Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Proper Incentives For The Right People…

The Correct Approach Should Be As Obvious As The Answer To Adding Two Plus Two


“The Finance Ministry [of Israel] estimates that the civilian-related cost the state incurred for the evacuation of Gaza is expected to total NIS 6.5 billion, an average of NIS 3.6 million per family." By Meirav Arlosoroff, Haaretz 2/22/07.


At a conversion rate of 4.17 Shekels to the U.S. Dollar, this amounts to an astounding figure of between $800,000 and $900,000 per family. Wow!

And now some politicians have concluded that the Jews who live in the West Bank can be willingly induced to move with the proper economic incentives too.

It is undeniably true that human behavior is greatly affected by incentives.

Indeed, a poll of Israeli settlers conducted in 2003 showed that 74% would leave in return for compensation.

This could prove financially rewarding to willing settlers, but may devastate Israel in the long-term.

That being the case—and if you don’t think it’s the case, take a look at my book—doesn’t it make sense to ask if the Palestinian Arabs could be offered proper incentives to move as well?

A poll taken in early 2004 by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion showed that 37% of Palestinians were willing to emigrate in return for a home, a job and $250,000. One can only presume the figure would be much higher if average Palestinians could freely speak their minds.

World leaders know the truth of the matter. Even in EPIC struggles between countries over boundaries and religion, most people in those countries just want a place to raise their family in peace, and with the chance of prosperity. History shows people will eagerly move for peace and prosperity.

Peaceful economic opportunity is why immigrants flocked to the United States in the 19th and 20th century, and continue to do so today.

Now here’s the reality in the Middle-East. Palestinian Arabs have places to go, the Jews of Israel do not.

If world leaders truly wanted peace in Israel and the territories, wouldn’t it make sense to offer an incentive to the right people to move? If this isn’t done, the BEST that can be expected is that the world will eventually live with two vulnerable, unstable, struggling, non-viable states.

And if that happens, well, you do the math.

--David Naggar

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