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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

February 25, 2003

Why one should oppose a second Palestinian-Arab state in Judea, Samaria and Gaza - Part 23 of 23

This piece continues a series of which the first 22 parts were posted on September 8, 9, 11, 17, 20, 22, 23; October 7, 24, 28, 29; November 6, 26; December 5, 13, 2002; January 7, 10, 21, 27; February 6, 18, and 24, 2003. (Alternatively, the previous articles may be found in the IsraPundit archives as follows: September 8, 9, 11, 17, 20, 22, 23; October 7, 24, 28, 29; November 6, 26; December 5, 13, 2002; January 7, 10, 21, 27; February 6, 18 and 24, 2003). The object of the series is to provide a resource that is not only reliable and well-documented but also one for which documents are easily accessible, preferably from the web. The term "second Palestinian-Arab state" is used in order to underscore that one Palestinian-Arab state already exists: Jordan, which is located in the part of eastern Palestine that was originally to have been part of the Jewish National Home.

Recapitulation: The first nine parts of this series dealt with arguments based on fundamentals and principles: the historical right of the Jewish people to a home in their ancestral land, a land that has had a Jewish population continuously for millennia; the international acceptance of the Balfour declaration and the British Mandate, designed to ensure the creation of a Jewish national home in Palestine; the fact that Israel is in possession of Yesha (Judea, Samaria and Gaza) as a consequence of a defensive war; the argument that the current Arab population of Palestine consists largely of non-Jewish immigrants who came to Palestine as a consequence of the development brought about by the Jewish pioneers since the 1880's; and the fact that the Arabs of Palestine have rejected numerous opportunities to establish a state by peaceful means, indicating that their real objective is to destroy Israel.

The second group of nine parts dealt with arguments based on Middle East realities. The points made include the assessment: that a sovereign Palestinian State would obviate Israel’s ability to defend herself; that such a state, by the admission of the Palestinian Arabs themselves, would not solve their grievances; that violence within and among Arab states has a long history, and adding another Arab state will not pacify the region; and that the economic base of Yesha, as well as the water resources in the area, do not permit the creation of an additional, viable state.

The present Part 23 concludes the third group of five articles, which deal with such issues as the disputed territories, Jerusalem, the Palestinian-Arab refugees, appeasing terrorism, and alternatives to Palestinian-Arab sovereignty. These issues are intrinsically linked with the arguments against the creation of a sovereign “Palestine”.


23. An alternative to a sovereign Palestinian Arab state is autonomy within a sovereign Israel for the Arabs in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. This will answer Israel's vital security requirements and safeguard the civil and religious rights of the Arabs.

When the arguments against the creation of a second Palestinian-Arab state are presented, as in the foregoing 22 parts of this essay, the question is often asked, well, what would you do with the millions of Palestinan-Arabs in Yesha? In response, I divide the problem to be solved into four elements: (i) the “root cause”; (ii) the Israeli requirements that must be met; (iii) the Palestinian-Arab rights that should be respected; (iv) specific solutions based on these tenets.

(i) The root cause

It should be clear from the foregoing 22 parts that I deem it to be the rejection of Israel by the Arabs - leadership and street alike - which, in turn, results from deep seeded hatred for Jews, Zionism and Israel. This hatred has causes of its own, such as the failure of the once mighty Arab/Islamic world to keep up with the advances of Western countries, but further exploration of this point is not essential at this point of the discussion because the implications are clear even from this brief review. Inasmuch as this hatred is the prime motivator behind the conduct of both the Arabs in general and the Palestinian Arabs in particular, seeking an opportunity to annihilate Israel will be a paramount factor in their future policies.

On this issue of “root causes”, Daniel Pipes has written as follows:
... Rather, the root cause of the conflict remains today what it has always been: the Arab rejection of any sovereign Jewish presence between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

The conflict continues into its sixth decade because Arabs expect they can defeat and then destroy the state of Israel.

Israel cannot end this conflict unilaterally, by actions of its own. It can only take steps that will make it more rather than less likely that the Arabs will give up on those expectations.
(ii) Israel’s Requirements

From the foregoing analysis, substantiated in the pervious 22 parts of this essay, it follows that in any final arrangement with the Palestinian Arabs, nothing can supersede Israel’s security requirements. In turn, this leads to the conclusion that Israel sovereignty over the entire area of Western Palestine cannot be bartered. This obviates the solution envisaged by the “roadmap”, but leaves the door open for other arrangements.

(iii) The Palestinian-Arabs' rights

Referring to the Balfour Declaration and to the text of the League of Nations Mandate over Palestine, one can accept that the Palestinian Arabs do have civil and religious rights that should be respected.

(iv) Specific solutions

Autonomy

If sovereignty is ruled out, then autonomy could still be considered as being congruent with the foregoing requirements. Autonomy would leave the control over security, borders, armed forces, foreign policy, air space, immigration and water firmly in Israeli hand. At the same time it would allow the Palestinian-Arabs to elect their own parliament, one that would legislate within a prescribed domain and with appropriate qualifications that would obviate human rights abuses. The Palestinian-Arabs would have no representation in the Israeli parliament. Education should be delegated to the autonomous authority in a manner that would put an end to the constant incitement against Jews and Israel. The autonomy arrangement must address and remedy the flaws of Oslo, flaws that permitted the PA to wage a continuous war against Israel.

A model of such autonomy can be Puerto Rico, the official site of which describes the system as follows:

Puerto Rico has authority over its internal affairs. United States controls: interstate trade, foreign relations and commerce, customs administration, control of air, land and sea, immigration and emigration, nationality and citizenship, currency, maritime laws, military service, military bases, army, navy and air force, declaration of war, constitutionality of laws, jurisdictions and legal procedures, treaties, radio and television--communications, agriculture, mining and minerals, highways, postal system; social security, and other areas generally controlled by the federal government in the United States. Puerto Rican institutions control internal affairs unless U.S. law is involved, as in matters of public health and pollution. The major differences between Puerto Rico and the 50 states are its local taxation system and exemption from Internal Revenue Code, its lack of voting representation in either house of the U.S. Congress, the ineligibility of Puerto Ricans to vote in presidential elections, and its lack of assignation of some revenues reserved for the states.
Interestingly, autonomy is consistent with the Oslo Accords, which referred to self-government, not to independence.

History also provides examples of autonomy being a nest of hornets rather than a basis for peace; suffice it to mention Nagorno-Karabakh and Kosovo as examples.


Population transfer

Solutions other than autonomy, particularly, population transfer, have been proposed over the years. Population transfer implies forceful transfer of the Palestinian-Arab population of Yesha to some other country/countries.

Population transfers have been applied numerous times, the best known examples being the Turkey-Greece, India-Pakistan and Cyprus population exchanges. The following citation from the web-based 1-Up Encyclopaedia summarizes the transfer of Greeks from Turkey:

In 1995 fewer than 20,000 Greeks still lived in Turkey... They are the remnants of the estimated 200,000 Greeks who were permitted under the provisions of the Treaty of Lausanne to remain in Turkey following the 1924 population exchange, which involved the forcible resettlement of approximately 2 million Greeks from Anatolia... Beginning in the 1930s, the government encouraged the Greeks to emigrate, and thousands, in particular the educated youth, did so, reducing the Greek population to about 48,000 by 1965.

As to Cyprus, the same 1-Up Encyclopaedia informs:

The de facto partition of Cyprus resulting from the Turkish invasion, or intervention, as the Turks preferred to call their military action, caused much suffering in addition to the thousands of dead, many of whom were unaccounted for even years later. An estimated one-third of the population of each ethnic community had to flee their homes.

A more detailed examination constitutes part of a series of articles on the refugees, posted by the Jerusalem Post:

In an effort to end the Balkan Wars at the beginning of the 19th century, Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey agreed to exchange their minority populations in the Treaties of San Stephano (1878), Constantinople (1913) and Neuilly (1919). However, the major exchange of population (transfer) took place between Greece and Turkey in order that a permanent border could be set between the longtime enemies
...
Altogether 1.25 million Greeks from Asia Minor and Eastern Thrace were transferred to Greece, and nearly 500,000 Turks, primarily from Macedonia and Epirus, were transferred to Turkey. This project was organized and supervised by the celebrated Norwegian Arctic explorer Fridtjof Nansen, winner of the 1922 Nobel Prize for his humanitarian activities.
...
The largest population transfer yet was effected when Pakistan split from India on August 15, 1947. Eight million Hindus and six million Muslims were involved, and perhaps a million died in a painful but necessary operation that had broad international support. Despite the enormous number of refugees and the relative poverty of both nations, no international relief organizations were established to aid in the resettlement. (It was a grave historical error that the area of Kashmir, in dispute today, was overlooked, thus leaving a festering wound in the relations between the two countries.)
...
In 1945, Herbert Hoover proposed the recovery of some 3 million acres of land in Iraq for the resettlement of the Arabs of Mandatory Western Palestine. "Palestine itself," he wrote, "could be turned over to Jewish immigrants in search of a homeland."
In addition, as discussed in Part 21 of this essay, major population transfers, especially of Germans, occurred after WW II in Central and Eastern Europe.

In 1948, population transfer was actually practised against the Jews, when the Jordanians expelled the Jews from the Old City of Jerusalem as well as the Jews who survived the massacre of the Etzion Block.

Having already been introduced by the Arabs, applying population transfer to the Palestinian-Arab population of Yesha would be far preferable to autonomy, but the political and logistical problems involved seem to preclude such a solution, given the contemporary realities. For a different opinion, see, inter alia, Boris Shusteff, who writes:

There are three major reasons that make the transfer of the Arabs out of Eretz Yisrael an absolute necessity. First, physically putting some distance between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs will completely eradicate any capacity (and, in the long run, desire as well) they have for violence toward Jews. Secondly, it will eliminate the demographic threat to the Jewish state. And thirdly, it will allow Israel to further develop under conditions most appropriate for the Jewish nation – “the people that dwells alone.”
Interestingly, the solution of population transfer has been suggested and supported by many non-Jews, including the British intelligence officer, Col. Meinertzhagen (who was mentioned in Part 21.6). Closer to home and to the present, House Republican Majority Leader, Dick Armey supports this solution, as demonstrated by the following MSNBC interview snippet with Chris Matthews ("Hardball", May 1, 2002):

MATTHEWS: Well, just to repeat, you believe that the Palestinians who are now living on the West Bank should get out of there?

ARMEY: Yes.


Yesha in Federation with Jordan

A different solution, namely, Yesha federated with Jordan, was suggested in an article published in AIJAC:
Beyond a Palestinian state, what are the options for final status? Some have already been discussed by Mr Netanyahu and David Bar-Illon. These include a limited state. Alternatively, there is the possibility of a link to Jordan, perhaps in the form of a federation. In this way, external security and defense would be the responsibility of the Jordanian government, in coordination with Israel, while the Palestinians would enjoy full internal independence and self-determination.

From the perspectives of regional security and stability, a Palestinian-Jordanian federation may be preferable to a Palestinian state. With dreams of full independence, the Palestinians may be reluctant to accept this option, but if they are given the choice of a freeze in the process, with Israel still controlling at least 50% of the territory, or federation, they may be persuaded to accept the latter, or risk losing the gains they made in the Oslo process. It will also be more difficult for Arafat and the PLO to revert to terrorism.
I would deem this option far inferior to autonomy for several reasons. First, it would deprive Israel of control over its own security and other vital areas such as water and immigration. Second, with a strong Palestinian majority, what would prevent the Jordanian government from falling into the hands of Islamist extremists in a coalition with terrorist irridentist? And finally, why would the Jordanian monarchy accept such a solution?

In summary, there are several alternatives to a sovereign Palestinian-Arab state in Yesha, and none could possibly be as detrimental to Israel and the West as that which the Roadmap architects are brewing.

Contributed by Joseph Alexander Norland. This piece is cross-posted on IsraPundit and Dawson Speaks.