The Mideast is full of stupid ideas, each one more ridiculous than the previous. The newest confabulation comes this time from Israel. Israel is seriously considering building an artificial island off Gaza, which it can police, in order to supply the strip.
The proposal … calls for the artificial island to be under international control. In addition to serving as a seaport, the island would contain infrastructure facilities that would provide water and power to Gaza residents.
The idea is that Israel can allow supplies into Gaza, filtered through security inspections. It would also have a drawbridge in case the natives get restless and decide to storm the facility.
The island is predicted to cost $5 billion, which means that before it is finished, it will cost $10 billion.
Katz, who is also the intelligence minister, said he also told the security cabinet that building the island would cost around $5 billion, all of which would come from international donations.
From international donations? It is bad enough that the idea is ridiculous, but Minister Katz thinks the world should pony up for this. Of course, it would be built chiefly by Israelis, and one has to wonder if this is not also a government employment scheme.
No one is going to pay for this. Those who love Israel will see it for the absurdity it is. Those who hate Israel will see it as nothing more than Israel retaining control over Gaza at someone else’s expense. while pretending to care for the Gazans – which in a way it is also.
If Israel wants to send supplies to Gaza, she can do so now through the Erez crossing on the north of Gaza. Why does Israel need to build a $5-billion artificial island?
The article says it would be under international control.
Would Israel be so foolish as to allow it to remain under international control? Would the French, Norwegians, or Chinese really police the island and the supply chain the way Israel would like? Of course not! It would become an open channel for war supplies. Nor would any nation volunteer to participate in such fantasies, since none wants to be seen helping Israel.
Such an island would have to be run by Israel, not international control. Therein lies a rub.
The left will say it is just Israel continuing to control Gaza, which it would be – not that Gaza does not need to be controlled. The left will claim that Israel will be supplying water and electricity from the island rather than let the Gazans build their own facilities as a means of controlling the Gazans, which in a way is true. The Israelis know that any supplies to the Gazans would be diverted to make weaponry.
The left will claim that any power and water from the island will be used to blackmail the Gazans with a cutoff should they get uppity, which in a way would be true. This island idea will spark international outrage and serve only to convince the world that Israel has not left Gaza, as Israel claims she has. It will just give the left more ammunition to call Gaza the world’s biggest open-air prison.
Finally, this project will require Israeli troops to set foot in Gaza in order to build the land end of the causeway. Does anyone seriously think the Gazans will not start shooting? And even if the landing is secured, does anyone doubt that the Gazans would sabotage it later on?
The Gazans want total access to the sea, not a bridge to nowhere. Avigidor Lieberman was right to oppose this. It is folly.
But let’s take a further look at what could be done with $5 billion, which in actuality would run up to $10 billion.
A Gazan family of five could be given $250,000 – $50,000 per member – to relocate somewhere else on the planet. In most of the world, this would set the family up for life.
If Arab countries will not accept them – and they probably won’t – then African, Asian, or South American nations would accept them, if these Gazans came in with that much cash. Five billion dollars could relocate 100,000 Gazans. Ten billion could relocate 200,000 Gazans.
This would be money better spent.
To those who say the Gazans will not accept it, of course, you are right. As a group, the Gazans will not accept it, but many individuals will accept it, and these should be presented with that opportunity. If only 10% of Gazans accepted it, it would be an improvement. Every little bit helps.
Rather than spending money on idiocy, spend the money on alleviating the problem.
Now, as for donations: The Israelis are insane to think the world will voluntarily donate money to make Israel’s life easier – whether that means building an island or paying Gazans to leave. If the Israelis are not going to pay for it, then it will not get done. Here the principle of cui bono applies. It will benefit Israel, so Israel will probably have to pay.
Israel could tell Europe that rather than supporting NGOs, a buyout of the Gazans will be the only monies allowed to be spent in their service. That might be an idea. It might generate some money, but more likely, Europe will just cease funding Gaza and let the population starve in the hope of embarrassing Israel into doing what Europe wants.
Clearly, the only real and permanent benefit can be realized when the Gazans leave. So Israel must offer to pay the Gazans to leave. The Arabs will not pay. The Asians will not pay. The left will not pay. I have no idea where Israel thinks these donations will come from, if not from Israel.
There is always a chorus who will cry: Drive the Arabs out into the desert. It is not Israeli’s problem. Maybe not! But these are the same people who get upset when people criticize Israel, and what do they think will happen when Israel drives the Arabs out into the desert?
More criticism. BDS would become unstoppable worldwide.
There is no easy or happy solution. But if any money is spent on Gaza or Judea and Samaria – the West Bank – it must be spent only to pay the Arabs to leave. Anything else is a waste of time and money. And if one thinks Israel should not pay, then tell us who will pay. Not who should pay, but who will.
Mike Konrad is the pen name of an American who wishes he had availed himself more fully of the opportunity to learn Spanish in high school, lo those many decades ago. He writes on the Arabs of South America at http://latinarabia.com.