John Kerry’s Wednesday speech that, essentially, pinned the future of the entire Middle East on freezing the settlements enterprise, was rife with so many facts and assessments the Secretary of State regurgitated with an air of conviction and Brahmin self-assurance, many listeners might have been misled to accept them at face level. Thankfully, the complete collapse of the Obama foreign policy before international players who are smarter and better than them, should serve as a reminder to the American people that Kerry is one of those highly educated gentlemen who know everything but understand nothing. And so, like many other rightwing journalists this morning, we’ve embarked on the Herculean effort of removing Kerry’s horse manure from the region’s stables.
Right off the bat, Sec. Kerry declared that “the two-state solution is the only way to achieve a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians. It is the only way to ensure Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state, living in peace and security with its neighbors. It is the only way to ensure a future of freedom and dignity for the Palestinian people. And it is an important way of advancing United States’ interests in the region.”
The two-state idea actually isn’t the only possible solution for all the above noble goals. In fact, it was the two state solution which has failed time and again, since the first time it was introduced by the Peel Commission report of 1937, 80 years ago. There are many reasons why 2-state hasn’t worked and, in fact, resulted in rivers of blood each time it looked like someone was going to take it off the shelf again, but after nearly a century of failure, it is safe to say that it is the least likely solution to do anything but continue to bleed both Jews and Arabs between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.
There’s something almost religious in Kerry’s repetition of the 2-state mantra, in the face of so much failure. It reminds one of the devout Communists of years past, who rejected the examples of Communism’s path of repression, violence and economic failure, arguing that in a place like the Soviet Union it wasn’t done right. If only its principles were applied the way Marx and Engels had intended them to be, you’d see…
There are, in fact, many competing ideas, with their strengths and weaknesses, which claim to achieve the goal of resolving the Jewish-Arab conflict in an equitable manner – ideas John Kerry rejected out of hand Wednesday night, like a true believer.
No American administration has done more for Israel’s security than Barack Obama’s. […] Our assistance for Iron Dome has saved countless Israeli lives.
Let’s discuss the Iron Dome for a minute. It is the best terror-containing system known to mankind. The only problem is, containing terrorism is morally corrupt, and a society that dedicates its resources to continuing to live next-door to a community run by terrorists is inherently insane.
True story: During the June 2012 Paris weapons show, the Rafael pavilion was busy with visitors eager to get a look at the new, exciting, Iron Dome system, the greatest achievement in rocket defense ever. But by the end of the show, Rafael hadn’t made a single sale. The Arrow sold well, other systems did great – Iron Dome wasn’t moving. So they contacted their serious clients and asked how come, and those clients told them no one except Israel has any use for these things. Because in any normal, sane country, if some gangsters across the border were to start targeting civilians with rockets – the national army would go and kill them.
The state of Israel did just that in 2002, with Operation Defensive Shield, following a suicide bombing in the Park Hotel in Netanya that killed 30 Jews on the Seder night. It took several weeks and enormous resources, and then years of follow-up. But today the terror infrastructure in the PA is not operational. And the result is a much better life for the civilian Arab population, a touch of prosperity, new construction – and a significant drop in the birth rate, for your information, Mr. Kerry.
To compare, when asked, also in 2012, what’s the end goal of Operation Pillar of Defense in Gaza, An IDF official said: to bring the rocket attacks down to a reasonable number. That’s where the US aid achieved with its assistance for Iron Dome: making sure Israel would not invade Gaza and destroy the terror infrastructure there, the way it had done in Judea and Samaria.
Today, there are a similar number of Jews and Palestinians living between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. They have a choice. They can choose to live together in one state, or they can separate into two states. But here is a fundamental reality: if the choice is one state, Israel can either be Jewish or democratic – it cannot be both – and it won’t ever really be at peace. Moreover, the Palestinians will never fully realize their vast potential in a homeland of their own with a one-state solution.
We hear this a lot from the left: 1. Same number of Jews and Arabs; 2. Can’t have a Jewish and Democratic state with an equal number of Jews and Arabs.
The last time a reliable census was conducted among the Arabs of either Gaza or Judea and Samaria was back in the early 1990s, by Israel. All the current figures provided by either the unelected Hamas or PA governments are not just suspect, they’re most likely fabrications. The only ironclad figures we have are about Israeli Arabs, including those in eastern Jerusalem: according to Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics, as of 2015, they number 1.739 million. Of course, unlike their brethren in the Arab-ruled parts of the land, they enjoy Equality, Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. You know it’s true, because every time one of these things goes wrong, you read about it plenty.
The same CBS census also counted 6.706 million Jews in 2015. Kerry’s claim that there are, essentially, two million Arabs in Gaza and the PA, is not verifiable, and most likely a lie. In reality, it is safe to assume tens of thousands of Arabs immigrate to better places from the PA and Gaza every years – and you would, too, in their place. The recorded fact is that Jewish births are today equal to and even surpassing Arab births, so that the “demographic ticking time bomb” that used to be one of the foundations of 2-state is no longer ticking.
But let’s accept for a moment that Sec. Kerry is right, and a Jewish one-state would comprise an equal number of Arabs and Jews. What makes it so certain that the country couldn’t remain Jewish and Democratic? (Incidentally, Kerry here appears to reflect the anxieties of some rightwing whites in the US, as presented by Presidential candidate Mitt Romney in his leaked 2012 campaign talk, that once the non-whites become more than 50% of the country, that would be it for white presidents.).
In democratic Israel (very much unlike the situation in Gaza and the PA), every Arab citizen enjoys 29 out of 30 his universal human and civil rights which are (source: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights): the right to equality; freedom from discrimination; life, liberty, personal security; freedom from slavery; freedom from torture and degrading treatment; recognition as a person before the law; equality before the law; remedy by competent tribunal; freedom from arbitrary arrest and exile; fair public hearing; be considered innocent until proven guilty; freedom from interference with privacy, family, home and correspondence; free movement in and out of the country; asylum in other countries from persecution; a nationality and the freedom to change it; marriage and family; to own property; freedom of belief and religion; freedom of opinion and information; peaceful assembly and association; participate in government and in free elections; social security; to have desirable work and to join trade unions; rest and leisure; adequate living standard; education; participate in the cultural life of community; a social order; community duties essential to free and full development; freedom from state or personal interference in the above rights.
What the same Israeli Arabs do not enjoy is the right to their own national homeland. They are Israelis, Israel is a Jewish state by definition, and so they are citizens of a Jewish state. Naturally, under the articles cited here, they have the right to the freedom to change their nationality, by moving away and swearing their allegiance to a different sovereign.
So that when Sec. Kerry declares: “Moreover, the Palestinians will never fully realize their vast potential in a homeland of their own with a one-state solution,” he actually means that, as we noted above, out of the 30 democratic rights listed here, the Arabs living in a Jewish state would only enjoy 29.
Guess what – there are dozens of democratic countries around the world where residents who do not belong to the state religion are deprived of some national rights. In some democracies, they can never become citizens – but they’re happy to stay anyway, because on all other counts they enjoy the prosperity and freedom of a democracy. The Jewish one-state will be one such example, and her Arab citizens would be delighted to live there. Ask them.
The greatest insult of the Kerry speech – and there were many – came in the following paragraph:
Now, you may hear from advocates that the settlements are not an obstacle to peace because the settlers who don’t want to leave can just stay in Palestine, like the Arab Israelis who live in Israel. But that misses a critical point, my friends. The Arab Israelis are citizens of Israel, subject to Israel’s law. Does anyone here really believe that the settlers will agree to submit to Palestinian law in Palestine?
How does he know that? Was there a survey we haven’t heard about? Was there, at any time, anywhere, a statement from the PLO, or Hamas, inviting the Jewish communities in their areas to stay and enjoy those human and civil rights in the best tradition of democracies everywhere — and the Jews refused?
Did anyone in Ramallah propose to remove the PA state law punishing by death any Arab who sells land to Jews? No, it’s still on the books. It’s, in fact, at the root of many ambiguous Arab land claims against Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. Because the Arab seller’s life was in danger, many of those sales were not registered officially, so that all the Jewish buyers had to show for their millions of dollars were receipts signed by straw men.
Inherent in Kerry’s slur against the inclination of Jewish homesteaders to obey PA laws is the assumption that the PA would certainly be hostile to these Jews and take steps to harm them.
But many Israelis today are willing to accept Arabs from the PA and from Gaza who would agree to submit to Israeli law. Because almost two million Arab citizens of Israel have been doing just that over the past 70 years. Many of them serve in the IDF, Police and National Service; they enjoy fully autonomous municipal governments; they send their representatives to the Knesset in numbers that accurately reflect their demographic weight.
The time has come for a dialogue between Jews and Arabs towards identifying a one-state solution that works. Once 2-state loses its status as the “state religion,” many alternatives should be examined. Jews and Arabs have lived side by side for centuries in the area between the river and the sea – and the only times they fought one another were when it served the interests of some political entity. As Prime Minister Netanyahu put it recently, if Arabs and Jews really want peace, the fact that there are Jews living in majority-Arab areas should not be a deterrent – not any more than the fact that there are Arabs living in majority-Jewish areas.
Yankee, please, go home.