The Humanitarian Paradigm – Hobson’s Choice for Israel (Part II)

y rigorous process of elimination, we are left with the Humanitarian Paradigm, as the only possible policy prescription able to adequately address the imperatives needed to preserve Israel as the nation state of Jews.

O, who can hold a fire in his hand; By thinking on the frosty Caucasus?

Or cloy the hungry edge of appetite; By bare imagination of a feast?

Or wallow naked in December snow; By thinking on fantastic summer’s heat?

– William Shakespeare,  in Richard II, Act1 Scene 3, on the futility of self-deception

There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact. Sherlock Holmes, “The Boscombe Valley Mystery

Last week I began  a two-part analysis of the policy paradigms that have emerged in the public discourse for dealing with the more-than-century old dispute between Jews and Arabs over control of the Holy Land as the conflict approaches its third post-Oslo decade.

In it, I identified four such archetypical paradigms for its resolution—and one for its “management” (a.k.a. its perpetuation). Moreover, I undertook to demonstrate that only one of these alternatives, the Humanitarian Paradigm, advocating funded emigration of the Arab residents of Judea-Samaria (and eventually Gaza)—is consistent with the long-term survival of Israel as the nation-state of the Jews. Accordingly, for those dedicated to the preservation of the Zionist ideal, it is nothing less than “Hobson’s choice”.

To recap briefly

Readers will recall that I confined the analysis last week to those policy proposals that eschew full or partial Israeli annexation of territory, deferring analysis of those that endorse such annexation for this week’s discussion.

To recap briefly: In the aforementioned prior analysis I dealt with the (a) idea of “managing the conflict” and (b) the two-state formula.

As for the former, it was shown to reflect disregard for the fact that, without appropriate decisive proactive initiatives, Israel is facing a growing threat and decreasing freedom to deal with it.   Accordingly, “managing the conflict” is little more than a pretext for backing away from confrontations in which Israel can prevail, while backing into a confrontation in which Israel might not prevail—or do so only at ruinous cost.

As for the latter, it has shown to be a fatally flawed formula, devoid of any sound theoretical foundation or empirical evidence on which to base its naïve prognoses for resolving the conflict by means of Palestinian statehood. Indeed, given the past precedents, there is little reason to believe—and  two-state proponents have never provided one—that any future Palestinian state will not rapidly become a mega-Gaza on the fringes of Greater Tel Aviv, precipitating all the harrowing realities, wrought on the hapless residents of the South on those of the coastal megalopolis.

So having dealt with the policy paradigms that eschew annexation– whether full or partial–it is now time to assess those that endorse it.

One-state: Lebanonization of Israeli society

Some pundits on the Israeli “Right,” keenly aware of the infeasibility of the two-state paradigm, have in large measure adopted—albeit for very different reasons—a prescription very similar to that touted by their radical Left-wing adversaries—that of a single state stretching from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.

According to this proposal, Israel should extend its sovereignty over the entire area of Judea-Samaria and offer immediate permanent residency to all its Palestinian-Arab residents, as well as the right to apply for citizenship at some undefined date, via some undefined process to ascertain loyalty—or at least the absence of disloyalty—to Israel as the Jewish nation state.  

The rationale, allegedly underpinning this ill-conceived proposal, is the new, optimistic demographic assessments suggesting that even if Israel were to enfranchise the Muslim population of Judea-Samaria, it would still retain a more than 60% Jewish majority.

Even conceding that this may be true, such a measure is likely to herald disaster for the Zionist enterprise and the future of Israel as the nation-state of the Jews. For the initial electoral arithmetic is hardly the defining factor in assessing the prudence of this approach, but rather the devastating effect it will have on the socio-economic fabric of the country and the impact this will have on preserving Israel as a desired/desirable place of residence for Jews inside and outside the country.

It would take considerable—and unsubstantiated—faith to entertain the belief that Israel could sustain itself as a Jewish nation-state with a massive Muslim minority of almost 40% – as the societal havoc that far smaller proportions have wrought in Europe indicate.

Indeed this is a clear recipe for the Lebanonization of Israeli society with all the inter-ethnic strife that tore Israel’s unfortunate northern neighbor apart.

Lebanonization of Israel (cont.)

Any forlorn hope that life under Israeli sovereignty will somehow “domesticate” the Palestinian-Arabs into reconciling themselves to life in the Jewish nation-state should have been well and truly dashed by the behavior of Israel’s Arab citizens.

After all, despite living (and prospering) for seven decades under Israeli sovereignty—and more than  a half-century after military rule over the Arab population was abolished—they not only voted, almost en-bloc, for the vehemently anti-Zionist “Joint List” in the 2015 elections, but displayed great empathy in a mass funeral for the terrorists, from the Israeli town of Um-al Fahm, who murdered two Israeli police officers on the Temple Mount.

Once the Arab population of Judea-Samaria becomes incorporated into Israel’s permanent population, at least two crucial elements of national life are almost certain to be dramatically—and in Zionist-compliant terms, negatively –impacted.  The one is the distribution of national resources; the other is population flows into, and out of, the country.
With regard to the former, clearly once the Arab residents of Judea and Samaria—whether enfranchised or not—become incorporated into the country’s permanent population, Israel will not be able to afford the kind of socio-economic disparities that prevail between the pre- and post-annexation segments of the population.

Accordingly, huge budget resources will have to be diverted to reduce these disparities – siphoning off funds currently spent on the Jewish population (and Israeli Arabs) in terms of welfare, medical care, infrastructure, education and so on.

Indeed, if enfranchisement (eventual or immediate) is envisaged, the electoral potential of the Arab sector is liable to be elevated from its current 13-15 seats in parliament to 25-30.  This will not only hugely bolster its ability to demand enhanced budgetary allotments, but also make it virtually impossible to form a governing coalition without their endorsement.

Moreover, collaboration   on various ad hoc parliamentary initiatives with radical Jewish left-wing factions is likely to nullify any formal calculations of an ostensible “Jewish majority”, and lead to legislative enterprises that ultra-Zionist proponents of annexation would strongly oppose – in an ironic manifestation of unintended consequences.

Partial Annexation: The Balkanization of Israel

Thus, while full annexation of Judea-Samaria will almost inevitably result in the Lebanonization of Israel—i.e.  create a single society, so fractured by interethnic strife that it would be untenable as the nation- state of the Jewish people; proposals for the partial annexation of Judea-Samaria will result in the Balkanization of Israel –  (i.e. dividing the territory up into disconnected autonomous enclaves, which will be recalcitrant, rivalrous and rejectionist, creating an ungovernable reality for Israel.)

Proposals for partial annexation appear to be fueled by (a) concern that total annexation would be too drastic a step for the international community to “swallow”, and (b) a sense that some semblance of self-rule must be facilitated for the Arabs resident in Judea and Samaria. As will be shown, partial annexation will address neither of these issues effectively. Indeed quite the opposite is true.

Proposals for partial annexation are commonly of two types:  Those that prescribe including  selected areas of Judea-Samaria under Israeli sovereignty   (such as Area C as advanced by Education Minister Naftali Bennett) ; and those that prescribe excluding certain selected areas from Israeli sovereignty such as the large urban centers in  Judea-Samaria (such as advanced by Dr. Mordechai Kedar in his “Emirates” plan)

Sadly, neither of these paradigms will solve any of the diplomatic or security problems Israel faces today, and will in fact exacerbate many.

The Balkanization of Israel (cont)

It is hardly necessary to go into the intricate details of the individual proposals for partial annexation to grasp how impractical they really are.

For whatever the configuration of the un-annexed areas left to Arab administration –whether the disconnected enclaves of Areas A and B, or the micro-mini “city states”—they will leave the sovereign territory of Israel with dauntingly long and contorted frontiers, making it almost impossible to delineate and secure. Clearly if one cannot effectively demarcate and secure one’s sovereign territory, there is little meaning to one’s sovereign authority over that territory.  

Although Haaretz is not my preferred source of reference, I find it difficult to disagree with the following assessment of Bennett’s plan for annexing Area C:

“… Bennett’s plan is groundless from the security, diplomatic, legal and, especially, physical angles. It’s easy to discern that, contrary to what was presented in a video produced by Bennett’s…party recently, Areas A and B in the West Bank are not contiguous blocs, spreading over 40 percent of the West Bank. Instead, they consist of no less than 169 Palestinian blocs and communities, cut off from one another by innumerable Israeli corridors and unused IDF firing zones that are together defined as Area C”.

It correctly pointed out: “… in fact, Bennett is proposing to increase the length of the Israeli border from 313 kilometers to 1,800 kilometers (194 to 1,118 miles). If [one] believe[s] Bennett, he will doubtless back the dismantling of the security barrier that Israel has built to the tune of 15 billion shekels ($3.9 billion), but [one] will have to accept that annexing Area C means Israel will have to build a barrier along the new border at the cost of 27 billion shekels and allocate another 4 billion shekels per year for maintenance purposes.”

Partial Annexation: Full political price

Similar criticism can be leveled at Kedar’s proposal for setting up an array of up to eight micro-mini “emirates” or city states.  It is not difficult to envisage the problems of future expansion beyond the highly constricted confines of disconnected enclaves, and of the need to severely curtail the authority of the local administration to deal with cross border issues such as pollution (particularly the carcinogenic emissions of the wide spread charcoal industry), sewage, pollution  from  industrial effluents, agricultural run-off, transmissible diseases and so on.   

Of course, any hopes that partial annexation, which entails extending Israeli sovereignty over about 65-75% of the territory, leaving the Palestinian-Arabs with an emasculated  25-30%, in a quilted patchwork of disconnected enclaves and corridors, will in any way diminish  international censure, are utterly unfounded. The political “pain” involved in such schemes would be no less than annexing 100% of the territory—without having to deal with the attendant chronic problems associated with partial annexation (as detailed above).   

Fanciful suggestions  that Nablus and Hebron might flourish into entities like Monaco and Luxembourg are as risible as those which, in the heady days of Oslo, predicted that Gaza would become the Hong Kong of the Mid East—and would be rightfully rejected as such.

Humanitarian Paradigm: Hobson’s choice

Even from the far-from-exhaustive analysis conducted over the last two weeks, it should be clear that an indisputable picture emerges as to the Zionist-compliant feasibility of the various policy paradigms proposed for dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


– The attempt to manage the conflict is little more than a formula for backing away from confrontations in which Israel can prevail, while backing into a confrontation in which Israel might not prevail—or may do so only at ruinous cost.

– The two-state paradigm will almost inevitably result in the establishment of a yet another homophobic, misogynistic, Muslim-majority tyranny, which will rapidly become a mega-Gaza on the fringes of Greater Tel Aviv, menacing the socio-economic routine in the commercial hub of the country.

-Full annexation of Judea-Samaria together with the Arab population will result in the Lebanonization of Israeli society and thrust the country into ruinous inter-ethnic strife that will imperil it status as the nation-state of the Jewish people.

– Partial annexation of Judea-Samaria will result in the Balkanization of Israel, dividing the territory up into disconnected, rivalrous, recalcitrant and unsustainable autonomous enclaves, which will create an ungovernable reality for Israel.

Thus, by a rigorous process of deductive elimination we are left with the Humanitarian Paradigm, advocating funded emigration for non-belligerent Palestinian-Arabs to third party countries, as the only possible paradigm that can adequately address both the geographic and demographic imperatives needed to preserve Israel as the nation state of Jews.

As such, for Zionists, it is Hobson’s choice. Anything else is self-deception.

The Humanitarian Paradigm- Hobson’s Choice for Israel (Part I)

Only one policy paradigm can sustain Israel as the nation-state of the Jews and prevent it becoming untenable either geographically or demographically—or both.

…when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth, – Sherlock Holmes in “The Sign of the Four”

Hobson’s Choice: a situation in which it seems that you can choose between different things or actions, but there is really only one thing that you can take or do – Cambridge Dictionary

As the more-than– century old dispute between Jews and Arabs over control of the Holy Land nears its third post-Oslo decade , four archetypical approaches have emerged in the public discourse for its resolution—and one for its “management”(a.k.a. its perpetuation).

In this two-part series I will assess the merits (or lack thereof) of these various approaches –both those which endorse (full or partial) Israeli annexation of territory across the pre-1967 Green Line and those which eschew it.

Indeed as I will show—barring divine intervention (something only the more pious than myself can rely on as a policy input—of these five (four plus one) options, all but one are demonstrably incompatible with the long-term survival of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.  All but one—demonstrably—do not address adequately either the geographic imperatives and/or the demographic imperatives that Israel must address to avoid becoming either geographically untenable or demographically untenable (or both).  

Israel as the nation-state of the Jews

It is—or at least should be—manifestly self-evident that for Israel to endure over time as the nation-state of the Jews, it cannot (a) withdraw to geographical/topographical confines that make it impossible to maintain ongoing socio-economic routine in the country’s major commercial centers, or (b) allow the Jewish majority to be so diminished that maintenance of the Jewish nature of the state is imperiled.

Accordingly, it is in terms of their ability to contend with these undeniable imperatives that the alternative proposals for resolution/management for the conflict must be evaluated as appropriate policy prescriptions for Israel if—at the risk of appearing repetitive—it is to retain its status as the nation-state of the Jewish people.

I belabor this point of the long-term preservation of Jewish sovereignty, as a necessary precondition for the acceptability of competing policy proposals, because if one is prepared to forego it, other proposals, which are unable to ensure such an outcome, may well be acceptable—like for instance the post-Zionist call for a non-Jewish state of all its citizens.

Bearing this brief introductory clarification in mind, let’s begin the critical analysis of the proffered alternatives, which this week I shall confine to policy proposals that eschew full or partial  Israeli annexation of territory—deferring analysis of those that endorse such annexation for next week.

Managing the Conflict: Mowing the lawn won’t cut it

The conflict management  approach—as opposed to conflict resolution – is ostensibly the least proactive, least provocative—and most pessimistic—largely reflecting the recent assessment of Jared Kushner that there may well be no solution to the Arab-Israeli  confrontation.   

In a column written last August, I pointed out the grave detriments this approach entailed, detailing how, over the last two-and- half decades, the military prowess of the terrorist organizations have developed far beyond anything imagined,  and how Israel’s political positions have been drastically eroded.

Thus, when Israel left Gaza (2005), the range of the Palestinian rockets was barely 5 km., and the explosive charge they carried about 5 kg. Now, their missiles have a range of over 100 km. and warheads of around 100 kg. Likewise, when Israel left Gaza, only the sparse population in its immediate proximity was threatened by missiles. Now, well over 5 million Israelis, well beyond Tel Aviv, are menaced by them. Moreover the terror organizations have exploited periods of calm to further enhance their infrastructures and other abilities, which were barely conceivable a decade ago—including a massive tunneling enterprise and the development of naval forces, commandoes and underwater capabilities.

But it is not only in the exponential growth of the terror groups’ martial prowess that the endeavor at conflict management has been a resounding failure. The same can be said—arguably even more so–with regard to the ever-tightening political constraints Israel faces.

Mowing the lawn won’t cut it (cont.)

Perhaps one of the most dramatic and disturbing indications of just how far Israeli positions have been rolled back over the last two decades is reflected in the views articulated by Yitzhak Rabin, in his last Knesset address (October 5, 1995), a month before his assassination. In it he sought parliamentary ratification of the Oslo II Accords, then considered by much of the Israeli public as excessively dovish and dangerously concessionary.

There can be little doubt that if today, Netanyahu were to embrace, verbatim, Rabin’s 1995 prescription for a permanent accord with the Palestinian-Arabs in the “West Bank , he would be dismissed—scornfully, disparagingly and angrily—as an “unreasonable extremist”.

It of course requires little analytical acumen and a mere smidgeon of common sense to grasp that–whatever one may believe the real size of the  Arab population of Judea-Samaria to be—Israel cannot keep  an increasing and increasingly recalcitrant and irredentist population indefinitely in a state of suspended disenfranchised political limbo.  

In this regard, it should be remembered that, today, with the changing nature of Arab enmity, the major existential challenge to Israel’s existence as the Jewish nation-state is no longer repulsing invasion, but resisting attrition—both militarily and politically.

Accordingly, by eschewing decisive proactive measures to contend with a predicament that entails a mounting threat and decreasing freedom to deal with it, “conflict management” has become a prescription for avoiding immediate confrontations that can be won, thereby risking having to contend with later confrontations that cannot be won—or can be won only at ruinous cost.

Two-States: A mega-Gaza overlooking Tel Aviv?

Of course, the policy paradigm which, for decades, has dominated the discourse on how to resolve the Israel-Palestinian conflict  is that advocating a two-state outcome.   Bizarrely, support for this formula has always been the sine-qua-non for admission into “polite company” while opposition to it was the perceived hallmark of the uncouth and ignorant.  

Just how perverse this situation is can be gauged from the fact that there is no persuasive reason to believe –and certainly none has ever been provided by two-state proponents – that a Palestinian state will be anything other than a homophobic, misogynistic, Muslim-majority tyranny, whose hallmarks would be: gender discrimination, gay persecution, religious intolerance, and political oppression of dissidents—and which would rapidly become a bastion for Islamist terror.

After all, one might well ask, why would anyone purporting to profess to liberal values, wish to endorse the establishment of such an entity — which is clearly the utter negation of the very values invoked for its establishment?!

Readers will recall that it was in Gaza that the initial optimistic attempts to implement the two-state idea were made. So, how events unfolded there should be instructive as to how they may be expected to unfold in Judea-Samaria. For in the absence of a compelling argument to the contrary—and as mentioned, none has ever been presented—there is little reason to believe that  if Israel were to evacuate the “West Bank”  the outcome  would not be largely similar to that which followed Israel’s evacuation of Gaza.

Indeed, unsubstantiated hope aside, there is neither sound theoretical foundation nor empirical evidence on which two-state proponents can base any prognosis for the  success of their political credo.  

A mega-Gaza (cont.)

Accordingly, the prudent working assumption must be that any attempt to implement the two-state principle in Judea-Samaria will result in a “mega-Gaza”—and that measures, similar to those required to protect the Israeli population in the South, would be required as well on Israel’s eastern border.

But unlike Gaza, which abuts sparsely populated, largely rural areas, the “mega-Gaza” that almost certainly will emerge in Judea-Samaria would abut Israel’s most populous urban areas. Unlike Gaza, which has no topographic superiority over adjacent Israeli territory, the prospective “mega-Gaza” in Judea-Samaria will totally command the adjacent coastal megalopolis, in which much of Israel’s vital infrastructure (both civilian and military) is located, where 80 percent of its civilian population resides and 80% of its commercial activity takes place.

But perhaps most significantly, unlike Gaza, which has only about a 50-km. front with Israel, the envisioned “mega-Gaza” in Judea-Samaria would have a front of up to almost 500 km!

Accordingly, what might be expected to concentrate two-staters’ minds, more than anything is that, after evacuating Gaza, Israel is now undertaking what IDF Chief-of Staff, Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisencott, called the “largest project” ever carried out in the history of the IDF—a wall along the entire Israel-Gaza border,  not only several  storeys above ground but – to contend with the tunnel threat– several storeys below it !!  Now imagine a project over ten times that scale along a “mega-Gaza” in the east…

Next week: Analyzing Annexation

As mentioned, next week I will focus attention on those approaches which advocate full or partial annexations of the territories across the 1967 Green Line. In the analysis I will demonstrate that without an operational plan for dramatically reducing the Arab presence  east of the Jordan River, the former will result in the Lebanonization of Israel, creating a single society so fractured by interethnic strife that it would be untenable as the nation- state of the Jewish people; while the latter will result in the Balkanization of Israel, dividing the territory up into disconnected autonomous enclaves, which will be recalcitrant, rivalrous and rejectionist, creating an ungovernable reality for Israel.

Accordingly, by a logical process of elimination, I will show that the Humanitarian Paradigm, advocating funded emigration of the Arab residents of Judea-Samaria (and eventually Gaza) is the only policy paradigm consistent with the long term survival of Israel as the nation-state of the Jews, and hence—for those dedicated to the preservation of the Zionist ideal—Hobson choice.

The Temple Mount: No longer in our hands?

As a non-observant Jew I was always skeptical towards the claim of my more devout kin-folk that the Temple Mount was the key to the maintenance of Jewish sovereignty over Israel. I was wrong!


It is extremely important that a solution to the current crisis be found by Friday this week…The dangers on the ground will escalate if we go through another cycle of Friday prayer without a resolution to this current crisis, Events in Jerusalem  have the potential to have catastrophic costs well beyond the walls of the Old City, well beyond Israel and Palestine, well beyond the Middle East itself – Nickolay Mladenov, United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, January 24, 2017.


When we indulge Arab (and jihadi Muslims’) concerns for honor by backing off anything that they claim offends them, we think that our generosity and restraint will somehow move extremists to more rational behavior. Instead, we end up muzzling ourselves and thereby participating in, honoring, and confirming their most belligerent attitudes… And there is nothing generous, rational, or progressive about that. Prof. Richard Landes, Tablet Magazine, June 24, 2014.


The chain of bloody events that took place over the last week defies both belief and reason. A series of unprovoked Arab assaults on Israelis, inexplicably, inconceivably and infuriatingly triggered a wave of international criticism of …Israel’s defensive responses?


Israel’s regrettable reticence


Of course, in a world where fairness and reason dominated the conduct of international affairs, Israel would have won wall-to-wall sympathy and support—or at the very least, tacit understanding—for its position.  After all, the security measures adopted by Israel in the wake of the murderous attack on its law-enforcement officers in the Temple Mount complex were neither extreme nor excessive. To the contrary, they were entirely reasonable, appropriate—even, one might have thought, unavoidable. Indeed, what could be more natural than enhancing security measures in the wake of a deadly terror attack?


Regrettably, however, international reaction was far from what should have been expected in an imaginary world of fairness and reason.  In the real world, very much the opposite was true—with the onus being placed on Israel to defuse the allegedly explosive situation that the threatened aggression of its foes conjured up.


But no less regrettable was the self-effacing Israeli response to the ridiculous recriminations, which merely helped fan the flames of this absurdity.  


Thus, rather than robustly and resolutely repudiating the preposterous accusations concocted against it, Israel endeavored to play the “responsible adult”, in effect, acknowledging that it should shoulder the burden for preventing any violence the Arabs/Muslims might decide to instigate.


Invitation to extortion


Of course, this implies—paradoxically and perversely—that the target of aggression is to blame for whatever befalls him/her, while exonerating the perpetrators of all responsibility for any malfeasance they may choose to initiate.


Unsurprisingly, this ostensibly “mature” and “moderate” behavior won Israel little credit.

Thus, rather than being warmly commended it was roundly condemned.  


Indeed, instead of being seen as far-sighted statesmanship and enlightened largesse, it was perceived as a tacit admission of guilt.  With a little forethought this should not have been surprising.  After all, if one believes that the measures one has taken are just and proper, why back away from them? Seen in this light, backing away can only be construed as conceding wrongdoing.


So, by capitulating to threats of violence, the Israeli government has issued a clear invitation for further extortion.  For it has conveyed an unequivocal message of weakness to both friend and foe. Either it is incapable of dealing with threatened Muslim violence or it is unwilling to deal with the consequences of choreographed Muslim ire. But whether it is the lack of ability or the lack of will, there is little difference in the conclusion that will, inevitably, be drawn: There is nothing to prevent further threats to extort further and more far-reaching concessions.


Full disclosure: I was wrong


As a non-observant Jew, whose relationship with the Almighty has been, to say the least, uneasy, I was always skeptical towards my more devout kin-folk’s claim that the Temple Mount was central to the maintenance of Jewish sovereignty.  Although I opposed any Israeli territorial concessions—including on the Temple Mount—I held the belief that the struggle for Jewish control of the site was more incidental than central.  


I believed—and in many ways, still do–that the major thrust for presenting Israel’s requirements to endure as the sovereign nation-state of the Jews should be  to underscore the   vital strategic importance of the entire territory across the pre-1967 “Green Line”—and the perilous situation that Israel would be in, should any substantial withdrawal be undertaken.  


Accordingly, I felt that there was no need to single out the Temple Mount since it would be self-evident that it would be included in the rest of the territory that Israel needs to retain control over.  Indeed, I thought perhaps that it was better not to give prominence to control of the Mount, so as to prevent rational strategic arguments for retention of territory from being dismissed as tainted with “religious fanaticism”.


Turns out I was wrong!


I was wrong (cont.)


Although I still hold the view that, if Israel is to remain viable as the nation-state of the Jews, it cannot agree to surrendering sovereignty over Judea-Samaria, I am today far more open to the claim that control over the Temple Mount is the key to sustaining Jewish sovereignty. Not because of any strategic imperative but because of a pyscho-political one; not because Jewish zealots see it that way, but because Muslim zealots do.


Nothing will do more to sustain the Muslims’ belief that they can uproot the Jewish presence in all of the Land of Israel, or at least eradicate Jewish sovereignty over it, than   successfully challenging Jewish control over the Jews most sacred site. In Muslim eyes, if they can prise loose the Jews’ hold over the Temple Mount, they can prise it loose over any other site in the land.


For them, if the Jews are willing to forgo control over the Temple Mount to avoid an outburst of Muslim rage, they will be just as ready to forgo such control over Haifa and Tiberias. For if the Jews are perceived as unwilling to take a stand over their most sacrosanct location, in the heart of their capital, why would they be willing to make a sustained stand over any other, less sacrosanct, location whenever a pretext for conflict arises?


“If I can’t bring my machine gun, no point in praying …”


The insufferable absurdity of the opposition to enhanced Israeli security measures—together with the blatant hypocrisy of their coverage by mainstream media—was vividly brought home in a hard hitting video clip presented by Daniel Pomerantz, Senior editor of “Honest Reporting”. Pomerantz expressed his bewilderment at the Muslim response to the setting up of metal-detectors after three Arab terrorists emerged from the Al-Aksa mosque and gunned down two Israeli police officers, with automatic weapons they had smuggled into the compound: “I don’t quite understand the logic in refusing to pass through a metal detector”, adding bitingly—but aptly: “It’s like saying ‘Well, if I can’t bring my machine gun then there’s no point in praying at all’ .”

Pomerantz deftly repudiates Muslim claims that the metal-detectors constitute an Israeli attempt to change the status quo on the compound, pointing out that the status quo had been violated a day earlier by the terror attack itself.  Indeed, as he rightly remarks, the metal-detectors in fact were intended to reinstate the status quo ante, and restore Al-Aksa as a place of worship, rather than an armory.

But of course this meant nothing to the instigators of Arab unrest. For them, any measure, no matter how appropriate or essential for legitimate security exigencies, was merely an   opportunity to mount a challenge to Jewish sovereignty.


 Appeasement never satiates, only whets, appetites  


In a recent opinion piece, instructively entitled The problem with the metal detectors is that they are Jewish  Fred Maroun, an Arab, resident in Canada, succinctly summarized the underlying motivation for the Arab resistance to the Israeli security measures:  “Sadly, most Arabs still see Israel as the “Yahudi” enemy that must be vanquished at any cost. Therefore, when Israel backs down from making a change that is rational and reasonable, it constitutes appeasement…” He warns: Appeasement of people who hate you beyond any common sense does not work.


He is of course right. As history has shown repeatedly, appeasement never satiates the appetites of an aggressor. It only whets them –with each placatory gesture heightening expectations for additional—and more substantial—concessions in the future.


Similar sentiments were expressed this morning by Education Minister, Naftali Bennett.  


To be sure, I have had—and still have—some serious policy disagreements with Bennett, but his comments this morning (July 27, 2017) were spot on. He lamented “…Israel has come out of this crisis considerably weakened. Instead of strengthening our sovereignty in Jerusalem, we sent a message that our sovereignty can be appealed – not just on the Temple Mount, but in other areas as well.


He continued: “The decision to remove the magnetometers [metal-detectors] was definitely the wrong decision. Israel came out of the whole issue weaker…Every time Israel bows to strategic pressure, it harms us in the long run. It harms our ability to deter attacks.


“When they smell weakness…”


Ominously he warned “I expect to see an increase in violence in the next few weeks. We live in the toughest neighborhood in the world. When they smell weakness, they rise up”.

Bennett then urged the PM to rescind all programs designed to improve conditions for the Palestinians and to initiate an assertive plan to combat terror: “The PM must instruct the Defense Minister to take all plans for promoting the Palestinians and offering them ‘carrots’ off the table, and put in their place plans for operations which will end terror.”

It, of course, remains to be seen how firmly and effectively Bennett will insist on implementation of his robust prescription. However, it is clear that he seems to have wide public support for tough measures.


Thus, “Israel Hayom”, usually strongly supportive of Netanyahu, published a blistering condemnation of his performance by its political correspondent, Mati Tuchfeld,  entitled The metal detectors debacle: Netanyahu’s feeble response. In it, Tuchfeld cites a Channel 2 poll according to which, on Tuesday evening, after the removal of the metal-detectors, 77% of the Israeli public felt that the government caved in to pressure, while 67% believed that Netanyahu did not handle this situation well. Moreover, 68% thought that the initial decision to install the metal-detectors was correct.

All of this seems to indicate that the normally hyper-savvy Netanyahu is seriously out of step with his political base—who appear to be demanding a far more  vigorous approach to the emerging challenge to Jewish sovereignty.


“Only way Islam can live with Israeli sovereignty…”


But perhaps the gravest threat of all entailed in a sense of Jewish lack of resolve is the prospect of insurrection and revolt by the Arab citizens of Israel. Indeed, it was a threat clearly evident on Wednesday night (July 26, 2017) in the Israeli town of Umm al-Fahm, where thousands attended the funeral of the three terrorists who recently murdered the two police officers on the Temple Mount. The participants reportedly praised the killers as Shahids (martyrs) of Al-Aksa, vowed to follow in their footsteps and defiantly flew the Palestinian flag.    


Clearly, this threat will undoubtedly materialize unless the Arabs are convinced the Jews will brook no challenge – from within Israel’s borders or from without – to their national sovereignty and political independence.

Accordingly, what is called for today is not a repetition of reticent restraint, but the demonstration of ruthless resolve. For unless the Jews convey the unequivocal message that any such challenge to their sovereignty will be met with overwhelming lethal force, they will inevitably be the victims of violent insurrection at the hands of their Arab adversaries.

Allow me to conclude with the words of the learned scholar of Islam, and former IDF intelligence officer, Dr. Mordechai Kedar:

The only way Islam can live with Israeli sovereignty is by recognizing that Israel is strong and invincible, so that any attempt to overcome it is sure to end in defeat… The possibility of a permanent European-style peace with the Jews does not exist in the Middle East, meaning that only power and a willingness to use it will give Israel a temporary peace that will last forever – that is, if Israel is invincible forever.



Temple Mount attack & the demise of the “one-state” theory

Even after seven decades living under Israeli sovereignty, and over half a century after military rule over the Arab population was abolished, anti-Israel enmity is alive and kicking among Israeli Arabs

Extending Israeli sovereignty over Judea-Samaria (and eventually over the Gaza Strip) is indeed a necessary condition for ensuring the ability of Israel to endure as the nation state of the Jewish people. It is, however, not a sufficient condition to ensure that worthy objective.  In fact, without additional complementary measures, such an initiative on its own is very likely to imperil Jewish sovereignty over the Land of Israel…in its entirety on both sides of the pre -1967 Green Line. “The Humanitarian Paradigm”, Sovereignty Journal (No. 8), March, 2017.

Last Friday, three non-Jewish terrorists gunned down two-non-Jewish policemen to express their hatred of the Jewish state.

And yet while many condemned the heinous deed, expressing shock, dismay, and opprobrium at the brutal desecration of the Temple Mount, no one really found it bewilderingly inexplicable or staggeringly aberrant.  After all, Judeocidal Arab hatred has always defied rational explanation.

Extinguishing hopes for one-state formula

No less perverse was the fact that the alleged cause of the killers’ homicidal urge was purported to be the “Occupation”, despite the fact that none of the perpetrators were subject to any form of “Occupation”—as they were all Israeli citizens,  with full civil rights.

But beyond the human tragedy, the hail of bullets that cut short the lives of the two Druze police officers from the Galilee, Hayil Satawi and Kamil Shanaan, inflicted an additional casualty.

For they conclusively cut down any residual credibility that the proposal for a one-state formula—especially as touted by “right wing” pundits—might still have had. Indeed, it totally extinguished any lingering hopes that some kind of coherent, cohesive society could be forged if Israel were to annex Judea-Samaria—and incorporate its Palestinian Arabs into Israel’s permanent population.

As I have written elsewhere, “It would require more than a gigantic leap of unsubstantiated faith to believe that such a measure could precipitate any result other than “Lebanonization” of Israel.”   (For good order’s sake—and to cite New York Times columnist, the late A. M. Rosenthal—“Lebanonization  refers to the [situation] within a single country so riven with religious and other disputes that [it] becomes impossible to govern.

Downplaying the danger

Typically one-state proponents seem unaware, or unperturbed, by this unpalatable prospect. Thus, one prominent one-stater sees the process of imposing Israeli sovereignty over Judea-Samaria and its Arab residents as “fairly straightforward”. According to this upbeat prescription: “Israel will apply its laws to Judea and Samaria and govern the areas as normal parts of Israel…Contingent on security concerns…Palestinians will have the right to travel and live anywhere they wish within Israeli territory…Palestinians will have the same legal and civil rights as the rest of the residents and citizens of Israel… Those that receive Israeli citizenship in accordance with Israel’s Citizenship Law will also be allowed to vote in national elections for the Knesset.”

Thus one-state advocates have tried to dismiss the potential for inter-ethnic strife, suggesting that an Israeli assertion of central authority over the areas [of Judea-Samaria] will likely have a significant moderating impact. Once the population feels there is a central governing authority in place, that sense of order will likely neutralize a significant amount of opposition momentum spurred by anti-Israel animus.”

Clearly, the events on the Temple Mount last Friday shatter the foundations of any such belief.  

After all, the gunmen’s conduct—and the reticent reaction of the Israeli-Arab leadership—clearly indicates that, after seven decades of living under Israeli sovereignty, and over half a century after military rule over the Arab population was abolished, “anti-Israel animus” is alive and kicking even among Israeli Arabs—despite decades of “Israeli assertion of central authority” .

Not an isolated incident

Moreover, while Judeophobic terror attacks by Israeli-Arabs are not a frequent occurrence, neither are they virtually unheard of rarities.

Thus for example, on New Year’s Day, 2016, an Israeli-Arab from the village of Arara, just south of Umm al Fahm, the town from which last Friday’s killers hailed, opened fire with an automatic weapon on a crowd in a Tel Aviv pub, killing two and wounding almost ten. The shooter also murdered an Israeli-Arab taxi driver in his attempt to escape.

Significantly, he was provided  shelter and logistic support from residents of the village, with whom he discussed plans for additional attacks.

Barely, two months later, two teenage females from the city of Ramle in central Israel, attacked a security guard with large knives, admitting: “we came to kill Jews”.

However, as distressing as these and other individual acts of terror might be,  no less disturbing is the reaction of the Israeli-Arab Establishment, including its elected political leadership and prominent civil society organizations.

Reflecting the ambivalent Arab attitude towards lethal attacks by their kinfolk on the Jewish state, was the vague and equivocal condemnation of the Temple Mount attack by the Arab leadership in Israel.  Indeed, it was so reticent and reluctant that it even provoked a flash of ire from our meticulously politically-correct President, Reuven Rivlin.

Collaborating with terror?

Referring to the lack of any unambiguous denunciation of the deed almost three days after it was perpetrated, an exasperated Rivlin declared:  The silence and the feeble responses from some Arab political leaders are outrageous…Terrorism must be denounced unconditionally”, adding. “Anyone who doesn’t denounce terrorism is collaborating with it.”

Of course, in recent years there have been far more explicit examples of an elected Israeli-Arab politician   brazenly collaborating with terror.  Perhaps the most blatant was that of former Knesset member of the Balad faction in the Joint (Arab) List, Basel Ghattas.

Ghattas, a Christian Arab Israeli, from the town of Rameh in the Galilee, was jailed,  after he was filmed, abusing his parliamentary privileges, smuggling  mobile phones, SIM cards and other items to convicted terrorists in prison for involvement in lethal attacks against Israelis. Despite his sentencing for violation of the Terror Law, Ghattas remained unapologetic, expressing neither remorse nor regret for his actions.

But his was not the only display of identification of elected Arab lawmakers with mortal enemies of the country in whose legislature they serve.

In February 2016, three members of the Joint (Arab) List met with the families of terrorists to express condolences and identification  with their suffering, even referring to terrorists who killed three passengers on a bus in Jerusalem as shaheeds (martyrs).

“Never miss an opportunity to support terror…”

Another Arab MK, Jamal Zahalka, has openly identified with the Palestinians’ armed resistance against Israel and publicly called for Arabs to prevent Jews from visiting Judaism’s most holy site by “all means” and at “all costs”.

Hanin Zoabi is of course another Arab lawmaker, who has been conspicuous in her continual expression of anti-Israel enmity over the years, including her 2010 participation aboard the infamous Mavi Marmara, in the attempt to breach the maritime quarantine imposed on the terrorist ruled enclave of Gaza.

In light of these and other manifestation of borderline sedition it is not difficult to understand the caustic censure of Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely, who reacted to the ongoing identification with the enemy with fury:”…the Arab MKs don’t miss a single opportunity to support terror.”

Regrettably, the response of Israeli-Arab civil society organizations gives no less cause for concern.  

Thus in the immediate wake of the Temple Mount attack, an organization named  Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights , perversely called for the investigation of….the Israeli police, who swiftly shot the attackers, preventing further casualties !!  

So  rather than express shock at the defilement of the holy site by the actions of Arab terrorists, and raising questions as to how similar incidents can be avoided, Adalah, generously funded by the US based “New Israel Fund” demanded an “immediate probe of police killings of [the] Al Aqsa Mosque shooting suspects.”  

Obscuring Arab malfeasance  

Accordingly,  instead of focusing on the murderous actions of the Israeli-Arab perpetrators, Adalah purposely tried to divert attention to the reactions of those who cut their homicidal spree short.

In a transparent attempt to obscure Arab malfeasance, while denigrating the preventative response by Israeli forces, it writes with unabashed gall:  “the incident raises serious questions regarding police personnel’s compliance with very detailed open-fire regulations”.

This anti-Israel sentiment is reflected in pervasive—albeit, as yet, inert—bias in the general Israeli Arab public.   This dormant anti-Zionist proclivity is clearly evident in a 2013 poll conducted by Prof. Sami Smoocha, under the auspices of the University of Haifa and the Israel Democracy Institute, both of whom are decidedly on the Left of the Israeli political spectrum. According to the findings of the study:  55.9% of [Israeli] Arabs resigned themselves to Israel as a state, with a Jewish majority…

However, as Smoocha points out: “resignation… does not mean preference… the Arabs prefer a binational state to a Jewish and democratic state. [N]or does it imply justification of the status quo, since 69.6% of the Arab respondents think that it is not justified that Israel maintains a Jewish majority….”

Ominously, he observes: “The proportion of Arabs denying Israel’s right to exist as a state was… 11.2% in 2003, and 24.5% in 2012.  82.2% of the Arabs in 2012 accused Jews of the Nakba [the “catastrophe” of Jewish victory in the 1948 Independence War]…”

Gloomily, he notes: “The percentage of Arabs holding accommodating and compromising stances has been steadily decreasing and has shrunk to a minority.”

One-statism: The Writing on the wall

Should any further evidence be required as to the dire consequences of a dramatic increase in Israel’s Arab population, they were provided by the results of the 2015 elections, when virtually to a man—and fully enfranchised woman—the Arab sector voted for the vehemently anti-Zionist Joint List. This is a party made up of a motley mélange of communists-cum radical Islamist-cum-leftwing Arab nationalists, whose only unifying factor is their fierce rejection of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.


Indeed, the political DNA of the Joint List is so rabidly opposed to the Jewish state that it refused to sign a surplus vote sharing agreement even with the far-left Meretz party, because it was still a “Zionist” faction, vividly underscoring its obdurate repudiation of the right of Jews to a state of their own, repudiation, which it seems, Israeli-Arabs endorsed virtually unanimously.

Today, the Joint List – with 13 seats—is the third largest party in the Knesset, with Israel’s (potentially recalcitrant) Arab population within the pre-1967 “Green Line” now at around 20%. Accordingly, little imagination is needed to grasp the dramatic impact—socially, economically, politically—of doubling it to around 40%.—by extending Israeli sovereignty to Judea-Samaria to incorporate  the Arab residents in the country’s permanent population (assuming the optimistic demographers are right).

One-statism: The Demographic dilemma

The Temple Mount incident, together with the pervasive anti-Zionist sentiment in the Israeli Arab sector,  underscores just how unfounded the optimism of one-staters is that: “Once the population feels there is a central governing authority in place, that sense of order will likely neutralize a significant amount of opposition momentum spurred by anti-Israel animus.”

Indeed, if anything, quite the opposite is true: Reinforced by a huge increase in numbers, the anti-Israel animosity is likely to be commensurately enhanced.

If Israel has no program to significantly reduce the Arab presence in its sovereign territory, it will face a searing demographic dilemma. It can either (a) enfranchise the bulk of the newly annexed Arab population within a reasonable timeline; or (b) it can deny them such enfranchisement.

If it opts for the latter, Israel will inevitably become an undeniable apartheid state—withholding political representation largely on ethnic grounds.  As such it is likely to be subjected to crippling international censure and sanctions, imperiling its ability to survive.

If it opts for the former, it will create a very real danger that the anti-Zionist elements will become the dominant political force in the country, with the Arab vote potentially reaching 25 seats—making it possibly one of the two largest parliamentary factions. If they team up with the radical anti/post Zionist Left, its ability to advance anti-Zionist initiatives will be formidable…

And this is only the tip of the proverbial “iceberg”…which is why I warned (see introductory excerpt): “Extending Israeli sovereignty over Judea-Samaria  is indeed a necessary condition for ensuring the ability of Israel to endure as the nation state of the Jewish people…but without additional complementary measures, such an initiative on its own is very likely to imperil Jewish sovereignty over the Land of Israel… on both sides of the pre -1967 Green Line”.

To be continued…

A Port in Gaza: Preposterous & Perilous Proposal

Hamas are not burrowing tunnels because Gaza has no port. They are burrowing them despite the fact it does not have one.

Israel’s intelligence and transport minister has long pushed the idea of an artificial island off the coast of the Gaza Strip, with plans for a port, cargo terminal and even an airport to boost the territory’s economy and connect it to the world.A New Island in the Mediterranean… Just Off Gaza Reuters June 29, 2017.  

Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.

Attributed to Albert Einstein.

A little over a year ago, I wrote a column harshly criticizing the proposal for the construction of a port of any sort for Gaza, particularly one to be located on a detachable artificial island, to be built 3-4 km off the Gazan coast. What I wrote then is just as pertinent today.

Harebrained and hazardous

The opening paragraph of the column was this: “Just when you thought that you could not possibly hear anything more preposterous on how to help resolve the  conflict with the Palestinian-Arabs, somehow someone always manages to prove you wrong—and comes out with a policy proposal so glaringly absurd that it transcends what you  mistakenly believed was the pinnacle of imbecility”. I continued: “Disturbingly, precisely such a hopelessly hare-brained scheme is now being repeatedly bandied about by Israelis in positions of influence.

Sadly these caustic remarks are still as relevant today—as unbelievable as that may seem.

For as harebrained, hazardous—indeed, hallucinatory—the idea is, it remains stubbornly on the agenda, refusing to fade into the distant realms of fantasy, where it clearly deserved to disappear.

Thus, in recent months Israel Katz, who holds the transport and intelligence portfolios, has been raising it incessantly and insistently, reportedly winning significant support from some of his fellow ministers, with only the opposition of Defense Minister Liberman, preventing a government decision to proceed with this preposterous and perilous plan.

Indeed, towards the end of last month, Reuters reported that “Israel’s intelligence and transport minister… Israel Katz, has released a slick, high-production video setting out his proposal in more detail, complete with a dramatic, English-speaking narration, colorful graphics and stirring music”.

Puzzling conundrums

The grandiose “vision” would include the construction of vast infrastructure facilities, including cargo and passenger ports, a marina, gas and electricity terminals, a desalination plant and, potentially, a future airport.

Of course, this leaves one to struggle with the trenchant question why it would be more feasible to build these ambitious installations on a detachable, multi-billion dollar, floating island rather than on dryland, just a few kilometers away, and where, despite decades of massive international aid, nothing even remotely similar has ever emerged.

Perhaps even more perplexing is the rationale given for the project. According to the previously mentioned promotional video, providing a port to Gaza will help Israel deal with the negative international perception that Gaza’s current unenviable condition is due to the fact that it is under siege by Israel: “Today, Israel continues to be perceived as being responsible for the Gaza Strip and is to a large extent the only lifeline to it, even though it withdrew from the strip over a decade ago“.

The narrator suggests that “Construction of an artificial island with a port and civilian infrastructure installations off the coast of Gaza will provide the Palestinians a humanitarian, economic and transportation gate to the world” adding reassuringly “without endangering Israel’s security”.

So, to put worried minds in Israel at rest, the video stipulates: “…in order to ensure that security threats are addressed, Israel will remain in control of security in the sea around the island and of security inspection in the port”.

Even more puzzling

So here’s the kicker: If Israel is to maintain its power to police what goes in and out of the port, and inspect what goes on inside it, how does that in anyway diminish its status as effectively controlling the fate of Gaza? And why would its control over the flow of goods into Gaza via a seaport be any less onerous than its control over that flow through the existing land routes into Gaza?

But that’s not all.  For then comes the following staggering suggestion:  “An international policing force will be responsible for security and public order for the island and for a checkpoint on the bridge which will connect the island to the coast”.

An international policing force? Really? Gee, what a good idea! Especially since that idea has failed so spectacularly in Bosnia and Somalia and Lebanon and Rwanda and ….  

And are the port proponents seriously advocating that some international force will adequately man and manage a checkpoint on the narrow bridge between the Gaza mainland and the island, when it is precisely the IDF’s maintenance of such land-based checkpoints that has brought international condemnation of unjustified “humiliation of the Palestinians”.

Even more to the point, do they really believe—especially given past precedents—that after a single suicide attack by Islamist extremist, the international policing force will have the resolve and commitment to persist with its mission and not vacate the island—leaving Israel with the thorny dilemma of ether abandoning the island, port and all, to the Hamas (or some more radical successor) or taking over the island itself, negating the very rationale for its construction in the first place!!!

Reinforcing the rationale for terror

Moreover, the very rationale for the port is damaging, playing directly into the hands of Israel’s detractors.

After all, to suggest that by alleviating economic hardship in Gaza, Israel could diminish the motivation for terror is, in effect, not only inverting the causal relationship between the two, but it also implies that the victims of terror are to blame for their attackers’ aggression. Little could be more counterproductive—and misleading—for Israel.

Indeed, the dire situation in Gaza is not the cause of the terror that emanates from it.

It is the consequence of that terror.

Clearly, the onerous measures that Israel is compelled to undertake to ensure the safety of its citizens is not the reason for, but the result of that terror.  Equally if the latter were eliminated, there would be no need for the former—and far more rational solutions than a multi-billion dollar artificial island could be found to facilitate the flow of goods and people to and from Gaza.

This prosperity-prevents-terror thesis is wrong on virtually every level. Firstly, it is risible to believe that Hamas, who has deliberately put its own civilians in harm’s way, gives a hoot about their economic well-being. After all, if it has scant regard for their lives, why should their livelihood be of greater concern?

Port no panacea for poverty

Sadly then, the case presented for providing Gaza a port strongly reinforces the rationale justifying terror, implying that it is largely economic privation which is the primary cause of the Judeocidal terror emanating from Gaza, and if the residents of that ill-fated strip were afforded greater prosperity, this would operate to stifle the motivation to perpetrate acts of terror.

However, it is far more likely that, if the general economic situation were to improve, Hamas would coercively appropriate much of this new found wealth for its own belligerent needs–with prosperity thus making it more potent—not more pacific.

Accordingly, no great analytical acumen should be required to swiftly bring us to the conclusion that a port in Gaza will never be a panacea for the poverty of the population—and that Hamas, and its other terrorist cohorts, are not burrowing tunnels because Gaza has no port. They are burrowing them despite the fact it does not have one.

After all, in effect, Gaza already has a modern port at its disposal, under Israeli supervision, barely 35 km. north of it, far closer to it than many locations in Israel: The port of Ashdod.

Obviously, under conditions of peace (or even credible non-belligerency) Ashdod can supply all Gaza’s supervised civilian needs–without squandering billions on a fanciful floating island port.

However, under conditions of on-going belligerency, even under the strictest Israeli supervision, there is no way—short of taking control of Gaza—to ensure that dual purpose material such as cement, fertilizer and steel will not be used for belligerent purposes.

Detachable port detached from reality

The severity of this problem—and the futility of a Gaza port as a means of solving—or even alleviating—it, was vividly underscored  by  a report from last year’s UN World Humanitarian Summit, which revealed that Hamas had been siphoning off 95% of the cement transferred into the Gaza Strip to rebuild homes, using it instead for military purposes/tunnel construction.

So, even if the island port were to be placed under tight inspection, how could Israel ensure that the building materials that went to construct the labyrinth of tunnels underlying Gaza would be used for more benign purposes? How could it ensure that steel was not being used to fabricate missiles and the means to launch them? Or fertilizers being diverted for the manufacture of explosives?

Furthermore, how is Israeli supervision to be maintained, and the safety of the Israeli personnel together—with the international forces—be ensured in the isolated off-shore port, should they—as is far from implausible—be set upon by a local bloodthirsty mob?

There are also likely to be unknown environmental consequences, with serious concern being raised as to the detrimental effect such a large off-shore construction would have on Israel’s beaches to the north, which are likely to be severely eroded as they are deprived of sand deposits carried today by the northbound currents which would be disrupted by the artificial island.

These—along with numerous other questions clearly underscore how demonstrably detrimental and detached from reality the notion of a detachable port for Gaza really is.

Liberman’s disturbing ambivalence

Defense Minister Liberman is, of course, to be commended for his rejection of the ill-conceived initiative.  However, disturbingly, he is on record not so long ago, supporting it—true, basically on condition that Hamas would un-Hamas itself.

Thus, in February this year Liberman proposed an initiative for transforming Gaza “into the Singapore of the Middle East”,  which included building a seaport and an airport and by creating an industrial zone that would help produce 40,000 jobs in the strip, if Hamas agreed to demilitarization and to dismantling the tunnel and rocket systems it has built.

The Hamas response was quick to come. It was highly instructive and should have dispelled any illusions as to the efficacy of proposing a port as a means for providing any impetus for peace. Mahmoud al-Zahar, a senior Hamas official, dismissed it derisively: “If we wanted to turn Gaza into Singapore, we would have done it ourselves. We do not need favors from anyone.

This tart retort prompted a stark comment from Gatestone scholar, Bassam Tawil :Why did Hamas reject an offer for a seaport, airport and tens of thousands of jobs for Palestinians? Because Hamas does not see its conflict with Israel as an economic issue. The dispute is not about improving the living conditions of Palestinians, as far as Hamas is concerned. Instead, it is about the very existence of Israel.”

He added caustically: “Hamas deserves credit for one thing: its honesty concerning its intentions to destroy Israel and kill as many Jews as possible. Hamas does not want 40,000 new jobs for the poor unemployed Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. It would rather see these unemployed Palestinians join its ranks and become soldiers in its quest to replace Israel with an Islamic empire.”

Only one way to ensure who rules Gaza…and who doesn’t

Clearly then, the grave economic situation that plagues Gaza will not be alleviated by providing it with access to port facilities, which, in principle, it already has.

As noted, Israeli restrictions on the flow of goods are not the cause of Arab enmity, but the consequence thereof. The crippling unemployment, reportedly above 40%, will not be alleviated by transferring Israeli supervision from Ashdod and the Gaza border crossings to an off-shore islet.

There is soaring unemployment because any creative energies that might exist, are not channeled by those who rule Gaza toward productive/constructive goals, but into fomenting violence against the hated “Zionist entity.” A port will not change those realities.

Indeed, it may well exacerbate them.

The penury of the enclave is not due to lack of resources, but to the preferences and priorities of the brigands who govern it. Accordingly, as past events show, Israel can only determine who governs Gaza – and who does not – if it governs it itself.


MODI IN ISRAEL: Bonding the biggest & most beleaguered democracies

Clearly reflecting the impact of the change in Indian policy towards Israel was the chagrin expressed by the Palestinian envoy to New Delhi: “We were shocked…”

A curious Indian stops a passing Israeli backpacker on a New Delhi street. “Tell me,” he asks, “how many Israelis are there?”

“I’m not quite sure,” the backpacker answers. “About six million.”

“No, no no,” retorts the Indian, “not just in New Delhi. I mean all together.”

The humor of this well-known joke reflects a remarkable reality which helps understand the huge enthusiasm this week’s landmark visit of the Indian Prime Minister Nahindra Modi generated, and clearly heralded a “change of gears” in relations between the two countries.

Hindu-Jewish affinity

Each year, over 60,000  Israelis travel to India –many of them “unwinding” in the country after completing military service. Their presence is highly visible across much of the country. Indeed, the “giant shadow” Israelis cast in India is wildly disproportionate to the miniscule dimensions of their homeland. In some outlying locations, Israelis comprise a dominant percentage of foreign visitors. Even in central sites such as the main market in Old Delhi it is not uncommon to see Hebrew signs and encounter merchants able to converse with Israeli customers in fairly fluent Hebrew.

That Israelis seem to feel an instinctive affinity for India should perhaps not be surprising. Its history is virtually devoid of antisemitism. Indeed, the only significant incidents were the Moors’ attack on the Jews in 1524 and the Portuguese persecution of Jews in Cranganore (now the Kerala coast) some years later. Moreover, many Indian Jews achieved great prominence, among them the Sassoons (for whom the Sassoon docks, the Sassoon hospital, and other well-known sites have been named), Dr. E. Moses (a Jewish mayor of Bombay), Lt. Gen. J. F. R. Jacobs (a general in the Indian Army who oversaw the Pakistani Army’s 1971 surrender in Bangladesh and later served as governor of Goa and Punjab), Nissim Ezekiel (a poet/leading Indian literary personality), and Dr. Abraham Solomon Erulkar (the personal physician/friend of Mahatma Gandhi).

Dispersing ideo-political cloud of “post-colonial” prejudice

However, Indo-Israeli relations were not always characterized by such warmth.

On the political and diplomatic fronts, the two nations were largely estranged for the four decades following their independence in the late 1940s. Thus, although India recognized the State of Israel in 1950, the then-ruling Congress Party eschewed full diplomatic relations, siding with the Palestinians and denouncing what many in its ranks termed the “Zionist enterprise” as an imperialist creation of Western colonial powers.

Additional factors also weighed against close and cordial bilateral bonds:  New Delhi’s fear of antagonizing its large Muslim population; pressures from the Islamic world, India’s major source of energy; the fate of the many Indian workers in the Gulf States, and the anti-Israeli attitude of the non-aligned movement, in which India was a leading member.

Moreover, in terms of strategic allegiances, an additional rift between the two states existed: Israel aligned itself firmly with the United States, while India, then traditionally suspicious of American foreign policy, opted for close links with the Soviet Union. The significant disparity between the two countries hardly boded well for mutual cooperation between them. However, since the early 1990s, with the fall of the Soviet bloc and the accelerating liberalization of the Indian economy, considerable changes began to take place, bringing with them a marked convergence of Indo-Israeli interests.

The culmination of this process took place in 1992, when full diplomatic relations were established. Since then, a burgeoning relationship has blossomed, whose vigor, cordiality and durability have taken both its proponents and its opponents by surprise.

Removing the reticence

The establishment of full diplomatic ties between Jerusalem and New Delhi allowed the underlying Indo-Israeli affinity to express itself. Yet, until the Modi government came to power there has been a perceptible reticence, or at least reserve, on the part of India with regard to its relationship with Israel.

One particular sore point was India’s consistent support of anti-Israel resolutions in international forums, such as the UN. One commentator characterized the Israeli perception in the following terms: Israel has long complained that India treats it like a mistress: glad to partake of its defense and technology charms, but a little embarrassed about the whole thing and unwilling to make the relationship too public.”

But with the rise to power of the Modi government, this restraint is beginning to fade discernably, and India has ceased to support a number of motions of censure against Israel in several UN bodies. Clearly reflecting the impact of this change was the chagrin expressed by the Palestinian envoy to New Delhi, at India’s decision not to support a resolution condemning Israel: “We were shocked. The Palestinian people and the leaders were very happy with the UN resolution, but the voting of India has broken our happiness.

Indeed, Modi’s effusively warm physical embrace of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as he descended from the plane that brought him to Israel, seems to have unequivocally melted away any residual reticence that might have remained.

Modi’s landmark visit

The visit of Indian Prime Minister Modi is undeniably a landmark event of potentially historical proportions. Attesting to this is the virtually unprecedented attention he has been given by the media and the public in Israel—far beyond that accorded most visiting heads of government.

As the first Indian premier to visit the Jewish State, Modi has unabashedly cast aside any restraint in forging future relations with Israel. Indeed, despite his country’s heavy reliance on oil from the Middle East (or “Western Asia” as the Indians tend to call it)—chiefly Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Iran—Modi appears to have come to the conclusion that India has more to gain from throwing in its lot with Israel than with the Arab States, who seem to consistently lend their support to India’s rival, Pakistan.

Two of Modi’s decisions on this trip—perhaps more symbolic than substantive—seem to distil out the essence of the new Indian approach to Israel: The one, political; the other, humanitarian.

The first was the Indian PM’s decision not to include the customary visit to Ramallah, made by virtually all visiting senior statesmen to maintain the appearance of scrupulous even-handedness in the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

Landmark visit (cont.)

Thus despite the fact that the Indian government continues to declare its ongoing support for the “Palestinian cause” there can be no glossing over the implicit message in Modi’s decision to skip—some might say, snub—the Palestinian Authority by excluding any meeting with any of its senior representatives.

In this, he showed commendable courage in flouting the bonds of the constrictive conventions of political correctness—and the willingness to break from past patterns, which bodes well for the independent development of bilateral relations in the future.

The other defining event was Modi’s decision to visit  Moshe (Moish) Holtzberg, the boy whose parents,  Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg, were murdered in a 2008  attack on the Chabad center in Mumbai by an Islamist terrorist group based in Pakistan. The attack was one of a dozen carried out throughout the city in late November, 2008, that left 164 dead and at least 308 wounded.

In making this moving gesture, Modi not only showed a laudable sensitivity on a personal level, but also underscored the common threats/enemies faced by both countries and the joint perils that menace both Israelis and Indians.   

So although the visit included a dizzying array of sites and installations, highlighting  Israel’s capabilities and achievements in culture, technology, agriculture, and security it was these two events—resolute moral clarity on the one hand and human empathy on the other—that imparted a distinctive quality to the visit—making it one of the most memorable in years.

Indeed, as one scholar of Indo-Israeli ties, Souptik Mukherjee, pointed out:  “While the visit has many dimensions, the most important aspect is not the joint development of arms, not the prospect of free trade agreement but rather the shared values and historical ties.” 

Marrying “Make in India” with “Make with India”

The visit also produced some interesting rhetorical innovations.  

In September 2015 Modi launched his “Make in India” initiative to encourage foreign corporations to manufacture their products in India.  To date it appears to be an impressive success, with India emerging as the top destination globally for foreign direct investment, surpassing the United States and China!

In his effusive welcoming address on Modi’s arrival, Netanyahu  mentioned  Modi’s “Make in India” project and added  a twist, suggesting  an additional project: ”Make with India” in which both countries, would exploit the synergies of Indo-Israeli cooperation and engage in joint ventures across a range of civilian and military fields.

Given the huge nascent consumer demand in India, its burgeoning middle class, the daunting security challenges it faces from both state and non-state actors innately hostile to Israel as well, there is little doubt that both formulae—Israeli manufacturing plants in Israel, and joint Indo-Israel projects in either country—offer almost boundless prospects.

Referring to ongoing cooperation in the field of space, Netanyahu underscored–with a touch of hyperbole—the almost limitless opportunities a marriage of “Make in India” and “Make with India” could create.  He recalled: I remember what you told me in our first meeting – when it comes to India and Israel relations, the sky is the limit. But now, prime minister, let me add [that] even the sky is not the limit. We are also cooperating in space.”

A personal sense of vindication

While the Modi visit and the surge in Indo-Israeli ties is an historic event for the Jewish State at a national level, it is for me, at a personal level, a gratifying vindication of many years of my prior efforts.

With all due (im)modesty, I was—to the best of my knowledge—the first Israeli to write, in detail, about the strategic importance of India’s international ascendency for Israel.

Almost two decades ago, in early 1999, I published a policy paper, together with a prominent Indian scholar, the late Prof. M. L. Sondhi, one of the original pro-Israeli voices in India. The paper we collaborated on was entitled “Indo-Israeli cooperation as a US national interest. It was a paper that predicted/prescribed much of the later developments between the two countries, across a range of various fields.

We saw the resilient nature of the democratic governance of the two countries, which straddle a vast area of unbroken tyranny, as an important element in bolstering the bilateral bond between the two nations.

The durability and sustainability of democratic governance in both Israel and India should not be taken for granted. Indeed, it should be recalled that both countries’ democracies have faced serious challenges that could well have been conducive to more authoritarian forms of government. Both India and Israel are countries ringed by hostile enemies; the societies in both countries include potentially fractious and rivalrous ethnic groups, creating fertile grounds for internal strife. Both have weathered the trauma of political assassination and external wars on their borders. Yet despite these severe challenges, the commitment of both countries to democratic governance, societal pluralism and official respect for religious diversity have never wavered.

An idea whose time has come…

Significantly, one of the areas which we identified as being of particular potential was that of cooperation in the naval sphere, especially in regard to security in the Indian Ocean, predicting that, in light of the specter of a potential non-conventional threat, it would become an increasingly important theatre of operations for Israel. This has indeed proved true in light of Iran’s nuclear program, greatly enhancing its strategic importance for Israel’s navy and especially its submarine arm, which has become a vital component of Israel’s second-strike capability and its deterrence posture vis-a-vis a nuclear rival.

It is, of course, most satisfying to see many of the recommendations which Sondhi and I made come to fruition.

French poet Victor Hugo famously wrote: “All the forces in the world are not so powerful as an idea whose time has come.

This certainly appears to be the case with the flourishing Indo-Israeli nexus. Indeed, Sondhi and I concluded the executive summary of our paper thus: “…it appears that the time is right for Israel to establish a special relationship with the world’s largest democracy, similar to the relationship that it has developed with the world’s strongest democracy. ..[This], is likely to have a vital role in advancing the principles of liberty and pluralism, and insuring regional stability in an extensive and important portion of the world where such principles are under continual siege.”

Surely, then, this is an idea whose time has come.

Does Israel Have a Fifth Column?

Originally submitted under the title: Israel’s disloyal—and dishonest—opposition

It is time for representatives of the Israeli Left to come to terms with the existence of “The Other”, and the idea that people who think differently to them are just as legitimate as those who look different to them.

We are undergoing a process of fascistization of Israeli politics. These are hard words but they are true. Artists, actors and playwrights are under threat, Supreme Court justices and judges generally are threatened, journalists are fired and are threatened, journalists and newspapers are under threat of being closed by the authorities, and now also academics are under threat and can say nothing.

– Head of Opposition, Isaac Herzog, Holon, June, 24, 2017

Over last weekend Israel’s most implacable enemies were handed a major bonanza, courtesy of the nominal head of the Opposition in Israel, Isaac Herzog.

Speaking at a cultural event in Holon on Saturday, Herzog effectively lent credence to the most libelous vilification of the Jewish state’s detractors, affirming their malicious and mendacious portrayal of it as a fascist entity. Thus, in a stroke, Herzog’s injudicious display of partisan political pique, inflicted inestimable damage on his country, undoing years of laborious efforts of pro-Israel advocates to present the Jewish state as a lone and valiant defender of democracy in a regional sea of tyrannical darkness.

“Fascism”: The perennial Pavlovian slur

Accusations of “fascism” have become response du jour of the electorally frustrated Left” whenever their Right-of-Center rivals propose some moderately  assertive initiative that is perceived as potentially reducing the arbitrary powers of unelected Left-leaning civil society elites, who, as I have pointed out elsewhere, hold the real reins of power in the state—rather than the elected politicians (See for example Understanding politics in Israel: the Limousine Theory;   The Limousine Theory (cont): Irrefutable illustrations; egregious examples; Israel’s crybullies; Who really runs Israel?)  

It is through its dominance of these small, but disproportionately powerful, unelected elites—chiefly in the legal establishment, the mainstream media and the academe (particularly in the social sciences and the humanities)—that the Israeli “Left” manages to maintain much of its control over political processes within the country, despite the continual erosion of its electoral appeal.

Accordingly, as it is unable to exercise influence by popular support, it is compelled to do so via small, electorally insignificant, but substantially influential groups, which in effect are the last remnants of Left-wing political relevance. It is, therefore, in no way unexpected to find that any attempt—no matter how sound its rationale and equitable its intent—to limit, indeed, even regulate, the inordinate powers of these groups will invariably elicit a visceral response, designed to discredit, delegitimize and demonize such a measure.  

Of course, nothing serves this egregious purpose better than the tactic of dubbing such initiatives as “fascist”—even when they are patently nothing of the sort, and in many cases, are precisely the opposite.  This, then, is the reason why this derogatory epithet has become the perennial, almost Pavlovian slur, invoked whenever the electorally frustrated Left senses that the powers of what in effect are its political agents, are to be curtailed—or even scrutinized—in the public debate.

Redressing Left-wing preponderance as “fascism

Against this backdrop, it is hardly surprising to encounter signs of frantic Left-wing alarm whenever the prospect of a new initiative, aimed at changing either the prevailing administrative or allocative criteria in the cultural, legal, media, and/or academic establishment is raised.

Of course, such initiatives can only be dubbed partisan because they address—indeed, are intended to redress—situations which are, apriori, heavily skewed towards Left wing dominance.    

And indeed, the “F” word is predictably and precipitously brandished whenever any attempt is made to:
–  Change the allocation of resources in publicly funded cultural institutions, hitherto almost exclusively monopolized by “Left”-leaning administrators and artists;

– Institute greater transparency in the disclosure of funding of political activity by foreign governments, using radical “Left”-wing NGOs to advance the opposition to the policy of the elected government;

–  Inject greater openness into the appointment process of candidates for the judiciary, mired, as it is, in cozy cronyism that virtually bars admission to anyone but the ideologically likeminded;

-Introduce greater plurality in the range of political philosophies students are exposed to in academia.  


As head of the Opposition, Herzog has shown particular alacrity in casting aspersions on his country’s democratic credentials, especially when the pesky demos (people) has chosen—in free and fair elections—to confer the kratos  (power) on his political rivals.

Invoking the “F” word for political gain

Sadly, Herzog’s derogatory outburst last week was not the first time he invoked the “F” word for political purposes.

Thus, when the elected government of Israel introduced a bill to promote greater transparency regarding the funding of Israeli NGOs, who receive the bulk of their financial support from foreign governments, this was greeted by howls of protest by Left-leaning circles, alleging that, somehow, enhanced transparency undermines democracy. Go figure!

Herzog took a leading role in the outcry against greater transparency. Thus “The Guardian” reported: “…the strongest condemnation came from the Israeli opposition leader, Isaac Herzog, who told reporters before the vote: ‘The NGO law … is indicative, more than anything, of the budding fascism creeping into Israeli society’ ”—as if the future of Israeli democracy depended on unrestricted surreptitious funding of what are in effect foreign agents.

Indeed, quite the opposite is the case. The funding these entities receive from alien sovereign governments off-sets their minuscule public support in Israel. It provides them with the resources to enhance their domestic impact far beyond their true proportions – by means of well-publicized legal action and high-profile public relations initiatives in promoting an agenda which their foreign backers endorse. This of course is a grave distortion of Israel’s democratic process. For, it allows foreign governments, by means of their taxpayers’ money and domestic Israeli entities, not only to stymie the policies the government was elected to implement, but at times, to compel it to implement measures it was elected to prevent.

To make the point: One can only image the furor that would erupt if the Israeli government poured millions in to Spanish NGOs calling for Basque separatism, utilizing Spanish courts and Spanish media to advance the Basque separatists cause. And who would accuse Spain of “fascism” if it took umbrage at such activity, and instituted legislation to curtail it?   

Invoking the “F” word (cont.)

Herzog was once again eager to employ the “fascist” smear against the Education Minister Bennett’s  academic “code of conduct”, formulated by highly reputable philosopher and Israel Prize laureate, Prof. Asher Kasher—who hardly fits the role of some radical Right-wing extremist.

He railed against the proposed code: “It is a grave act that harms one of the greatest powers among the Jewish people and the State of Israel – the right to argue and to express a different opinion…” adding ominously: “When you muzzle poets and authors, artists and actors, judges and journalists and now academics – it is a dangerous step toward [wait for it-MS] fascism.

This, of course, is a deliberately malicious misrepresentation of the matter. After all, “the code of conduct” was a response to the inhibition/intimidation many students feel when expressing opinions that diverge from those expounded by their radical Left-wing lecturers, and to the narrow range of political philosophies they are exposed to in the classroom.

Although, elsewhere, I have expressed skepticism as to the efficacy of Bennett’s initiative, to brand it as “muzzling” academics is patently absurd—since it would not impinge on research, publications, presentations at conferences or extra-mural public activities.  Moreover, rather than to restrict debate, its purpose is to widen it, by addressing the virtual stranglehold the Left has on academic discourse—particularly in the social sciences and humanities.

Should anyone doubt the existence of such exclusive Left-wing dominance, I would challenge anyone to identify a single senior tenured academic (and certainly any junior academic seeking tenure) in any major academic establishment, who overtly challenged the Oslo “peace process”, warned of the death and destruction it would wreak on Jew and Arab alike, and urged the Israeli government, publically and persistently, to abandon the perilous path it had embarked upon.

Perfidy as the hallmark of liberal democracy?

A similar brouhaha erupted with the introduction of the rather injudiciously named “Loyalty in Culture” bill, by controversial Culture Minister Miri Regev, evoking the usually dire warnings of encroaching “fascism”.

However, the existing law already stipulated that the state can in fact withhold funds from institutions, which:
– incite racism, violence or terrorism;

-support armed conflict/terrorism against Israel;

-deny Israel’s existence as a Jewish and democratic state;

– mark the establishment of the State of Israel/Independence Day as a day of mourning (Nakba);

– dishonor/deface the Israeli flag or state symbols.

So, in effect, all the bill really did was transfer the existing authority from the Finance Ministry, where such sanctions were not robustly enforced, to the Ministry of Culture, where they may well be.

Moreover, the bill did not mandate any restriction on the freedom of expression.  Accordingly, should any cultural institution feel the need to conduct cultural activity that incites racism or violence, or supports armed conflict or terrorism against Israel, it is free to do so.

It should not, however, expect the state to subsidize subversion, or to fund its own demise. However, judging from the Left-leaning opposition’s verbal assault on the bill, it would appear that many of them think it should.

Indeed, the vehement denigration of the term “loyalty” might easily lead us to believe that, in the eyes of the Left, a license for perfidy is the hallmark of their vision of fascist-free liberal democracy.

Difficult to overstate strategic damage

It is difficult to overstate the damage that domestic denigration of Israel’s democratic credentials inflicts on the country.

After all, one of the gravest strategic challenges Israel faces today is the international campaign to delegitimize and isolate it in the global community, and to cut it off from its sources of support by portraying it as unworthy of such support.

Accordingly, Israel’s most inimical foes seize eagerly on these unfounded characterizations of the country, in their unceasing endeavor to discredit, delegitimize and demonize it.

Thus, for example, the Iranian site ParsToday regularly pounces on Herzog’s derogatory diatribes, prominently parading them, in various languages, as allegedly representing the realities in Israel. Under a strident headline, in its Spanish edition, portraying Israel as fatally fractured society, it announced “Herzog: Israel is on the verge of a civil war” quoting the head of the Opposition’s assessment of the “transparency law” as “symboliz[ing] the fascism that is flourishing in Israeli society.”  

ParsToday’s English edition ran a piece with a headline citing the “Israeli opposition leader” warning :Israeli politicians inciting hatred, racism”. In the body of the report it informed its readers: “The 55-year-old chairman of the Labor Party further blamed the administration of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the prevalence of the rising fascist discourse…” 

ParsToday was also quick to exploit one of Herzog’s toxic tirades in the Knesset. Indeed, on the day after he delivered it, the site (in its Hebrew edition) blared “Herzog: Israel is afflicted with Ultra-Nationalism and infected with the seeds of Fascism

Gee, I wonder what the English word is to describe someone who systematically undermines his country’s strategic interests.

Time for Left to acknowledge “The Other”

Of course, the very fact that the Left-wing opposition can continuously castigate the current coalition with impunity without any real fear of retribution is, in itself, arguably the most resounding repudiation of the repeated accusations of “fascism”.

After all, what self-respecting fascist regime would tolerate such recalcitrant behavior? Indeed, its perpetrators would have long been dispatched, post haste, to either prison—or the hereafter.

Surely the time has come for the Left-wing opposition to realize that their reckless rhetoric inflicts tremendous and unwarranted harm on their country; surely the time has come for them to desist from this egregious tactic for electoral advantage—especially as it has proven so hopelessly ineffectual.

In this regard, perhaps the Left would do well to recall that is has always prided itself on its acceptance of the “The Other”.

So in its quest for greater success in the democratic process, perhaps it is time for the representatives of the Israeli Left to come to terms with the existence of “The Other” and reconcile itself with the idea that people who think differently to them are just as legitimate as those who look different to them.

Gaza Proves the Two State Solution Does Not Work

Originally published as: INTO THE FRAY- Gaza:The ultimate indictment of “two-statism”

The real humanitarian solution to the plight of Gaza lies not in its reconstruction, but in its deconstruction

…the prospective Palestinian state is bound to be a failed and repressive entity, and a permanent danger to its Israeli and Jordanian neighbors    Elliott Abrams, in a briefing to the Middle East Forum, June 15, 2017


Hamas wants Israel to supply it with electricity “or else”, but there is no reason why Israel should submit to Hamas extortion. It is not Israel’s obligation to satisfy the needs of a population that continues, through its ongoing support of Hamas, to pursue Israel’s destruction. Efraim Inbar, Gaza in the Dark Is Not So Terrible, June 18, 2017


What is the point of raising and spending many millions of dollars to rebuild the Gaza Strip just so it can be destroyed in the next war? It’s a harsh question. Given the region’s tragic history, it is also inevitable. New York Times Editorial, October 10, 2014


Once again Gaza is in the news.


Once again the specter of “humanitarian disaster” hovers over the population on the coastal enclave, the hapless victims of the hopelessly ill-conceived endeavor to foist statehood on the Palestinian-Arabs.


Inane and iniquitous idea


Ironically,  this time the deteriorating plight of the Gazans was not thrust into the media spotlight because of any  Israeli initiative—or indeed, not even because of any Israeli response to Palestinian aggression—but rather at the behest of  the nominal head of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas.


It was, after all, at Abbas’s request that Israel reduced even further the already scant supply of electricity to the beleaguered territory, making life even more onerous for the unfortunate population of the Gaza Strip—apart, of course, from the vastly wealthy cliques of connected cronies.


Clearly, the power cuts were merely one additional measure of misery the average Gazan has had to endure since the fatally flawed formula of two-statism was instigated almost a quarter-century ago.


This inane and iniquitous idea has wrought almost every imaginable hardship on the residents of this ill-fated strip of land: Spiraling unemployment; collapsing infrastructure, domestic tyranny and fratricidal factionalism.


Depending on which report one chooses to lend credence to, unemployment has reached 40%-60% and is particularly severe among the young and the more educated segments of the population; up to 96%  of the water resources are reported to be unfit for drinking; the only power station has shut down because of a lack of fuel following, the refusal of Abbas to foot the bill; the supply of electricity has been cut from four hours a day to three; the lack of sewage treatment and disposal is becoming critical.


These then, are all the bitter fruits of two-statism.


Trying to solve the problem by reintroducing its cause?


Of course, one of the most absurd aspects of the discourse on the future of Gaza and how to handle the grave and growing problems of the area, is the prevailing platitude that the governance of the area should somehow be wrested from Hamas and restored to Abbas’s Fatah, whose corrupt and dysfunctional governance was the reason for Hamas’s ascendance in the first place. As if reinstating the cause for the current problem will somehow solve it.


Unsurprisingly, the Palestinian-Arabs, particularly those in Gaza, seem decidedly skeptical as to the efficacy of such a measure. Indeed, recent Palestinian polls point to wide spread dissatisfaction with Abbas and Fatah. Overall, in the Palestinian-administered territories, almost two thirds feel that Abbas, who has been in office three times his elected term, should resign, while 70% hold this view in Gaza. Indeed, the fear that Hamas may well win a new election is widely considered the reason that none have been held since 2005.


Moreover, it is widely acknowledged that without Israel’s military presence in Judea-Samaria, the Abbas regime would be speedily disposed of, as it was in Gaza. Accordingly, there is little reason to believe that, were Abbas’s control over Gaza reinstated, it could endure without restoring IDF presence there as well—hardly something advocates of Abbas’s return seem to advocate.


Nothing unpredictable, nor unpredicted.


The tragedy is that there is nothing about the Gaza fiasco that was not entirely foreseeable, and indeed, foreseen.


Over the last half-decade, I have written a slew of articles warning of the futility and folly of trying to maintain autonomous Arab rule in Gaza. But, perhaps more significantly, over a quarter-century ago (1992) I penned an article, Why we can’t dump Gaza, predicting precisely the course of events that would unfold if Israel abandoned Gaza—events that should have been obvious to anyone with the even slightest grasp of the most rudimentary elements of political science and related disciplines.


I warned: “The inevitable implication of Israeli withdrawal [from Gaza] can be ignored only at great peril to Israelis and Arabs alike”, and explained why such a measure would lead to the take-over by extremist elements like Hamas: “In the ensuing political vacuum [left by Israeli withdrawal], the most radical and violet elements in Gaza would undoubtedly seize power. In the absence of recognized institutions of government, all the more moderate elements would be speedily eliminated, either politically or physically”—as indeed they were!


I cautioned as to the impact of inadequate infrastructure: “The Gaza Strip does not have the means to sustain any semblance of durable economic life. Its water resources are increasingly being salinated through over-use, it has no land reserves, no indigenous sources of energy or power, no existing infrastructure for the conduct of international trade…”


Accordingly, I pointed out: “A total separation between Israel and the Gaza Strip …to stop the flow of ‘undesirable’ workers in search of the livelihood their immediate environs cannot provide” would precipitate widespread unemployment and resultant turmoil: “A denial of employment would inevitably increase the frustration and bitterness of the beleaguered population and its potential for incitement, lawlessness and violence”.


Foreseeing economic privation, violence and international censure


I identified the difficulties Israel would have in maintaining security and preventing smuggling of armaments particularly along the maritime border and Sinai frontier: “…the IDF would only be able to supervise along the northern and [eastern] approaches to the Strip. It would have no control over smugglers wishing to enter from the west (via the sea) or the south (via Sinai)”.   

The result was not difficult to forecast: “ The combination of these elements is a certain formula for explosive social and political unrest, feeding on a deepening sense of hopelessness, misery and deprivation of the local population, feelings which will  inevitably be directed against the most obvious and convenient target – Israel.”


The diagnosis of what was to follow was unequivocally clear, making operations such Cast Lead, Pillar of Defense and Protective Edge unavoidable: “…our southern settlements and towns will be the targets of frequent attacks, which will compel Israel to retaliate.”

The predicament of waging “asymmetric” war was not hard to foretell.


I wrote:  “But how and against whom? Without a military presence, the IDF will not be able to identify and apprehend those responsible…”, and warned of the ramifications of “collateral damage” and consequent international censure: “Air strikes or artillery shelling on civilian population centers will cause heavy casualties among the dense, destitute masses in whose midst the attackers would conceal themselves”, asking trenchantly: “How would world opinion react”.   


Consequently, I predicted: “Unilateral withdrawal from Gaza will do nothing to ease the socio-economic plight of the local inhabitants, nor will it reduce the politico-security problems of Israel; rather it will be likely to exacerbate them.”  I leave it to the reader to judge to what degree that prediction has been borne out.


Underscoring the untenability of two-statism


Accordingly, just how hopeless the doctrine of two-statism is, especially with regard to Gaza, should have been abundantly clear from the get-go for anyone with an iota of intellectual integrity and a smidgeon of analytical ability. But, if for some reason, anyone required further proof, Abbas’s initiative to impose further hardship on his harrowed kinfolk should provide it, removing all shadow of doubt.


For it served to highlight two things (a) The dismal plight of the Gazan population, who along with the residents of Jericho, were the first to be subjected to the egregious experiment of thrusting self-government on the Palestinian-Arabs, two-and-half decades after the start of that experiment; (b) the callous disregard that the Palestinian-Arab leadership has for the welfare of their people. After all, calling for the reduction of power to Gaza is a measure that will negatively impact virtually every walk of life, from the functioning of medical equipment through sewage treatment to desalination plants for production of scarce drinking water.


The miserable circumstances in Gaza—in terms of the physical conditions that prevail, the quality of governance, and the priorities of the leadership—offer prospects for the future that, charitably, can only be described as bleak—underscoring just how untenable the dogma of two-statism has shown itself to be.


Israel’s counter-productive largesse


Indeed, the three introductory excerpts encapsulate the enduring and endemic hopelessness that is Gaza.


The first (from Elliot Abrams) relates to the nature of the political entity that can be expected to emerge from any process of two-statism. After all, there is little reason to believe—and certainly no evidence that the empirical record has produced in the last quarter century—that the prospective Palestinian-Arab state will be anything but a homophobic, misogynistic Muslim-majority tyranny. Indeed, even its most fervent proponents have yet to produce anything approaching a persuasive argument to have us believe otherwise.


The second (from Prof. Efraim Inbar) relates to the nature of the population that will inhabit the political entity and the kind of conduct we can expect from it. As Inbar remarks: “…the Gazans cannot be exempted from responsibility for the consequences of Hamas’s actions…Hamas remains popular in Gaza, and all polls show that Gazans support continued violence against Israel. The Gazans are…not good neighbors, and…do not deserve Israel’s sympathy.”


The third (from the New York Times editorial) relates to the nature of the prospects the territory has for its future—and futility of maintaining the belief that there is any point to sustaining the two-state enterprise. For it raises the “harsh” but “inevitable” question: “Given the region’s tragic history” what is the point of further reconstruction efforts?


In this regard, Inbar echoes this trenchant question. Taking it a little further he asks: “What moral justification exists that compels Israelis to assist people who support an organization intent on destroying them?”

His answer: “There is no strategic or moral reason why Israel should supply free electricity to Gaza.”


Humanitarian Solution to Humanitarian Crisis: Deconstruction not Reconstruction


Inbar is of course entirely correct.  The Israeli government would do well to heed his counsel, and, taking its cue from Abbas’s demand, begin a phased withdrawal of all services and goods it currently provides the Palestinian Arabs, while offering the non-belligerent residents generous relocation grants, so that they can seek better, more secure lives elsewhere—outside the “cycle of violence” that the leaders wreak upon them regularly.


As I have pointed on numerous occasions, this will allow them to extricate themselves not only from any resultant “humanitarian crisis”, but also from the clutches of the cruel, corrupt cliques that have led them astray for decades.   


Thus, the real humanitarian solution to the plight of Gaza lies not in its reconstruction but in its deconstruction.


Indeed I raised this proposal in my 1992 article, by asking: “What, then, is the solution to this festering and intractable problem?”

I began my answer by pointing out: “It is essential to realize that no measure, whether total annexation or total withdrawal, can be reconciled with either Israel’s security or the welfare of the Arab population there”.


I clarified “This is not a call for a forcibly imposed racist ‘transfer’ by Israel, but rather for the initiation of  an appeal to enlist international support for the rehabilitation elsewhere of hundreds of thousands of refugees. They are the victims of war, held hostage…by those purporting to be committed to their welfare”.


In conclusion, I urged: “Instead of expounding the merits of a policy of dismantling Jewish settlements or abandoning the fate of Jewish settlers to some autonomous Arab regime (both antithetical to the Zionist ethos), the…leadership charged with responsibility for the conduct of Israel’s foreign policy would do well to devote its efforts to marshalling international pressure in support of this humane and historically imperative enterprise.”

Imagine how different things might have been, had my call been heeded, instead of waiting 25 years–for the ultimate indictment of two-statism.


Can Naftali Bennett Uproot the Left’s Monopoly on Israeli Academia

Submitted under the title: Bennett’s academic code: Right sentiment, wrong strategy

In-depth 2013 study: “Israeli academics have been free to engage in ‘nazification’ of Israel”


Had such professional misconduct occurred in the natural or physical sciences there would have doubtless been serious consequences: e.g. the collapse of a bridge following phony engineering calculations…Yet it would seem that when it comes to the social sciences or the humanities… the researcher can escape punishment for the worst kind of malpractice…In this Orwellian world where war is peace and ignorance is strength, not only are the falsifiers not censured – they are applauded Prof Efraim Karsh, on radical left-wing academics in “Fabricating Israeli History”


…no ethical code will open the doors of the left-wing monasteries to the right-wing “heretics” who dare to think differently than the pseudo-liberals who dominate them. – Dr. Dror Eydar, Israel Hayom, June 12, 2017


Earlier this week, Education Minister Naftali Bennett caused a huge public uproar when he introduced his proposed “Code of Ethics” for the country’s institutions of higher learning, stipulating rules, or at least, guidelines, for the conduct of lecturers in the classroom.


The two principle components of the “Code” appear to be constraints on lecturers, restricting them from (a) promoting their personal political views in class and (b) endorsing the boycott of Israel, in general and from calling for an academic boycott against it, in particular.


Cat among the Establishment pigeons?


Bennett’s initiative certainly set the proverbial “cat among the pigeons” across the nation’s academic Establishment—and beyond.


Indeed, it was immediately excoriated by all and sundry—including our oh-so politically correct president, Reuven Rivlin—alleging that it would somehow undermine academic freedom and inhibit the vigor of academic inquiry.


These allegations are, of course, totally unfounded and should be rebuffed with the disdain they so richly deserve.  


Indeed, as Dror Eydar notes:This characterization [of the proposed code] as an ‘attack on democracy’ and ‘attack on academic freedom’ are as much as an insult to our intelligence as they are deceitful”.


He adds acerbically and aptly: “If there is an assault on freedom of expression, it exists right now in most the departments of social sciences and humanities, which function as ‘gatekeepers’ that preclude admission of lecturers and researchers who hold conservative-right-wing views…”


Eydar’s harsh condemnation mirrors much of my own personal experience but that is something I shall return to shortly.  


At this stage, however it is clear that Bennett has put his finger on a crucial issue, impacting the tenor of the public discourse in Israel, and judging from the furor that it has ignited, it appears to have touched a raw nerve among the entrenched and entitled academic elites.


Spotlighting the stranglehold


In this, he has shown considerable courage for broaching the subject boldly and should be warmly commended for spotlighting one of most acute issues afflicting the nation today: The stranglehold of the Left on academic discourse in—and about—Israel.


However, two trenchant questions regarding his initiative must be raised: (a) What is the scope and severity of this problem?  (b) Are the measures proposed the most appropriate and effective for dealing with it?


As to the former, there can be little doubt as to both the dimensions and gravity of the problem.  As to the latter, there is regrettably considerable doubt as to whether the “Code” is the optimal instrument for addressing the problem—or if it addresses the cardinal components of it at all.


Just how grave the problem of exclusionary bias is in the Israeli academe—at least in the Social Sciences and Humanities –is reflected in a comprehensive study of academic freedom in Israel by the widely respected researcher, Professor Ofira Seliktar.


Entitled Academic Freedom in Israel: A Comparative Perspective”, it conducts a comparative analysis of the situation in Israel, the UK and Germany and comes up with several disturbing conclusions regarding the abuse of academic freedom in Israel.


The following are some of the more worrying excerpts from the study.


“Zionism is a colonial-imperialist movement…”


Seliktar depicts the prevailing atmosphere in much of the Social Sciences and Humanities in the country’s academic institutions: “Neo-Marxist, critical scholarship has acquired a substantial following in faculties of the liberal arts (the humanities and social sciences) in Israeli universities.”  


She elaborates: “Known as post Zionism, it asserts that Zionism is a colonial-imperialist movement and that its progeny, the State of Israel, is a colonial-apartheid country… Israel is presented as a Nazi-like state and the Israel Defense Force…is accused of Nazi-like behavior”.


Seliktar then goes on to depict the exclusionary nature of the syllabuses offered students and the narrow perspectives it provides them: “As a rule, courses offered by self-described post Zionist faculty have been heavily weighted toward this neo-Marxist…paradigm, with little or no effort expended to provide any different perspective.”


She then expounds on how Israeli academics harness their position to advance their radical—even anti-Zionist—political agenda: “Combining academic research and political work, post-Zionist academics have engaged in a robust effort to compel Israel to withdraw from the territories; some advocated the return of Palestinian refugees in order to create a bi-national Jewish-Palestinian entity”.


Moreover, she points to a reprehensible phenomenon, revealing :“Israeli scholars have adopted a leadership role in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, launched international petition drives condemning the IDF for war crimes, and inspired lawsuits against individual commanders.”


“Israeli academics engage in ‘nazification’ of Israel…”


Seliktar laments: “Government and university authorities have been slow to respond to this threat, due to the prevalent notion that academic freedom protects faculty speech and action, both intramurally and extramurally.”


Just how predictable the current howls of protest at Bennett’s attempt to deal with this outrageous state of affairs are, is reflected in her observation:  “…radical scholars and their liberal defenders in the academy and media have warned that imposing any limits would injure Israel’s standing in the academic world and place it at-odds with standards of academic freedom practiced in other democratic countries…”


Seliktar harshly criticizes both the cronyism and the criteria for advancement within Israeli faculties of Social Sciences and Humanities: “…Israeli scholars have been routinely promoted based on publication in radical presses…and journals of dubious academic credibility.”   


She warns that “…none of the legal remedies developed in Great Britain and the United States are applicable to Israel…”  Thus, according to Seliktar, “Israeli academics have been free to engage in ‘nazification’ and ‘apartheidization’ of Israel”, unencumbered by constraints prevalent in other Western democracies. Furthermore, she cautions that their work has been seized on by Israel’s most indefatigable foes: “Their work has been quoted by pro-Palestinian or pro- Iranian circles seeking academic legitimacy for their positions.”


Summing up, Seliktar cautions that “The lack of understanding of how other countries balance academic freedom with responsibility to state and society has enabled radical scholars not only to abuse academic privileges, but also claim that Israel is sliding toward McCarthyism…”  


Right diagnosis, wrong remedy


This then, is the dire predicament that prompted Bennett’s well-intentioned initiative, and with which it was reportedly designed to contend.  


However, as emerges from Seliktar’s study, it is unlikely to address the major detrimental effects prevailing today in Israel’s academic milieu, or the grave damage the ongoing abuse of academic freedom is inflicting on Israel internationally.

Of course, I in no way wish to belittle the gravity of the fear of intimidation , even retribution, individual students may feel in the classroom should they have the temerity to challenge the political doctrine expounded by their lecturers. However, at the national level, concern should be focused elsewhere. Here, as Seliktar indicates, the problem is not so much which views are expressed—and which are suppressed—within the limited arena of a lecture. What is most damaging to Israel are those that are aired—or stifled—in academic conferences, journals and mainstream media opinion columns, using academic credentials to lend an air of indisputable authority to views conveyed in them.  

However, these effects are not addressed by Bennett’s proposed “Code”. Indeed not only does it not even purport to address them, Bennett himself pointed out, in response to his detractors claims that he is constraining academic activity,  that in these matters academics will still have unfettered freedoms.


It is therefore, clear that despite the accurate diagnosis of the malaise in Israel’s institutions of higher learning, the remedy prescribed in Bennett’s initiative will almost certainly be ineffective.


The real problem: Criteria for admission & promotion


Seliktars’s study underscores that the root of the problem is not so much restricting the expression of political proclivities in the lecture hall, but the criterion for admission to the ranks of academia, and for promotion to senior academic positions. These, too, are issues left largely unaddressed by the Bennett “Code”.


To underscore the severity of these two issues, I would challenge the readers to identify any senior tenured academic (and certainly any junior academic seeking tenure) in any major academic establishment, who overtly challenged the Oslo “peace process”, warned of the death and destruction it would wreak on Jew and Arab alike, and urged the Israeli government, publically and persistently, to abandon the perilous path it has embarked upon.  


I would be more than grateful to learn of the existence of any such redoubtable “renegade”.


Moreover, consider the question of promotion. Suppose some intrepid academic rebel penned a brilliantly prescient article, predicting precisely the disastrous course the peace process would follow, the gigantic wave of carnage it would precipitate, the terror it would bring to Israeli streets, cafes and buses; and the deprivation and devastation it would bring to the Palestinian-Arabs –particularly in Gaza.


Admission & promotion criteria (cont.)

Anyone, even remotely familiar with the atmosphere that pervaded the academic milieu at the time, would know—as a matter of certainty—that such an article, no matter how exhaustively researched and/or tightly argued, would have little to no chance of publication in any major journal in the field of political science, international relations or any related discipline.


By contrast, if an article, echoing received wisdom of the time, set out a glowing prognosis of how the Middle East was on the threshold of a new era of peace and prosperity, it would have little difficulty in finding its way into the pages of respected academic publications.

So, if the criterion for promotion is one’s record of publication, who is likely be promoted? The candidate who got it totally wrong, but can point to a long list of publications? Or the candidate who got it exactly right, but had no record of published research? The answer is of course painfully clear—sadly reinforcing the lamentable state of affairs in the Israeli academe, so succinctly conveyed by Prof. Karsh in the introductory excerpt: “In this Orwellian world where war is peace and ignorance is strength, not only are the falsifiers not censured – they are applauded.”


Indeed they are!

“…solution is to establish new institutions”  


None of these detrimental defects will be remedied by preventing a lecturer from expressing his/her political credo in class, or by compelling him/her to present opposing perspectives to his/her students. Indeed, how realistic is it to expect a radical left-wing professor to present the views of right-wing conservatism in anything approaching an adequate and equitable fashion?

No, the quest for a comprehensive and fundamental remedy must be conducted in an entirely different direction—not by quashing expression  of certain positions, but by providing alternative frameworks and mechanisms for the expression of opposing  positions that can effectively challenge the dominant (indeed, domineering) paradigm that currently monopolizes the academic discourse.


In this I find myself in complete agreement with Eydar, both when he warns:  “no ethical code will open the doors of the left-wing monasteries to the right-wing “heretics” who dare to think differently than the pseudo-liberals who dominate them”;  and when he prescribes: “The solution is to establish new institutions and think tanks as an alternative”.


I totally agree and —in the interests of full disclosure—this is the major thrust of my endeavor at the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies, established precisely for this purpose: To establish a “theater of engagement” in which the Left-wing academic elites are compelled to engage intellectual adversaries, and in which their doctrinaire positions can be publically exposed for the dangerous drivel that they really are.   

Accordingly, I call on the Education Minister to channel his efforts (and resources) into this and other like-minded enterprises. I have little doubt that this strategy—of  fostering  more robust debate, rather than trying to straight-jacket it—will be far more fruitful in remedying the ailment he so accurately diagnosed.   



The Humanitarian Paradigm – Answering FAQs (Part 2)

Sequel to the dispelling of  doubts regarding the feasibility – and morality – of largescale, financially incentivized emigration as the only non-kinetic approach for resolution of the Israel-Palestinian impasse.

The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. -Widely attributed to Winston Churchill


Readers will recall that last week I began a two part response to FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) relating to the practical feasibility/moral acceptability of my proposed Humanitarian Paradigm (HP), which prescribes, among other measures, large-scale financially incentivized emigration of the Palestinian-Arabs, living across the pre-1967 lines as the only route to attain long-term survivability for Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.


To recap briefly


In last week’s column, I addressed the question of the overall cost of the funded emigration project, and showed that, given the political will to implement it, it would be eminently affordable – even if Israel had to shoulder the burden alone. If other industrial nations could be induced to participate, the total cost would be an imperceptible percentage of their GDP.


I then went on to demonstrate that there is ample evidence indicating a wide-spread desire in large sections of the Palestinian-Arab population to emigrate permanently in search of more secure and prosperous livee elsewhere. This point was underscored by a recent Haaretz article , describing how thousands of Gazans had fled their home to Greece, undertaking perilous risk to extricate themselves from the harrowing hardships imposed on them by the ill-conceived endeavor to foist statehood on the Palestinian-Arabs.  Significantly, according to the Haaretz report, none of them blamed Israel for their plight—but rather the ruling Hamas-regime, which, it will be recalled, was elected by popular vote to replace the rival Fatah faction, ousted because of its corruption and poor governance.


Finally, I dealt with the question of the prospective host nations, pointing out that the funded Palestinian-Arab émigrés would not arrive as an uncontrolled deluge of destitute humanity, but as an orderly regulated stream of relatively affluent immigrants spread over about a decade-and-a-half, whose absorption would entail significant capital inflows for the host nation’s economy.  Moreover, given the fact that, globally, migrants total almost a quarter billion, Palestinian-Arab migration of several hundred thousand a year would comprise a small fraction of one percent of the overall number—hardly an inconceivable prospect.  


Following this short summary of previously addressed FAQs, we can now move on to tackle several additional ones.

FAQ 4: Won’t fear of fratricide deter recipients?


One of the most commonly raised reservations as to the practical applicability of the HP is that potential recipients of the relocation/rehabilitation grants would be deterred from accepting them because of  threats of retribution from their kin-folk who allegedly would view such action as perfidious betrayal of the Palestinian-Arabs’ national aspirations.


In contending with this question, it is necessary to distinguish between two possible scenarios, in which such internecine intimidation will be either a phenomenon whose scope is (a) limited; or (b) wide-spread and pervasive.  


Clearly, if the former is true, it is unlikely to have any significant inhibiting impact on the conduct of prospective recipients of the relocation/rehabilitation grants.


If, however, the assumption is that the latter is the case, several points need to be made:

– If this objection  to the HP is to have any credence, its proponents must present evidence (as opposed to unproven supposition) that potential violent opponents of the HP program have the ability not only to inflict harm on prospective recipients (as opposed to issuing empty threats) , but that they can sustain such ability over time.


– In this regard, it should be kept in mind that implementation of the HP entails the disarming, dismantling and disbanding —if need be, coercively—of the ruling Palestinian regime, and reinstating Israeli governance over all territory under Palestinian-Arab control.    



Inhibiting internecine intimidation


The HP is hardly unique with regard to this latter point. All other proffered policy alternatives for the failed, foolhardy two-state formula entail such measures—either by explicit stipulation, or implicit inference—since preserving the current Palestinian regime intact would clearly preclude their implementation.  Indeed, they are even endorsed by some pundits who do not discount the eventual emergence of a Palestinian state, such as Middle East Forum president, Daniel Pipes.


Clearly, the dispersal of the central Palestinian governing body, together with the defanging of its armed organs and the deployment of Israeli forces in their stead , will greatly curtail  (although not entirely eliminate) the scope for internecine intimidation and the capacity to dissuade potential recipients of the relocation/rehabilitation grants from availing themselves of the funds.


In addition, Israel should task its own formidable military and intelligence services to protect prospective recipients of these grants by identifying, intervening and thwarting attempts to intimidate those seeking to enhance their lives by extricating themselves from the control of the disastrously dysfunctional regime under which they live.


Moreover, the international community should be called upon to cooperate with and participate in this principled endeavor to prevent fratricidal elements within Palestinian society from depriving their brethren of the opportunity of better, safer lives. After all, violence against Palestinian-Arabs, who choose to reside within any given host nation, would comprise an intolerable violation of that country’s national sovereignty.  


Appalling indictment of “Palestinian” society?  


Of course invoking the specter of large-scale fratricide as an impediment to the acceptance of the HP is an appalling indictment of Palestinian-Arab society.


After all, the inescapable implication of such an objection to the HP’s practical applicability is that its acceptance by otherwise willing recipients, wishing to avail themselves of opportunity to seek security and prosperity elsewhere, can only be impeded by violent extortion of their kin-folk.


Accordingly, if the concern over large-scale fratricide is serious, it is in fact, at once, both the strongest argument in favor of the HP and against the establishment of a Palestinian state.  After all, two unavoidable conclusions necessarily flow from it: (a) any predicted reluctance to accept the relocation/rehabilitating grants would not be a reflection of the free will of Palestinian-Arabs, but rather a coerced outcome that came about despite the fact that it is not; (b) Similarly, the endeavor for a Palestinian state is not one that manifests any authentic desire of the “Palestinian people” but rather one imposed on them, despite the fact that it does not.


As a result, any Palestinian-Arab state established under the pervasive threat of lethal retribution against any dissenter will not be an expression of genuine national aspirations but of extortion and coercion of large segments of Palestinian-Arab society, who would otherwise opt for an alternative outcome.


In summation then, if the fear of fratricide can be shown to be a tangible threat, it should not be considered a reason to abandon the HP formula. Quite the opposite! It should be considered an unacceptable phenomenon to be resolutely suppressed –by both Israel and the international community—in order to permit the Palestinian-Arab public the freedom of choice to determine their future.


FAQ 5: Would funded emigration not be considered unethical “ethnic cleansing”?


I have addressed the question of the moral merits of the HP extensively elsewhere (see “Palestine”: Who Has Moral High Ground?), where I demonstrate that the HP blueprint will be the most humane of all options if it succeeds, and the least inhumane if it does not.


I shall therefore refrain from repeating much of the arguments presented previously and focus on one crucial issue: The comparative moral merits of the widely endorsed two-state paradigm (TSS) and those of  my proposed Humanitarian Paradigm (HP).


Since there is very little doubt (or dispute) as to the domestic nature of any prospective Palestinian state, anyone seeking to disqualify the HP because of its alleged moral shortcomings must be forced to contend with the following question: Who has the moral high-ground?


(a) The TSS-proponents, who advocate establishing (yet another) homophobic, misogynistic Muslim-majority tyranny, whose hallmarks would be: gender discrimination, gay persecution, religious intolerance, and political oppression of dissidents? ; or


(b) The HP-proponents who advocate providing non-belligerent Palestinian individuals with the opportunity of building a better life for themselves elsewhere, out of harm’s way, free from the recurring cycles of death, destruction and destitution, brought down on them by the cruel, corrupt cliques that have led them astray for decades.


Furthermore, TSS advocates should be compelled to clarify why they consider it morally acceptable to offer financial inducements to Jews in Judea-Samaria to evacuate their homes to facilitate the establishment of said homophobic, misogynistic tyranny, which, almost certainly, will become a bastion for Islamist terror; yet they consider it morally reprehensible to offer financial inducements to Arabs in Judea-Samaria to evacuate their homes to prevent the establishment of such an entity?


FAQ 6: What about those who remain?


This is, of course, a serious question and a detailed response would depend on, among other things, the size of the residual Palestinian-Arab population who refuse any material compensation as an inducement to emigrate.


The acuteness of the problem would undoubtedly be a function of its scale. Clearly, the smaller this residual population, the less pressing the need will be to deal with it. For example it seems plausible that if, say, only a hundred thousand Palestinians remain, consideration may well be given to the possibility of offering them Israeli citizenship – subject to stringent security vetting and sworn acceptance of Jewish sovereignty as the sole legitimate source of authority in the land – without endangering the Jewish character of the country.


However, it should be remembered that, unlike the two-state approach which advocates perilous concessions, and the one-state prescription which calls for incorporating the Palestinian-Arabs resident across the pre-1967  lines into  Israel’s permanent population, the HP does not involve any cataclysmic irreversible measures.


At the heart of the HP program is a comprehensive system of material inducements to foster Palestinian emigration, which includes generous incentives for leaving and harsh disincentives for staying. As detailed elsewhere, such incentives would entail substantial monetary grants, up to 100 years GDP per capita per family in Palestinian terms; while the latter entail phased withdrawal of services (including provision of water, electricity, fuel, port facilities and so on) that Israel currently provides to the Palestinian-Arabs across the pre-1967 lines.


Accordingly, should it be found that the initial proposed inducements are ineffective, the former can be made more enticing, and/or the latter more daunting, until the proffered package is acceptable.


Seen in this context, it is difficult to envisage that many non-belligerent Palestinian-Arabs would prefer to endure the rigors of discontinued provision of services rather than avail themselves of the generous relocation/rehabilitation funds—especially given the dispersal of the Palestinian regime as an alternative source of such services.


FAQ 7 What if the same kind of offer were made to induce Jewish emigration?


In addressing this question several points should be borne in mind:


The offer would clearly not be made by an Israeli government. After all, the HP is  intended as a measure to: (a)  Ensure – not undermine – the survival of Israel as the nation-state of the Jews, and (b) Relieve the genuine humanitarian predicament of the Palestinian-Arabs—precipitated by the dysfunctional administration they have been subjected to since the 1993 Oslo process—not Jewish disgruntlement with the imperfect functioning of the Israeli government.


Of course, it would be impossible to prevent Arab elements from offering Jews financial inducement to emigrate from Israel, but in this regard it should be recalled that: (a) As a sovereign nation Israel can control the financial flows into the country and impede money from hostile sources reaching Israeli citizens, considerably complicating the transfer and receipt of  funds. (b) Arab governments have been singularly reticent in providing large sums  to advance the “Palestinian cause” and there is little chance (or evidence) that they would advance the hundreds of billions required to finance large scale Jewish emigration;  (c) The overwhelming majority of Israelis enjoy living standards of an advanced post-industrial nation with a GDP per capita around 20 times higher than that in the Palestinian-administered territories; (d) Accordingly, it would be commensurately more difficult to tempt them to leave. Indeed, sums offered would have to be considerably higher to create a comparable incentive, running into millions rather than hundreds of thousands per family. (e) Moreover, a slew of recent polls show the large majority of Israelis are satisfied with their lives – thus the prospect of material incentives to induce large-scale emigration seems remote.  

Urgent Zionist imperative.


The HP is the only Zionist-compliant policy prescription that can save Israel from the perilous dangers of the two-state formula and the specter of Lebanonization/Balkanization  inherent in other proffered alternatives. Embarking on its implementation is a Zionist imperative that is both urgent and feasible.