When the Zionists began to build the yishuv, the enterprise that would become the Jewish state, they had to develop an economy, a political system, an army for defense, a legal system, an educational system, a transportation network, a postal service, and countless other things. They got help, first from wealthy benefactors like Montefiore and Rothschild, and later – when they needed to resettle hundreds of thousands of often penniless refugees from the Holocaust and, later, from the Muslim world – from organized appeals in the Diaspora. In a highly controversial arrangement, Holocaust survivors in Israel also received billions as reparations from Germany (the state also received several hundreds of millions).
The Jews created cooperative enterprises in every economic sphere which enabled them to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, despite a war of independence in which they lost 1% of their population, and massive immigration. Later they surprised the world by repeatedly defeating their more numerous enemies, and little by little transformed their economy to a more entrepreneurial model. Today Israel, despite the challenges, is a remarkable success, economically, socially and culturally. Not perfect, but still a remarkable success.
Despite what people think, Israel does not receive non-military aid from the US, and only modest amounts of money from Diaspora charities. Indeed, many Israelis think we can and should end the military aid, which comes with many strings attached.
Now let’s look at another group that ostensibly aspires to a state, the ‘Palestinians’.
Take the Gaza Strip, with 1.8 million residents, 72% of them with refugee status, wards of the international dole. There is no economy to speak of, except that created by UNRWA which feeds and educates its population with funds provided primarily by the US and Europe, and Hamas, which manufactures rockets, digs attack tunnels and prepares for war.
This population is rapidly growing; it is expected to reach 2.1 million by 2020, with a fertility rate of 4.2 children per woman (a conservative estimate). For comparison, the fertility rate among Arabs in Judea and Samaria is only 2.8. 21% of Gazans are between the ages of 15 and 24, and 64% under 25.
This huge ‘youth bulge’ combined with a lack of employment, is a guarantee of continued violence. And it is all paid for by the West, which, through UNRWA’s welfare policies, incentivizes Gazans to have children. Welfare costs for Palestinians increase every year, along with the population.
The West went along with Arab demands to prevent any resettlement of ‘Palestinian refugees’ and the UN granted refugee status to anyone who lived in pre-state Palestine for as little as two years – and to all their descendents in perpetuum, something done for no other refugee population. 99% of UNRWA employees are Palestinians, and the curriculum in UNRWA schools is aimed at keeping alive the narrative of Arab dispossession and dishonor that fuels the conflict. UNRWA does not ameliorate the conflict, it nourishes it.
Consider also the Arabs of Judea and Samaria, the great majority of whom live under the control of the Palestinian Authority. The PA, like UNRWA, is totally dependent on American and European money. The PA burns through most of the more than $1 billion a year it receives on corruption and its multiple ‘security forces’ (which sometimes engage in terrorism). It also disburses large payments to the families of prisoners in Israeli jails for security offenses, and to families of ‘martyrs’, including suicide bombers. The PA and its official media continue to incite violence and murder of Jews, and treat terrorists as heroes.
Large monopolies, like cement and telecommunications are in the hands of PA insiders. Crime is rampant and economic activity is stunted.
Both Israel and the Palestinians received injections of capital from abroad. Israel used it to help build the infrastructure of a state, and turn her refugees into productive citizens. The Palestinian Arab leaders stole much of the money, nurtured their people’s hatred and created a permanent class of stateless refugees as an army to fight Israel. Indeed, even if a Palestinian state were created in the territories, the refugees would not be welcome in it, because according to Palestinian dogma, the only way to stop being a refugee is to ‘return’ to ‘your home’ in Israel!
When the international community gave the Palestinians money for building infrastructure like waste treatment plants or power stations, they built mansions for PA and Hamas officials. Hamas took cement for rebuilding homes after the last war and used it to line attack tunnels. The only area in which they have shown any initiative is getting attention by killing people.
Do you see the difference here? The Jews really wanted a state. They were ready to sacrifice and struggle for it. They took advantage of the aid that was available and used it to build something. The Arabs aren’t even trying. All they want is to destroy our state.
The ‘Palestinians’ have contributed nothing to the world except violent terrorism since they invented themselves in order to oppose Jewish sovereignty some 60 years ago. It’s time to start weaning them off welfare. If they can switch from stabbing to state-building, then they should go for it. In any case, the world can’t afford to keep feeding them.