They come looking for work, better health care, and security. Most don’t want to stand out to authorities so they try to keep a low profile. Few who come are violent in nature; to them, terrorism is as much a problem and worry as it is for anyone else. In short, they come seeking a life much better than the existence they now endure.
They’re Palestinians, but in many ways they resemble desperate Mexican nationals who cross illegally into the U.S. each year. And like their Mexican counterparts, Palestinian illegal aliens are entering Israel by the tens of thousands each year.
In fact, says an analysis by The Media Line, an Israel-based media group that focuses on the Jewish state and the Middle East, so many are coming ”Israel may be facing a predicament more severe and menacing than any conceivable security threat: by the year 2020 Jews may be a minority in their own state.”
With a birthrate of 3.5 – 4 percent a year, the Muslim Palestinian population is the fastest growing in the world. Meanwhile, the analysis said, Israel’s population grows by only 1 percent a year. That means, say demographers, Jews could become a minority group in a nation specifically founded for them.
Arnon Sofer, a professor of geography at Haifa University, says about 170,000 Palestinian illegal aliens have entered east Jerusalem and the pre-1967 territories just since the beginning of 2003. Tens of thousand come daily, and Israeli border security personnel – like their Border Patrol brethren in the U.S. – are only able to apprehend a fraction of that number.
If there is any good news for Israel, it is that ”most of these Palestinians do not pose a security threat,” says the analysis. ”Rather, they want to circumvent the Israeli law to obtain Israeli residency or citizenship and benefit from Israel’s welfare and employment system, medical care, national security and the right to vote.”
In an attempt to control its borders, Israel is building a controversial ”security fence” around the West Bank and Jerusalem, ostensibly to keep out terrorists. However, it could serve as a backlash in the Jewish state’s bid to control illegal immigration. The Media Line says many Palestinians could attempt to stream into Israel before the fence walls them out.
Israeli police told The Media Line they were less concerned about Palestinians who were simply entering illegally, versus those who came to commit acts of terror. Rather, anyone suspected of being a terrorist would be detained and questioned; others who were simply found to be in the country illegally are sent back to the Palestinian territories, much like U.S. policy dealing with mass illegal aliens from Mexico.
There are other similarities to the United States. In America, though it is against the law knowingly to hire illegal aliens, some employers do because they can pay the aliens less money, don’t have to pay aliens’ benefits, and can avoid the taxes by paying the aliens cash. Mexican illegals don’t often complain about such arrangements because they are making more money than they could in their home country.
In Israel meanwhile, Jewish employers hire Palestinian illegals often for less than the legal minimum wage of $4.30. Also, The Media Line said, “the employer is not obligated to provide welfare benefits for his employees, he is not taxed for their work and can
maintain a cheap workforce with minimum expenditure.”
”The Palestinian employee will, in return, have bread on the table at the end of the day while avoiding the Israeli authorities,” the analysis said.
But the bottom line, says the analysis, is that the Palestinian illegal aliens settling in Israel could become a counterforce to the Jewish state.
”…Palestinians settling in Israel is that children of illegal Palestinian dwellers are likely to be instilled with pro-Palestinian and perhaps anti-Israeli views. In a way, by failing to contend with the issue of infiltration from the territories, Israel is paradoxically harboring its own enemies,” said The Media Line.
Israeli government officials and Knesset members are trying to deal with the problems of illegal aliens. The security fence is a physical barrier to continued mass illegal immigration, but the Knesset has passed a law recently prohibiting Palestinians (not other foreigners) from acquiring residency or citizenship in Israel through their Israeli spouse.
However, The Media Line said, the demographic aspect ”seems to have been overlooked” in Israel. Perhaps that is ”because the potential disastrous results, given adequate circumstances, will not be felt imminently, but only in the long run.”
It did take years for entire regions of the southwest United States to become predominantly Hispanic. In California, Hispanics outnumber all other ethnic groups.
Such dramatic demographic changes won’t take as long in Israel, say experts. In fact, Sopher told The Media Line, the demographic threat is already here.
”If a separation between Jews and Arabs isn’t applied right away, it is clear that an Arab majority will reduce the Jewish landscape of the state,” he said.