A Bi-national Nightmare
There will be no peace as Kerry promised. The minimum any Palestine leader could accept is far more than Israeli could safely give; and the maximum that Israel could give is far less than any Palestinian leader could accept. However, a greater threat looms: the One-State Solution.
There is now a rising chorus advocating a bi-national Israeli state, which would effectively end Israel's Jewish character.
Probably the most famous among them is Ali Abunimah of the Electronic Intifada, a pro-Palestinian web journal. Mr. Abunimah is a Palestinian-American, but raised in Europe -- which explains his accent. A Princeton graduate, he is the smooth-talking darling of the pro-Palestinian circuit. He comes across as a lover of peace, and quite a reasonable fellow, if one ignores that he is advocating the ethnic demise of the only Jewish state on the planet.
Of course, there are others. ICAHD's Israeli-American Nobel Prize nominee Jeff Halper advocates one state. Halper's opposition to Israeli demolitions of Arab houses might have some merit; but he seems to have lost all connection with reality when it comes to assessing the innate hostility of Arabs to Jews in the land. While technically not advocating for a bi-national state, the University of Chicago's John Mearsheimer has argued that a bi-national solution is inevitable, indicating that America's elite are now entertaining the idea.
Most ominously of all, the Palestinians themselves are starting to favor a one-state solution.
Dr Nabil Kukali, Director of the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion, agreed that Palestinian public opinion is trending towards a bi-national state. -- JPost
The nightmare scenario would be that Abbas might go to the United Nations and say: Give us independence or the vote. We offer you peace for the vote.
Reaction would be seismic and instantaneous. The demand for voting rights would resonate with people around the world, in particular with American Jews, who pride themselves on support for both Israel and for civil rights at home. Such a demand would also force Israel into an untenable position; if it accedes to such a demand, it would very quickly cease to be the world's only Jewish-majority state, and instead become the world's 23rd Arab-majority state. If it were to refuse this demand, Israel would very quickly be painted by former friends as an apartheid state. -- Jeffrey Goldberg
Israel is stuck in a bind. Israel cannot safely give Palestinians a state. She cannot safely give them the vote. Some Israelis have tried to get around this by suggesting that the Palestinians be offered non-enfranchised autonomy. Others suggest setting a high bar for citizenship.
Oslo has failed precisely because the Palestinians will not accept a non-enfranchised autonomy. Repackaging what is unacceptable to them will not work. They want an independent state, which everyone knows will become an armed dagger aimed at Israel's coastal spine. Ultimately, they seek the erasure of Israel. Failing that, they will demand the vote. Either way, Israel is in danger.
Oslo has survived on life support only because of the absolute corruption of the Palestinian leadership. If Israel was facing honest Palestinian nationalists, the charade would have collapsed a decade ago, as it did in Hamas' brutally run Gaza.
Setting a high bar for citizenship will not work either. Once the Palestinians are faced with the collapse of a two-state solution, the Palestinians will rise to the occasion. They will learn Hebrew if necessary; it is a Semitic language similar to Arabic. The Palestinians will agree to a Jewish state, with the unstated reservation that once they are in charge, the Jewish character of the state will be dismantled.
Should Israel deny that vote, the charge of Apartheid will become universal. Even Israeli leaders have acknowledged the predicament.
"The simple truth is, if there is one state" including Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, "it will have to be either bi-national or undemocratic. ... If this bloc of millions of Palestinians cannot vote, that will be an apartheid state," Defense Minister Ehud Barak said. -- Sun-Sentinel
Northwestern University Professor Eugene Kontorovich dismisses the one-state solution as an idle threat. The Palestinian leadership would have to give up its perks and embassies.
Professor Kontorovich suggests that the Palestinians could be absorbed and their bluff should be called. Does he take into account that car theft is a major Palestinian industry; or that a major increase in crime would follow? Guaranteed! A major flight of Israeli Jews would occur.
Mahmoud Abbas is 78; and not long for the planet. He was born in an era when most Arabs were illiterate fellahins. That day is over. The Palestinians now have an increasingly educated elite -- many educated in the West -- who know how to take one step back in order to take two steps forward.
All the Palestinians have to do is offer peace for the vote in an Israeli state, and the circus would begin. Initially, they would not offer an assent to a Jewish state, just an Israeli one. Of course, Israel would refuse on that issue alone; but the outcry would be enormous. One can only imagine how the E.U. would throw its might behind such a "democratic" offer of peace. Charges of "Jewish supremacy" would be universal upon Israel's rejection.
The damage would be done. Not one single Palestinian embassy would have to be dismantled. They could keep their perks. Israel would be hammered.
What if Israel accepted the offer?
This history of democracy shows that once a coordinated minority reaches around 10%, they can paralyze legislatures. The Irish did it in the 19th century British parliament. Blacks have clout in America. Jews are only 13% of the Senate; and they have influence out of proportion to their numbers. If the Arabs have not exercised their potential in Israel, yet; it is only because they are not organized, yet. That day is passing.
It would not require a Arab majority to erase Israel's Jewish character. A coalition between the Israeli Left, some anti-Zionist Haredi religious parties, and the minority Arabs would sink the ship of state. They would slowly allow a Palestinian Right of Return by piecemeal steps and the game would be over.
So what is the solution?
There is no easy solution. Israel has spent over four decades trying to figure out a way to keep the land without enfranchising a hostile population and incurring world condemnation.
Israel had formerly used some distasteful legal tricks -- such as revoking residency rights -- to remove a quarter million Arabs out of the Palestinian territories. In the age of the internet, those tricks will no longer fly. Every incident will now be front page news.
Israel stripped more than 100,000 residents of Gaza and some 140,000 residents of the West Bank of their residency rights during the 27 years between its conquest of the territories in 1967 and the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in 1994. -- Ha'aretz
Maybe the policy was nasty; but the Arab population would be higher had it not been done, and one can only imagine what Israel would be facing today.
Another policy -- according to the British critic of Israel, Jonathan Cook -- was to limit economic or educational opportunities to Arabs in the hopes they would leave for greener pastures. Some did; which is what Israel wanted, according to Cook.
If getting rid of Arabs was Israel's goal, these policies were insufficient.
When a two-state solution does not surface this time -- and it won't -- the Palestinians may ask for the vote. The Arab intelligentsia is already pushing for it. A new leadership will attempt this ploy.
Has Israel prepared for that? Has Israel formulated a plan to counter what has become the pet cause of the pro-Palestine movement?
A bi-national one-state solution will even sound good to a dumbed-down American populace which has forgotten that America is a republic not a democracy. How will Israel explain why Arabs inside 1949 Israel have the vote; but Arabs in Judea and Samaria should not? How will Israel explain why she has to turn down the Arab offer of peace for the vote? How will Israel convince Americans that a disenfranchised Arab population is consonant with a Jewish and democratic state?
Worse yet, if implemented, how will Israel convince Jews to remain when the Arab population doubles?
Count on it: Abbas, or more likely whoever comes after him, will eventually make the offer; and will be painted as another Gandhi. Or worse yet, another Mandela! Once that connection is made in the public mind, Israel will be in pariah mode; and no amount of spin will counter it.
Already many Israeli-Jews are seeking second passports. The two-state solution is dead, and the one-state solution is rearing its head. Jews need only look to Lebanon to see what happened to the Christians when they lost the majority.
The time for Israel's stalling must end. Hard decisions have to be made; and made fast. Insufficient measures will no longer suffice.
A) A call for a massive Aliyah must be sent out. Millions of Jews from America, Canada, France, and Britain have to be persuaded to move to Israel. The rest of the world has more or less been emptied of Jews. I do not know how Israel is going to do this; but it has to start right now. The motto could be: It's Now or Never.
B) The Arabs have to be moved out. I have hardened in my position over the past two years; but the antics of Israel's Balad Party shows that the Arab population is unassimilable. I know this is not pretty; but there is no other choice. Preferably, it should be effected peacefully. I constantly suggest generous compensated relocation of those youth willing to leave. There are statistics that 44% of Palestinian youth are willing to leave. Pay them to go... generously. In the end, it will be a bargain.
At the end of this farce of negotiations, Israel will no longer have luxury of waiting for the next round of talks. The gloves will have to come off.
Israel has been afforded a breather with a Palestinian leadership which was incredibly corrupt and stupid. That time has past. The upcoming leadership knows how to play the democratic game.
If Israel is to survive as a Jewish entity, Israel will have to make some very hard, very unsavory, and very unpopular decisions. Aliyah of Jews in and removal of the Arabs out are her only hope. This has to be effected soon.
Either that... or get second passports.
Mike Konrad is the pen name of an American who is not Jewish, Latin, or Arab. He runs a website, http://latinarabia.com/, where he discusses the subculture of Arabs in Latin America. He wishes his Spanish were better.