If You Start to Take Vienna, Take Vienna
The master of military conquest, Napoleon Bonaparte, defined a simple but classic truth which eludes the modern state, in this case Israel. If one seeks to take a territory, then take it.
Right now, nations are starting to insist that products made in Judea and Samaria (called by the political neologism of the West Bank) be labeled as made in the West Bank or the territories. Britain and the EU may soon require it; and the trend for relabeling is growing as part of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) movement. The idea is to hammer Israel economically until she accepts a two-state solution based on 1967 borders.
I will argue that the chief culprits here are not BDS Anti-Semites but rather the members of the Israeli government. Namely: if Israel wants Judean and Samarian settlements to be recognized as Israel, then the Israel government must annex Judea and Samaria. It is that simple.
This failure of nerve gives Israel's opponents a legitimate opening to criticize. The critics can now claim products made in the settlements should not be labeled: Made in Israel, by the authority of the Israeli government. Yes, Israeli apologists cry foul; but frankly, thanks to a feckless Israeli administration, the apologists have no leg to stand upon.
If Israel does not have the chutzpah to declare the settlements as part of Israel, why should the rest of the world? Is the BDS movement obliged to be more Zionist than the Israeli government?
Building settlements without annexing the land is not a show of strength, but of mealy-mouthed bureaucratic weakness, It is hypocritical. I know there are problems in annexation, but Israel has refused to address them; and instead has chosen the path of dishonest diplomacy.
The first biblical criteria before taking an area in the Holy Land is the famous case of Ai (see Chap 7 of Joshua), where Joshua was forced to confront Israel's own sins before victory was granted to the 12 tribes. Likewise, Israel has some sins of its own to address,
Israel has kept Judea and Samaria under a fog of military rule - I am not saying occupation, but it is still military rule -- over a hostile population. Judean and Samarian Arabs are judged under military, not civilian, courts and rules. However hostile the Arabs in Judea and Samaria were in 1967, the Arabs are even more hostile now. Forty-five years of military rule would inflame even a passive people; and the Arabs were never passive.
Whatever one thinks of the justice of Israeli claims, it does not make military rule any more palatable to an Arab; and however poorly one thinks of the Arab cause, military rule is still noxious and oppressive by its very nature. Westerners have revolted over far less systemic abuse.
The Arabs, as miserable as their Islamic culture is, have no say in the Israeli government which rules over them, are regularly denied building permits for capricious reason, have municipal land seized for spurious reasons, and have houses demolished. Israel claims settlements have need for natural growth but somehow, the Arabs are denied permits for their own natural growth.
The Arabs were a violent people to begin with, but this rule has certainly aggravated their temper.
Oslo was not a concession, but a disaster for both sides. The Arabs were given limited self-rule in non-contiguous regions -- essentially, if we are honest, Indian reservations for Arabs. Israel still controlled the import and export of goods, the entrance and exit of Arabs, and withheld building permits. While on paper, the Arabs seem to have benefited, it was not by much. Some have even argued that it released Israel from having to police Arab towns, and the only real beneficiary was Israel. The concession was minor.
One can say Israel had good reason -- and indeed, Israel did have good reason -- not to offer more; but the fact remains that Oslo was a poor deal for the Arabs. Worst of all, it left the Arabs with a hopeful illusion for a national state that Israel cannot grant them now; and I doubt Israel ever seriously considered granting them even then. Over time, when Arab hopes were not realized, and settlements grew, it became obvious that Oslo was an façade; and Arab violence reasserted itself.
This is not to say the chief fault is all Israel's. Not by a long shot. But whoever and to whatever degree any side was to blame, Oslo was a disaster.
The Arabs are not in much better of an arrangement than they were after the loss of the Six Day War. It is a nightmare of a Twilight Zone existence, which does not bode well for either side.
We are faced with the inevitable conclusion. Military rule in the area has to end. A semblance of normality has to be imposed. Either Israel can withdraw to 1967 borders, or Israel can annex the land; but the nebulous present arrangement cannot continue.
If Israel wants the land, she must honestly annex it. The practice of settling an area yet not annexing the area officially is not acceptable; not to the Zionists who see it as official cowardice -- neither to the world which sees it as hypocrisy, theft and deceit.
So what about the Arabs in the area? That is the chief problem.
First, it has to be stated that no right of return for Palestinian refugees outside Israel will be offered. That has to be immediately ruled out. After that, some hard choices will have to be made.
Israel cannot continue to rule over people who have no say at all in the government ruling over them. This violates the very core of Western democratic principles; and no Westerner can support a policy that they themselves would resist and have resisted in the past.
This means that over time, the Arabs have to be enfranchised. It will make the Jewish state a little less Jewish, but there are not enough Arabs to overwhelm the Jews. The Jews would still have a clear majority. They might have to invite some Arabs into a coalition government once in a while.
A proficiency in Hebrew up to the fourth-grade level in reading could be required, which is more than we require of American voters. Israel should not be ridiculously strict; a fourth- grade proficiency is enough. This policy could be introduced slowly; but it has to be introduced sincerely, and not in name only. A twenty-year schedule to full enfranchisement of everyone could be setup.
Reason has to be applied. Those with no arrests, or arrested only for peaceable protest, could be expedited; those who throw stones would be delayed. Those who shot soldiers could be denied. Christians and Samaritans could be preferred as they are less violent by culture. The Confederate South, which fought harder than any Arab army, only took a few years to be re-enfranchised.
Some have suggested that rather than enfranchising the Arabs, Israel should treat the Arabs like citizens of Guam, or Puerto Rico; but the analogy is false. Puerto Ricans and Guamians have full US citizenship. They can run for the presidency. If they do not vote in federal elections, it is because they have chosen commonwealth status over statehood, which has been offered. Any Puerto Rican who moves to New York can immediately vote. Neither is the case of Samoans applicable. American Samoans are only nationals, not citizens; but they have total control over their islands -- analogous to giving the Arabs total internal control over Judea and Samaria, thus vetoing any settlements. The idea of limiting the Arabs to Area A of the Oslo accords is actually the equivalent of locking them in Arab reservations, which no Westerner should consider today; especially since American Indians have had the vote for a century now, and total freedom of movement.
The settlements get to stay; but the Arabs get more building permits -- and not delays waiting for them. They get to keep their municipal lands and their olive trees. School and road funding would be apportioned equally.
Israel could demand national service of the Arabs, which is only fair. It does not have to be in the armed services. Hospital or civic service is sufficient. Again, all of this would be in keeping with the idea of assimilating the Arab to a degree; and it should also be applied to Hasidim who are now exempt.
Israel could then remove the official status from the Arabic language over time. Nations have a right to declare a preferred language. Practically speaking, Israel has diminished the use of Arabic already.
Arabs should be required to declare loyalty to Israel. Some will say they should be required to declare loyalty to a Jewish state; but since Jews are not required to swear loyalty to Catholic France, but only to France, nor to Protestant Britain, but only to Britain, neither to the Evangelical United States, but only to the United States, it would be hypocritical of Israel to require what Jews around the world refuse to concede themselves. The Arabs should be required to declare loyalty to Israel and to know fourth grade Hebrew.
Arabs who refuse to declare loyalty should be offered passports to other countries; and bought out in cash, then removed by force. This can be arranged.
In the end, if Israel does not have the guts to annex the territory it should not complain when its critics point out that the Israeli government has all but declared itself. The Israeli government refuses to recognize Judea and Samaria as Israel, so why should Israel's critics?
If you start to take Vienna, take Vienna.
This Napoleon fellow was quite insightful. He even proposed setting up a Jewish state in 1799, one hundred and eighteen years before the British falsely took the credit.
Mike Konrad is the pen name of an American who runs http://latinarabia.com/, which discusses the Arab subculture in Latin America. He is neither Arabic, Jewish, nor Hispanic in ancestry. He wishes his Spanish were better.