The Uneasy Case for Banishment in Gaza, Judea, Samaria

By Walter E. Block

Banishment, being exiled from a particular place or jurisdiction, has a long history. The first case on record was Adam and Eve who were dismissed from the Garden of Eden for various types of miscellaneous misbehavior.

Are there any other cases where one group of people was compelled to depart from a geographical area they had long occupied? Yes, unhappily, there are. The Jews have no monopoly on this sort of thing, but they are high up on any historical compilation of being kicked out of a country. This occurred to the

“Israelites by the Assyrian king Sargon II in 720 BCE, the Judeans who were deported by Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II in 586 BC, and the Jews following the destruction of the second Temple in Jerusalem in AD 70.”

Not only groups of people can be exiled. This can occur, too, to individuals. For example, Napoleon was banished to the remote island of St Helena. Another case in point: Julius Caesar banished fellow Roman Publius Cimber; ditto for Brutus and Cassius who were treated in the same manner by Mark Antony. Perhaps the most high profile case of this phenomenon was the expulsion of English convicts to Canada and Australia. It would of course be a gigantic exaggeration to say that the latter country was comprised mainly of people found guilty of a crime in England, but the thought is difficult to dismiss entirely. Being banned to Siberia was a common punishment in the Soviet Union. Expulsion, instead of incarceration or execution is sometimes utilized by non-Europeans. For example, the indigenous peoples of Canada also engaged in this practice, using it as a punishment for tribal criminals.

Banishment is by no means a positive experience. However, it cannot be denied that there are worse ways to be treated than that. For example, the Jews in Germany in the late 1930s and early 1940s would have given their eye-teeth to have been treated in this manner. This benefit was not granted to them, and in the event they were forced to give up quite a bit more than just a few incisors. No, banishment is far from the worst thing that can be visited upon a community.

In the aftermath of the wars of 1947 in the sub-continent, Hindus were banned from Pakistan, and Muslims were exiled from India. Here, there was no issue of individual criminality. Rather, it was a case of reducing inter-community violence.

What is the case for the banishment of Palestinians from Gaza, Judea, Samaria? It is an uneasy one. On the positive side, in behalf of such an expulsion, is the fact that many of the fighting age male Arabs in these countries are indeed criminals; albeit certainly not all of them. Many are members of that terrorist organization, Hamas. A goodly number were involved in the atrocities of October 7, 2023. But more than that. Rockets continually emanate from Gaza, aimed at civilian populations in Israel, and if that is not criminal behavior, then nothing is criminal behavior. As for suicide bombings, this is by no means limited to the male members of this community. Awarding of pensions to the families of such murderers is aiding and abetting criminality and is itself a crime. Further, the overwhelming proportion of Gazans vote in support of Hamas, a criminal organization if ever there was one. In addition, there is the Hindu-Muslim, India-Pakistan case for separating peoples who simply show no evidence of being able to co exist.

On the negative side of this equation is the fact it is clearly not the case that a criminal indictment can apply to each and every last Palestinian. If all of them were deported, this would obviously entail punishing innocent people, a clear and present injustice.

If, arguendo, all Palestinians were indeed expelled from Gaza, Judea and Samaria, where would they go? One answer is, Wherever they wanted to go. The problem with that answer is that there are not all that many countries which would welcome them. When a Canadian official was asked in the 1930s how many Jewish immigrants his country would welcome, his famous answer was: “None is too many.” One fear is that all too many countries would react in virtually the same manner when confronted with the question of how many Palestinians they would be happy to accept (one reason for this is the tendency for this group of people to try to take over the governments of countries that have hosted them; just ask King Hussain of Jordan about that).

No, it would be inconceivable that any one nation would welcome all roughly 2 million Palestinians from Gaza and some 3 million from the West Bank. That would be recipe for disaster. However, there are almost 200 different countries in the world, virtually all of which have voted against Israel and in favor of the Palestinians in the UN and other such international organizations. It is time, it is long past time, not to put their money where their mouths are, but, at least to put out their welcome mats where their hearts and votes are. All that would be needed to accommodate that many exiles would be roughly 25,000 people for each.

Each of them could safely put up with this scant few thousand expelled Palestinians without any great danger to themselves. The first on the list with a moral obligation to do just that would be South Africa. It is on record as considering Israel to be a country guilty of apartheid, genocide, and all the rest. Surely, if that nation had any decency at all, it would lead the parade in this regard and welcome far more than their mathematical proportionate share. Next in the batter’s box would be all those European countries shedding crocodile tears about the victims of Israeli aggression. Let them each step up to the plate and volunteer to take in their proportionate share of twenty five thousand. Third in the batting order would be all the other Arab countries. These are their brethren, after all.

My favorite group, in the clean-up batter’s position, would be all of those campus radicals recently protesting against Israel. Let each of these students (and their many non-student colleagues) adopt a few dozen Palestinians. They could house some of them in one of their ubiquitous tents for all I care. My favorite group for this honor of course would be Queers for Palestine. You just have to love that organization.

Back to reality. When the IDF entered Rafah, they learned that not only did the Hamas tunnels stretch into Israel, they also did so into Egypt. They also discovered that the Egyptians accepted Gazan immigrants for $5000 each. Pardon me for saying this, but that is a dirt-cheap price. With all of the foreign aid money floating around in that corner of the world, not in terms of billions but tens of billions, we could accommodate, easily, the entire population of Gaza and have some money left over. Banishment no longer looks so unfeasible as a practical matter.

Pegs:

Egyptians accept Gazans for $5000

Assyrian king Sargon

Caesar, Brutus:

Canada natives:

Punishment

Australia, Canada

Hindus Pakistan Muslims India.

King Hussain – Palestinians

“None is too many.” Canada

 

June 10, 2024 | Comments »

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