The Instigator
brian_eggleston
Pro (for)
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The Contender
TN05
Con (against)
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An international sanctuary for victims of famine and war should be established in Israel

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/28/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,093 times Debate No: 31808
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (4)
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brian_eggleston

Pro

The trouble with giving state aid to developing countries, or donating to charities working with developing countries, is that much of the aid intended for victims of war and famine is channelled through the governments of various banana republics, tin-pot dictatorships and other corrupt regimes whose leaders siphon off donations to buy weapons, private planes, prestigious cars or to build magnificent palaces for themselves. Sadly, all-too-often, these third world tyrants put their own personal aggrandisement ahead of the welfare of their people. [1]

What is required to circumvent this problem is a humanitarian programme where victims of famine or war are removed from trouble zones to a place of safety: a sanctuary for refugees located in a dedicated host nation. This nation would work together with the international community to provide the permanent infrastructure required to meet the immediate and ongoing needs of refugees until they are able to return to their homelands.

Geographically, most victims of war and famine are from Africa or the Middle East [2] so it would be sensible to set up this humanitarian aid centre somewhere in that region, but the question is "where exactly"?

Clearly, the host nation would have to be relatively stable, have a well-developed economy and maintain a good relationship with the international community, and the only country in the region that fits this bill is Israel.

Naturally, with of hundreds of thousands of people being displaced by war or effected by famine every year the host country must have sufficient land and other resources to construct a facility large enough to feed, clothe and house refugees on a wholesale basis, and Israel certainly has this capacity.

We know that because, over recent decades, millions of migrants have accepted the Israeli government's invitation to go and settle there. [3] In fact, the Israeli government is so desperate for people to emigrate to their country that they actually give financial assistance to individuals who agree to relocate to Israel. [4], [5]

Naturally, there will be some infrastructure costs to Israel in terms of building new roads, laying on water and electricity, etc. but we all know that Jews are generous by nature and are notoriously selfless with their money, so there can be no doubt that most of the people of Israel would be delighted to have the opportunity to provide hospitality to people less fortunate than themselves.

But even if a small minority of Jews are reluctant to put their hands in their pockets to fund such a good cause, the Torah (the Jewish scriptures) commands Jews to give to charity in accordance with their means and they are forbidden to ignore the needs of the poor. [6]

Furthermore, the Israeli government also could use some of the $3.15 billion they receive every year from the American taxpayers to fund this vital humanitarian project. [7]

Moreover, the United Nations Millennium Project, which is a repeated commitment of the world's governments to commit 0.7% of rich-countries' gross national product to Official Development Assistance, currently funds such major humanitarian schemes, yet Israel currently contributes nothing at all to the pot. [8], [9]

With this being the case, donating Israeli public funds to such a worthwhile cause as a safe haven for the world's most vulnerable people will help right some of the wrongs of the Israeli government's current foreign aid policy.

There is, of course, one anomaly in this plan: that of the Palestinian refugees. There plight is briefly described here in the impartial words of the BBC: "In the course of Israel's creation in 1948 and its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza in 1967, more than half the Arabs of pre-1948 Palestine are thought to have been displaced. Today there are millions of Palestinians living in exile from homes and land their families had inhabited for generations. Many still suffer the legacy of their dispossession: destitution, penury, insecurity. Palestinian historians, and some Israelis, call 1948 a clear example of ethnic cleansing - perpetrated by the Haganah (later the Israeli Defence Forces) and armed Jewish gangs." [10]

Obviously, these Palestinian refugees should be allowed to return to their homes and farms in Israel and they should be given full citizenship, but this arrangement will have to form part of the ongoing Arab-Israel Peace Process.

In conclusion, with hundreds of thousands of people in Africa and the Middle East in desperate need of foreign aid, and with the international community"s donations being diluted by despotic leaders and corrupt government officials, the only solution is to establish an international sanctuary for refugees of famine and war, and the best place for that is in Israel, and I hope to see this proposal implemented without undue delay.

In the meantime, however, please continue to give generously to good causes in the developing world, as any money reaching those in need is better than none.

Thank you.

[1] http://www.dailymail.co.uk...
[2] http://www.unhcr.org...
[3] http://www.nationmaster.com...
[4] http://www.gov.il...
[5] http://www.jewishagency.org...
[6] http://www.torah.org...
[7] http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org...
[8] http://www.unmillenniumproject.org...
[9] http://www.unmillenniumproject.org...
[10] http://www.bbc.co.uk...
TN05

Con

I will accept this debate.

My opponent presents an interesting hypothesis, that Israel should be used as a sanctuary for victims of famine and war. However, there are some serious flaws with this idea that undermine the good intent. Unlike most other countries in the region, Israel is a stable, democratic country with good relations with much of the Western world. This is no doubt due to the unique nature of Israel as a Jewish state, the only such country in the world - most other Middle-eastern countries are predominately, if not exclusively, Muslim, and are governed by a set of laws incompatible with much of the modern world. In contrast, Israel, while Jewish, runs under a mostly secular system, will full religious liberty and freedom. It is host to a large Muslim community as well as significant Christian and Druze communities, as well as members of the Bahai faith and the only significant Samaritan population on Earth. In fact, Israel is ranked as only 'free' country in the Middle East by Freedom House, a US-based firm.[1]

Israel is also host to the world's 26th-largest GDP, with average of $31,467 per person; only slightly below European Union, South Korea, and New Zealand.[2] No doubt a major reason for this economic stability is the strong education system, the second-most educated in the world,behind only Canada and ahead of Japan and the US according to a 2012 OCED report.[3] A massive influx of poor, understated people who lack the basic skills needed to succeed in such a technologically advanced country would cause significant harm to the Israeli economy and education system.

My opponent does make an interesting point in regards to charity. However, the government of Israel is secular - the state is Jewish as is culture (similar to how much of western culture is Christian), but the government is not.[4] Currently, the government is controlled by a conservative coalition that would likely be opposed to tax increases for such a work. The Palestinians would surely not be willing to contribute to this.

I am not going to get into an argument over Palestinian refugees, because this debate does not involve them. However, a significant factor that would make Israel a bad location for a refugee sanctuary is terrorism. The Palestinians are governed by Hamas, whose charter wants to destroy Israel and kill the Jews [5], and Fatah, whose goal is "Complete liberation of Palestine, and eradication of Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence" and whose Constitution says "Armed public revolution is the inevitable method to liberating Palestine... Armed struggle is a strategy and not a tactic, and the Palestinian Arab People's armed revolution is a decisive factor in the liberation fight and in uprooting the Zionist existence, and this struggle will not cease unless the Zionist state is demolished and Palestine is completely liberated".[6] Clearly, these groups are NOT friendly to the idea of using Israel for anything other than what they desire, and they fully intend to use armed rebellion to target Israel and annihilate the 'Zionists'. The addition of hundreds of thousands, or maybe even millions of people would simply give more targets for these radical regimes to launch rockets at or slaughter in suicide attacks. This would directly affect peace talks with the Palestinians.

In conclusion, the idea presented by Pro is not without merit. However, many key factors such as a sure weakening of the economy, difficulty in gaining funds, and the hostility of Palestine towards anything Jewish would prevent it from succeeding.

References:
1: http://www.jpost.com...
2: http://en.wikipedia.org...
3: http://en.wikipedia.org...
4: http://israelipalestinian.procon.org...
5: http://archive.adl.org...
6: http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 1
brian_eggleston

Pro

I would like to thanks TN05 for accepting this debate.

It appears my opponent and I both agree that Israel would be capable of becoming a host nation for an international refugee centre but it seems he is concerned about the security of the inhabitants of such an establishment. However, I would like allay those concerns as follows:

The democratically-elected representatives of the people of Gaza and the West Bank do not condone acts of terrorism but they do represent people living under illegal occupation. Under international law, all peoples have the right to self-determination [1] and have specifically and consistently ruled in favour of the Palestinians in this regard [2]. Nevertheless, the Israeli government continues to defy the will of the international community and denies the Palestinian people this fundamental, and other, human rights.

So, if certain Palestinian citizens take it upon themselves to resist this occupation by targeting the Israeli military then this is no different from the the actions undertaken by the resistance fighters in Nazi-occupied Europe: if the Israelis term these brave men and women as "terrorists" and the pro-Israeli, Right-wing media in the West repeat this slur, it doesn't alter the realities of the situation.

However, it is most unlikely that Palestinian activists would target fellow refugees, many of whom are likely to be Muslim brothers and sisters, they would have nothing to gain from it but everything to lose in terms of international public relations. What would be their motive? Why not aim valuable rockets at Israeli military targets instead?

Regarding the cost, the majority of funding will come from existing charitable and state aid and any costs to the Israeli government could be covered by existing income from the American taxpayer supplemented by charitable giving from Israeli citizens, Jewish, Christian or Muslim - followers of all these faiths have a religious duty to give to the poor and needy in their midst.

Thank you.

[1] http://www.un.org...
[2] http://www.un.org...
TN05

Con

I would like to thank my opponent for his response.

My opponent did not question the following points:
*Israel is a stable, democratic, and free country
*Israel is not exclusively Jewish
*Israel is comparative economically with the European Union, South Korea, and New Zealand, and comparative educationally with Canada, the US, and Japan
*An influx of poor, uneducated people would harm the Israeli economy and education system
*The government of Israel is secular and would likely oppose higher taxes

Therefore, I assume he either agrees with them or does not contest them.

My opponent is correct in his assertion that I think Israel could become host to an international refugee center - however, this is only insofar as it is the only country in the region that is remotely capable of doing so. He forgets that I say such an idea, while well-intentioned, is not feasible due to several issues. To say I support such an undertaking, at this time, is incorrect.

My opponent asserts that "The democratically-elected representatives of the people of Gaza and the West Bank do not condone acts of terrorism". This runs in stark contrast to the charters and constitutions of Hamas and Fatah, which express otherwise. Additionally, Palestinians as a whole are, at most, divided on the issue of civilian targeting. According to a 2012 poll of Palestinians, 57.3% in the Gaza Strip supported bombings against Israeli civilian targets. This number is only 25.3% in the West Bank, but this is still quite high. On average, 37.3% support bombing or suicide bombing against Israel.[1]

Simply put, these numbers show an unacceptable support by Palestinians of targeting toward civilians - and this support is followed through by actions. Human Rights Watch, an organization that has been accused of having an anti-Israeli bias,[2] said that during the recent conflict between Israel and Gaza militants:
*"Palestinian armed groups in Gaza violated the laws of war during the November 2012 fighting by launching hundreds of rockets toward population centers in Israel"
*"The rocket attacks, including the first from Gaza to strike the Tel Aviv and Jerusalem areas, killed three Israeli civilians, wounded at least 38, several seriously, and destroyed civilian property."
*"Rockets that fell short of their intended targets in Israel apparently killed at least two Palestinians in Gaza and wounded others"
*"Armed groups repeatedly fired rockets from densely populated areas, near homes, businesses, and a hotel, unnecessarily placing civilians in the vicinity at grave risk from Israeli counter-fire."

Sarah Lee Whitson of Human Rights watch said that "Palestinian armed groups made clear in their statements that harming civilians was their aim".[3] These violent acts have shown a disrespect, not only for Israeli life but for Palestinian life - these rockets killed Palestinians and placed them at severe risk for rocket fire. Not only that, the attacks were targeted entirely at civilians - not the Israeli military. Targeting civilians, regardless of reason, is a blatant violation of international law.[3] These facts clearly disprove my opponent's assertion that Palestinians don't support violence against civilians - significant numbers do, and many have decided to act on this belief.

My opponent also notes that "it is most unlikely that Palestinian activists would target fellow refugees, many of whom are likely to be Muslim brothers and sisters, they would have nothing to gain from it but everything to lose in terms of international public relations. What would be their motive? Why not aim valuable rockets at Israeli military targets instead?". This is an important question. However, as demonstrated above, civilians, not the military, are being targeted. Approximately 20% of Israelis (1,573,000) are Muslim[4], meaning there is a one-in-five chance that a civilian killed by terrorists would be Muslim. The matter of fact is that they already have no issue targeting potential Muslims - if they are killed, after all, wouldn't they just go to paradise?

Similarly, terrorists have no regard for public image - terrorists destroyed the WTC complex, killing 3,000 people. This received universal outcry of verbal support for the United States, even from long-standing adversaries like Cuba, North Korea, and Russia. The only major support for the attacks came from the Palestinians, many of whom danced in the streets in celebration.[5] Several dozen innocent Muslims were killed in the attacks.[6] Keep in mind that early death total estimates were far higher the actual total, with the early NYPD estimate being 6,659.[7] This lack of respect for life is a major reason why placing refugees in the path of fire is not right. Until, or if, the Palestinian-Israeli issue is settled, hosting poor people in disputed borders and in the possible line of rocket fire.

I do not question my opponent's assertion on cost. There are many, many charitable givers among the major religions and such an undertaking would receive support from at least some of them.

To conclude, the idea behind this is not bad. However, there are severe faults with it - economic and educational harm to Israel, but most importantly the targeting of innocent civilians by terrorists. From my perspective, adding thousands of potential targets for terrorism is not feasible until such a time as the dispute is settled and the land would be free from attack.

Thank you.

References:
1: http://www.haaretz.com...
2: http://www.huffingtonpost.com...
3: http://www.hrw.org...
4: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org...
5: http://en.wikipedia.org...
6: http://islam.about.com...
7: http://usatoday30.usatoday.com...
8: http://www.israeltoday.co.il...
Debate Round No. 2
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by TN05 4 years ago
TN05
Thanks; I had the basic idea on what I wanted to do from the start, so it was just a matter of finding good sources to back up the statistics and whatnot.

Yeah, I'd like to see some votes here but it looks like that won't happen. It would suck for such a good debate to not get even a single vote.
Posted by brian_eggleston 4 years ago
brian_eggleston
I agree, that was an excellent debate (I was especially impressed how quickly you responded with eloquent and informed responses, by the way).

Pity no votes...
Posted by TN05 4 years ago
TN05
I would like to thank Pro for an excellent debate. :)
Posted by brian_eggleston 4 years ago
brian_eggleston
A serious debate, just for a change, so I have set an 18+ age limit.
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