Strangers in Their Own Land
By Moshe Feiglin
Translated from the Makor Rishon newspaper
In his column last week, Hagai Segal wondered why the forced Evacuation/Compensation law for Jews was considered to be legitimate in Israel, but when this author proposes the application of the same principle – on a volunteer basis – for the Arabs, it is derided as unrealistic.
The reason for this seems clear: Money. There are many more Arabs in Judea and Samaria than Jews. Israel simply does not have the economic ability to create an “emigration package” for the Arabs of Yesha – Certainly not to the tune of half a million dollars per family. (By the way, I never proposed giving the Arabs half a million dollars to emigrate. What I did say was that instead of the money Israel spends per decade as a result 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 also cash. We could 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 the elderly, for example).
For the sake of argument, we will stay with the proposal to pay half a million dollars to encourage the emigration of most of the Arab families in Yesha. Polls show that these 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 the application of this plan. These factors strengthen our premise, but are difficult to calculate.
Another small introduction: Our calculations will not use the true demographic data determined by Yoram Ettinger and his expert Israel-American team. Instead, we will use the inflated data provided by the Arabs of Yesha.
Being that I made the first calculations a number of years ago, and in addition, I am a concerned party, I asked my friend, Uri Noi – a meticulous, high-tech professional whose expertise is exact calculation, to examine this subject in depth. Uri enthusiastically researched this proposal and as he said, “At no stage of the preparation of this document did I peek at the results as they were forming. In other words, this document was written and examined thoroughly and impartially.
A week later, Uri presented the results of his research in a 12 page document. You can read the Hebrew version here. The following is a quote from his conclusion:
Cost to Israel of the Oslo Accords:
1. Money transfers to the Palestinian Authority: 86 billion NIS (since Oslo- M.F.) and an additional 4.53 billion NIS annually.
2. General Security Service: 2.85 NIS and an additional 1.5 billion NIS annually.
3. Border Police in Judea and Samaria: 13 billion NIS and an additional 0.7 billion NIS annually.
4. IDF in Judea and Samaria: 57 billion NIS and an additional 3 billion annually.
5. Security guards everywhere: 68 billion NIS and an additional 3.57 billion annually.
6. Bypass roads: 20 billion NIS and an additional 1 billion annually.
7. Separation Wall: 4.7 billion NIS, one time expense.
8. Murder victims: 3.5 billion NIS in loss of productivity.
9: Defensive Shield Operation: 14 billion NIS, one time expense.
10. Loss of revenue from tourism: 129 billion NIS and an additional 1 billion annually.
11. Decrease in price of land for housing. Zero in the meantime.
In all, the Oslo Accords cost the Israeli public 423 billion NIS for Judea and Samaria alone. In addition, they continue to cost the tax payers 15.3 billion NIS annually, with no end in sight.
The 423 billion that we have already paid is one and one half times more then the 284 billion NIS that Feiglin proposes.
Simply put, when people ask when Feiglin will be right, the answer is that the scenario that he outlined is already here.
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, we remain with a question: Why is forced Evacuation/Compensation for Jews considered reasonable, while voluntary Evacuation/Compensation for Arabs is considered unrealistic?
This is where we touch upon the real price that we have paid for the Oslo Accords: An entire generation has come of age after Oslo and the recognition of the Arab claim to the Land of Israel – young people approximately 35 and under. These Israelis have grown up believing that the “salt of the earth” is the Arab, while the Jew is living here on borrowed time. An entire generation has grown up thinking it is a guest in its own land and that it has to pay and constantly bribe the “true sons” in order to justify its continued presence here.
All the solutions that spring up here on a daily basis surrender our essential claim to the Land of Israel as a land sanctified to Jews alone. “We have returned to our holiest of places, never to leave them again,” said Moshe Dayan. The marriage vow, “You are sanctified to me,” means to me, and no one else. There is no such thing as “you are sanctified to me – and also to the neighbor.” There cannot be two states – two husbands – for one land.
The only relevant political party that has an explicit clause in its charter on sovereignty over all the Land of Israel in our hands is the Likud. This clause was written before Oslo. After Oslo and official Israel’s ensuing estrangement toward the sanctity of the Land and its settlers, this clause could never have been written – not even in the Jewish Home party.
This is why the proposal to encourage emigration is considered unrealistic today. Not because it is not practical: it is the only practical plan. Not because there is no money to apply it: it saves money. Not because it is unethical: there is no plan more ethical. Not because the Arabs are not interested: they are very interested. Not because they have nowhere to go: 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 the real greatness of this plan. It is not the calculations and not the question if it will cost us half a million shekels or 300,000. It is 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 to their land.