"Man Plans, God Laughs"

The Folly Of Israeli-Arab Peace Mongering

by Jerry Gordon (Sept. 2007)

 

Background; the peace mongering follies

There is a Yiddish expression; “Man trachts, gott lachts” or “Man Plans, God laughs.” It is ironic shorthand for ‘folly’ - that ancient capacity of man to delude himself and sow the seeds of his own destruction. 

That is effectively what is occurring in the Middle East with the current re-energized interest in propping up what remains of the failed Palestinian ‘state,’ pumping renewed life into the ‘corpse’ with billions of taxpayer funds from the E.U. and the U.S. and sacrificing the security of an ally, Israel. It’s all about the mantra of "two states living side by side in recognition and peace with one another." This is a persistent delusion despite numerous facts on the ground to the contrary. Israel is dealing with ‘tribes with flags’ who have no visible loyalty to any state.

The late Israel Prime Minister, Itzhak Rabin, assassinated in 1995 by a Jewish nationalist, said, “a Palestinian State will only rise on the ruins of Israel.” M.K. Dr. Arieh Eldad of the National Union party, a reserve brigadier General in the IDF Medical Corps, in a recent weekly Ma’ariv column trenchantly capsuled what is unfolding:

          “As a dog returns to his vomit, so a fool returns to his folly” says the Book of Proverbs. An error is a sin, but when you repeat over and over, learning nothing from the past and drawing no conclusions, folly is not only a sin, it also becomes its own punishment.”

Israel is faced with an existential threat from what Barry Rubin of the GLORIA Center calls the HISH alliance: (Hezbollah, Iran, Syria and Hamas), uniting Sunni and Shia Islamists under the shield of looming nuclear weapons and long range missiles. The Sunni autocratic regimes, the alleged peace partners, are faced with the imminent prospects of appeasing HISH or supplying insurgents in Iraq to fight both the U.S. and the hated Shia. This time, the Persian Shia Mahdists may have upset the Sunni nationalists enough to force a deal with the U.S. and Israel to the latter’s disadvantage.

At the core of Israeli-Arab peace mongering is the reality that it is not the land that drives this Islamist threat against Israel. It is the (formerly dhimmi, but now liberated) Jewish presence on it. Land once conquered by Jihadists is claimed under Muslim Sharia law in perpetuity.

The world, especially the Bush Administration and the other members of the Quartet (The U.S., E.U., Russia and Britain) are ‘infantilizing’ what’s left of the failed Palestinian state.  I have taken to call the remaining West Bank the ‘rump duchy of Ramallah following the Hamas putsch against Fatah and loss of Gaza on June 15th.   The Oslo accords of 1993 and its derivatives including the disastrous unilateral Gaza withdrawal of August 2005 and the nonsensical November 2005 Gaza border ‘agreement’ pushed by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have been effectively abrogated by what occurred in Gaza on June 15, 2007. The alleged secular Fatah ’tribe’ was vanquished by the jihadist Hamas ‘tribe’ with the aid of Iran and Syria. 

As former Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Dore Gold of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA) stated in a Wall Street Journal op-ed: “The most recent U.S. efforts to solve the Arab-Israel dispute merely entrenched al Qaeda in the Gaza Strip.” 

Yet, Bush in Washington and the massively unpopular Olmert government in Jerusalem (less than a 8 percent approval rating for Olmert) are seeking to reach a ‘final status’ agreement. A comprehensive peace conference gathering is scheduled for November pitting members of the Arab league, especially the Saudis, with their quest to perpetrate the ‘Arab peace initiative,” against Israel. The Saudi-backed peace plan amounts to a defeat of Israel equivalent to what Munich was to the dismemberment of pre-WWII Czechoslovakia in 1938 to appease Hitler.  The plan features:

Ÿ         rollback to the pre-1967 “Auschwitz  borders,” so-called by the late Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban;

Ÿ         division of the Jerusalem municipality;

Ÿ         gifting of the virtually empty natural Jordan Valley border and the spine of the hills of Judea  to the Palestinians; and,

Ÿ         compensation in lieu of the return of four million Arab refugees from UNWRA refugee camps.

The actors perpetrating this are President Bush and Secretary of State Rice in Washington, DC and their feckless partners in Jerusalem- Prime Minister Olmert, Foreign Minister Livni and President Shimon Peres, the oldest serving member of Israel‘s Knesset or parliament. The hopelessly corrupt Fatah leader, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad are viewed as willing to do the impossible: recognize Israel’s right to exist in exchange for the Saudi deal. The reality is that Fatah seeks the same eradication of the Jewish presence in the ‘space between the River and the Sea’ as Islamist Hamas- they just don’t say so publicly in English. Furthermore, they are engaged in a public ‘kiss and make up’ scheme with payments to Hamas to complicate matters.

Israeli President Shimon Peres has allegedly crafted a ‘secret plan’ presented to PM Olmert and aides of President Abbas that would, according to WorldNetDaily’s Jerusalem correspondent Aaron Klein, “evacuate and transfer to the Palestinians nearly the entire West Bank and several Arab Israeli cities ….North of Tel Aviv.”  This is clearly capitulation to untenable and insecure borders allowing rockets to reach Ben Gurion Airport and Tel Aviv. While three fifths of Jewish Israelis favor a ‘two state solution’, almost two thirds (65%) of these respondents want Israel to retain security control over the West Bank.

Prime Minister Olmert, in a recent meeting with an American Congressional delegation led by House Democratic Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said that the purpose of his meetings with Abbas were to, “agree on principles regarding the core issues that will lead to establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, including borders, Jerusalem, the refugees, exchanges of land, the passageway to Gaza and the West Bank and the nature of the relations between Israel and the future Palestinian State.”  He stated that Abbas is the first Palestinian leader who is, “interested in changing the realities about Peace with Israel but ….on his terms, which we do not accept.”  In the meanwhile, Olmert has discussed with Abbas joint control over the Temple Mount, released several hundred Fatah Al Aksa Brigade terrorists including Ahmed Saadat, radical leader of the Marxist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, who orchestrated the assassination of Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze’evi of Moledet in 2001, relaxed checkpoints and permitting Arab police patrols in the West Bank in contradiction to current security guarantees.

So what these actors in this folly are engaged in is ‘peace mongering’. Peace mongering driven by fear: Washington’s fear of the failure of the Iraq War, the Sheiks of the Gulf Emirates and the Royal House of Saud’s fear of the ‘wolf of the north’ - Shia Mahdist Iran - encroaching their oil-rich autocracies, and multinational oil concerns’  fear of losing access to vast gas and oil reserves in the region and Israel’s fears of the Arab demographic ’time bomb and threat’ to the existence of the Jewish state.

But all this fear can supposedly be allayed by shoving a peace deal down Israel’s throat and by touting a virtually non-existent Palestinian ‘peace partner.’  It is no wonder that Clinton-era U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Martin Indyk, in a New York Times report called this “an alliance of fear.”

In contrast, former Clinton U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Richard Holbrooke, called this current folly, “a vast empty political theater.”

What I propose to do in this article is to review the many contending fantasies of the peace plans and in the process elucidate the realities of why many may not work, let alone, see the light of diplomatic day. I will discuss others that should be seriously considered.

Let’s begin the process.

Occupation versus Rights: The legal basis for Israel

Dan Diker, Director of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs’ Defensible Borders Initiative told me at a meeting in Santa Fe New Mexico this summer, that ongoing Israel-Arab peace mongering is driven by the canard of “Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands” and its concomitant imagery of Palestinian victimhood. The strategy has been exploited successfully exploited by the Arabs and the left in both Israel and the West to denigrate Israel’s rights to the land. Diker has recently authored a study, “Why Israel Must Now Move from Concessions-Based Diplomacy to Rights-Based Diplomacy” that recalls Israel’s legal rights in recalibrating the historical and legal argument over territory disputed between Palestinians and Israelis.

Diker notes:

          “Once Israel dropped its past reliance on a diplomacy based on its own rights and adopted a new concessions-based diplomacy instead, its spokesmen essentially acquiesced to the Palestinian historical narrative. The Israelis offered no alternative perspective.”

Very few even know about the natural and legal rights for the Jewish state...  Hamas certainly doesn’t acknowledge them because of Shariah law concerning treatment of dhimmis and its own Charter of 1988 seeking destruction of the Jewish State.  The rest of the world simply tunes out these arguments viewing Israelis as ‘Nazi storm trooper’ occupiers of Arab lands. An image that Palestinians perpetrate in their education systems, Mosque sermons and have even bamboozled the world media into believing the canard and imagery.

Eli Hertz, President of Myths and Facts, Inc, and Chairman of the Middle East media monitoring group, CAMERA has taken up the cudgel on articulating Israel’s ‘rights’ to the land. He has prepared both a booklet and a PowerPoint presentation entitled appropriately, “This Land is My Land” in which he lays out the 20th Century legal basis for Israel’s rights to its land. These ‘rights’ stretch from the Balfour Declaration for the Jewish Homeland issued in 1917 during World War I  to UN Res. 242,adopted 40 years ago in November, 1967 in the wake of the June, 1967  Six Days of War.   The archeological evidence from  Egyptian, Assyrian, Babylonian stelae, Cyrus the Great’s famed human rights ‘cylinder’ on exhibit in the British Museum, Paleo-Hebrew inscriptions from the unified to the Judean Kingdom historical period, Greco Syrian and Roman chronicles during the Hasmonean and Herodian dynasties,  Josephus’s The Jewish War, chronicling the destruction of the Second Temple, coins of the Bar Kokhba Revolt against Rome in 132 to 135 C.E., and evidence of continued Jewish presence from the Second Century C.E. to the present supports the thesis of Joan Peters book, Since Time Immemorial, maligned by Arab denigrators of this history.  Jews had occupied the lands in dispute for more than 2000 years before the onslaught of the Arab Jihad conquests of 7th Century C.E. when the imposition of the Pact of Umar subjected Jews and Christians to dhimmitude and the influx of Arab and non-Arab Muslims from the fringes of Ottoman empire during the 18th and 19th Centuries.

Hertz and others make the case that Israel has legal claims based on the Balfour Declaration of a Jewish Homeland issued in 1917 by the British Foreign Office and the Palestine Mandate adopted by the League of Nations at the San Remo conference in April, 1920 that originally included both sides of the Jordan Valley up to the border of Mesopotamia, present day Iraq. Winston Churchill, Britain’s Colonial Minister, as a reward for the Hashemite aid in the Arab Revolt orchestrated by T.E. Lawrence transferred the ‘eastern half’ of the Jewish Homeland for the formation of the Kingdom of Trans-Jordan in May, 1923 as a concession to its first King Abdullah.

Chaim Weizmann, head of the World Zionist Organization and later Israel’s First President, assented to this arrangement because he thought Abdullah welcomed the Zionist enterprise. Abdullah was assassinated in 1951 at the Al Aksa Mosque in front of young King Hussein for his heresy of negotiating a five year non-aggression treaty secretly with Israel.

The Council of the League of Nations in 1922 recognized Israel’s preexisting rights to settle in what was the western half of the Jewish Homeland. This right was affirmed by unanimous concurrent resolutions of the both Houses of the U.S. Congress in 1922. This legal basis for the Western half of the original Jewish Homeland granted by the League of Nations was an important basis used by Eugene V. Rostow,  former Yale Law School Dean and third ranking State department official under President Johnson in the wake of the Six Day War, in negotiations with Lord Carrington, Foreign Minister of Great Britain, that resulted in the adoption of UN Security Council  Res. 242 in November, 1967. Johnson, himself a Christian Zionist, resisted then Soviet Premier Kosygin’s demands for language about ‘immediate withdrawal’ because of these legal precedents and the necessity for Israel to obtain secure borders in the face of Arab intransigence. Because of former Amb. Gold’s ‘missionary’ work with the first Bush Administration, Israel’s legal rights to secure borders became officially sanctioned by President George W. Bush in an exchange of letters with PM Sharon on April 14, 2004. Bush’s presidential letter commitment would serve as a quid pro quo for Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in September 2005.

Defusing the ‘demographic time bomb’ in Israel: the Fourth Way proposal of the American Israel Strategic Planning Group

One of the domestic fears in Israel cited earlier was the ‘demographic time bomb’-the threat that the population growth rates of both indigenous Israeli Arabs and Palestinians would swamp the current Jewish majority in the immediate region. This ‘demographic threat’ also drives the pursuit of the ‘two state solution.’ This threat has been questioned by the reports, analysis and policy positions of an accomplished group of American Zionists: Michael Wise, a successful entrepreneur, physicist and mathematical modeling expert, Bennett Zimmerman, former Bain consultant, Harvard Business school grad and founder of an Israeli high tech mutual investment fund, and Roberta Seid, who is co-founder of the grass roots activist group StandWithUs and an historian. Calling themselves the American Israel Demographic Research Group (AIDRG) - now morphed into the American Israel Strategic Planning Group (AISPG) - they have done analysis on the Palestinian population statistics, fertility and immigration rates and produced findings that state:

Ÿ         The Palestinian population in the West Bank and Gaza is over-estimated and is more in the order of 2.4 Million and not 3.8 million in the combined West Bank and Gaza as had been suggested by Palestinian Statistical agencies;

Ÿ         That given current trends show a convergence of Jewish and Palestinian fertility rates, the ideal family unit sizes are a by product of industrialization of the Arab labor force, so that a Jewish majority would be maintained in the region. By 2025 only approximately 25% of the total population would be Arab; and,

Ÿ         Absorption of approximately 400,000 Arab residents in the Jordan valley and Jerusalem would be strategically viable.                             

As courageous Jerusalem Post journalist, Khaled_Abu_Toameh, an Israel Arab Muslim told a visiting group of New Mexican Jews earlier this year: “I would rather live as a second class citizen in Israel.” But then he cautioned his audience that he didn’t see any prospects for peace with the Palestinians other than a 30 year “hudna or truce.”

The implications of the AISPG findings are that Israel might consider a possible bi-national state obviating formation of a Palestinian state while incorporating long desired constitutional democratic reforms. These democratic reforms would create the equivalent of 21 election districts (EDs) and a bi-cameral national legislature by adopting a written constitution. The AISPG envisions adoption of a U.K. regional government model. This is a daunting task that has evaded adoption because of the evident corruption of the current basic law, party list proportional representation,  and the ‘protexia’ system of cronyism and budget earmark deals to create working coalitions in the Knesset.  In the most recent guise of the AISPG’s proposal in the Washington Times of August 3, 2007 entitled, Preserving Israel, the authors allege that based on their population estimates, Jews would control 15 of the 21 proposed EDs. 

The AISPG proposal includes only the West Bank with an estimated population [1.4] million.  Gaza with its estimated population of [1.3] million is excluded ‘for the moment’ given the Hamas coup and Islamist base ranged against Israel.

Clearly the AISPG proposal has the merits of secure borders, as Israel would control the Jordan Valley approaches, the Jerusalem corridor, the spine of the Judean Hills and the strategic heights of the ‘bulge’ area of the Northern West Bank now within rocket range of Tel Aviv.

The AISPG group has presented these proposals before the U.S. House of Representatives International Relations Committee, the Herziliya Policy Conference in Israel, the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, DC. In Israel their proposal has been championed by former Israeli Ambassador to Washington and Likud politician Yoram Ettinger.

Ironically, the AISPG proposals support a report released in February, 2007 on the Future Vision of the Palestinian Arabs in Israel” by prominent Israel Arab Mayors to establish a bi-national state.  In a poll by the Konrad Adenauer Program for Jewish-Arab Cooperation, “57 percent of Israeli Arabs polled wanted a change in the character of the state so that it would be a state for all its citizens, a bi-national state, or a consensual democracy.” An April 29, 2007 Ha’aretz report cited a poll by the Israel Democracy Institute that fully, “75 percent of Israel Arabs would support a constitution that maintained Israel’s status as Jewish and democratic state while guaranteeing equal rights for minorities.”

There are approximately 1.4 million Israeli Arabs as of the most recent Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics report or 19.8 % of the total population, including 250,000 Arabs in East Jerusalem and 19,000 Druze in the annexed Golan Heights.  70 percent of Israeli Arabs are Muslims.

The AISPG plan would be a Jewish State that would annex all of Judea and Samaria which would spark international calls for a bi national state.

There are problems with the AISPG ‘ceteris paribus’ arguments - that is, all things being equal, the quantitative analysis may prove out. Perhaps, not. Here’s why:

The long term trends in fertility and family size for Jews and Arab citizens in Israel may not result in the projected ‘capping’ of the Arab population at 25% of the total Israeli population. The effects of Israeli social safety net programs with family and housing allowances and Muslim Arab women’s approaches to family planning may affect the range of future Israeli Arab population estimates.

This is bolstered by Israel Population statistics that demonstrate that Muslim Israelis appear to have high birthrates: 4.0 children per 100 women of child bearing age versus 2.7 for Jewish Israeli women. 25% of children born in Israel are Muslim. 42% of the Muslim population is under the age of 15. The median age of Muslim Israelis is 18 versus 30 for Jewish Israelis. 3% of the Israeli Muslim population is over 65 years old, versus 12% for the Jewish population.

One has to look at the sensitivities of population forecasts to alternative population growth factors and their underlying social determinates to gauge whether the AISPG estimates are reasonable or in fact understate future Arab, especially Israeli Muslim population growth.

Official government forecasts estimate that Israeli Arab Muslims will reach 2.0 million by 2020 or 25% of the state’s population. Muslims will comprise fully 85% of the Israeli Arab population, as well. Thus, the total estimated Israeli Arab population may be closer to 30% of the State’s future population. Perhaps an even larger proportion of the projected period of 2025 - the terminal date of the AISPG forecasts.                                      

Two anecdotes that are relevant to West Bank Arabs, Walid Shoebat a former PLO terrorist told me of his ‘discovery’ of a large prosperous and important Palestinian Christian population of over 250,000 in Chile when he visited the country for a lecture tour two years ago. Christian Arabs in both Israel and the Bethlehem and Beit Sahour districts in the West bank have fled citing the rise of Islamism among Muslims. This has reduced the presence in the Christian population in the West Bank to less than 2 percent. Bethlehem has transitioned from a predominately Christian town to a predominantly Muslim one in less than two decades.  Secondly, there is another form of dangerous emigration out of Palestinian territories composed of Hamas and Hezbollah sympathizers and cadres to the ‘terror’ triangle area contiguous to Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil.

Israeli Druze, Circassians and Bedouin groups among the Arabs in Israel are loyal -many serve valiantly in the country’s armed forces. As one example, I have met an accomplished Bedouin deputy General Counsel in the Western Regional U.S. office in San Francisco: Ishmael Khaldi.

The nearly one million Israeli Muslims do not serve in such capacities, with some rare exceptions, and have long standing family and clan relations with relatives on the West Bank and Jordan.

Israeli Arab politicians in the Knesset have been ensnared in plots serving the interests of Israel’s enemies such as Syria and Iran. The best example was the recent case of Christian Arab M.K. Azmi Bishara, Chairman of the Arab Balad party who was accused of traveling to Syria and transferring funds to Hezbollah during the Second Lebanon War. Denied re-entry to Israel he resigned his seat in the Knesset.

Hebrew University Islamic scholar, Raphael Israeli, has documented the rise of home grown Israeli Arab Islamists, as represented by the fundamentalist rhetoric and treasonous acts of major leaders in the northern Branch of the Islamic Movement -the equivalent of the Muslim Brotherhood in Israel. The loyalty of Israel Arabs has been brought into questions by a series of actions fomented in part by the controversial leader of the northern Branch, Sheikh Read Salah, the Mayor of the largest Arab town outside of Nazareth, Umm al-Fahm. In October of 2000, at the start of the Second Intifada, Israeli Arabs in the north rioted, highways were closed down, firebombing occurred and 15 Arabs were killed by police in clashes. Fourteen Israeli Arab Members of the Islamic Movement were convicted of espionage in 2004 for passing information to Iran. Salah was indicted along with five others for transferring funds to Hamas. Released after a term in jail, Salah recently suggested that Israel has no legitimate rights to the Temple Mount, proclaiming that “the Temple Mount belongs to Islam for eternity!” Salah at the 11th annual conference of the Islamic Movement before tens of thousands said that a new caliphate will arise in Jerusalem. Sheik Salah has recently been indicted for incitement.  

Islamic movement and Communist mayoral officials in what was once the predominately Christian city of Nazareth (70,000) endeavored to build a Mosque on a site the Islamic Movement claimed was the tomb of Shahib al-Din - a nephew of the famed Kurdish general of the Crusades - Saladin. The Israeli government, under pressure from the Vatican and local Christian Arab groups, stopped the construction in 2003 and ordered the foundation destroyed.

The telling point about the loyalty of Israel Arabs, especially Muslims are their responses to polls taken after last summer’s War against Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, even as they were being rocketed with Katyushas in many northern Arab villages and suffering casualties.  Witness these results of a poll taken in 2007 by sociologist Sami Smoocha of Haifa University:

Ÿ         Nearly half (48.2%) of Israel Arab respondents believed that Hezbollah’s rocket attacks on northern Israel were ‘justified‘;

Ÿ         Virtually half (49.7%) of Israel Arab respondents said that the Hezbollah’s raid across the border to snatch IDF reservists Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev was ‘justified’;

Ÿ         89.1% of Israel Arab respondents said that IDF bombing of Lebanon  constituted a ‘war crime’;

Ÿ         60% of Israel Arabs surveyed were concerned about a possible mass expulsion;

Ÿ         Over two thirds of Israeli Arab respondents said they would live in the Jewish state if it existed alongside a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza strip;

Ÿ         28% of Israeli Arabs ‘deny’ the existence of the Holocaust: among high school and among college graduates it was over 33%.

In a separate poll by the Center of Anti-Racism, Israeli Jews at all levels showed high negativity to Arab citizens:

Ÿ         40% would take the right to vote away from them;

Ÿ         50% agreed that the State should encourage immigration of Arab citizens to other states.

The Smoocha poll found that over two thirds of Jewish Israelis (68.4%) feared possible widespread civil unrest among Israeli Arabs.

Against this background, does the AISPG bi-national proposal, as complex as it is,  have great prospects, let alone support from most Jewish Israelis, especially those originally expelled from Mizrahi or Arab lands?

Confederation with Jordan: The resurrection of the Alon Plan for Israeli strategic control of the Jordan and Judea

Dan Diker in our Santa Fe discussions reminded me of an apocryphal story concerning a visit by the late Israeli PM Menachem Begin in the 1970’s. He met with friends in the U.S. Senate, among them Sen. Henry “Scoop” Jackson and his aide, Richard Perle.  Perle relayed this story, that Begin came to talk about Eretz Yisroel, Perle and others in the Congress suggested talking about secure borders. “That’s when the maps came out and the dialogues began“.

At about the time of this Begin visit to Washington, DC, Foreign Affairs was publishing a long article, Israel: The Case for Defensible Borders by a legendary Israeli Palmach commander and Labor politician, Yigal Allon.  In late July, 1967 Allon presented a plan to then Israeli PM Levi Eshkol.

Known as the Allon Plan it has had ‘legs’ for over 40 years, because it represented a plausible reality. Diker opined that current confederation options which have surfaced are “an update of the Allon plan, but with recognition of the changing geo-political circumstances.”  He likened the proposal, a confederation with Jordan, to a Palestinian State equivalent to New Jersey here in the U.S.

Jordan’s King Abdullah II has publicly rejected the ‘confederation with Palestine’ idea calling it “a conspiracy against Jordan and Palestinians.” 

The Allon plan had the following basic elements:

Ÿ         Israel would control the Jordan Valley border as a bulwark against foreign invading armies. Unofficially, I was informed that Jordan considers this a bulwark against al Qaeda infiltration of the Kingdom, itself;

Ÿ         Israel would annex the Jerusalem corridor and adjacent areas and,

Ÿ         Palestine would be granted control over enclaves connected by a network of roads that included Nablus, Tulkarm, Jenin and Ramallah in the northern West Bank, and a southern enclave including Hebron and Bethlehem.

The Allon plan didn’t address control of the vital aquifer system on the West Bank, nor did it deal with the ‘bulge’ area in the Northern West Bank that is dangerously close to major cities and towns in central Israel. As one example, the abandoned settlement of Homesh that was part of the unilateral withdrawal in August 2005,  is less than 40 kilometers from Tel Aviv, putting the latter easily within rocket range.

The ‘return to Homesh’ movement orchestrated effectively by Israeli secular nationalist Tsafrir Ronen is directed at forcing re-establishment of Israeli rights to the ‘bulge area.’ through a continual and effective ‘civil disobedience’ campaign.  Clearly, eliminating the ‘bulge’ should be a matter for the ‘confederationists’ to put  front and center on the discussion agenda.

The  “Humanitarian transfer” plan of Dr. Eldad

Ultimately, the draconian solution may be what M.K. Arieh Eldad calls “humanitarian transfer.”

What Eldad is talking about is not simply forced immigration but a sophisticated initiative that would encompass elimination of the five decade eyesore of the UNWRA refugee camps along with economic and jobs development in the Kingdom of Jordan.  He bases this proposal on the original division of the Jewish Homeland in 1923 into the western and eastern halves by Churchill that created the Kingdom of Jordan.

Here’s what Eldad is proposing:

Jordan is Palestine and in it millions of refugees from camps in Judea, Samaria, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan itself can be resettled. Desalinization plants, power plants, cities, and economic development can be provided for them. A voluntary transfer of populations is both possible and supremely moral, certainly more moral than bloodbaths planned for us by those dreaming of portioning our country and establishing a Palestinian state west of the Jordan River. Those who remain west of the Jordan river will remain residents of Israel and citizens of Jordan-that is-Palestine.”

So here we have a roster of variegated solutions, some of which are fantasies, because, they are simply ‘peace mongering’ without any sense of what is practical, legal or moral.

Many of these fantasies will fall by the way side because they are unrealistic and overly complicated.  The realities of Palestinian intransigence will, once again, crater ‘final status’ discussions at the forthcoming November grand parlay. Remember the comment about Yasir Arafat in 1978 by the late Abba Eban, Israel’s venerable Foreign Minister, “he never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”  Perhaps after the next diplomatic collapse earnest work can begin in a measured fashion that protects Israel’s legal rights to its land and provides mutual respect for the Arabs in the region.

Egyptian national hero and playwright Tawfiq al-Hakim ,once said, “Unlike the British and the Dutch who had colonized Southern Africa without having any historic links with that region, the Zionist who settled Palestine was returning to a homeland he had inhabited in the past."

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