Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Single State?

Michael L.

{Cross-posted at the Elder of Ziyon and Jews Down Under.}

onestateFor years I thought that the only reasonable solution to the ongoing Arab war against the Jews was the two-state solution.  A single state solution, we were told, would either undermine Israel as a democratic state or it would undermine Israel as a Jewish state.  Israel could be Jewish, democratic, or with boundaries from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, but it could not be all three at once.

Those who insist upon this formulation - and I was one for years - are raising reasonable concerns, but there is one thing that proponents of the two-state solution seem never to take into account: the Arabs do not want it.  For almost one hundred years the Palestinian-Arabs have absolutely refused to share the land and tell us on a daily basis that they will never accept Jewish sovereignty on a bit of "historic Palestine."

There must come a point when we understand that no means no.

There must come a time when we take them at their word.  This being the case, Israel must act unilaterally because there is simply no other choice.  This should not be considered a burden.  It should be considered liberating.  Most of my readers will know that Palestinian-Arab dictator Mahmoud Abbas is, yet again, threatening to quit.  Well, I hope he does quit and I sincerely hope that after he does so Israel rips up the Oslo accords and henceforth refuses to acknowledge the PA, the PLO, Fatah, and Hamas.  It is absolutely pointless in negotiating with, or cooperating with, any of these groups because they are dishonest, utterly corrupt, and filled with the spirit of malice toward the Jewish people.

The Jews in Israel should not have to live with such violent and toxic hatred in their midst, coming from the children of the people who forced us into second and third-class non-citizenship for thirteen hundred years.  The Jews are no longer dhimmis in that part of the world - and are thus no longer required to ride mules, rather than horses - and the Arabs don't like it.

Well, I say, too bad.

The Land of Israel is the land of the Jewish people and has been for almost four thousand years, and that includes today's boundaries of Judea and Samaria.  We are willing to share, but no one is going to tell me that Judea is Arab rather than Jewish.

This being the case, I have argued in recent years that Israel should declare its final borders, remove the IDF to behind those borders, and - as we say - toss the keys over the shoulder.  I have usually been careful, however, not to advocate for the single-state solution.  I am not Israeli and believe that it should entirely be up to the Israelis to make that determination.

I still believe so.

However, I am becoming less and less convinced that a single state that includes Judea and Samaria, and the eastern section of Jerusalem, cannot be both Jewish and democratic.  What many on the hard-left would argue is that if Israel were to claim sovereignty over the ancient Jewish lands of Judea and Samaria then it is under an obligation to give the entire Arab population in those regions fulls rights to the franchise.  They believe, of course, that doing so would threaten the Jewish character of the state, which is precisely what they want to begin with.

But this is false.

What I would recommend, if Israel were to extend its authority onto the entirety of Judea and Samaria, is offering qualified local Arabs a pathway to Israeli citizenship.  Qualification would require that any particular family or individual under consideration would have no known violent history toward Jewish people and no known history of incitement of hatred toward Jews or Israel.

Those who are not qualified for citizenship, that is, individuals or families with a history of either violence or incitement to violence would be ejected from the country.  This is neither non-democratic, nor illiberal.  The Jews are among the most persecuted and oppressed people in the history of the world.  The Romans decimated our numbers two thousand years ago and the Europeans and Arabs have kept those numbers artificially low ever since.  This being the case it is only common sense, if not basic human decency, for the Jews of Israel to protect their children by removing the threats to them.

This is no more non-democratic than throwing a rapist in prison.

As for the rest of the local Arab population in the annexed Jewish regions I recommend a pathway to full citizenship.  Like pretty much everyone else in Israel they would be required, if they wish citizenship, to give two or three years of community service.  If after that period the individual has shown himself to be free of malice toward either Jews or Israel then that individual should be offered the franchise.

This broad plan - and, yes, obviously, the "devil would be in the details" - would keep Israel Jewish on traditional Jewish land while remaining a democratic country.

Democracy, it should be noted, is never a perfect system in implementation, nor is it a suicide pact.  There are always restrictions, which is why Puerto Ricans are denied the right to vote in US national elections.  They are under American sovereignty, but they do not have full rights to American citizenship, yet no one sane is claiming that the United States is a non-democratic country.

Israel is in a very tough spot, however.  It has a hostile American president who is about to turn an enemy country, Iran, into a nuclear regional power that will rearrange relationships and alliances throughout the region as the Sunni Arab states race to get their own nuclear weaponry.  Zionism is undermined because if Zionism means anything it means that no longer will non-Jews get to determine whether Jewish people live or die.

The significance of Obama's deal with Iran from a Jewish perspective is that Obama has basically handed Zionism over to the ayatollahs.  In two years or ten years they will decide the fate of the Jewish people, simply because Barack Obama is handing them the car keys.

In the mean time, Israel should solidify its position by declaring its final borders as it plans, and perhaps implements, its response to the Iran deal.


  1. No you've gone full Kahane. Not that it's a bad thing.

    1. Kahane wanted a theocracy.

      All I am saying is that Israel needs to declare its final borders.

      If those borders include Judea and Samaria then my proposal is one way of keeping Israel both Jewish and democratic from the River to the Sea.

    2. I mean his proposal for arabs in Judea/Samaria: legal residency with path to citizenship (loyalty oath), compensation for those who can't suffer to live in a Jewish state, and expulsion of the rest.

  2. Mike,
    Here is my rebuttal to Alexi's initial rebuttal to you at Elder's joint.

    I think Mike is right. Israel should declare defensible borders and retreat behind those borders. This would be consistent with the spirit and letter of resolution 242. (It's also been Alan Dershowitz' position since the early 1970's.) 242 didn't mention or address a settlement for a "Palestinian state," only for Israel's entitlement to secure and recognized borders. There was never a mandate for an another Arab state west of the Jordan River and 242 did not refer to one. Israel's legitimacy and standing in international law is not and never has been contingent on another Arab state existing west of the Jordan River nor for Israel to be obliged to negotiate one. Negotiating a "Palestinian" state was just one strategy to get to those secure and recognized borders. That strategy has clearly failed. If Israel vacates some of that land the Arabs can do what they want with it. They can call it what they want and have a go at running it.

    re: a war that Israel could lose
    Giving up more land through a negotiated settlement than is prudent for Israel's defense would certainly bring a war that Israel could lose. That is the Arab strategy. And the status quo will only lead to a worsening situation vis a vis its international standing.
    Israel should also reiterate the lawfulness of its position, as I've argued here, ad nauseam. Israeli spokespersons should use it to answer any question any asshole BBC reporter asks them about any subject until the reporter/anchor person sees that answer staring back up at her/him from her/his kidney pie.

  3. So Michael the light finally went on.?

    I have an Arab friend on Facebook who recently made a documentary . These are his words

    "I spent three days interviewing people from all casts of life in the de facto capital of the PA in Ramallah and let me assure you that 90% of the working class poor want Israel too annex Judea Samaria and retake the PA run city's and expel the Parasite Authority. It's time for Israel to make up its mind now and forever, it must take the bold step of annexing Judea Samaria and granting Judea and Samaria an Israeli Commonwealth status granting its residents citizenship and the right to vote for a Governor of the commonwealth. This is the same relationship that the United States has with its Island commonwealth Puerto Rico. This isn't my Idea it was spoken of during a meeting Bibi Netanyahu had with President Bush some time ago. Any resident of Judea Samaria who is willing to become a loyal citizen of Israel and serve in the IDF should be allowed to do so. All residents of Judea and Samaria deserve to have a referendum for annexation free and democratic ASAP. Let the silent majority speak via this referendum."

    1. A referendum.

      Now there's an idea.

      We know that a majority of Jerusalem Arabs prefer Israel sovereignty to PA authority.

      If that is also true in Judea and Samaria it makes thing considerably easier.

      A referendum on the question among Israeli-Arabs in those regions is a fine idea.

      It will never happen, of course, but a fine idea, nonetheless.

  4. Not to agree with his latest actions, but Martin Indyk wrote somethin in 2003 that merits consideration:

    A Trusteeship for Palestine?

  5. I will reiterate my '1+' approach. A Jewish Israel more or less along the lines of 1949 + 10% of Yesha and for the Arabs, no comment, no agreement, no 'treaty'.

    The 1+ approach assumes that there can never be and will never be any coming to terms with the Arabs. It's essentially an update to Jabotinsky's Iron Wall with the clear assumption that whatever however whenever the Arabs do or don't do anything subsequent to that is irrelevant. If they build their own nation or don't is of no importance at all. The 1+ approach assumes Israel is the '1' and the '+' is a semi-state for the Arabs. The '+' can take many forms; a nation, a UN protectorate, an EU protectorate, a return to something like the Mandate, a non-state, self administered. I'm sure there's other options as well. Point being, no one but them can conceive of what they want or how they want it to work.

    For instance when Albanian separatists started fighting Serbians and created the semi-state of Kosovo, the solution to their 'state-ness' was to inject a NATO back UN/EU Viceroy who was given absolute authority over all laws and legislature. The overlords poured cash and people into Kosovo and ruled it as their personal property. It true then and it's true now that Kosovo can never actually be self sustaining. And while the government as it were, of Kosovo how has the outward appearance of being a real self operating government, it's not. There is now relatively little fighting in Kosovo. Corruption is at an acceptable level.

    This is probably something of a model for the Arabs in Yesha. But the key is to not ask them or worry about what they think about that. For Israel annex all the land they need, tell the Arabs that infrastructure sharing will end by such and such date in the future and announce that any cross border aggression is technically an act of war. I can't imagine it would take more than 10 billion Euros a year to maintain the Arabs in Yesha in the style to which they are accustomed. Most of it would be siphoned off to criminal gangs in the PLO like it is today. And they and the UN through UNRWA are free to scream Death to the Jews all they like. If that's how they think an educational system is supposed to work, ok. Moreover, as a jumpstart the EU could sponsor thousands and thousands of out of work people in Europe to do a rotation in 'palestine' like the Peace Corp. Pay them to do all the dirty work that nations have to do like run the post office, process the paperwork of bureaucracy, teach jihad and whatnot. The unemployed of Europe get an ok job for 2 or 3 years, get radicalized themselves and return to Europe to do whatever it is they're supposed to do when they return. Ditto for Gaza, where 'the world's largest outdoor prison' or whatever they call it, could be rebuilt by the skilled and caring hands of Europeans eager to embrace Hamas and ISIS and then return home with their new found fervor.