Knesset Study Shows a Second Expulsion Would Cost $100 Billion
If the government were to expel the Jews living in Judea and Samaria from their homes as it did in 2005 to the Jews of Gaza, the cost of the undertaking would exceed $100 billion. This figure was extrapolated by National Union Knesset members from a study carried out by the Knesset's Research and Information Department at their request.
NU chairman MK Yaakov 'Ketzaleh' Katz commissioned the study, which has shown that the total cost of the 2005 Expulsion (Disengagement) from Gush Katif will reach 10.8 billion shekels ($2.9 billion). “Just for the sake of comparison and as an example,” said NU MK Uri Ariel, “the annual budget of the Ministry of Housing is currently 6 billion shekels. Despite the high cost, we should note that most of the sum – or about 5.9 billion shekels – was spent on the Expulsion's 'envelope': the eviction forces, the SELA Administration [that dealt with the expellees] and government expenses,” Ariel clarified.
Total cost: more than Israel's entire budget
Based on these numbers, it turns out that for every person expelled, the state spent about 1,362,500 shekels. “If one multiplies this sum by the number of residents who live beyond the Green Line – about 300,000, not including eastern Jerusalem – one gets the frightening amount of 408,750.000,000 shekels ($110 billion) that will be required for evicting them, more than the State of Israel's total annual budget,” MK Ariel said.
The figures do not take into acount that the average value of individual homes and businesses in Judea and Samaria is greater than the average value of homes and businesses in the Gaza and northern Samaria communities whose residents were expelled in 2005, because the areas of Judea and Samaria that are closer to Jerusalem are more developed. This means that compensation costs would be even higher than Ariel's estimate.
The Knesset research found that the 2005 expulsion has cost Israel abour 9.5 billion shekels to date, and that the Finance Ministry estimates that another 1.35 billion shekels will be needed to finalize the process of rehabilitating the expelled citizens. This sum is in complete contradiction to the sum of “two to three billion shekels” cited by then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as the projected cost of the plan.
MK Ariel said that five years after the expulsion from Gaza, the cost is four times greater than what was promised by Sharon. “Most of the expellees still live in temporary housing, leaky "caravillas" and in communities lacking proper infrastructure. There is no doubt that these numbers are a blow to anyone who thinks of expelling 300,000 residents of Judea and Samaria and prove that it is forbidden to evict Jews from their homes by any parameter, whether humanitarian, moral or financial,” he said.