The Palestinian Buyout Plan Gains SteamBy Mike Konrad
A buyout plan for Palestinians is resurfacing again. Moishe Feiglin, a right-wing Zionist in Israel, has suggested buying out the Palestinians for $500,000 per individual if they would leave voluntarily.
Mr. Feiglin is no weeping liberal. He has opposed the Oslo process from day one. His acts of civil disobedience against the peace process have resulted in prison time. Feiglin is a Zionist hardliner.
Israel wants Judea and Samaria -- what the world calls the West Bank -- since it is the biblical heartland, and Israel needs the area for security besides. Understandably, Israel does not want to absorb its Arabs for demographic reasons -- but maintaining any population under military control is not sustainable. It will produce nothing but resistance.
The only solution is moving the Arabs by means of reimbursed voluntary buyout. Involuntary removal -- ethnic cleansing -- would require a war. Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Egypt would not accept the Palestinians willingly. Such a war might be more expensive than the cost of reimbursed relocation.
So the only questions left are:
1) Where to move the Palestinians?
2) How much to pay them to move?
The first answer is not so easy. The Arab states refuse to naturalize Palestinians. The official reason is to protect their Palestinian nationality and their claim to the land of Palestine. The real reason is to maintain a festering sore in the region in order to overwhelm Israel.
Even a peaceful buyout will produce howls from the Muslim world. They know that once Judea and Samaria are cleared, the game is over. With Israel rid of its Palestinian problem, there will be no hope of reconquest. The infidels will have won; Islam will have lost.
Those Palestinians remaining in Lebanese, Syrian, Jordanian, and Egyptian camps would then become the problem of "the Arab nation." With no remaining chance to vent their anger on Israel, the stranded Palestinians would then focus their rage against the host nations which have reduced them to peonage for political gain.
The Muslim world would condemn such a solution. So we must dispense with illusions that the Arabs should, could, or would help such a project. Be assured; they won't.
However, there is a part of the world with a history of accepting, assimilating, and converting Arabs: Latin America!
There are 25-30 million Arabs in Latin America, most of whom have been settled for over a century. Most who came in were Christian Arabs fleeing Islamic tyranny. About 10%-20% were Muslim. Many of their descendents are now Christian. Whatever fault one finds with Catholicism, it did a yeoman's job of Christianizing those Muslims who came to Latin America.
The addition of 2 million Palestinians to South America would be statistically insignificant. South America has 400 million people. Judean/Samarian Palestinians would constitute only 0.5% of the continental population, and even less if Central America were added in.
If each one came in with $125,000 -- a quarter of what Moishe Feiglin suggests -- they would come in with about $250 billion. This is not small change -- and Latin America might consider it, particularly if direct payments to the central governments were added to the package.
A family of four would enter with $500,000 -- enough to set them up with a house, a car, and a business in Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, Chile, etc.
In Latin America, the Arabs form elites in a manner akin to American Jewry. There are organizations already in place to welcome any arriving Palestinians. Almost all of these institutions are run by Christians, so there would be some impetus for the Muslims to convert at the very beginning.
Extremist Islam will not survive in countries where the tango is taught in kindergarten, Condombe is danced on the streets, and gender-mixing is a cultural imperative. Wahhabism doesn't stand a chance in Rio, where Carnaval can include public displays of nudity. Historically, the few Muslims who retained their faith in Latin America have Westernized their practice.
If all that fails, there is a Pentecostal Revival sweeping all of Latin America. If the tango doesn't assimilate the Arabs, the Bible-thumpers will. Islam cannot compete where violence is not an option.
Should some Muslim Salafis get out of line, the local police could set some soccer hooligans on them. The local Barras Bravas are more irrational and randomly violent than any mujahideen. Latins are tolerant, but only to a point. The rewards for assimilation to "Latinicity" would be great, while the retribution for misbehavior would be convincingly swift.
Feiglin is right on principle, if not on figures. An Israeli academic, Martin Sherman, has been pushing a similar idea, though with lower figures -- roughly on the order of $50,000 per individual ($100 billion divided by about 2 million Palestinians). I myself have independently come up with figures around $100,000-$150,000 per Arab.
The total cost, using my figures, is around $200 to $300 billion. Sherman's estimate is roughly $100 billion (overall). Feiglin's would add up to $1 trillion. Clearly, the lower figures are more practical. But the principle remains valid.
Israel would not have to pay for the relocation of Palestinians outside Israel. Those remain the problem of "the Arab nation." All Israel has to do is clean up its own Palestinian problem -- and then watch as the Palestinian issue becomes the sole province of the Arabs.
I know I have brought this up before, to much criticism. But the idea is gaining ground among respectable intellectuals, and it should not be so quickly dismissed. This may be the last time there is a hope for a solution apart from a major war, which in the end would cost far more.
The cost would be approximately $20,000 per Jewish person on the planet to generate the total monies needed. Right now there are Jews who celebrate million-dollar Bar Mitzvahs. There is a better way to express their Jewishness.
The West is too broke right now to pay for this -- but worldwide, Jews tend to have above-average incomes. Twenty thousand dollars per Jew is not excessive for a relatively prosperous community. The richer would pay more. The poorer could pay less. Of course, willing Christians, atheists, etc. could contribute as well.
This video (linked) breaks down figures, with a possible solution. Before the idea is dismissed, remember this: it would have been cheaper to purchase and free every slave rather than fight the American Civil War. Moral purists at the time said it was reprehensible to reimburse those who trafficked in human flesh and sank the idea.
I am sure the 600,000-plus Civil War dead would have preferred that the money had been spent. I am sure that the future dead -- and it will include Americans -- will wish we had not repeated the same mistake.
Mike Konrad is the pen name of an American who is not Jewish, Latin, or Arab. He runs a website where he discusses the subculture of Arabs in Latin America. He wishes his Spanish were better.
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