Trump should champion legal migration from West Bank and Gaza

July 1, 2019 by David Singer
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President Trump should consider championing legal, voluntary and financially-assisted emigration from Gaza and the West Bank by calling on Jordan and Egypt to open their border crossings and grant residency status to Gazan and West Bank Arabs seeking a better future for themselves and their families.

Such action is certainly justified following the rejection of President Trump’s offer to inject US$6.5 billion into the West Bank and Gaza – with both Hamas and the PLO telling Trump they were not prepared to accept any financial assistance coming out of the Manama Conference jointly convened last week by Trump and Bahrain.

Hamas purported to speak for the “Palestinian people” – a body politic invented in 1964  that last had a say in its own future in 2006:

“No one can represent the Palestinian people except the Palestinians themselves, who have never been unqualified to taking decisions related to Palestine. The parties and states meeting in Manama do not have any right or mandate to take decisions on behalf of the Palestinian people. Therefore, any resolution taken or stance adopted at the conference is null and void and does not represent the Palestinian people. Such decisions or positions are only desperate attempts to liquidate the Palestinian issue and do not represent the Palestinian people.”

The PLO was just as quick to reject the massive financial aid being offered by Trump – PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas declaring:

“We say that national rights are not pieces of real estate that are purchased and sold and that arriving at a political solution that guarantees freedom, dignity, independence and justice for our people must precede any economic programs or projects because that will create stability and security for everyone,”

Christine Lagarde – managing director of the International Monetary Fund – appeared to agree with both Hamas and the PLO – when stressing:

“Improving economic conditions and attracting lasting investment to the region depends ultimately on being able to reach a peace agreement.

“Peace, political stability and re-establishment of trust between all the parties involved are essential pre-requisites to the success of any economic plan for the region.”

Lagarde’s comments appeared at odds with the views expressed by White House adviser Jared Kushner when he opened the conference and said an economic plan:

“is a necessary precondition to resolving what has been a previously unsolvable political situation.”

The “unsolvable political situation” in Gaza and the West Bank has been ongoing for the last 100 years.

Gaza and West Bank Arabs – currently forced to endure this political uncertainty – faced the following dire economic circumstances in 2018 according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics:

  • Unemployment in Gaza reached 52 percent – an increase of almost eight percent since 2017
  • Unemployment among young people in Gaza aged 15-29 was 69%.
  • The unemployment rate in the West Bank was 17.6 percent

Gaza’s civilian population has paid a heavy price for the indiscriminate targeting of Israeli population centres with thousands of missiles and incendiary balloons.

Hamas and the PLO – still fighting between themselves for control of the Johnny-come-lately “Palestinian people” – seem extremely unlikely to allow the respective constituencies they have ruled for the last 12 years to have any say in the future political and economic direction of Gaza and the West Bank.

US$16.5 billion proposed for projects in Jordan and Egypt – coupled with Trumps’ US$6.5 billion unexpended in Gaza – constitute a humanitarian lifeline for Gazan and West Bank Arabs to migrate and enjoy far better lives than they currently have.

If Gazan and West Bank Arabs cannot vote in election booths – then Trump should help them vote with their feet.

David Singer is a Sydney lawyer and foundation member of the International Analysts Network

Author’s note: The cartoon — commissioned exclusively for this article — is by Yaakov Kirschen aka “Dry Bones”- one of Israel’s foremost political and social commentators — whose cartoons have graced the columns of Israeli and international media publications for decades. His cartoons can be viewed at Drybonesblog

Comments

2 Responses to “Trump should champion legal migration from West Bank and Gaza”
  1. David Singer says:

    Brian

    There is such a thing as legal and voluntary emigration from Gaza and an estimated 35000 Gazans left Gaza during 2018.
    https://www.jewishpress.com/news/eye-on-palestine/hamas/estimate-migration-from-gaza-at-35000-in-2018-officials-collect-millions-to-expedite/2019/05/19/

    Financial assistance and a planned migration policy developed by Trump in association with other Arab countries would see these numbers swell dramatically.

    Gazans are no different to millions of refugees who have quit their birthplaces to seek better lives for their families.

    Gaza is a hell hole and it is only going to get worse. Playing the blame game will not help the civilian population. Assisting them financially to legally and voluntarily leave will.

    Get off your imagined moral high horse, acquaint yourself with the facts and listen to the message – not attack the messenger.

  2. Brian Rom says:

    David,

    There is no such thing as ‘legal, voluntary and financially-assisted emigration’ for Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.

    You know perfectly well that the Palestinians (who you repeatedly insult in your articles by denying their peoplehood) will not voluntarily abandon their homes and communities. Emigration, as you call it, would require force, which is a war crime. So you are either indulging in pointless fantasies or you are advocating some form of ethnic cleansing.

    Whatever means you think can be deployed, the outcome is immoral. Why should any human being be asked or bribed to move to another country? This does not reflect Jewish values. May I remind you that in the run up to the Holocaust, many Germans wished the same for Jews.

    I generally find it disturbing to read your articles. Your ‘concern’ for the dire economic circumstances of the Palestinians is entirely self serving.

    Brian

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