A CANDID CONVERSATION (Part 2)
By Boris Shusteff
"And you shall dispossess the inhabitants of the land
before you . . . and if you will not dispossess them . . . they
will oppress you over the land in which you are settled"
(BaMidbar, Ch. 53).
In order to solve the problem of Arab subversion in the State of Israel, one must understand how it was born. Luckily, in this case, the answer lies on the surface. From the very beginning of the modern Zionist enterprise, when on the eve of the 20th century the torrent of Jews returning to Eretz Yisrael became stronger and stronger, the Jewish leaders never seriously considered the option of the "people that dwells alone." They were always ready to share the land of Eretz Yisrael with the Palestinian Arabs.
The option of resettling the Arabs somewhere else was never viable. The major argument was constantly the same: it is immoral to uproot people from their houses. Therefore, when Rabbi Meir Kahane began to talk about transfer, the word itself became a forbidden one and Kahane was ostracized and became a pariah. Perhaps this happened because of poorly-chosen terminology. It is possible that if Kahane had used the term "population exchange," instead of the word "transfer," today Israeli Jews would have been sun bathing at the Gaza beaches. Obviously, it would have been much better if this idea had come into the heads of the state´s founders, but it was completely unrealistic to expect this from a people with a socialist mentality, obsessed with the "brotherhood of nations."
All those who are ready to accuse the author of this article of racism and ask him if he belongs to the Kach party should calm themselves. It is worth mentioning that the concept of "population exchange" was not invented by Kahane. An Arab leader introduced it even before Israel was established. "In 1939, Mojli Amin, a member of the Arab Defense Committee for Palestine, drew up a proposal, published in Damascus and distributed among Arab leaders, entitled ´Exchange of Populations.´" (1). Amin suggested that, "All the Arabs of Palestine shall leave and be divided up among the neighboring Arab countries. In exchange for this, all the Jews living in Arab countries will go to Palestine. The exchange of population should be carried out in the same way that Turkey and Greece exchanged their populations. Special committees must be set up to deal with the liquidation of Jewish and Arab property." (1) Amin wrote, "I fear, in truth, that the Arabs will not agree. But in spite of this, I take upon myself the task of convincing them" (1). Not only this Arab leader, but the world community, as well, saw nothing criminal in a population exchange of this type. A report by President Truman´s International Development Advisory Board, published on March 7, 1951 emphasized that, "The exchange of the Arab population of Palestine with the Jewish population of the Arab countries was favored by the League of Nations as an effective way of resolving the Palestine problem. In practical effect, such an exchange has been taking place. The resettlement of the Arab refugees is much simpler in Arab lands" (1).
Those who think that an exchange of Arab and Jewish populations would have been a unique thing are greatly mistaken. Between the years 1933 and 1972 the number of refugees and displaced people that moved from one place to another all over the world constituted 179,200,000 people. (1). One of the most well-known population exchanges took place between India and Pakistan in the1950's, when 8,500,000 Sikhs and Hindus from Pakistan fled to India and almost 6,500,000 Muslims moved from India to Pakistan. Speaking at a press conference in Cairo in 1960, Pakistani President Mohammed Ayub Khan "suggested that Pakistan´s settlement of the nearly seven million refugees from India might act as an example for the ´three-quarters of a million refugees from Palestine´ in Arab countries"(1).
Today, moving several million Palestinian Arabs out of Israel, Judea, Samaria and Gaza (Yesha) is a much more difficult task than it would have been in 1948. Nevertheless, it is a great mistake to think that it is unachievable. Perhaps it cannot be done in one all-encompassing step, although this option should not be taken out of consideration, but Israel must develop a clear and unequivocal overall strategy. First of all, Israel must decide for herself if she wants to remain a Jewish state or if she wants to be an accomplice in her own dismantling. If we accept the assumption that Israel wants to remain a Jewish state, the only possible conclusion is that the relocation of the Arabs from Israel and Yesha is an inevitable and important step in that direction.
Obviously, a certain number of the Arabs will decide to remain inside the Jewish state, since living standards in Israel are much higher than in any Arab country. If the Israeli Arab citizens pledge allegiance to Israel as a Jewish state, and devote their life to its strengthening and prosperity, they will be welcomed as equal citizens of the Jewish state. However, no right to remain in the Jewish state whatsoever can be given to people who are ready to put their signature to the letter sent to the Knesset on June 20 by Azmi Bishara, which stated, "I am not an Israeli patriot. I am Palestinian, a member of a nation whose tragedy did not end in 1948. Don´t ask me, for example, to rejoice in Israel´s victories on the battlefield, or to celebrate Independence Day. By the way, on this count too, you will be hard pressed to find Arab citizens who hold a position that differs from mine. I am an Arab and a Palestinian. Israel´s victory is my tragedy."
On June 24 "The Jerusalem Post" confirmed Bishara´s comment about Israel´s Arab citizens. According to the latest polls, only 11% of the Israeli Arab population "identified themselves as Israeli Arabs. Nearly 70% identify themselves today as Palestinians, and an almost equal number say that they would support the Palestinians in an all-out confrontation with Israel." For Bishara, and for Arabs like him, who see Israel´s victory as a tragedy, there is no room in a Jewish state. They can love their pseudo-people, but they cannot expect to live together with the Jewish people. And they should not be rewarded for their hatred of the Jews with primordial Jewish lands. If Bishara and other Palestinian patriots do not want to move to Jordan, a Palestinian state, where the Palestinian Arabs have exercised their right to self-determination for more than fifty years, they should be clearly told that in the rest of mandated Palestine there is no place for them either. Like the Palestinian Arabs in Yesha, they will have to abandon their houses and move.
The exchange of populations that begun in 1948 artificially interrupted by Israeli leaders who tried to keep Arabs inside the Jewish state - must resume. Israel must choose this extreme option not because of antipathy to the Arabs, but because it is the only way for her to remain a Jewish state. However, in order to do this, Israel will have to devote all of its public relations efforts to a massive campaign in order to explain to the world community the absolute necessity of this step.
At the same time, Israel must make it unequivocally clear to the Palestinian Arabs that they cannot satisfy their national aspirations within the Jewish state, sharing with the Jews the crumbs of the Jewish land. If their national ambitions are not satisfied with one Palestinian state, called Jordan, they should appeal to the world community to help them obtain a parcel of land in Sinai to build another Palestinian state there. The resettlement of the Palestinian Arabs from Israel and Yesha in Sinai will make the Middle East much more stable. Israel will retain the borders that will give her the necessary strategic depth, guaranteeing her security and forever extinguishing Arab hopes to get rid of the Jewish state. At the same time, the Palestinian Arabs, unlike any other people in the world, will have a unique second opportunity for self-determination.
23 July 2001
1. Joan Peters. From Time Immemorial. Harper &Row, Publishers, New
Boris Shusteff is an engineer. He is also a research associate with the Freeman Center for Strategic Studies.