President Trump: Let the Palestinian Arabs go!

US$16.5 billion proposed for projects in Jordan and Egypt - coupled with Trumps’ US$6.5 billion unexpended in Gaza – and rejected - are a humanitarian lifeline for Gaza and 'West Bank' Arabs to migrate and enjoy better lives than they currently have.

David Singer

OpEds Dry Bones: Let the Palestinians go!
Dry Bones: Let the Palestinians go!

President Trump should consider championing legal, voluntary and financially-assisted emigration from Gaza and the 'West Bank' (Judea and Samaria) by calling on Jordan and Egypt to open their border crossings and grant residency status to Gazan and 'West Bank' Arabs seeking a better future for themselves and their families.

Such action is certainly justified following the rejection of President Trump’s offer to inject US$6.5 billion into the 'West Bank' and Gaza – with both Hamas and the PLO telling Trump they were not prepared to accept any financial assistance coming out of the Manama Conference jointly convened last week by Trump and Bahrain. 

Hamas purported to speak for the “Palestinian people” – a body politic invented in 1964  that last had a say in its own future in 2006:

“No one can represent the Palestinian people except the Palestinians themselves, who have never been unqualified to taking decisions related to Palestine. The parties and states meeting in Manama do not have any right or mandate to take decisions on behalf of the Palestinian people. Therefore, any resolution taken or stance adopted at the conference is null and void and does not represent the Palestinian people. Such decisions or positions are only desperate attempts to liquidate the Palestinian issue and do not represent the Palestinian people.”

The PLO was just as quick to reject the massive financial aid being offered by Trump – PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas declaring:

“We say that national rights are not pieces of real estate that are purchased and sold and that arriving at a political solution that guarantees freedom, dignity, independence and justice for our people must precede any economic programs or projects because that will create stability and security for everyone,”

Christine Lagarde - managing director of the International Monetary Fund – appeared to agree with both Hamas and the PLO – when stressing

"Improving economic conditions and attracting lasting investment to the region depends ultimately on being able to reach a peace agreement.

"Peace, political stability and re-establishment of trust between all the parties involved are essential pre-requisites to the success of any economic plan for the region."

Lagarde's comments appeared at odds with the views expressed by White House adviser Jared Kushner when he opened the conference and said an economic plan "is a necessary precondition to resolving what has been a previously unsolvable political situation."

The “unsolvable political situation” in Gaza and the 'West Bank' has been ongoing for the last 100 years. 

Gaza and 'West Bank' Arabs - currently forced to endure this political uncertainty - faced the following dire economic circumstances in 2018 according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics:

  • Unemployment in Gaza reached 52 percent - an increase of almost eight percent since 2017 
  • Unemployment among young people in Gaza aged 15-29 was 69%.
  • The unemployment rate in the West Bank was 17.6 percent 

Gaza’s civilian population has paid a heavy price for the indiscriminate targeting of Israeli population centres with thousands of missiles and incendiary balloons.

Hamas and the PLO – still fighting between themselves for control of the johnny-come-lately “Palestinian people” - seem extremely unlikely to allow the respective constituencies they have ruled for the last 12 years to have any say in the future political and economic direction of Gaza and the 'West Bank.'

US$16.5 billion proposed for projects in Jordan and Egypt - coupled with Trumps’ US$6.5 billion unexpended in Gaza – constitute a humanitarian lifeline for Gazan and 'West Bank' Arabs to migrate and enjoy far better lives than they currently have.

If Gazan and West Bank Arabs cannot vote in election booths - then Trump should help them vote with their feet.

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Author’s note: The cartoon — commissioned exclusively for this article — is by Yaakov Kirschen aka “Dry Bones”- one of Israel’s foremost political and social commentators — whose cartoons have graced the columns of Israeli and international media publications for decades. His cartoons can be viewed at Drybonesblog