The Price of Oslo – 933 Billion Shekels and Counting
The failed attempt at regional peacemaking known as the Oslo Process has cost the state of Israel over 900 billion shekels – more than $250 billion – since 1993, and the costs keeps rising, according to a study by the Likud party's Jewish Leadership faction, which is headed by MK Moshe Feiglin (Likud-Beytenu).
By comparison, the total state budget for 2014 has been set at about 400 billion shekels, or about $115 billion.
The numbers came as a shock to the researchers, who recently gave a much lower estimate of the total financial costs of the botched endeavor.
Jewish Leadership's report on the study's results note that the same amount of money would have sufficed for ensuring that 3.5 million Arabs receive the same income that they currently enjoy, for a period of 50 years, in exchange for voluntary repatriation to Arab countries.
Instead of turning Gaza, Judea and Samaria into arms depots and terror hotspots, Israel should apply its sovereignty to all of these areas, settle them, make them flourish, and adopt a policy of reducing the size of the Arab population and isolating it.
The research, which was led by Jewish Leadership's R&D Head, Michael Fuah, examined nine fields of expenditure and tallied up what it said were the minimal costs of the Oslo process to date, as follows:
Transfers of funds to the Palestinan Authority – 88 billion shekels
Added costs to Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) – 37 billion shekels
Added costs to the IDF – 300 billion shekels
Costs to Ministry of Public Security (police) and damage from massive car thefts – 105 billion shekels.
Hiring of civilian security guards all over Israel – 220 billion shekels
Construction of separation fence around territory handed over to the Palestinian Arabs – 4.7 billion shekels
Loss in tourism revenues during peak years of terror – 150 billion shekels
Cost of evicting Jews from Katif Bloc – 9.5 billion shekels
In addition, the study attempted to quantify the financial loss incurred as a result of the deaths and injuries of Israelis in terror attacks, in terms of lifetimes of productive work that have been lost and payments made by the National Insurance Institute. It set this number at about 12 billion shekels, in what it called a conservative estimate, noting that the very attempt to quantify human life in pecuniary terms was a difficult experience.
"A comparison of the 17 years that preceded Oslo to the 19 years after it began shows that from 1977 to 1993, 357 Israelis were murdered in terror attacks, whereas from 1994 to 2012, 1'159 were murdered. In other words – the Oslo accord not only failed to bring peace – it clearly and directly caused a threefold growth of the number of murdered terror victims.”
The authors noted that the largest cost incurred because of the Oslo process was, as anticipated, the expenditure that appear under the heading of “Added costs to the IDF.” Since the Oslo process was supposedly a “peace process,” the expectation was that it would actually save the army money – but the oposite proved true, and it wound up costing 300 billion shekels to date.