Proposed Plan for Palestinian Workers Would Lead to More Terror
Israel’s Diplomatic-Security Cabinet has approved the main provisions of a plan to allow 30,000 Palestinian Arabs from Judea and Samaria to work in Israel in construction, infrastructure, manufacturing, agriculture and other areas. It is currently under debate with the relevant government agencies, in preparation for a vote by the full cabinet. The rationale behind the plan, which appears to enjoy broad support in the defense establishment where senior IDF staff have allegedly been advocating this kind of proposal since shortly after the terror onslaught began, is that work permits are a financial incentive that could remedy economic grievances, which will in turn stem the violence and possibly stop the current spike in terror.
The trouble with this rationale is that it is a proven fallacy. The idea that current terrorism is fueled by economic — or other — grievances, which can be rectified with an increase in the standard of living or other forms of social justice has been in vogue in the West for a very long time. But the fact that it is popular does not make it any less of a proven misconception.
To begin with, the current wave of terrorism is not fueled by economic grievances, but is the result of an incessant barrage of incitement by the Palestinian Authority, which has been going on since its inception in 1993. As previously reported in this column, the Palestinian Arabs were much closer to peace with Israel in 1996 than they are today.
Economic analysts estimate that the Palestinian Authority has received a total of $25 billion in foreign aid since the mid-1990s. That fact contradicts the rationale behind allowing 30,000 workers into Israel. The Palestinian Arabs are the primary beneficiaries of international humanitarian aid in the entire world. The Palestinian Authority receives roughly $800 million a year on average — which, at $170 per capita, is far more humanitarian aid than any other country. Syrians, for example, receive an average of $106 per person. In addition, the PA pays stipends to terrorists’ families amounting to some $75 million a year — about 20% of the donations funneled to the PA from Western nations and bodies.
A number of statistics attest to this: According to the JCPA, the CIA World Factbook reported the poverty rate in the West Bank as 18% in 2011, in contrast to Israel’s poverty rate in 2012 of 21.2%. In 2015, life expectancy in the West Bank was 76 years. This was notably higher than the life expectancy in other Arab states — 71 years (in 2012) — and the average life expectancy around the world of 70 years. In 2015, the infant mortality rate in the West Bank and Gaza was 13 deaths per 1,000 live births. Compare that with 27 deaths per 1,000 live births in the Arab states in 2013 and 36.58 deaths per 1,000 live births in the world in 2014. In 2015, the literacy rate for people aged 15 and above in the West Bank and Gaza was 96.5%. In 2011, when Palestinians were asked, “Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the education system?” 63.5% answered “satisfied” — a higher percentage than in the U.S. (62.8%), the Netherlands (60.3%), Sweden (61.6%) or Japan (54.6%). The overall percentage in Arab states was 50.0%.
Given the above statistics, which attest to the PA being a place that is not riddled with economic grievances, this should be more than enough to prove that it is not economic grievances that are fueling the current wave of terrorism. Therefore, the decision to give 30,000 work permits to Palestinians is not only flawed, but dangerous.
Internationally, it has also been proven that Muslim terrorists are not motivated by economic grievances. In the September 11, 2001 attacks on the US, almost all of the 19 terrorists who participated in the attacks against the U.S. were well off and several of them were well educated. Their decision to kill as many Americans as possible had nothing to do with their imagined grievances, but with a complete devotion to jihad.
The same goes for the homegrown British Muslim terrorists who committed the 2005 attacks on the London transportation systems. Muslim British boys, they all came from seemingly normal homes, led ordinary lives and some of them were even university graduates.
The same can be said for the two young British Muslims who traveled to Israel in 2003 with the express purpose of blowing up Israelis, which one of them subsequently did at Mike’s Place — a popular bar in Tel Aviv.
Why, then, let 30,000 Palestinian workers into Israel? Whether a worker is legal or illegal has nothing to do with his motivations for murdering Israelis. A terrorist does not murder Israelis because he or she is financially frustrated. The 13-year-old girls who recently set out to stab Jews did not do so because they didn’t have work permits in Israel! They did so because they have been taught to hate Jews. They have been taught to kill Jews and to remove them from every inch of Israel, so that “Palestine” can be liberated from them. It has nothing to do with economic hardship and everything to do with the last 25 years of incessant brainwashing. It has to do with the vilest anti-Semitism and the encouragement to go out and kill Jews. It has to do with the worshiping of Jew-killers as “martyrs” and ultimate heroes. It has to do with the basic world view that all Jews must be purged from Israel, so that a “free Palestine” can emerge. No work permits in the world are going to change that fact.
The 30,000 work permits will only do one thing: They will make Israel out to be weak, failing to understand the first thing about what motivates the PA and their people. It will encourage terrorism on an even larger scale, inviting disaster. Most of the terrorism committed since October 2015 was committed by Arabs from Judea and Samaria. Inviting 30,000 more to work inside Israel will not stem terrorism — it will make it explode.
The currency of the Middle East is strength, not weakness. Let us stop acting like our own worst enemies.
Judith Bergman is a writer and political analyst living in Israel. This article was originally published by Israel Hayom.