By Ted Belman (Feb 13/19)
While most people are patiently waiting for Pres Trump to table his Peace Plan, otherwise known as the Deal of the Century, I have been preparing a Memo to Kushner in which I challenge two points covered in Did Liberman reveal Trump’s peace plan? Yes.
1. Don’t recommend that Gaza become sovereign Palestinian territory. Instead, propose that Gaza be treated as another Area A leaving it to Israel to work together with Egypt and Jordan to find a solution.
2. Do not propose that Palestinians receive “broad economic incentives” in Israel. Instead propose that Israel create economic opportunity for the Palestinians in Jordan.
In my Memo to Kushner, I write,
Residents of Gaza should be induced to voluntarily emigrate to Egypt or Jordan or other places, as they choose. Population transfer, as you know, has been resorted to historically, to make peace possible. e.g. in Europe after WW2 and to facilitate the India/Pakistani separation. In this case, we do not propose forced population transfer, but voluntary, supervised and economically encouraged transfer.
Once nearly empty of residents, Israel should be allowed to annex it thereby ending the Gaza problem for ever. Like the West Bank, Gaza was originally part of the Palestine Mandate.
Then I go into detail:
In essence, 300,000 homes/apartments would need to be built in either Jordan or Egypt to house the 1.6 million immigrants from Gaza. Using the latest technologies, this will require an expenditure of $15B in Jordan and much less in Egypt. If this was a 10 year project, the yearly expenditure would be $1.5 B.
These houses could be offered free of charge to emigrants and in addition, the investment would include 21st century infrastructure and employment opportunities, as an inducement to emigrate. Egypt and Jordan can certainly benefit from a $15 B infusion of capital. As further inducement to Egypt, Israel could offer it to share gas from the offshore wells that Israel would then be able to exploit off the Gazan coastline. There are many other ways that Egypt or Jordan could benefit by taking in the Gazans.
Egypt has already started building New Cairo to the south east of Cairo. It is intended to house 6.5 million people. There is a second phase to this development which will house another 8.5 million people. Surely the first phase can accommodate a major portion of the 1.5 million Gazans. In addition, the infusion of $15 billion into the Cairo economy will be of enormous help.
After annexing Gaza, Israel could again develop these lands (as it did in the past, prior to the Disengagement) and reward Jordan and Egypt with a percentage of the profits earned, as per percentage of Gazans taken in. This redevelopment would create thousands of jobs which would be available to the Palestinians.
Judea and Samaria
PM Netanyahu and Min Bennett have been advocating for some time that Israel create more job opportunities for the Palestinians in Area C.
Now it appears that the deal proposes the same thing. We think this is shortsighted.
Rather than create jobs in Israel for the Palestinians, the plan should be to create jobs in Jordan for them.
Israel would be very motivated to build the Jordan economy if it would result in an exodus of Palestinians from the West Bank. A win-win for both sides.
If 1.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank were to emigrate to Jordan, this would require another 300,000 homes. We have done considerable work on where to build these homes and how to fill them.
Palestinians in Israel should be encouraged to emigrate rather than to stay. These homes could be given to them as a partial incentive.
Obviously, were 3 million Palestinians emigrate to Jordan from Gaza and Judea and Samaria, Jordan’s chronic water shortage would be taxed even more.
Jordan is desperately short of water now. An influx of 1.5 to 3.0 million people will require a huge increase of available fresh water. There is some talk about the Red -Dead proposal for generating power and producing fresh water but it is extremely costly.
We have been investigating another proposal to provide Jordanians with sufficient water for their needs.
The current effective consumption of water for household purposes is 210 million CuM per year in Jordan which is just 22 CuM per capita compared to 75-80 CuM per capita in Israel.
In most countries, an average of 60% of expensive treated water is lost through leakage before reaching customers. Jordan’s leakage rate is much higher. “Israel’s leakage rate is lowest in the world, on average 7-8%.” So there is room for considerable improvement.
We propose to build a large desalination plant near Haifa at a cost of about $1.2 B. It would produce about 175 million CuM per year which would be piped to the Kineret and be available to be pumped to Jordan. This coupled with overhauling Jordan’s water system would dramatically increase available water per capita even with an influx of 3 million people.
Currently Jordanians pay 1.04 USD per CuM compared to 0.75 USD paid by Israelis.
The goal would be to provide at least 50 CuM of water per capita for the enlarged Jordanian population and to lower the cost per CuM to approximate what Israelis are currently paying.
But more could be done.
We could overhaul the infrastructure to reduce the leakage. This excess water would be used to irrigate Jordanian agricultural land currently lying fallow and to create grazing land. This land would then be available to Palestinian farmers and Bedouins herders who would love the opportunities presented.
When the Memo is finalized it will be forwarded to Jared Kushner.
Totally aside from this project, I intend to establish a Think Tank that would focus on two things.
1. Incentivizing Arab Emigration and
2. Jewish Aliya.
Wish me luck. If anyone wants to participate or know more, send me an email at email@example.com