THE LOGISTICS OF TRANSFER
(Part 1 of 4)
by Boris Shusteff
Again, people will say that I am furnishing the Anti-Semites
with weapons. Why so? Because I admit the truth?
-- Theodor Herzl. The Jewish State.
Since the inception of modern Zionism, a little more than a century has passed. In the course of that century, Zionism has demonstrated fantastic achievements in areas such as land development, industry, agriculture, technological progress, military advancement, and so on. But there is one specific area in which it has miserably failed - Arab-Jewish relations. The main reason for this is that for the entire century, everything possible was done to avoid even bringing up the issue. What is worse, the problem was always ignored under the assumption that it would eventually resolve itself.
Jewish leaders used every means at their disposal to avoid coming to terms with the truth that Arab-Jewish relations have always been, and still are, a significant problem that requires active efforts at a resolution. While the Arabs raised the issue immediately from the outset, beginning with the very first waves of aliyah, the Jews pretended that the problem did not exist. Already on June 24, 1891, Arab leaders for the first time vocally protested against Jewish settlement in Palestine. They sent a telegram from Jerusalem, signed by 500 people, to the Grand Vizier in Constantinople, asking him to prohibit Russian Jews from entering Palestine and from acquiring land there. These were the two basic demands which the Arabs never abandoned thereafter: a halt to Jewish immigration into Palestine, and an end to land purchase by them.
Jewish leaders always believed that they would be able to coexist with the Arabs. They imagined it would be only natural for the Arabs who inhabited Eretz Yisrael to remain there peacefully, living together with the arriving Jews, because that is exactly how the arriving Jews felt about living together with the Arabs. In defense of the Zionists, it may be said that the lack of any national identification among the non-Jewish population of Eretz Yisrael at the beginning of the twentieth century gave the Jews some cause to regard the Arab-Jewish relations problem as being non-existent. Another reason may have been the friendly and peaceful overtures of Emir Feisal, who wrote to American Zionist leader Felix Frankfurter in 1919 that the Arabs "look with the deepest sympathy on the Zionist movement" and that they will "wish the Jews a most hearty welcome home." But the greatest role was most likely played by wishful thinking.
Even so, the most far-seeing of the Zionist leaders, such as Itzhak Tabenkin and Arthur Ruppin, warned of the impending disaster. But especially clear in bringing up this question was Ze'ev Zhabotinsky, who profoundly understood that the issue of Arab-Jewish relations would be the most critical one for the entire Zionist enterprise. Indeed, as history has moved forward, it has become increasingly clear that the success of Zionism now hinges in the most critical way on this single pivotal issue.
In any case, now is not the time to get into the detailed history of Arab-Jewish relations, trying to determine whose fault it is that the Jews and the Arabs are unable to live together peacefully in Eretz Yisrael. Objectively, blame can be laid on both sides. On the Jewish side, the greatest fault lies with allowing the problem to develop to such a great extent, without looking for a solution. It should have been dealt with long ago, when the solution itself was much easier. That does not mean that now the appropriate thing to do is to sit idly, waiting for miracles to happen. On the contrary, the fifty-four years since the creation of the Jewish state have sharply emphasized the problem itself and its resolution has became a task of utmost importance.
The goal of Zionism was always the return of Jews to Zion and the creation there of a Jewish state. This goal has remained unchanged and is no less urgent today (Ariel Sharon's stated aim of attracting another million Jews to the Jewish state is completely in line with it). The problem arises when one tries to define what is meant by "a Jewish state." In reality, however, the term itself is pretty self-explanatory - it is a state for the Jews. To put it differently, it is an ethnically homogeneous state, not unlike many of the European countries (though even this definition is somewhat inaccurate, since Jews are not a distinct ethnic group per se). Let us not be afraid to be accused of racism. This idea has nothing to do with any claims of racial superiority of Jews versus non-Jews, if only because "Jew" is not a racial characteristic, and skin color is not a defining trait of Jews. The idea is simply that the Jewish nation, am Yisrael, the people of Israel, must have a state to call their own.
Those who suffer from pangs of acute liberal sensitivity should keep in mind that an ethnically homogeneous state is not a dirty word and does not constitute a threat to mankind. Many such states already exist. Falling most precisely into this category are Japan and Finland. For some reason, no one complains that in order to become a Japanese citizen, for instance, one must not only be born to Japanese parents but, in addition, must be born in Japan itself. At the same time, even the slightest hint of curtailing the political rights of Israeli Arabs causes an uproar in the whole world, and first and foremost among Israeli Jews themselves.
The events of the second half of the twentieth century have provided more than ample evidence of the fact that mono-national states are generally more stable than multinational ones. Some convincing examples of this may be found in the disintegration of Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, and the Soviet Union as opposed to the significantly greater stability of Western European nations. The United States is a notable exception, of course, but as such it is an anomaly. As if this wasn't enough, Arab-Jewish relations are complicated by the fact that the entire Arab world has been bent on Israel's destruction, since the founding of the Jewish state. This deep-seated Arab hatred towards the Jews needs to be acknowledged and absolutely must be taken into account, when considering any resolution of the Arab-Jewish conflict.
It is especially important not to repeat the mistakes made by Jewish leaders at the beginning of the last century. Since the factors that threaten her existence are so numerous, Israel must reduce them to an absolute minimum. Two vitally important conditions for Israel's survival are eliminating the demographic threat to the Jewish character of the state from Israeli Arabs, and guaranteeing Israel's sufficient strategic military depth. For obvious reasons, the option of creating a new Palestinian state in Judea, Samaria and Gaza (known collectively as Yesha), which is so popular today among "enlightened" circles, does not even remotely achieve either one of these conditions (also, for reasons discussed elsewhere, by this author and others, a Palestinian state in Yesha is virtually guaranteed to be unviable, and promises to be a ticking time bomb). However, both of these crucial goals can be immediately attained if Israel defines as her strategic aim the relocation of the Arabs from the confines of western Eretz Yisrael (a term that refers to all the land west of the Jordan River).
The issue of transfer is a taboo topic in Israel. It is assumed a priori that transfer is impossible, unachievable and immoral to boot. Even to touch upon the subject is politically incorrect. However, carried out in a planned and controlled way, with suitable compensation and assistance provided to those being resettled, and especially with international support, any moral issues immediately drop out of the picture. In addition, as this article aims to demonstrate, the transfer of the Arabs is indeed achievable and it is only the unwillingness of Israeli leaders to discuss it or carry it out that stands in the way. In the present situation the leaders blame the people and the people blame the leaders, complaining that neither one nor the other want it to happen. In reality, however, the situation looks completely different.
According to an annual national security public opinion poll, conducted by the Jaffa Center for Strategic Studies of Tel Aviv University at the end of February 2002, and overseen by Prof. Asher Arian, 46% of Israeli Jews favored transferring Palestinian Arabs out of Yesha. At the same time 31% favored transferring Israeli Arabs out of Israel proper. When the question of transfer was posed in a more roundabout way, 60% of respondents said that they were in favor of encouraging Israeli Arabs to leave the country.
As far as the leaders are concerned, one can read a February 6 report from Jerusalem in The Christian Science Monitor, which quoted Sharon's spokesman, Ra'anan Gissin who said, "If the Palestinians suddenly had a change of heart and decided to move elsewhere, that would be great, but Sharon realizes that transfer cannot be carried out because of the attitude of the Israeli public. What Elon is saying [about transfer] is not something that seems possible to us today."
For all those who declare that transfer is unachievable and impractical it is worth recalling the words of Theodor Herzl that "if the Jews wish to have a State, they will have it." When these words were written in the book The Jewish State they were only a utopian dream. Herzl wrote, The plan [to create a Jewish state] would of course, seem absurd if a single individual attempted to carry it out; but if worked out by a number of Jews in co-operation it would appear perfectly rational, and its accomplishment would present no insurmountable difficulties. The idea depends only on the number of its supporters.
The dream of the great Jewish prophet has materialized. The Jews have built their state. To be more precise, they have made many important steps on the road to its realization. However, without the final step - the transfer of the Arabs - the task of building the Jewish state cannot be considered complete. Perhaps if the Arab attitude toward the presence of Jewish sovereignty in Eretz Yisrael had been different, this would not be necessary. However, history has made it clear that this is the only way to achieve a permanent and stable resolution to the conflict. And each passing day without resolving the issue weakens Israel more and more, bringing closer the inevitable demise to which the present course of action will lead.
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.
While many in principle support the idea of transfer itself, even if they are hesitant to talk about it, the practical issue of how to carry it out becomes a real stumbling block. The problem originates from the fact that not a single plan for such a transfer has ever been developed, since Israel's creation. Though the idea has been periodically discussed on the pages of the Israeli press, no one has seriously looked at its logistics. All discussion always ended with the same statement, "Well it was certainly necessary to exercise the transfer option back in 1948 (or 1967 or 1973), but now it is too late, and the train is long gone." This defeatist approach reminds one of a sick man refusing to accept medicine under the pretext that, while he should have definitely taken it earlier, now it is too late, and there is no reason to take it now, since he hasn't already taken it. Meaning that he prefers to die instead of trying to recover from his illness.
To rephrase Herzl, it is long past time to say that, if the Jews wish to transfer out the Arabs, they will do it. This is not to say that it will be easy or painless. However, it can be done, and in order for it to become a reality, a strategy of transfer must be developed. The plan proposed below should in no way be considered as the only possible option or the most correct course of action. Its sole purpose is to demonstrate that it is possible to create a reasonably straightforward way to carry out the transfer. However, no matter what the details are, successfully implementing the transfer plan will be a complex operation that must be approached simultaneously at all levels. As such, it must include the following components:
A. Information campaign in the international arena
B. Information and explanation campaign among Israeli Jews
C. Information campaign among Yesha Arabs and encouragement of resettlement
D. Information campaign among Israeli Arabs
E. Israel's actions in Yesha and the relocation itself.
End of Part 1
THE LOGISTICS OF TRANSFER
(Part 2 of 4)
by Boris Shusteff
Let us now look separately at all the various tasks that lie before Israel.
A. The International Information Campaign.
Israel faces an exceptionally difficult problem on the international arena in terms of substantiating her position. In some ways, the task is nearly impossible, since it has long been clear that no matter what actions Israel takes, the U.N. and most of the international community will consistently condemn them, and no amount of convincing evidence to the contrary makes any difference. It is a foregone conclusion that this will also be the case with the very politically incorrect idea of resettling the Arabs of Yesha.
However, despite these difficulties, it is still necessary for Israel to pursue its international information campaign for two important reasons. The first is that the international community must be made to at least consider the idea of transfer and be made aware of its many advantages. While the chances of winning widespread international support are slim, they are exactly zero if the transfer plan never sees the light of day. The second reason is that Israel does not really need to "convince" the whole world, but needs only a modicum of support from its closest ally - the United States. Even with such limited acceptance, it becomes infinitely easier to carry out the transfer.
The real problem with Israel's international diplomacy is that, until now, it has been a permanent political retreat. While other nations have been presenting plans and ideas, and making demands, Israel has only been responding to all of them, without offering its own alternative. Thus, we have the "Clinton plan," the "Tenet/Mitchell plan," the "Saudi plan," (which are all really the same plan, since they all have the same goal in mind) but no "Israeli plan." It is this lack of an alternative that is leading to Israel's gradually being forced to accept the creation of a new Arab state in Yesha, whether on 16% of the land, or on 42% (Sharon), or on 96% (Barak). In essence, the international community is forcing its ideas upon Israel, and she has only responded saying what she does not want, but not what she does want.
By presenting and aggressively promoting an alternative, Israel's diplomacy can recapture the initiative and put Israel back in control of her own fate. Once there is more than just one well-worn idea on the table about how to solve the problem, it will become possible to consider pro- and counter-arguments for each option, and objectively to evaluate issues like respective sizes of territory, fertility of land, natural recourses, expenses, humanitarian aid, the potential for long-term stability, and so on. With all this in mind, Israel's plan must simply be the creation of this new Palestinian state on part of the territory of one of the existing Arab nations.
Israel's task then consists of demonstrating to the international community that, created virtually anywhere else, a new Palestinian state will be much more viable and will have a far greater chance to develop and thrive, than if it is crammed into the 2,268 non-contiguous square miles of Yesha. At the same time, the threat to world peace would be drastically reduced. The debate must be steered away from the rather weak idea of "the right to land" to the much more worthwhile "right to a normal existence and the diminished threat of massive war." The Jewish state must remind the world that it is not infinitely wealthy as far as lands and natural recourses go, and cannot part with the lands of Yesha, which happen to constitute the heartland of the Biblical Kingdom of Israel. It must make also make clear that if the world really cares about giving the Palestinian Arabs a new state, then the Yesha option is certainly the worst one possible, and will drag the region toward full-scale regional (possibly nuclear) war. The most important consideration here is that transfer will save countless Arab and Jewish lives, provide much greater lasting regional stability, and give the Palestinian Arabs the chance for a far better future than they can ever hope for if a state is made for them in Yesha.
Though many options can be considered for where to create this second Palestinian state (the first one being Jordan), today's geopolitical situation presents two good options for its creation - either on the land of Iraq or of Saudi Arabia. These ideas derive from America's intention to dismantle Saddam Hussein's regime, as well as Saudi Arabia's recently proposed "peace plan," (which unfortunately involves squeezing Israel into its unacceptable pre-1967 borders).
Iraq was once already suggested for this role in 1930. Its vast, unpopulated, fertile lands, and a severe scarcity of labor resources made the option ideal at the time. Today, if America is realistically considering toppling Saddam Hussein, the idea of relocating the Palestinian Arabs to Iraq deserves very serious attention. Following the "regime change," a division of Iraq into several autonomous regions (e.g. for the Kurds and Palestinian Arabs) would be one of the best strategic options available. First of all this will forever end Iraq's attempts to gain hegemony in the Arab world (the reason for Iraq's incursion into Kuwait and a major factor in the Iran-Iraq war).
Secondly this will remove from the international agenda the looming need for the creation of a Kurdish state (if the Palestinian Arabs need to have two states, the Kurds obviously deserve at least one). And thirdly, this will solve the Palestinian Arab problem, granting them a second state which will be conveniently located far away from Israel.
The option of resettling the Palestinian Arabs on Saudi Arabian land, as suggested by the American Zionist Bertram Cohen (the so-called "Baruch Plan") has several advantages as well. The most important one is the fact that the Palestinian Arabs can be relocated in close proximity to the Islamic holy places of Mecca and Medina. Surely, living near these far more significant Muslim holy sites will be much better than pining after a "capital in Jerusalem," which is an almost purely political desire, and which Israel will never agree to divide anyway. Since the Saudis have recently shown such vocal support for various "peace plans" in the Middle East, nothing can be more honorable than sharing their land with their Palestinian brethren. If the Saudis are really interested in peace, their support for this option will truly bring peace to the region, since it will eliminate the major source of constant friction between the Arabs and the Jews.
It must be emphasized that in both these options the size of the territory allocated for the Palestinian Arabs can be at least four or five times larger than the 2,268 square miles of Yesha. The other extremely important point is that in both these options, the problem of the so-called "Palestinian refugees" will be immediately resolved. They will be able to start moving to their new homeland, with humanitarian aid and monetary assistance provided by the world community, with Israel in the lead.
It is also worth remembering that most of the Arab countries were created artificially as a result of the world powers dividing up the lands of the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War I at their whim. For the sake of peace, it is only logical to carve a piece out of one of these vast lands to serve as a new state for the Palestinian Arabs. As British journalist Peter Hitchens wrote on March 10 in his article "The Only Way to Peace,"
If peace is what the Arab world wants, America is now in a unique position to arrange it. Her military and diplomatic power is at its zenith. Instead of asking Israel to give land for peace, why do we not ask the Arabs, who have so much more land, to give some of theirs, so that Israel's borders are no longer an invitation to invasion.
Finally, it should be noted that even a complete a priori rejection of either the Iraqi or Saudi Arabian options by the world community must not in any way discourage the Israeli initiative. On the contrary, itwill clearly demonstrate the hypocrisy of all those countries who loudly clamor about "peace," but insist on doing it only at Israel's expense, not wishing to lift a finger to work toward a real peace. The rejection of the Israeli initiative will mean that the uproar for Palestinian statehood is pure twaddle, used only to cover up the anti-Jewish sentiment of the world community. By introducing its much preferable alternative, Israel will force the countries of the world literally to vote "yes" or "no" for real peace. If Peace is truly important for civilized mankind, it will be forced to look at the Israeli suggestion seriously. After all, current efforts by the international community to resolve the conflict all aim toward the creation of a Palestinian state, a solution of the refugee problem and the signing of a permanent peace agreement. These are exactly the goals that are at the heart of this alternative Israeli plan.
Some may argue that the U.N. and the world powers cannot demand that sovereign countries like Iraq and Saudi Arabia share their land for the sake of peace. However, neither can they demand this of Israel, which needs every square foot of Yesha, while the Arab nations have far greater expanses of land which they could spare.
To lend more weight to this argument, and to support all of the explanatory work that Israel's spokesmen do on the world stage, Israel will need to take several important actions "on the ground." The first of these will be the immediate annexation of all the lands of Yesha.
When this is done, Israel will be in the same position as Iraq and Saudi Arabia. The discussion will then deal with taking the territories of sovereign countries and all three countries will thus be on an equal footing. The argument that Yesha constitutes "occupied Palestinian territory" is simply false, under every applicable piece of international law. There are a number of reasons for this, the most important ones including the fact that these territories had never been under any sort of Palestinian sovereignty prior to the Oslo agreements, and the fact that Israel won these lands in a defensive war, from an adversary whose sovereignty over them was never internationally recognized. The status of these territories is disputed, rather than occupied. Israel must draw attention to these facts, and, just as it annexed the Golan Heights, must also annex these disputed territories, which are so crucial to its security.
End of Part 2
THE LOGISTICS OF TRANSFER
(Part 3 of 4)
by Boris Shusteff
B. Information Campaign Among Israeli Jews
Explanatory work among Israeli Jews is perhaps an even more important task than the work that awaits Israeli diplomats on the international arena. This is simply because if they are to garner any support for the transfer option, it is the Jews themselves, who must first and foremost understand the justice and necessity of this cause. If the Israeli Jews were convinced it had to be done, the relocation of the Arabs would have been carried out a very long time ago and relations between Israel and the Arabs would by now be much healthier. Recall again Herzl's words about the Zionist dream, which apply so well to this case - the plan only seems "... absurd if a single individual ... [tries] carry it out; but if worked out by a number of Jews in co-operation ... its accomplishment would present no insurmountable difficulties." The problem is that with the exception of Moledet, Israeli political parties not only do not speak out in support of transfer but actually oppose it. This is true both of leftist and rightist parties.
This situation is simply unacceptable, because even the leaders of the nationalist camp openly admit that their opinions diverge from those of their constituents. On March 17, Aryeh Dayan wrote an article in the Israeli daily Ha'aretz, analyzing the results of the previously mentioned TAU Jaffa Center survey, which found that 46% of those polled supported the transfer of the Arabs. Dayan quotes deputy minister Yuli Edelstein, of the Yisrael Be-Aliyah party, who said, "The results of the poll unfortunately reflect the reality that I encounter almost every day... Some support transfer quite blatantly, while others use more subtle phraseology, but all agree that something has to be done." Also quoted is Shaul Yahalom, MK of the National Religious Party (NRP), who says, "I hear support for transfer almost everywhere I go." Finally, Dayan writes that MK Michael Kleiner, leader of the Herut movement, feels that "public support of transfer is even greater than revealed by the poll.
'Anyone who wants the existence of a Jewish state knows there is a real demographic problem,' he says. 'Some people are dragged into supporting transfer, but there are many who know that it is unethical and would be embarrassed to admit to the pollsters that they support it.'"
However, in spite of being aware that it is gaining support, all three of these MK are opposed to the idea of transfer. Dayan writes, Edelstein thinks transfer is immoral, not feasible, and dangerous to Israel and Israeli society. "The fact that it has sprung from the terrible distress we are suffering does not make it any less dangerous," he says. ... Edelstein views serious thoughts of transfer as irrational, both because it is immoral and impossible to implement." ... Both Yahalom and Kleiner are worried by the growing support for transfer, but are more moderate in their responses to the problem. "If 46 percent of the public supports transfer, but the only party that advocates it is Moledet, which has only one representative in the Knesset and has never had more than three, the political system will hold it back."
Overall, Dayan's article makes it very clear that even though the idea of transfer is quickly gaining popular support among Israeli Jews, and political leaders are aware of this, the high level of support is not reflected at the government level. Thus, to a significant extent, what holds the transfer option back is the unwillingness of the nationalist camp's leaders to seriously consider it. It is a wonderful example of Israeli "democracy," which effectively shows that the desires of the people are unimportant, and the corrupt Israeli political system will "withstand" the spread of this idea, preventing the people's voices from being heard.
In order to make these voices heard, perhaps Moledet should lead the information campaign in Israel, as the single party that actually supports transfer. Its spokesmen must unceasingly work to promote the transfer idea and constantly explain the myriad reasons for its necessity and its ultimate justice. Because it will only become possible for Israelis to discuss it seriously after changing the attitude towards it among Israeli politicians.
For instance, Moledet should work to refute the objections that are brought up against the transfer policy. As do most of those who oppose transfer, Kleiner, Edelstein and Yahalom base their opposition to it on two main points: that it is unethical and immoral, and besides that, it is unfeasible and impossible to implement. The possibility of implementing transfer is precisely what the present article is hoping to demonstrate. As for the claim that it is immoral - it is obviously based on an emotional gut reaction, without rationally considering the issue in context. Abstractly speaking, it is of course unethical to arbitrarily force large number of people to abandon their homes and move elsewhere. In the context of the Israeli-Arab conflict, however, in the interest of preserving lives, and making a normal future suddenly possible for huge numbers of people who previously had no hope at all, transfer in fact becomes the most moral choice. It is time that the issue was turned from its head back onto its feet, so that it can stop being taboo in Israeli society and politics. The Israeli leftist camp constantly insists that they "do not want to rule over another people," and the transfer option is of course completely in line with this slogan.
And there are many more reasons why Israelis should support transfer. They must understand that transfer will be advantageous absolutely for everyone and for everything. It will not only eliminate the tension in the Middle East (assuming that the world community assists in relocating the Arabs) but will also significantly enhance the defensive potential of the Jewish state. Transfer will give Israel the perpetual Jewish majority that she needs, increased security, increased strategic military depth; it will lead to a reinvigoration of aliyah, and eliminate the Sword of Damocles that is the "refugee problem." At the same time, the second state for the Palestinian Arabs, from its very beginning, will be built on a healthy foundation, without any possibility of revenge against Israel (and therefore any false hope for it), finally giving the wounds of the conflict a chance to heal.
It should be emphasized that one of the vital benefits that transfer will provide is the complete elimination of the Arab demographic threat to Israel. The state can remain Jewish forever. One need not search for any artificial methods of curbing or otherwise dealing with the high birth rate among the Arabs. The troubling predictions, that the number of Arabs in Israel will soon catch up with the Israeli Jewish population, will simply never materialize.
At the same time, Israelis need to realize that a country for the Palestinian Arabs made up of disjointed parts, and only 2,268 square miles in total area, is absolutely unviable, as has already been mentioned. Virtually no one who today advocates the creation of a Palestinian state in Yesha has seriously considered its subsequent viability and development, but that is what makes all the difference in deciding whether or not it is a good idea. If we also take into account the fact that the Arab population doubles every 16 years, it is more than na´ve to think that the Arabs will be satisfied with the tiny parcels of land in Gaza, Judea and Samaria, and will voluntarily suppress their vengeful ambitions, especially since most of them consider all of "historical Palestine" (including present-day Israel) to be theirs. Meanwhile, in such a situation, Israel would lose the natural protection of the Samarian hills, making it absolutely clear that this option is nothing else but a prelude to inevitable disaster. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Israelis need to understand that the relocation of the Palestinian Arabs to Iraq or Saudi Arabia is, above all, advantageous for the Palestinian Arabs themselves. Various Arab leaders, will, of course, disagree, but these are the same Arab leaders who have unscrupulously used the Palestinians as cannon-fodder and their plight as unending political capital in their incessant attempts to destroy the Jewish state. At the same time, as the transfer is carried out, those Jews who feel the pain of others more strongly than their own, will be able to assist in countless ways in building this new Arab state in Iraq or Saudi Arabia. If the world community decides to help with the implementation of transfer there is no doubt that Israel will take on the lion's share not only in terms of monetary assistance, but also in helping develop irrigation, industry, agriculture, and a multitude of other projects.
Discussion of the resettlement itself must be focused on two key points. First, if there can be any talk about the "return," - and therefore the resettlement - of nearly four million so-called "Palestinian refugees," this means the uprooting and relocation of huge numbers of people. In this case, the actual number of people being moved is unimportant, since mass relocation is a given, and it is infinitely better, both for those people, as well as for the Arabs and Jews of Israel, if the Arabs relocate to some place where they will not immediately be in conflict and at odds with their neighbors. Considering that the vast majority of these people currently live in misery and poverty, a fresh start in a new place will do wonders for them, and with some international aid, great progress can be made immediately.
It's worth noting that almost all the arguments given in favor of transfer thus far have been based on practical considerations of the current situation. However, there is obviously a reason why the Jewish state is where it is, and we must not forget the deep and powerful religious and historical connection that Jews have with these lands. It is obvious that one of the main reasons why so many Israeli Jews are ready to part with Judea, Samaria and Gaza is that they have forgotten (or become indifferent to) the idea that these are primordial Jewish lands and belong to them by right. Part of the information campaign among Israelis must then be aimed at re-emphasizing the historical and religious connection of Jews to their Land. The leading role in helping to fill in this gap in their Jewish education must fall on the National Religious Party, especially with Effie Eitam at its helm.
Interestingly, Dayan's mentions in his article that "Yahalom [says] that the NRP vocally opposes transfer, both in the educational arena and in politics. 'The main religious-Zionist rabbis have ruled that transfer is forbidden by both halacha (Jewish law) and Jewish tradition.'"
Yahalom's statement about this halachic ruling tells us that the NRP is much more concerned with its political capital than with the truth. While this author does not claim to be an expert in halacha, it is doubtful that one can question the halachic knowledge of Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, the Chief Rabbi of Safed. On March 24 Ha'aretz quoted his answer to a question asked on his "Kippa" Website. Eliyahu wrote, "If someone claims that the idea of transfer is not supported by the Halacha, he simply does not know Halacha. Please show me one rabbi in the world who disagrees with this idea, and can make a single reference to Halacha." Clearly, transfer can't simply be dismissed out of hand the way that Yahalom attempts to do it.
Whatever the halachic ruling on transfer, the case for Jewish rights and ownership of the lands of Yesha is virtually ironclad, if even a minimal amount of Jewish history and religious tradition are taken into account. If the Arabs invoke historic and religious claims to Eretz Yisrael, Israeli Jews must remember that their historic and religious claims to it are much stronger by any objective standard. Actually it is simply enough to take note of a speech made by American (gentile) Senator Jim Inhofe, who put all Jewish Zionists to shame when in a March 4 speech in the U.S. Senate, he declared that Israel has complete rights to the lands of Yesha and demanded that America support these rights.
He said, in particular, I believe very strongly that we ought to support Israel; that it has a right to the land. This is the most important reason: Because God said so. ...Look it up in the book of Genesis. It is right up there on the desk... In Genesis 13:14-17, ...where God appeared to Abram and said, "I am giving you this land," - the West Bank. This is not a political battle at all. It is a contest over whether or not the word of God is true.
If the American senator so convincingly refers to God, then the Jews, who gave monotheism to the world, must not be ashamed to do the same.
When the Jews of Eretz Yisrael feel for themselves that their claims to Judea, Samaria and Gaza are at least as strong, and stronger, than those of the Arabs, they will be one significant step closer to realizing the Zionist dream.
End of Part 3
THE LOGISTICS OF TRANSFER
(Part 4 of 4)
by Boris Shusteff
C. Information Campaign among Yesha Arabs and Encouragement of Resettlement
Let us pause for a moment to consider the big picture. The implementation of transfer will only work well if the majority of those to be resettled do so voluntarily. Forcibly expelling millions of people is not only cruel (though it may be necessary), but also extremely difficult to carry out, even for Israel's very capable army.
However, not many people will shed tears if the Arabs move out from the Jewish state of their own volition. Therefore, Israel's major goal with the Arabs, both within Yesha and Israel, should be to encourage voluntary resettlement. It is essential to make the Arabs understand that they do not have a future in western Eretz Yisrael. As she promotes arguments in favor of transfer in the political arena, Israel must work to let the Palestinian Arabs know that relocation is in their own best interest, and her policies should be conducted with the goal of making the Arabs want to leave.
Even in the current situation, in which the Palestinian Arabs harbor strong hopes for statehood in Yesha, a poll conducted among them by Bir Zeit University on September 7 and 8, 2001 showed that, given the chance, 21.9% of the Arabs would emigrate. That means that over 600,000 Arabs are ready to abandon Yesha in search of better opportunities. Undoubtedly, if Israel were to make clear that she intends to carry out the transfer option, and if she were to provide suitable incentives for the Arabs to resettle, the number of people wanting to leave will considerably increase.
Simply providing a sum of money that would enable a family to move to a neighboring Arab country would lead people to do so in droves. Additional incentive to "act now" (e.g. more compensation given for moving sooner, rather than later) would also help to speed things up. And if all this was actually accompanied by a coordinated international relief effort, including the creation of the Palestinian state in Iraq or Saudi Arabia, the numbers would only increase, and significantly.
Opponents of the idea will certainly argue that it is unjust to impose a decision on people about where they should live. The root of the problem, though, is that the Palestinians have already been forced into miserable refugee camps for decades, unable to build any sort of normal lives for themselves. Because of this, it is only natural that they would pine for living in a better place and a fondly remember "better times gone by." However, considering the fact that over 40% of Israeli Arabs, 50% of Yesha Arabs and over half of the Palestinian refugees are under the age of 16, this means that significantly less than half of all Palestinians were around before 1967, and obviously far fewer before 1948. Their "attachment" to a land, which most of them have never even seen, derives largely from their desire for some kind of better life than the one they have now, coupled with incessant propaganda by their leaders, which has done much to inflame their sense of having been wronged, and nothing at all to improve their lot. Given a true opportunity to leave the refugee camps and start building lives for themselves, it is safe to assume that many Palestinian Arabs would jump at the chance.
One other major factor that keeps the Arabs of Yesha tied to Eretz Yisrael is the fact that much of their livelihood comes from working in Israel. Yehezkel Bin-Nun wrote on March 21 in the Israeli newspaper Makor Rishon that even currently, at a time when Israel has restricted the entry of Yesha Arabs into Israel, significant numbers are still employed in Israel. Bin-Nun writes,
In all, it is estimated that Israelis employ 150,000 Yesha Arabs every day. Terje Larsen, the former UN coordinator for the Palestinian Authority, says that each Arab worker supports approximately 10 Arabs. That means that in all, Israeli companies support 1.5 million Yesha Arabs, or half the total amount. Similarly, Deputy Minister of Defense Ephraim Sneh (Labor) estimates that 40 percent of the PA GNP is derived from Arabs working in "Green Line" Israel.
Clearly, the ability of the Arabs to work in Israel is a key reason that they choose to remain in Yesha. Bin-Nun writes that since Israel has reduced the number of work permits "it is estimated that some 100,000 Arabs have left PA-controlled areas in the past year and emigrated to foreign countries" (let us also not forget the over 600,000 Arabs who want to emigrate). Thus, in order to encourage this emigration, part of the policy of transfer must include stopping the issuance of work permits to Yesha Arabs. Instead of work permits, Israel can issue them resettlement compensation packages, and send them on their way. Since they aren't citizens, there is no reason Israel should feel obligated to provide employment for them. As old work permits expire, fewer and fewer Yesha Arabs will work in Israel. If these policies are consistently implemented and enforced, the Arabs will no longer be able to count on employment in Israel, and the number of those wanting to emigrate will substantially increase.
D. Information Campaign among Israeli Arabs
Encouraging Israeli Arabs to relocate will be much more complicated than doing so among Yesha Arabs and refugees. Yet this must be done, because even on their own, Israeli Arabs constitute a demographic threat to the Jewish character of the state. It will be much more difficult for them (comfortably established in a democratic society) to accept the curtailment of their political rights, but Israel simply has no other choice. At the same time this group of Arabs, raised on democracy, can become the kernel of the new state for Palestinian Arabs in Iraq or Saudi Arabia. This can provide the opportunity to actually create the first ever democratic Arab country.
Meanwhile, Israel needs to pass a law that will stipulate in some form that non-Jewish citizens of the state, while retaining full and irrevocable civil rights, will have no ability to participate in Israeli political life. This will provide a disincentive for Arabs to live in Israel, while not actually curtailing their day-to-day lives there. At the same time it is advisable to follow the suggestion of Michael Kleiner, MK from Herut, who suggests creating a law that will encourage the resettlement of Palestinian Arabs out of Israel into surrounding Arab countries (or to wherever the new Palestinian state may be) with concurrent monetary compensation.
Yet another policy that Israel should implement is a law mandating some type of civil service for every citizen that does not serve in the army. At the moment, the Arabs have a "free ride," as do some groups of Jews, like the ultra-orthodox. However, since the law will be mandatory for all citizens - both Jewish and Arab -Arabs will need to choose between either serving the Jewish state or leaving it.
Israeli Arabs can be given one more option - to convert to Judaism if they prefer to stay put. Jewish history records a case of mass conversion of a non-Jewish population to Judaism. In 120 BCE, after subduing the Idumeans, Jonathan Hyrcanus gave them a choice: expulsion or conversion to Judaism. Over a million of them preferred to remain and converted. Josephus wrote that a hundred years later the descendents of these converted Jews were among the most ardent defenders of the Jewish state in its struggle with Rome.
E. Israel's Actions in Yesha and the relocation itself
Though the importance of all these information campaigns can't be overstated, Israel must accompany them by actions carried out in Yesha, to demonstrate the seriousness of her intentions. It is absolutely clear that the first step is the destruction of Arafat's regime and the annexation of Judea, Samaria and Gaza. The Arabs must be led to understand that these lands are an inseparable part of the Jewish state forever. Professor Paul Eidelberg, president of the Yamin Yisrael party, has the very worthwhile idea of selling plots of land in Yesha at low prices to Jews residing anywhere in the world and wanting to move to Israel. Also deserving of consideration is his other suggestion of relocating various governmental institutions to Yesha. The continued development of Jewish life in Yesha must became a priority in Israel's policy. A similarly important task is the development of Yesha's infrastructure including the construction of highways, an airport and a sea-port.
Meanwhile, any attempts on the part of the Arabs to carry out sabotage or terrorist activity must be immediately suppressed in the most brutal way. It is possible, for example, to implement a suggestion by Harvard Professor Alan Derschowitz, an American liberal lawyer. With slight modification, it works as follows: Israel issues a warning that, in a response to any terrorist attack, she will immediately completely level an Arab village or settlement, randomly chosen by a computer from a published list. The essence of the idea is to make the Arabs completely responsible for their own fate, and to make it clear that terrorism will not be merely tolerated, but will be harshly punished. Along with the world community, the Arabs will know precisely what will result if they attack Jews. The use of a computer to select the place of the Israeli response will put the Arabs and the Jews on a level footing. The Jews do not know where the terrorists will strike, and the Arabs will not know which one of their villages or settlements will be erased in retaliation. The word "erased" very precisely reflects the force of Israel's response. The Arabs residing there will be evicted without compensation, all houses and buildings completely demolished, and the settlement itself, with the help of bulldozers and any other necessary equipment, will be leveled into a large field. After the appearance of several such fields the Arabs will lose any desire to commit terrorist attacks and the number of Arabs wanting to leave Eretz Yisrael will certainly increase.
Israel will need to develop something like a timetable for the transfer to take place, establishing certain time windows within which various stages of the transfer should be completed. This information should, of course, be shared with the rest of the world, since Israel's goal is to involve other countries in furthering this process. It is most favorable for the entire transfer process to be as quick as possible, hopefully not to exceed a 5 to 8 year time period. The faster it is completed the better the outcome for all involved. Both the Jews and Arabs can start recovering their lives and establishing real neighborly relations no longer marred by constant conflict.
Israel must make clear to the world community that, if a decision cannot be made within 3 to 5 years to establish a state for the Palestinian Arabs in some viable location, she will be forced to start the forced expulsion of Arabs into Jordan and the Sinai. If all the other elements of the transfer strategy are concurrently implemented throughout this time period, it is valid to assume that the number of Arabs remaining to be resettled will be far less than one million. The rest by this time will likely have left Yesha voluntarily.
During these 3 to 5 years of negotiations with the international community Israel must hold a dialogue with Jordan and with Egypt, on the subject of the Yesha Arabs' relocation there, if the alternative Iraqi or Saudi options are unsuccessful. As incentive for Jordan, for instance, Israel can offer various forms of cooperation in different areas of the project, as well as the usual allotment of generous resettlement compensation payments for each family. At the same time, Israel must make clear to the Jordanian leaders that if an agreement can't be reached, Israel will be forced to forcefully expel the Yesha Arabs. In this case Jordan will only lose from both a moral and a material standpoint.
Needless to say, forceful resettlement will not be a pleasant spectacle. However, it is an undoubtedly much better sight than a situation in which the Arabs flee across the border en masse from a full scale war, toward which they so inevitably now push Israel. Those who consider this kind of transfer legitimate, since it happens as a result of a war, are simply hypocrites. Clearly, in such a situation the number of potential casualties will be significantly greater than during an organized and planned transfer, one unaccompanied by war.
Israel must thoroughly consider and work out the actual operations of resettlement; for example, experts can determine whether it is more advantageous to do it in large or small groups. Decisions must be also made on the subject of the various transfer stages. Perhaps, it is possible to begin with the smaller settlements, giving other Arabs more opportunity to leave voluntarily. We must not forget that the moment resettlement begins, the Arabs will instantly lose any illusions they may still be harboring about the seriousness of Israel's intentions to bring the transfer strategy to fruition.
As an example, the relocation of a small settlement (1,000 people) can be completed within a 48-hour period, similarly to a military border-crossing operation. Israel will supply the relocated community with temporary housing, water and electricity (providing tents, a generator, water cisterns, etc.). The abandoned settlement must be completely demolished level with the ground.
Israel must also warn the Arab world and the United Nations that any attempts by Arab countries to militarily interfere with Israel's actions will be considered by the Jewish state to be acts of aggression, and will be followed by a massive Israeli military response, as well as the immediate expulsion of all the Arabs from western Eretz Yisrael. Of course, much of what is being proposed here is not "nice" or politically correct at all, and many will object to these ideas. But we absolutely must keep in mind the big picture - this is not being suggested because life is good and Israel feels like oppressing some Arabs. It needs to be done because the current situation is absolutely intolerable for all involved, and the alternatives will not provide a permanent solution.
Obviously, life will add its own corrections to this process, and issues which seem absolutely unsolvable or questionably achievable at the moment will be more easily resolved and accomplished when the time comes. What is most important above all is to have a clear goal in sight, and to move towards it. For Israel, the goal is her own long-term stable survival as a Jewish state, for which she must be guaranteed a perpetual Jewish majority as well as secure borders. For the Palestinian Arabs, it is being in charge of their own future, and having the chance to lead normal, productive, happy lives. The only realistic way to achieve all these goals is to resettle the Palestinian Arabs out of western Eretz Yisrael into other Arab states, or to create another separate state for them on lands tailored from the vast territorial expanses of the Arab world. It is just that simple to say, but much harder to put it into practice. When the world community accepts that Israel cannot and will not compromise her own identity as a Jewish state, and when the Arab world becomes actually interested in helping the Palestinian Arabs, rather than using them to try to destroy Israel, and when Israeli Jews understand that the transfer solution is not just the only possible solution, but is also substantiated by the Torah, only then there will be no doubt that Israel will attain her goal. When two spouses truly do not get along and hate one another, it is foolish, useless, and cruel to force them to continue living together. They will never be able to share a bedroom. As Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach once noted, Zohar Ha'Kodesh says that Eretz Yisrael is God's bedroom where He interacts with the Jews, His chosen people, and where others do not belong. They have no business being involved in the relationship between God and the Jewish people. This is especially true now, when all that remains as a home for the Jews is the tiny bedroom called western Eretz Yisrael.
Boris Shusteff is an engineer. He is also a research associate with the Freeman Center for Strategic Studies.