The Land is not the Issue
Kerry is in the Mideast trying to impose a solution. Pro-Zionists sites are producing maps and trying to dissuade the powers that be from dividing the land, as if that were a real possibility. But the issue is not the land, but the Arabs on it.
Call them Arab-Israelis, Palestinians, Fakistinians, whatever. The Arabs are the issue, not the real estate.
Can anyone doubt that if in 1967 Israel conquered an empty -- or even sparsely populated -- Judea and Samaria that Israel would have annexed it in five minutes? Can anyone doubt that had Israel annexed such an empty Judea and Samaria the world's outcry would have faded out over time?
In 1967, Israel immediately annexed the eastern half of the formerly divided Jerusalem for religious and historical reasons. The Golan Heights was annexed in 1981 for security reasons. The Arabs in both areas were, and still are, offered citizenship. But the populations in the Golan and Jerusalem were small enough to absorb, at least initially. Most of the Arabs in Jerusalem refused the offer, as did most of the Druze in the Golan.
What has kept the issue alive are the Arabs in Judea and Samaria. The world is bombarded constantly with images of hostile Arabs who do not want to be under an Israeli rule -- where they have no vote -- whether that rule is direct rule, as in Area C of Judea and Samaria, or indirect rule as in Area A, or under controlled sea borders as in the Gaza Strip.
Were these areas devoid of Arabs there would be no issue.
The Arabs inside Israel proper have also started to lobby against a "Jewish state." They have formed the Arab Balad Party which refuses to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. They put forth that Israel should be a "state of all it citizens." If that were all Balad wanted, Balad might have a case. Equality of all is a Western virtue. However, Balad also wants a right of return for the Palestinians which would destroy Israel. In essence, they want Israel to dissolve itself. They now protest under Palestinian flags, and organize under a Palestinian framework. Even inside Israel, the issue is the Arabs, not the land.
A history of Israel from the start of the Mandate until today shows how determined the Jews are to keep every inch of land under Jewish control. In 1937 when the Peel Commission offered the Jews a take or leave it partition of the land, Ben Gurion begrudgingly only accepted the concept of partition. The Jews rejected the Peel Commission's partition even though such rejection meant cutting off Jewish immigration from a Nazi-influenced Europe.
No Jew alive today has the authority to yield any piece of Land whatsoever. This right is preserved by the Jewish People throughout the generations and can[n]ot be forfeited under any circumstance. -- Ben Gurion
Call it wise parlaying or dishonest dissemblance. Israel will negotiate till the cows come home; but will not surrender Judea and Samaria. This is what Israel perceives as her divinely given homeland. This attitude informs the Israeli leadership today. Israel will never give the Arabs in Judea and Samaria independence. Never.
We would like this [Palestine] to be an entity which is less than a state. -- Yitzhak Rabin
At best, Israel will offer the Arabs an insultingly very limited degree of controlled autonomy.
Israeli groups, such as Women in Green, are arguing for total annexation with a restricted vote for the Arabs in Judea and Samaria -- only those who meet the criteria.
So the issue is not the land. Israel is not going to give up an inch of it willingly; and no Palestinian will accede to anything less that total independence. Nothing short of a nuclear war will get Israel to surrender her patrimony. Call it heroic wisdom, the greatest display of courage since the Spartan Stand at Thermopylae, or call it something nasty, Israel will not budge.
This leaves us in the rest of the world with an image of 2 million Arabs in Judea and Samaria who want to be out from under Israeli oversight, who are tired of Israeli checkpoints and property confiscations.
One could suggest more negotiations. The Israelis will happy to talk for another hundred years, while planting more Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. One would have thought by now that American foreign policy would have figured this out. The Arabs have not stopped their calls for the destruction of Israel. What is there to negotiate?
The only humane solution is to get the Arabs out of the area.
It is easy to say: Let them go to the other 22 Arab states; but that is dishonest. The Arab states refuse to naturalize Palestinians. To get the Arab states to take them would require a massive coordinated Western pressure campaign; and even that is not guaranteed to work. The Arabs may just realign themselves with China and ignore Western pressure. Though it is worth a try.
Putting aside who is right, and who is wrong, the Arabs and Jews cannot live together. That should be obvious.
What should be negotiated is how to get the Arabs out of Judea and Samaria peacefully, who should pay for the relocation, and where should they go.
I have some sympathy for the Palestinian predicament, but no other solution is possible.
Instead of subsidizing the Arabs to stay; pay them to leave.
The land is not the issue.
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.