In an Attempt at Compassion, the Israeli Supreme Court Has Thrown Immigration Policy into Chaos

Just as the immigration debate has returned to the fore in the U.S., Israel, too, has been struggling over how to deal with its own illegal aliens. The problem peaked around 2011, when over 2,000 individuals were entering the country illegally every month, most of whom settled in lower-class neighborhoods of South Tel Aviv. In a recent decision, the High Court of Justice has blocked the government from forcibly deporting those illegal immigrants who refuse to leave voluntarily—a decision Yoaz Hendel finds troubling:

The Israeli government has formulated an immigration policy similar to [that of] other countries: an open detention facility [for those who enter the country without permission] and [then deportation] to a third country. The decision was reasonable and proper compared with what’s going on in the rest of the world, especially considering Israel’s size and its needs. . . .

[T]he High Court of Justice made a double error. The first was to . . . intervene in the government’s decision, and on one of the only issues on which it was able to put together a clear and orderly policy allowing for a serious and proportional mechanism. The second error was showing leniency instead of discussing policy. . . .

The end result is the same: as of now, Israel has no sanctions with which to operate against illegal aliens who refuse deportation. Israel [thus] has no immigration policy [whatsoever]. . . .

We are responsible to see to the care of those who are already here, but the residents of South Tel Aviv who are Israeli citizens should come before the illegal aliens, who are not. Both groups deserve personal compassion, but also a clear-cut policy. The High Court of Justice ruled out the latter option, leaving in place only leniency. . . . And that is a mistake.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Immigration, Israel & Zionism, Israeli politics, Supreme Court of Israel, Tel Aviv

Recognizing a Palestinian State Won’t Help Palestinians, or Even Make Palestinian Statehood More Likely

While Shira Efron and Michael Koplow are more sanguine about the possibility of a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, and more critical of Israel’s policies in the West Bank, than I am, I found much worth considering in their recent article on the condition of the Palestinian Authority (PA). Particularly perceptive are their comments on the drive to grant diplomatic recognition to a fictive Palestinian state, a step taken by nine countries in the past few months, and almost as many in total as recognize Israel.

Efron and Koplow argue that this move isn’t a mere empty gesture, but one that would actually make things worse, while providing “no tangible benefits for Palestinians.”

In areas under its direct control—Areas A and B of the West Bank, comprising 40 percent of the territory—the PA struggles severely to provide services, livelihoods, and dignity to inhabitants. This is only partly due to its budgetary woes; it has also never established a properly functioning West Bank economy. President Mahmoud Abbas, who will turn ninety next year, administers the PA almost exclusively by executive decrees, with little transparency or oversight. Security is a particular problem, as militants from different factions now openly defy the underfunded and undermotivated PA security forces in cities such as Jenin, Nablus, and Tulkarm.

Turning the Palestinian Authority (PA) from a transitional authority into a permanent state with the stroke of a pen will not make [its] litany of problems go away. The risk that the state of Palestine would become a failed state is very real given the PA’s dysfunctional, insolvent status and its dearth of public legitimacy. Further declines in its ability to provide social services and maintain law and order could yield a situation in which warlords and gangs become de-facto rulers in some areas of the West Bank.

Otherwise, any steps toward realizing two states will be fanciful, built atop a crumbling foundation—and likely to help turn the West Bank into a third front in the current war.

Read more at Foreign Affairs

More about: Palestinian Authority, Palestinian statehood