Bring Down the Facade

Most of the Israeli Right is refusing to address the chief issue in its death struggle with "Palestine." Israel trots out lawyers, historians, theoreticians, and academics to defend its control of Judea and Samaria; but that is not the central issue – it’s rather a distraction from the core problem.

I have no problem if Israel want to declare the land west of Jordan River (perhaps also Gaza) as Eretz Israel. Zionist writers, even here at American Thinker, will all invoke the San Remo Mandate of 1920 as the foundation for Israel's claim to the contested areas. All fine and well.

Finally, the allied powers -- Britain, France, Italy, and Japan -- passed the San Remo Resolution in evidence of their agreement:

...

This agreement was binding in international law, as these powers had the right to dispose of these lands. -  Palestine, Back to the FutureAmerican Thinker, Ted Belman, 2012

However, that is not the issue which troubles the world.

Were there not roughly 300,000 Arabs in the eastern side of Jerusalem, no one would care what Israel does in Jerusalem; no one would be upset that Israel claims all of the city. Were there no Arabs in Judea and Samaria, no one would care that Israel is building "Jewish settlements."

The problem is not so much who owns the land, but what to do with the Arabs on that land. One can make glorious appeals to the Western tradition, filled with gazillions of historical legal precedents, citing giants of Western legal thought, while playing stirring background music meant to bring tears to the most hardened of hearts -- all of this done in the service of defending Israel's claim on the geography -- but until one deals with the Arabs on the land, what has been accomplished?

Instead, what we read all too often from right-wing Israelis is how San Remo gives the Jewish people the absolute right to the land.

Well, San Remo did; but unfortunately, that right came with this death-defying obligation:

... it being clearly understood that nothing should be done which might prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine...  -- The Palestinian Mandate, Avalon Project, Yale

That is the issue, not the geography. So, while right-wing Jewish theoreticians will cite precedent after precedent on why the land is theirs, they dodge the underlying problem: The Arabs on the land that is theirs.

Those who do address the issue, often tender ridiculous, or historically inaccurate, solutions:

"DEPORT THEM TO JORDAN!"

Well, the refugees from Haifa, Caesarea, West Jerusalem, Jaffa, etc., who now live in Judea and Samaria, did not originate in Jordan; nor does Jordan want them, nor their descendants, today.  They came from what is now coastal Israel. Add to that the substantial number of Arabs with long roots in Judea and Samaria before 1948. That is an inconvenient fact, an ugly fact, a genuinely frustrating fact; but a fact nonetheless.

Nor does their past Jordanian nationality mean anything. They did not move across the border in 1967, the border moved across them. Jordan withdraw nationality from those born after 1988, with the signing of the peace treaty with Israel.

One consequence of this severing of ties with the West Bank was that Jordanians of Palestinian origin residing in the West Bank at that time lost their Jordanian nationality. -- Human Rights Watch

They are not Jordanians any more. It was a temporary accident of history. To make an historical analogy, when the USA acquired the Southwest from Mexico in 1848, the Indians on the land became our problem. The terroristic Apache, formerly Mexico's headache, were not deportable to Mexico.  Though born under Mexican sovereignty, Geronimo was now America's matter. The U.S. Army had to bring Geronimo back from Mexico, where he was hiding out. Likewise, the Arabs in Judea and Samaria are now Israel's problem, not Jordan's.

This is especially true of the Christians in Bethlehem, Beit Jala, and Beit Sahour, who may have been in Judea and Samaria for centuries, if not millennia. These people were traceable under Ottoman records back to the 16th century, and before that... who knows? The Ottomans came to them, not the other way around.

The same San Remo Mandate, cited as the authority for Israel's sovereignty, also required a protection of the full "civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine." 

Those civil rights necessarily included voting in the government which rules over their borders, their population registry, their movement, their travel, etc. We know this because the Ottomans gave voting rights to the local Arabs for the Ottoman parliament; and, inasmuch as civil rights were to be protected, voting rights could not have been withdrawn. 

These [1914] elections also produced a significant increase in the number of Arab deputies compared with previous elections -- Elections and the Electoral Process in the Ottoman Empire, 1876-1919

This right was reaffirmed when Britain gave the franchise to Palestinian Arabs during the Mandatory period.

The voting franchise cannot be denied by saying the Arabs did not have national rights. American Southerners may not have had the national right to secede in 1861, but they had the civil right to vote against Lincoln in 1860. Voting is a civil right; and San Remo guaranteed it to the Arabs. Maybe unwisely, certainly unfortunately, but it did so. World War I, which placed the area under British rule, had become, before it ended, "a war for democracy," which set the impetus for Arab rights.

Since 1967, Israel has done everything possible to secure her sovereignty in Judea and Samaria --altogether heroic and laudable -- but has done so without extending the franchise to the Arabs in Judea and Samaria. One can understand why the Jewish state would not want to enfranchise so many hostile, irrational, terroristic Muslims. One suspects Israel figured the matter would be a temporary interregnum, until a final solution was arrived at; but as time went by, Israel could no longer gloss over the arrangement; and the Arab intifadas brought the issue to the world's attention.

Even Oslo was not a solution. The Arabs -- let's be honest -- were reduced to rather small Muslim reservations in a very limited space. Israel has so circumscribed the PA's authority as to make it effectually equivalent to armed hall monitors in an unruly high school. Even the PA's population registry and residency are subject to Israeli control. The PA does not even have the authority to allow a "Palestinian" from Gaza to relocate to Ramallah in Judea and Samaria. Claims that Israel has tendered sovereignty to the PA are deceptive and fool no one. This policy may be wise for Israel, as the Arabs seek the destruction of the Jewish state; but it is not sovereignty for the "Palestinians," and should not be sold as such.

All of this would make perfect sense, if Israeli security, and Jewish plans for Judea and Samaria, were the only criteria; but it was not what San Remo intended, and since Israel has not yet officially annexed the land, one could seriously argue that San Remo obligations still obtain.

This is the core issue: the Arabs on the land; not One State, Two State options. Everything else is talking heads, talking nonsense.

Caroline Glick, in The Israeli Solution, has made a stab at addressing the core issue, holding out the promise of eventual enfranchisement of the Arabs. However, most intelligent Israeli Jews cringe at the immediate implication of a population spike of Arabs from 20% to one-third of the voting population. One also cannot help notice that this does not address the festering sore of Gaza.

Martin Sherman considers Glick's solution inadvisable.

It would require more than a gigantic leap of unsubstantiated hope to believe that such a measure could precipitate any result other than “Lebanonization” of Israel. -- JPost, Into the fray: To my colleague Caroline, a caveat, Martin Sherman

Sherman's analyis is absolutely correct. Israel would go the way of Lebanon, which divided along warring religious clines. Martin Sherman counter-suggests paying Arab individuals to leave, on a large scale, which sounds like a great idea, until one tries to find out who will pay for a project that would cost in the vicinity of $150 billion. One thing is sure: the Arabs states will certainly not pay. Still, it sounds like a safer option for Israel, whoever pays.

Wisely, both of these solutions avoid the ridiculous idea of annexing area C only, while concentrating the "Palestinians" in discontiguous, unviable bantustans of areas A & B.  Does anyone think the "bantustan" solution wouldn't make Israel an immediate pariah state; and legitimize BDS? Such a solution would inevitably tar Israel with the charge of "Aparthied," and no amount of explaining (hasbara) would convince the world otherwise.

Other than Glick's and Sherman's ideas, I can find no serious practicable analysis of how to deal with the only problem: the Arabs on the land.

I am not in favor of the two-state solution; but I feel that Israel's present situation, where it rules over approximately 2 million -- depending on who is asked -- hostile, disenfranchised Arabs in Judea and Samaria, and tries them under military law, is unstable, and ultimately deleterious -- and it necessarily calls into question Israel's claim to be a democracy.

It is certainly not the worst abuse of civil rights on the planet, but it is the squeakiest wheel at the moment; and it will not go away unless Israel addresses the core problem: the Arabs on the land, rather than answering with shibboleths of "the only democracy in the Mideast," or "We gave the PA sovereignty," which are both legitimately open to question, given the circumstances.

Rather than explaining or trying to redefine the problem. Israel must objectively deal with it.

It is clear that Israel under no circumstances will give the Palestinians a real, independent state. That would be insane. Then Israel must admit as much, rather than saying Israel should negotiate a two-state solution with a partner, who would never agree to the strictures that Israel would require -- particularly as Israel builds new communities in areas the Palestinians feel should be theirs. This is game playing. We expect lies from Muslims. Must we get them also from Israel?

Whatever, we think about Obama's betrayal of Israel, it was partially motivated by frustration with the Israeli government's game playing. Yes, Obama was unfair to Israel; but yes, Israel does play games -- not that the Arabs do not, either.

Stop the facade. Officially declare the two-state solution dead.  Then deciding between a buyout or enfranchisement is the long-term option.

Mike Konrad is the pen name of an American who wishes he had availed himself more fully of the opportunity to learn Spanish in high school, lo those many decades ago.

Most of the Israeli Right is refusing to address the chief issue in its death struggle with "Palestine." Israel trots out lawyers, historians, theoreticians, and academics to defend its control of Judea and Samaria; but that is not the central issue – it’s rather a distraction from the core problem.

I have no problem if Israel want to declare the land west of Jordan River (perhaps also Gaza) as Eretz Israel. Zionist writers, even here at American Thinker, will all invoke the San Remo Mandate of 1920 as the foundation for Israel's claim to the contested areas. All fine and well.

Finally, the allied powers -- Britain, France, Italy, and Japan -- passed the San Remo Resolution in evidence of their agreement:

...

This agreement was binding in international law, as these powers had the right to dispose of these lands. -  Palestine, Back to the FutureAmerican Thinker, Ted Belman, 2012

However, that is not the issue which troubles the world.

Were there not roughly 300,000 Arabs in the eastern side of Jerusalem, no one would care what Israel does in Jerusalem; no one would be upset that Israel claims all of the city. Were there no Arabs in Judea and Samaria, no one would care that Israel is building "Jewish settlements."

The problem is not so much who owns the land, but what to do with the Arabs on that land. One can make glorious appeals to the Western tradition, filled with gazillions of historical legal precedents, citing giants of Western legal thought, while playing stirring background music meant to bring tears to the most hardened of hearts -- all of this done in the service of defending Israel's claim on the geography -- but until one deals with the Arabs on the land, what has been accomplished?

Instead, what we read all too often from right-wing Israelis is how San Remo gives the Jewish people the absolute right to the land.

Well, San Remo did; but unfortunately, that right came with this death-defying obligation:

... it being clearly understood that nothing should be done which might prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine...  -- The Palestinian Mandate, Avalon Project, Yale

That is the issue, not the geography. So, while right-wing Jewish theoreticians will cite precedent after precedent on why the land is theirs, they dodge the underlying problem: The Arabs on the land that is theirs.

Those who do address the issue, often tender ridiculous, or historically inaccurate, solutions:

"DEPORT THEM TO JORDAN!"

Well, the refugees from Haifa, Caesarea, West Jerusalem, Jaffa, etc., who now live in Judea and Samaria, did not originate in Jordan; nor does Jordan want them, nor their descendants, today.  They came from what is now coastal Israel. Add to that the substantial number of Arabs with long roots in Judea and Samaria before 1948. That is an inconvenient fact, an ugly fact, a genuinely frustrating fact; but a fact nonetheless.

Nor does their past Jordanian nationality mean anything. They did not move across the border in 1967, the border moved across them. Jordan withdraw nationality from those born after 1988, with the signing of the peace treaty with Israel.

One consequence of this severing of ties with the West Bank was that Jordanians of Palestinian origin residing in the West Bank at that time lost their Jordanian nationality. -- Human Rights Watch

They are not Jordanians any more. It was a temporary accident of history. To make an historical analogy, when the USA acquired the Southwest from Mexico in 1848, the Indians on the land became our problem. The terroristic Apache, formerly Mexico's headache, were not deportable to Mexico.  Though born under Mexican sovereignty, Geronimo was now America's matter. The U.S. Army had to bring Geronimo back from Mexico, where he was hiding out. Likewise, the Arabs in Judea and Samaria are now Israel's problem, not Jordan's.

This is especially true of the Christians in Bethlehem, Beit Jala, and Beit Sahour, who may have been in Judea and Samaria for centuries, if not millennia. These people were traceable under Ottoman records back to the 16th century, and before that... who knows? The Ottomans came to them, not the other way around.

The same San Remo Mandate, cited as the authority for Israel's sovereignty, also required a protection of the full "civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine." 

Those civil rights necessarily included voting in the government which rules over their borders, their population registry, their movement, their travel, etc. We know this because the Ottomans gave voting rights to the local Arabs for the Ottoman parliament; and, inasmuch as civil rights were to be protected, voting rights could not have been withdrawn. 

These [1914] elections also produced a significant increase in the number of Arab deputies compared with previous elections -- Elections and the Electoral Process in the Ottoman Empire, 1876-1919

This right was reaffirmed when Britain gave the franchise to Palestinian Arabs during the Mandatory period.

The voting franchise cannot be denied by saying the Arabs did not have national rights. American Southerners may not have had the national right to secede in 1861, but they had the civil right to vote against Lincoln in 1860. Voting is a civil right; and San Remo guaranteed it to the Arabs. Maybe unwisely, certainly unfortunately, but it did so. World War I, which placed the area under British rule, had become, before it ended, "a war for democracy," which set the impetus for Arab rights.

Since 1967, Israel has done everything possible to secure her sovereignty in Judea and Samaria --altogether heroic and laudable -- but has done so without extending the franchise to the Arabs in Judea and Samaria. One can understand why the Jewish state would not want to enfranchise so many hostile, irrational, terroristic Muslims. One suspects Israel figured the matter would be a temporary interregnum, until a final solution was arrived at; but as time went by, Israel could no longer gloss over the arrangement; and the Arab intifadas brought the issue to the world's attention.

Even Oslo was not a solution. The Arabs -- let's be honest -- were reduced to rather small Muslim reservations in a very limited space. Israel has so circumscribed the PA's authority as to make it effectually equivalent to armed hall monitors in an unruly high school. Even the PA's population registry and residency are subject to Israeli control. The PA does not even have the authority to allow a "Palestinian" from Gaza to relocate to Ramallah in Judea and Samaria. Claims that Israel has tendered sovereignty to the PA are deceptive and fool no one. This policy may be wise for Israel, as the Arabs seek the destruction of the Jewish state; but it is not sovereignty for the "Palestinians," and should not be sold as such.

All of this would make perfect sense, if Israeli security, and Jewish plans for Judea and Samaria, were the only criteria; but it was not what San Remo intended, and since Israel has not yet officially annexed the land, one could seriously argue that San Remo obligations still obtain.

This is the core issue: the Arabs on the land; not One State, Two State options. Everything else is talking heads, talking nonsense.

Caroline Glick, in The Israeli Solution, has made a stab at addressing the core issue, holding out the promise of eventual enfranchisement of the Arabs. However, most intelligent Israeli Jews cringe at the immediate implication of a population spike of Arabs from 20% to one-third of the voting population. One also cannot help notice that this does not address the festering sore of Gaza.

Martin Sherman considers Glick's solution inadvisable.

It would require more than a gigantic leap of unsubstantiated hope to believe that such a measure could precipitate any result other than “Lebanonization” of Israel. -- JPost, Into the fray: To my colleague Caroline, a caveat, Martin Sherman

Sherman's analyis is absolutely correct. Israel would go the way of Lebanon, which divided along warring religious clines. Martin Sherman counter-suggests paying Arab individuals to leave, on a large scale, which sounds like a great idea, until one tries to find out who will pay for a project that would cost in the vicinity of $150 billion. One thing is sure: the Arabs states will certainly not pay. Still, it sounds like a safer option for Israel, whoever pays.

Wisely, both of these solutions avoid the ridiculous idea of annexing area C only, while concentrating the "Palestinians" in discontiguous, unviable bantustans of areas A & B.  Does anyone think the "bantustan" solution wouldn't make Israel an immediate pariah state; and legitimize BDS? Such a solution would inevitably tar Israel with the charge of "Aparthied," and no amount of explaining (hasbara) would convince the world otherwise.

Other than Glick's and Sherman's ideas, I can find no serious practicable analysis of how to deal with the only problem: the Arabs on the land.

I am not in favor of the two-state solution; but I feel that Israel's present situation, where it rules over approximately 2 million -- depending on who is asked -- hostile, disenfranchised Arabs in Judea and Samaria, and tries them under military law, is unstable, and ultimately deleterious -- and it necessarily calls into question Israel's claim to be a democracy.

It is certainly not the worst abuse of civil rights on the planet, but it is the squeakiest wheel at the moment; and it will not go away unless Israel addresses the core problem: the Arabs on the land, rather than answering with shibboleths of "the only democracy in the Mideast," or "We gave the PA sovereignty," which are both legitimately open to question, given the circumstances.

Rather than explaining or trying to redefine the problem. Israel must objectively deal with it.

It is clear that Israel under no circumstances will give the Palestinians a real, independent state. That would be insane. Then Israel must admit as much, rather than saying Israel should negotiate a two-state solution with a partner, who would never agree to the strictures that Israel would require -- particularly as Israel builds new communities in areas the Palestinians feel should be theirs. This is game playing. We expect lies from Muslims. Must we get them also from Israel?

Whatever, we think about Obama's betrayal of Israel, it was partially motivated by frustration with the Israeli government's game playing. Yes, Obama was unfair to Israel; but yes, Israel does play games -- not that the Arabs do not, either.

Stop the facade. Officially declare the two-state solution dead.  Then deciding between a buyout or enfranchisement is the long-term option.

Mike Konrad is the pen name of an American who wishes he had availed himself more fully of the opportunity to learn Spanish in high school, lo those many decades ago.

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