The Left lives on slogans. Ever since the time of the Communist Manifesto, with the brilliant catchphrase, “You have nothing to lose but your shackles,” their flock yearns for political sayings created by masters of brainwashing and psychological warfare. The Israeli Left, for some time now, has not been part of the social or socialist Left. It has become bourgeois and rich, but it has not lost its passion for ideology and for debate and controversy. Its spiritual homeland is no longer Soviet Russia but Palestine, and at the heart of its new argument is not the distribution of wealth but the distribution of the land. They also require, as always, someone who they can condemn as a reactionary, living in the past, who is the object of their hatred.
Formerly, it was the contemptible capitalist; in our day it is the relentless settler, and the red ideology has been replaced by a new belief – the cult of “peace on our enemies’ terms.”
As is their habit, they found a catchy slogan for their new belief system – “Land for peace,” but this slogan now lies buried in the sands of Gush Katif (Gaza), where the Israeli public learned that the true quid pro quo for territories is Hamas rule and rockets, not peace. But slogans are plentiful and so we have had to endure “Shall we forever live by the sword?”, ” A horse and its rider”, “Peace is made with enemies”, “Window of opportunity” , “No free lunch “, “The demographic demon” and “Time is in favor of the Arabs.”
With time, these slogans have worn out because the facts have flown in their faces. Now only one slogan remains, to which television’s Channel 10 just devoted a special program: the threat that if Israel is not divided, the State of Israel will become ‘a bi-national state.’ Yossi Sarid, (a well-known journalist and former Knesset member of the left) elaborated in that broadcast with the words “the end of the Jewish State” , and Meron Benvenisti (a writer and journalist) added, “the train has already left the station.”
Is this panic justified? If the fear is that the State of Israel will lose its Jewish majority, then the question is primarily a demographic one and, in this regard, the past years have brought good news. As opposed to the situation in the middle of the last century whereby there were, on average, six children more in Arab families than in Jewish families, today the Arab family has an average of three children and the Jewish birthrate has grown to an equal number. Moreover, the Jewish birthrate is on the rise while the Arab birthrate is declining, and the latter is the situation in almost the entire Middle East. The trend in Israelis characteristic not only of religious Jews but also of the secular population, and this is contrary to the decreasing birthrates in the entire Western world. Today, forty-six years after the reunification of Israel, the Jews are still a majority in all of western Israel, the Gaza Strip included, and this majority is not in danger.
Furthermore, we are not obligated to grant all the Arabs of Judaea and Samaria Israeli citizenship coupled with the right to vote for the Knesset. And as long as they have not been enfranchised, all talk about “the end of the Jewish State” is demagoguery. As long as there is solid Jewish majority in the Knesset, the state is Jewish.
Here the Left introduces the argument that if we do not grant the Arabs of Judaea and Samaria citizenship, our state will no longer be democratic, and the world will not for long abide a situation of “occupation” without rights. This claim deserves serious consideration. Let us begin with the fact that for the Arabs the situation today in Judaea and Samariais not one of “occupation.” Only the Jewish settlers are subject to the rule of the military government and its regulations, that is, held under occupation. All the Arabs, including those in Area C, are under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah. Albeit, the Arabs in Area C are under the authority of the Israeli civil government in matters of planning, construction, traffic etc. but their lives are essentially governed by Ramallah. Furthermore, there is no disagreement in the Jewish public that, were Area C to be annexed to Israel, its Arab residents should be granted Israeli citizenship. Their number is estimated at 70,000, and that number would certainly not endanger the Jewish majority.
Approximately half of the Arabs of the disputed territories live in the Gaza Strip where, in effect, they are living in a separate state. Nobody can claim that “Hamastan” in Gaza is under Israeli occupation. On the contrary, there the Left’s dream of dividing the land has already taken place on a small scale. The Left can therefore relax –Gaza will certainly not be the cause of diminishing the percentage of Jews in the State of Israel..
Areas A and B too, are not ruled by Israel. True, sometimes the IDF does arrest suspects there, but that is done across other borders as well, and it happens only because the Palestinian Authority routinely violates its obligation, in accordance with the Oslo Agreements, to arrest terror suspects.
The Arabs of Judaea and Samaria have a parliament, a government, a flag, a national anthem, representation in all the countries of the world including in the United Nations, they have security forces which deploy automatic weapons, including machine guns, they have independent radio and television broadcasting systems and total economic freedom. Their government offices function in every imaginable sphere. What don’t they have? Jerusalem. Also, heavy military armaments and authority over the approximately 400,000 Jewish settlers. The border crossings are under Israeli authority, as are the skies, and the Palestinian Authority is not permitted to enter into international agreements which are of a sensitive nature vis a vis Israel. The reason for this is clear: without these limitations we would have Iran’s Revolutionary Guards on the border of Petach Tikva, a military pact would have been signed between Ramallah and Teheran and at Ben-Gurion International Airport no flights would be able to take off or land. The current situation in Ramallah is called Autonomy. Even the disrespected Oslo Agreements were resolute in not granting full sovereignty to the Palestinian Authority. In effect, the Israeli Military Authority was not dismantled, it just “retreated.” What remains is a rather limited Israeli affinity. Does this endanger the Jewish character of the State of Israel? Nonsense!
And still, the Left will insist, why do not the “Palestinian people” in Judaea and Samaria, in addition to the local matters over which they were given full democratic rule by the Oslo Agreements, deserve to receive full political sovereignty – a state, and not just autonomy? To this there is a very clear reply – because they already have such a state, but they chose to call it Jordan.
The territory of “Palestine” which the League of Nations gave the British in trust – mandate – to administer for the purpose of establishing a “National Home for the Jewish People”, stretched from the Mediterranean Sea to the Iraqi border, including today’s entire Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. However, a few months after the ratification of the Mandate (1922), the British requested from the League of Nations, and received, permission to remove the entire area east of the Jordan River from the territory being considered for the Jewish National Home, and that, in order to be able to reserve this territory for the Arabs who were already rebelling against the very idea of a Jewish national home. The British were indebted to the Hashemite dynasty, which fought alongside their armies against the Turks. Therefore, they rewarded the older brother with the Kingdom of Iraq and the younger brother received the Transjordanarea which was designated an emirate and its new ruler, Abdullah, received the title of Emir and eventually became King. The area was declared closed for Jewish aliya and settlement and as the secretary to the Emir, Sir Alec Kirkbride, wrote in his memoirs, it was designed to fulfill the nationalist aspirations of the Arabs, which had recently awakened and found their expression in bloody riots.
Here, then, obviously, was the foundation for the realization of the great vision of the Left (and of Benjamin Netanyahu), “two states for two nations”, one to the east and the other to the west of the Jordan River. And in this vision the Arabs, which later were to name themselves “Palestinians”, were not short-changed at all since the eastern portion comprised more than three-fourths of the entire original mandatory territory and what was left for the Jews, the area between the river and the sea, was only one fourth of the whole.
At that time, the local Arabs came up with two brilliant schemes:
- 1) They re-invented themselves as a separate people, which they named after the British Mandate territory of Palestine– the ‘Palestinian People’2) They created, out of thin air, a new national designation which they named after the new Jordanian Emirate – the ‘Jordanian People’.
It is also important to point out that in Jordan there is only one people, a people who call themselves ‘Palestinians.’ There are also Bedouin living there but they do not see themselves as a separate nation. As a result, in that area, which historically is the Land of Israel, and among themselves is called Palestine, there lives a people who identify as Palestinians – and nevertheless, it is called Jordan. This enables the Palestinians to claim that they have no home and that the Jews are the ones who must supply one for them out of the small portion which was left for them. Those Jews in Israel who are not ready to play along with this comedy and claim that one partition was enough – are called fanatics, messianic, dreamers and even Fascists.
In summation, I am willing to take a risk and say that all the Arabs in the biblical Land of Israel, on both sides of the Green Line, can live a full life under Israeli rule, and a part of them in the framework of autonomy. They will vote for their local autonomous Home Rule, but not for the Knesset in Jerusalem. They will vote in their national elections for the parliament in the eastern part, whether it will still be called ‘Jordan’ or the name will be changed to ‘Palestine’. The logistics were already worked out by the sages of Oslo. Thy allowed the Arabs living in East Jerusalem, which was annexed to the State of Israel, to vote in the elections for the Palestinian Authority – in Jerusalem in the Salah a’Din Street Post Office. In the same way, American, Russian and French citizens living here vote in the elections in their countries.
Will this lead to the loss of a Jewish majority in Israeli elections? Most certainly not!