October 9, 2002
THE REAL ISLAMIC BOMB (via Derek Copold):
Palestinians may push for citizenship
(Atlanta Journal-Constitution, October 9, 2002)
Palestinian leaders, frustrated over the stalemated peace process, warned the Bush administration this week that they are contemplating a radical and explosive new tactic: dropping their long-standing demand for an independent Palestinian state and instead seeking full citizenship within Israel. Such a move, broached by a leading Palestinian reformer and his delegation during meetings with senior Bush administration officials on Monday and Tuesday, would be the diplomatic equivalent of using a population bomb against Israel. Demographic trends indicate the number of Palestinians will exceed Jewish Israelis within a decade, meaning that Israel could not grant all Palestinians citizenship without jeopardizing its identity as a Jewish state.
One assumes this is too smart for the Palestinians to ever follow through on it. You'd present the Israelis with a dilemma from which there's no easy escape. The few options would include some form of political apartheid or ethnic confederation, mass migration of the world's Jews back to Israel, or boosting Israeli/Jewish birthrates to extravagant levels. All present possibly insurmountable problems.
Posted by Orrin Judd at October 9, 2002 4:24 PM
I've got one, and it's been a proven winner: kick out all the Palestinians. Works for every other country in the Middle East!
And why shouldn't Israel simply say no? After all, when Israel was created, it was specifically set off as a country for the Jews; why not have Israel enact some anti-immigration statutes expressly to keep loonies like these out. Or, for a more practical effect, simply refuse any citizenship to anyone who supports terrorism, i.e. EVERY Palestinian who hasn't gotten the heck out of there already.
Barring the above "solutions", which are clearly politically problematic at the very least, is there anything that Israel can do?
It's my understanding that Israel grants citizenship on a jus sanguinis
basis, with the limited exception of Arabs within the area designated "Israel." (I'm not casting aspersions on the Israelis here -- I simply mean to set an arbitrary boundary between Israel proper and any other territory not officially Israel. Yes, I know, that's in some dispute.)
My point, insofar as I have one, is that I don't understand why Israel would have
to grant citizenship to these folks -- they're neither legally nor morally bound to do so. The Palestinians are neither Jewish (thereby qualifying for right of blood citizenship) nor living in Israel proper (especially with Israel's increased detachment from the territories). They're not even all descended from Arabs who lived in Israel proper, therefore making even that marginal claim dubious.
Maybe I'm missing something obvious, but I fail to see the danger here, unless Labour gets all touchy-feels about a new wave of immigrants.
Since I sent this in, I'll answer these questions because they are both germaine and basic.
Israel effectively occupies the West Bank and Gaza. What areas the Palestinians do control they do so "autonomously," but not independently. Despite all the hooplah about Camp David, the bottom line is that Israel to this point will not allow a contiguous state, nor will they evacuate their settlers or relinquish control of the water and utilities. This situation effectively renders the Palestinians stateless and "occupied." Well, you can't do that and claim to be a democracy at the same time. So if this issue is pressed Israel will have to decide between withdrawal to the internationally recognized '67 borders or giving citizenship to the Palestinians, and thus losing their Jewish identity.
Ethnic Cleansing is fraught with dangers. It's more than just shoving some people out of the way. Doing this would effectively isolate Israel from the world. Even the US would be forced to cut aid. How can we bomb Serbia for lesser actions in Kosovo and still give billions to Israel if they're wholesale removing an entire population from their territory. This would also have deadly consequences on the rest of the region. Jordan, a US ally, would fall, probably into Islamisism. So too could Egypt and other countries. Also, you're going to effectively turn loose 3 million very angry people on the world scene, and they're gonna want payback. US and Israeli citizens worldwide wouldn't be safe for generations to come. I haven't even touched on the unintended consequences, which are always worse than the ones you can foresee.
Now also, don't forget the Left in Israel, too. Such an action would be sure to galvanize them, and you would hear lecture after lecture about "Israel's holocaust," and this would split the Israeli populace. It would destroy the morale of that country as well as their claims to moral superiority. These are very important to Israel's long-term survival. No country can last if it doesn't believe in itself.
A lot of people get angry when I tell them Israel should pull back to the '67 borders and accuse me of being anti-Israel, but I'm not. I really believe it is the best solution for the Jewish State's long-term survival. It ain't pretty, but it's gonna have to do.
Derek: I admit that my first "solution" was sarcastic; I was only pointing out that the world seems perfectly willing to put up with the Palestinians being miserable because of Arabs, but can't stand the idea of Israel doing it.
I also think that the idea of Israel giving the Palestinians everything they want and retreating to the previous borders is putting the cart far before the horse. Hamas is quite up-front with saying that it's there to destroy Israel; if Israel gives in now, Hamas becomes a major player in Palestine, waits around for maybe five or ten years investing in weapons, then attacks Israel again. Quite frankly, creating a Palestine would be creating a nation which is absolutely guaranteed to export terrorism... and we've already declared war on such nations.
Perhaps after Saddam Hussein is prevented from funding Palestinian terrorism, and after Iran gets a little more democratized, and maybe after some of these other Arab nations like Syria stop discriminating against Palestinians, then the Palestinians will mellow a little and some sort of deal can be reached. But to insist that Israel should simply give up and trudge away with a target taped to their back isn't the solution, nor is it "the best of a bad lot". There are a bunch of bad guys in the Middle East that deserve defeat far more than Israel.
Just John is correct. Isreal is villified the world over as it is, if they shoved the Palestinians into Jordan they'd have a few years of hostile reaction from the world but in the end they might survive as a nation. Foreign policy should be decided by survival needs, not by peer pressure.
It doesn't matter so much as to what Hamas says as to what it can do. With a solid border, Hamas can't really do anything to Israel. It can't get in.
Don't be so quick to blow off international relations. Israel ethnically cleansing the Palestinians would be a direct challenge not only to the Middle East and Europe but to the US. We underwrite their economy at the moment, and if Israel is sanctioned, she'll sink. It may take a few decades but it will happen. Her biggest businesses are tourism and software, both of which depend on international trade.
And don't be so blythe about an Islamic Republic of Jordan. This is a serious country working to pull its way out of the hole. They have a free trade agreement with us, and have relations with Israel, despite a lot of pressure to break them. This isn't a great way to reward your friends, and what point is there to taking out one "bad guy" if you're going to create another in the process?
I wonder if you're not all missing the more important subtext of the story: demographics. None of the geopolitics really matters if Jews don't even reproduce at replacement rate. All the Arabs have to do is bide their time and Judaism will disappear.