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Saturday, January 17, 2009


I said a couple of days ago that I would write again about the comparison between Gaza where 200,000 refugees arrived in 1948 & Hong Kong where 600,000 refugees arrived ob the same period & the obvious disparity now between the 2. Also how to make Gaza rather closer to the success Hong Kong obviously is.

In the interim I learned of this article from Israeli libertarians which covers much of the same ground:

The reason for Gaza’s endless youth bulge is that a large majority of its population does not have to provide for its offspring. Most babies are fed, clothed, vaccinated and educated by UNRWA,

UNRWA is benevolently funded by the U.S. (31%) and the European Union (nearly 50%) — only 7% of the funds come from Muslim sources. Thanks to the West’s largesse, nearly the entire population of Gaza lives in a kind of lowly but regularly paid dependence. One result of this unlimited welfare is an endless population boom.

Between 1950 and 2008, Gaza’s population has grown from 240,000 to 1.5 million. The West basically created a new Near Eastern people in Gaza that at current trends will reach three million in 2040. Within that period, Gazans may alter the justifications and directions of their aggression but are unlikely to stop the aggression itself.

The West pays for food, schools, medicine and housing, while Muslim nations help out with the military hardware....

As long as we continue to subsidize Gaza’s extreme demographic armament, young Palestinians will likely continue killing their brothers or neighbors.....

Even creating Palestine is not an answer. It would serve to relocate a million “refugees” to Palestine thereby increasing the problem. The problem being that the policies of the West are instrumental in supporting a population explosion which vastly exceeds the creation of jobs. Is the world that stupid or do they have a different agenda.

And yet, despite claiming that it wants to bring peace to the region, the West continues to make the population explosion in Gaza worse every year. By generously supporting UNRWA’s budget, the West assists a rate of population increase that is 10 times higher than in their own countries. Much is being said about Iran waging a proxy war against Israel by supporting Hezbollah and Hamas. One may argue that by fueling Gaza’s untenable population explosion, the West unintentionally finances a war by proxy against the Jews of Israel.
I am not so naive. UNRWA and Palestine, are intended as a war against Israel.

David Gelernter suggests in The answer to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.and I agree with him

The problem will be solved as soon as the world stops trying to solve it. When the international community moves on to fresh causes, so will the Palestinians.”
The problem can only be solved by the U.N. replacing UNRWA and with UNHCR whose mandate it is to resettle refugees. This of course means that the Arabs and the West have to take such refugees in.

it (the West) may consider offering immigration to those young Palestinians only born because of the West’s well-meant but cruelly misguided aid. In the decades to come, North America and Europe will have to take in tens of millions of immigrants anyway to slow the aging of their populations. If, say, 200,000 of them are taken from the 360,000 boys coming of age in Gaza in the next 15 years, that would be a negligible move for the big democracies but a quantum leap for peace in the Near East.

I think there is no chance that the US (31%), EU (nearly 50%) are going to take 1 1/2 million Gazans any more than Israel would (or indeed any more than the other Arab states will).

However the basic point of the article seems irrefutable - that "aid" to refugees has not worked to stop them being refugees but to keep them, in ever growing numbers, in that status & to deprive them of hope of getting out. We may wonder whether Arab pressure to keep a vast number of refugees on Israel's border was purely altruism. We might also wonder whether the German led EU's decision to keep a vast number of refugees as a threat to the Jewish state was entirely altruistic either. On the other hand debating the blame doesn't solve anything. We may also ask why the EU & US have not been willing to give the same generations of aid to Serbia to resettle the 2 million Serbian refugees our policy deliberately produced. To be fair we would then have to wonder whether Serbia & Republica Srpska would be better off it they had received such help, or whether they would be closer to the corrupt Kosovo & Sarajevo regimes which have had such help. Benefiting only the corrupt thugs we selected to commit genocide & form governments there.

I propose instead that those who have given billions in aid to maintain the problem do considerably less to make Gaza (& the West Bank though the problems are different) not merely self sufficient but prosperous.

The absolute requirement is an uncorrupt administration (not government) willing to uphold free contract. That means policing carried out by honest people not the kleptocrats who have got so wealthy (the widow Arafat for example is living in great luxury in Paris). I suggest that after Hamas have been disarmed, or killed if they insist, a new police force very well funded by the west, acting in concert with the Israelis but commanded by clearly independent uncorrupt officers not appointed on western political whims. I suggest that Singapore, one of the world's least corrupt countries (with a Moslem minority & good relations with Israel), be approached & asked to appoint one or more of their senior Moslem officers, given full leeway to enforce the pre-existing laws.

There need & should be no more government. No taxes to collect. If outsiders want to pay for hospitals etc as they are already doing then fair enough, though if it goes to funding street gangs, as in practice, most of it does now, then that would be as much of a criminal offence as it is here.

Beyond that the aid givers should build sufficient port facilities to ensure there are no barriers to foreign trade. The EU & USA should also give a 10 year freedom from all tariffs for manufactures or services from Gaza. This would cost far less than any traditional aid, indeed free trade doesn't actually cost anything. If they have more money to spare & the record of the last 60 years says they have, then they could do something like guaranteeing 20% of any loan by any bank to individuals in Gaza - not enough to make unrepayable loans sensible but enough to make money available.

That would do it. Gaza's economy would take off in a way that makes China look staid. People would have something to do other than making babies & something to lose by starting another war.

The losers would the international bureaucracies which need people to "help" & who, together with politicians whose "achievements" have been promoting peace in the Middle East, would be entirely discredited by such a libertarian solution after decades of statism making it worse. This is why it will be opposed even though another group who would be discredited by a successful modern Arabic state would be our al Quaeda ex-friends.

The most important part of this is a very strong uncorrupt police force firmly enforcing the rule of law & allowing people to do business without thugs/community leaders turning up & stopping them & no western politicos jogging their elbows. This is why I suggested Singapore which has maintained such law & is in 4th place as the world's least corrupt. Fortunately this would be easier in a small community - it would mean about 3,500 officers if at the same population ratio as Britain, many of whom could be recruited from or allowed to live in Israel - an easy commute - though I am assuming less lawyer serving delays, more serious punishments & initial policing done with IDF help.

As regards the West Bank the economic position is less desperate but the logistical & policing problems more difficult. I have been told that before the Intifada the WB had an average income about 60% of Israel's because (1) so many people worked in Israel & (2) many local manufacturers were subcontractors for Israeli firms. That made them the richest non-oil Arab nation. Obviously such contacts & prosperity could not survive suicide bombers but if the will were there to stop the bombers it could be rebuilt.

I should point out that in proposing a society with no legislative or administrative government I am not proposing my personal ideal. I think a society with welfare is a better one & that there are functions that government carries out better than the market (eg fire brigades & sanitation). The thing is that "government" in the Palestinian areas has been so corrupted by western aid & local tribalism (or possibly vice versa) that it has to be deconstructed & only once they have rebuilt a society working on personal responsibility can it be rebuilt.

The problem can only be solved by the U.N.

The problem can be solved when the UN is abolished. At some point the Jews in Israel will have to realize that the Jews in the US are committed liberals, and that US Jews are therefore big supporters of the UN and often Palestine.

In the decades to come, North America and Europe will have to take in tens of millions of immigrants anyway to slow the aging of their populations.


Neil wrote...
I think ... that there are functions that government carries out better than the market (eg fire brigades & sanitation).

On the edges of my metro are there is a private fire company that protects homes in areas without government fire service. Also, on the edges of the valley out in the Johnson ranch area there is a private water company delivering fresh water to residents homes. Larger water projects may be handled by the state, but clearly smaller ones can be handled by the business. Once the smaller ones have been privatized, we can sell off larger ones.
Also, John Derbyshire wrote a good article on the Palestinian problem here
Interesting - in some of Britain's bigger cities there is a Salvage Corps funded by the insurance companies whose job is to accompany the fire vrigade & haul goods out of the way, dry them out etc. Nonetheless both of these are working round the erges of the government fire brigade. I am with Ben Franklin in thinking this is a natural monopoly & best supplied on a social basis.
The fire company is usually designated the official fire company of an unincorporated area by the county, as such there is no competition. In Scottsdale where Rural/Metro was formed the company had a contract with the city to provide fire services in lieu of a city fire department. Later Scottsdale succumbed to pressure and formed a city run fire department. This is the same pressure that gets inner ring suburbs to subsidize mass transit even though my metro area has very low density. Around here even the illegals have cars, so bus service is a waste of money and fuel. My mother had the option of riding the bus, instead I bought her a very used car and insured it myself.

I see your point about water systems, but here in AZ we have slowly evolved a system of private water rights, some are owned by irrigation districts, some by cities and some are owned by landowners. My city, Mesa, actually owns a large block of desert land in order to secure the water rights from that land for the use of the city water department. The city council sometimes refers to it as the city's "water farm". The city could easily sell its interest in the water farm, the water treatment plant and the water mains to a private company, without any problems. The sewer system must remain in municipal hands since there is no way to deny service to deadbeats.

Because the city is built on former farmland the irrigation canals and laterals still run through most of the neighborhoods and residents have the option of either irrigating their yards with water from the local irrigation district or buying city water from the tap.
Our water companies used to be nationalised but all except the Scottish ones were sold off. At the time I wasn't comfortable with that because water is a natural monopoly but the English ones have generally improved & are now costing slightly less than ours with slightly better water quality. Ours also still get a government subsidy. This is the more remarkable as Scotland has a lower population density & no shortage of rain.
The city water treatment plant in Indianapolis, Indiana had its operation contracted out to a private company and the company reduced staff by 50% and still was able function properly.
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