Israel has to think clearly in its search for countries both willing to take in these Palestinians, and where those migrants can do the least harm to the interests of the Jewish state. It was appalling to find out that the Israelis had actually been in talks with European countries to see if they might be willing to take in people from Gaza. The last thing in the world Israel needs Is for more Muslims, and especially Palestinians, to live in Europe, where they will work tirelessly to sway Europeans to adopt anti-Israel policies.
It would be better that these Palestinians be taken in by Muslim countries that are already anti-Israel, where they can do the least harm. The further away they are from the Middle East, and the larger the populations into which these Gazans will be diluted, the better. Israel, or more likely its Arab allies the U.A.E. and Saudi Arabia, might be able to persuade, say, Sudan (pop. 43 million), or Pakistan (pop. 205 million), or Bangladesh (pop. 170 million), to take in some tens of thousands of Gazans each year. The request could be sweetened with an offer of money not just to resettle these migrants, money that Israel’s current best friends in the Gulf, Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E., could easily supply, but also as tokens of appreciation to the rulers of the countries taking in the Gazans.
While the 35,000-50,000 Gazan Palestinians allowed each year into the U.K. or France or other European countries could do a lot of damage to Israel in lobbying for the Palestinian cause, and would increase the physical danger to European Jewry as well, the same number, of Gazans, if diluted among the populations of the largest Muslim countries, would be much less dangerous. They would then be living in countries where there are no Jews to attack, and among Muslims who are already as anti-Israel as they could be. The presence of those Palestinians might even lead to growing hostility towards them among their hosts. The Palestinians throughout the Arab lands have not endeared themselves to their hosts; why would similar antagonisms not arise in Pakistan, or Bangladesh? Palestinian immigrants who are perceived as receiving favorable treatment, including money from Arab donors for resettlement purposes, could quickly become a source of resentment.
Israel’s apparent attempt to convince Europeans to take in more Palestinians from Gaza was a great mistake. The Muslim population of Europe is a powerful anti-Israel weapon; the Muslims help create and foster anti-Israel attitudes and policies. They are vectors of antisemitism. Israel should be allying itself with those in Europe who want to decrease the numbers of Muslims in their countries, rather than trying to send more Palestinians into Europe. These Palestinians, born and raised to hate Israel and Jews, if admitted into Europe would both increase antisemitic attacks in Europe, and swell the ranks of anti-Israel activists. The Gazan Palestinians need to be sent far from the Middle East, to places where they can do the least harm to Jews and to Israel.
The U.A.E. and Saudi Arabia are allies of Israel against Iran and have a stake in lessening Israel’s problems in Gaza, so that it can concentrate on the larger struggle against the Islamic Republic in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon. As noted above, they can play a part by offering to finance the resettlement of Gazan Arabs in Pakistan and Bangladesh, as well as paying the rulers of those countries for allowing such resettlement. So far Israel’s attempts to find countries willing to take in Gazan Arabs have failed, but they were knocking on the wrong doors, and overlooked the role that the Saudis and Emiratis could play. They should abandon any further attempts to persuade Europeans, or Arab states, to take in Palestinians from Gaza. Instead, they should coordinate their policy with Riyadh and Abu Dhabi, explaining how they hope to tamp down violence in Gaza by aiding tens of thousands of its most volatile inhabitants, and eventually far more, to leave the Strip each year. Israel should ask the Gulf Arabs approach Islamabad and Dacca about taking in those Gazan Palestinians, making an offer the Pakistanis and Bangladeshis can’t refuse. That just might work. It is worth a try.
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