screenshot from X
Screenshot from X
But that’s precisely what has to happen. The 76 year old lie that this land is theirs, and that they are entitled to flood back into it, has prevented them from moving on. Every other refugee population on the face of the planet has moved on. And it’s long past time that the Palestinians do so as well.

Let Us Help

The State of Israel is incredibly generous, and incredibly compassionate. We are always the first, or among the first, to show up in other countries that have had major national disasters, in order to do what we can to help. When there was an earthquake in Turkey a couple of years ago — Turkey, which hates us, Turkey, which is ruled by the dictator Erdogan, Turkey, which would never ever lift a finger to help us — we immediately sent medical teams and emergency rescue teams to help their people.

That’s what we do.

And that’s what we can do now. We can start with Gaza. Let the Arabs in Judea/Samaria see that we’re as good as our word. Let them see how much better their fellow Arabs from Gaza are doing after we help them settle down in a better place for them. Let them come to us and demand to be included in the deal.

A million Gazans? Say 100-200 thousand households? We can help them. We can give them the chance to get their families out of the way of the current war, and out of the hands of UNRWA and other terrorist groups.

But to do that, we need to control Gaza. We need Hamas utterly destroyed. They cannot be allowed to simply leave after what they did on Oct 7; they must serve as a concrete object lesson for the other terrorist armies, to help them understand that they’re next if they make stupid decisions.

It’s my hope that Binyamin Netanyahu isn’t as clueless as he seems to be when it comes to “the day after”, and that the moment Hamas is finished, even before dealing with Lebanon, he will announce the creation of a temporary Emigration Authority for this purpose.

Anyone daring to call providing Palestinians a better life “ethnic cleansing”, should be shamed and mocked for it.

About the Author
Lisa Liel lives in Karmiel with her family. She works as a programmer/developer, reads a lot, watches too much TV, does research in Bronze/Iron Age archaeology of the Middle East, and argues a lot on Facebook.
Related Topics
Related Posts