INTO THE FRAY: Rift on the Right—over Sovereignty (cont.)

By MARTIN SHERMAN

A rift is emerging among opponents of the two-state idea, between those who believe Israel can endure as the Jewish nation-state with a large permanent Arab population west of Jordan River, and those who believe it can’t.

Sovereignty extended over territory confers citizenship to all residents of that territory.

Sovereignty applies equally to all the residents of the area—Israeli and non-Israeli. There is not one law for Israelis and another for non-Israelis.  It must be clear—if we apply sovereignty—it must be egalitarian…- President Reuven Rivlin, Jerusalem, February 14, 2017, in a staggeringly obtuse political declaration, suggesting that the Jewish nation cannot extend its sovereignty over its ancient homeland, unless it totally disregards any difference between its kinfolk and its implacable enemies, sworn to its destruction.

“The choice is not between order and liberty. It is between liberty with order and anarchy without either. There is danger that, if the court does not temper its doctrinaire logic with a little practical wisdom, it will convert the constitutional Bill of Rights into a suicide pact.” – Justice Robert H. Jackson of the US Supreme Court,   May 16, 1949 

Allow me to pick up from last week’s column, where I set out the differences between two strategic approaches to the application of Israeli sovereignty over Judea-Samaria: The one, advocated by people such as the prominent journalist, Caroline Glick; the other by people such as the founder of the new Zehut party, former MK Moshe Feiglin, and myself.

An eventful week

This week was an eventful one for pro-sovereignty proponents.

On Sunday evening the Fourth Sovereignty Conference, organized by the “Forum for Sovereignty” and the “Women in Green” movement, under the banner of “Sovereignty with Responsibility”, took place at Jerusalem’s Crowne Plaza Hotel. Then on Monday, at the very same venue, the B’Sheva Jerusalem Conference took place, and although not devoted exclusively to the issue of sovereignty, the topic was raised by numerous speakers, including senior ministers and even the President himself (see introductory excerpt).

Then, on Tuesday, the New York Times, in a rare display of editorial evenhandedness, ran an Op-Ed written by Yishai Fleisher, the international spokesman of the Jewish community in Hebron, entitled “A Settler’s View of Israel’s Future”. In it he rebuffs the two-state formula and lists several alternative policy prescriptions most of which entail applying Israeli sovereignty to all, or most, of Judea-Samaria—including my own proposal for funded emigration of the Arab population in these areas.

The flurry of sovereignty-related activity demonstrated two things.

The first is that there is an increasingly assertive surge against the hitherto dominant two-state paradigm, that has all but dominated the discourse for over two decades on the Arab-Israeli conflict in general, and the Israeli-Palestinian one in particular.

The second, and perhaps less apparent, but no less significant feature, is that there is a distinct rift emerging between the opponents of the two-state idea, who subscribe to two divergent schools of thought.

Two divergent schools of thought

In principle, this is a rift between anti-two staters, who believe that Israel can endure over time as the nation-state of the Jewish people with a large Arab-Muslim population permanently resident west of the Jordan River, and those who believe that it cannot.

Adherents of the first school of thought believe that some political/administrative configuration can be devised to allow a large Arab-Muslim presence, comprising upward of 35% of the population, without critically jeopardizing Israel’s ability to sustain its dominantly Jewish character, both politically and socio-culturally.  These political/administrative configurations range from ascribing the Arab residents of Judea-Samaria political affiliation to some extraneous authority (such as Jordan), via some sort of autonomous self-rule in enclaves within the sphere of over-arching Israeli sovereignty, to full enfranchisement within a single sovereign state extending over all the area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

Adherents of the second school of thought believe that, given the deep and enduring national and political rivalries and the socio-cultural disparities, such a large Arab-Muslim presence would preclude the ability to forge a coherent, cohesive society of any sort—certainly one that could sustain its overall Jewish character. Accordingly, to maintain Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, this school of thought advocates policies to substantially reduce the Arab presence in the territory under Israeli sovereignty, which they also see as extending from “the River to the Sea”. Typically, the policies advocated entail non-coercive (or at least non-kinetic) inducements to emigrate, by setting up a system of material incentives to leave (generous relocation grants to individual non-belligerents) and disincentives to stay (phased denial of services to an adversarial and alien collective.)

Ideological clamor not strategic clarity

While the energized debate on alternatives for the two-state folly—particularly those endorsing the extension of Israeli sovereignty beyond the pre-1967 lines—is a welcome development, most of the policy proposals it is generating reflect far more ideological fervor than strategic clarity. Indeed, while they are undoubtedly motivated by the best of intentions, they are, in many cases, demonstrably no less inimical to the future of the Zionist enterprise than the disastrous two-state prescription they are intended to replace.

Putting aside for the moment the crucial importance of factors such as historical and religious rights, in order to secure a durable future, Israel must strive to achieve a strategic outcome, which provides it with frontiers that:

-Are not excessively long and contorted;

-Do not expose it to intolerable topographical inferiority /vulnerability;

-Do not include an overly large collective, comprising a recalcitrant and potentially hostile ethnic minority, with socio-cultural mores in many ways not only divergent from, but incompatible with those of the Jewish majority.  (For those who might protest that this third element reflects racist overtones, it should be underscored that this is precisely the rationale invoked by two-staters for insisting on “separation” from the Palestinian-Arabs.)

The first two elements are necessary to allow Israel to maintain its external security at a bearable economic cost –see Israel’s Requirements for Defensible Borders .

The third element is necessary to allow Israel to maintain its internal security—and prevent the Lebanonization/Balkanization and eventual Islamization of its society.

Clearly, alternatives based on the first school of thought do not satisfy all of these strategic requirements – and some (like certain variations of the “Jordanian Option”) satisfy none of them! 

Skirting the cardinal issue 

Indeed, it is only prescriptions based on the second school of thought—which advocate retaining the territory and reducing the Arab presence in it—that fulfill these requirements adequately.

Listening to the upbeat addresses by senior public figures last week, lauding the change in the international political climate regarding the Palestinian issue and the prospect of a new and more benign dawn towards Israel in this regard, one could not escape the distinct impression that what I would call the nascent “pro-Sovereignty Establishment” is skirting what should be the cardinal issue on its agenda: How to address the question of a large potentially inimical Arab population, “nourished” by decades of Judeophobic –indeed, Judeocidal—incitement.

After all, the point is not to conjure up some contrived and contorted construct that might provide a flimsy prime facie rationale for resolving the question of the Palestinian-Arabs’ political affiliation/representation. The real—far more tangible—problem is that of their physical presence, making up what I described previously as a large “recalcitrant and potentially hostile ethnic minority, with socio-cultural mores in many ways not only divergent from, but incompatible with the Jewish majority”. 

This, together with all the attendant—and intractable—socio-cultural difficulties such conditions would entail for the fabric of the nation’s society—and the negative political and demographic dynamics they would inevitably ignite in the future—should be the real focus of the debate of the pro-Sovereignty camp.

The possible vs the necessary 

In an article published today (February 16, 2017), Israel’s former national security advisor, Maj-Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror wrote: “The Right, for its part, hopes that now that it is free of the constraints imposed by the previous American administration, it will be able to realize its dream of integrating Judea and Samaria…If Israel does decide to change direction and effectively close the door on future negotiations, it will be unable to avoid the question of the civilian-political future of the Palestinians.” 

Israel will, indeed, be forced to address precisely this question, which delineates the divide between the two previously designated schools of thought.

In doing so, it will be compelled to distinguish between what is feasible to undertake, given prevailing political/diplomatic constraints, and what is necessary to undertake to ensure its survival as the Jewish nation-state. If it finds that what is possible does not fulfill the demands of what is necessary, it will be required to change the prevailing political/diplomatic constraints until what is necessary is, in fact, possible. If it does not, it will jeopardize the future survival of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.

To this end, I have advocated repeatedly and regularly for a massive investment in public diplomacy (up to a billion dollars—or 1% of state budget—annually) to facilitate robust and assertive presentation of Israel’s case to the world—that would discredit and delegitimize the mendacious myths that comprise the Palestinian narrative and sustain the claim for Palestinian statehood.  Its purpose would be to generate the freedom of action for Israel to set and achieve strategic goals, currently precluded by prevailing constraints—i.e. to make the necessary possible. 

Making the necessary possible

But before such a strategic diplomatic offensive can be unleashed on the international community, the pro-Sovereignty camp must conduct a candid and thorough internal debate on whether alternative proposals that might be conceivably feasible today (such as conferring Israeli citizenship on members of a vehemently adversarial collective) coincide with what is necessary to achieve the aims for which the application of sovereignty is demanded in the first place: The preservation of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people.

Next week – subject to breaking news—I will endeavor to contribute to such a debate and demonstrate why the alternatives derived from the second school of thought (such as funded emigration of the Palestinian-Arab residents in Judea-Samaria) are not only superior both in terms of morality and  practical outcomes to  those based on the first school of thought.  Indeed I will show why such a policy would be the most moral (even in terms of the value system of its detractors); why, in comparison with all other alternatives, it would produce the most desirable results if it is successful—and the least traumatic results if it is unsuccessful.

Until next week – Shabbat shalom

Martin Sherman (www.martinsherman.org) is the founder and executive director of the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies. (www.strategic-israel.org)

 

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22 Comments

  1. The Crux of “Two Divergent Schools of Thought”

    “If it finds that what is possible does not fulfill the demands of what is necessary, it will be required to change the prevailing political/diplomatic constraints….”

    This is where the divide is created.

    Those that ‘advocate’ (‘believe’ is too dubious an assumption) in “a large Arab-Muslim population permanently resident” are either incapable of thinking beyond mere tactical designs, or are afraid to also believe/employ strategic thinking.

  2. This Big Government right-winger wants the government to spend, annually, 1% of its already hopelessly bloated budget in order to fund a PR campaign designed to promote his pet policy. No doubt this fellow would be happy to see a propaganda ministry formally instituted, with himself chosen to run it.

    If things went his way, it would then be only a short time until the Big Government left advocates that the bureacracy’s mission (and budget) should be expanded (doubled!) to fund a (dis-)information campaign about the dangers of global warming.

  3. 1. SO if the 1% allotment was financed by cutting all other budget items by 1% would that allay your fears of “big government”?

    2. Are we to assume that you believe the Israel’s current public diplomacy efforts are adequately effective and funded?

    3. What if – as suggested- the funds were made available for private NGOs to shoulder most to the public diplomacy offensive.

  4. “……….and disincentives to stay (phased denial of services to an adversarial and alien collective.”

    That’s rich Mr. Sherman, and not a little naive considering that even in the midst of wars in Gaza we don’t seem ready or able to “deny services” to our sworn enemies who’s sole mission in life is to eradicate Jews.
    I agree with most of what you propose Mr. Sherman, but do try to stay real.

  5. @ sabashimon: Apologies for using dark humor over M Sherman’s furor to settle the Palestinian question by next week.

    My plan? Indonesia has 17,500 islands, and 11,500 are not inhabited by humans.

    More humor, not quite as dark.

  6. It is the Arab Conflict, not Israel. The Arabs want what Israel has; which they built with blood sweat and tears; well they cannot have it.
    Israel is on its own historical territory, that with hard work and toil have turned the desert into green pastures with a first class technology and innovation that is helping all the people and nations in the world. The Arabs have over 12 million sq. km. of which 70% is vacant with a wealth of oil reserves.

    Israel is a sovereign country which also serves as a land based Super-Large Aircraft carrier for the U.S. (with no risk to U.S. personnel) with much more amenities and a sophisticated intelligence apparatus. Israel is one of the worlds leading countries in sophisticated and innovative weapons technology and development of which the U.S. benefits greatly.

    Mahmmoud Abbas and his Arab Palestinian authority are a terrorist entity and anyone who condones them is supporting terror and violence. Mahmmoud Abbas is a convicted murderer who is an escaped convict and belongs in Jail. Stop patronizing Abbas and start applying what he deserves, to be put in jail. He gladly admitted for sponsoring the Munich massacre and other terror acts. Abbas is playing the peace game as long as he can milk the nations of the world for billions of dollars and running a dictatorial terrorist entity.
    The Arab PA is no different than Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

    There never was and will never be a second Arab-Palestinian State West of the Jordan River; they have Jordan which is Jewish territory. Anyone who thinks about putting another terrorist entity in Judea and Samaria aka West Bank, needs to have his head examined, and any government considering such a proposal must be replaced. Such a move is suicidal to Israel in view of the results from Gaza with thousands of rockets attacking Israel. Judea and Samaria is Jewish territory no concession. Israel does not need the consent of anybody to apply its sovereignty to Judea and Samaria. Israel must expedite in building housing, industry and roads in Judea and Samaria. No country has the right to interfere and or dictate to Israel how to conduct its internal affairs and or its safety and security.
    YJ Draiman

  7. Obama has done great damage to Israel in his last 8 years. Israel is the only country that stands between America and the full force of the Islamic Cultural War that has essentially conquered Europe and Britain. Entering them into a New Islamic Dark Ages with Islamic Sex Slavery for all women starting at 9 year-old girls.
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  9. Accordingly, to maintain Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, this school of thought advocates policies to substantially reduce the Arab presence in the territory under Israeli sovereignty, which they also see as extending from “the River to the Sea”. Typically, the policies advocated entail non-coercive (or at least non-kinetic) inducements to emigrate, by setting up a system of material incentives to leave (generous relocation grants to individual non-belligerents) and disincentives to stay (phased denial of services to an adversarial and alien collective.) Could a preliminary test in a limited geographical area be made in Qalqilya and Tulkarm?

  10. @ Birdalone:

    Understood……no problem. Truth is I seem to have misplaced my humor lately. Unfortunate really.
    I dunno, I still really like the idea of bussing them all into Jordan. Makes the most sense.
    Easier to ask forgivness than to ask permission.

  11. @ ml:
    Population transfer is not a new phenomenon. The most well known is India and Pakistan. Even UN accepted that despite all the difficulties the transfer of population helped to avoid mass casualties among civilian population of both countries. Of course Israel and “Palestinians” are not India and Pakistan and even not Greece and Turkey, but…

  12. @ ms:
    1) After the government budget has been cut by > 95%, its size would no longer be intolerably BIG; at least for my excellent taste. Then I would not object to allowing you (or Kerry, or Abbas, or whomever) to decide how to spend the remainder.

    2) I don’t follow Israeli government spending, but *anything* it is now spending on PR would be money down a rat hole. Government spending on diplomacy is like government spending on everything else: waste. However, its spending on diplomatic initiatives is particularly dangerous, in that its ineffectiveness promotes greater international conflict.

    3) It makes little difference to taxpayers whether their money gets wasted directly by the government, or indirectly by (always politically connected) NGOs.

  13. I saw this coming. The right wing in Israel has no thesis
    The only thing it has in common, is anti TSS. Nothing else
    Sherman is right in criticizing the “lunatics” of the Right such as president Rivlin or Glick. Bennet’s plan has a name: Bastustan. He knows that this is unworkable.
    Now he comes with his plan that is positive and negative incentives for Palestinians to leave. Negative incentives????? Could you imagine what does it mean?
    The only hope for Sherman is a fascist world. Only fascists worldwide could accept Shermans “negative” incentives.

  14. @ arik:
    “The only hope for Sherman is a fascist world.”

    1. What could be more “fascist” than supporting the establishment of yet another misogynistic homophobic Muslim-majority tyranny, whose hallmarks would be gender bias against women/girls, persecution of gays, religious intolerance ,and oppression of political dissidents – and which would almost inevitably become a base of Islamo-fascist Jihadi terror.

    2. Moreover, why is it considered morally acceptable to offer Jews in Judea-Samaria financial inducements evacuate their homes to facilitate the establishment of said homophobic misogynistic tyranny,; yet it is considered morally reprehensible to offer Arabs in Judea-Samaria financial inducements to evacuate their homes to prevent the establishment of such an entity?

    3. Several disincentives for staying seem to be in place already:

    People in Gaza are paying to leave – imagine if they were paid!!!

    (a) Palestinians paying thousands in bribes to leave Gaza
    http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/08/palestinians-paying-thousands-bribes-leave-gaza-160804084846207.html

    Travellers and brokers say Egypt is charging up to $10,000 to give Palestinians permission to cross at Rafah.

    (b) From a Palestinian poll – WITHOUT a robust system of incentives for leaving and disincentives for staying being put in place

    …Findings show that the percentage of Gazans who say they seek immigration to other countries stands at 50%; in the West Bank, the percentage stands at 25%. Desire to emigrate is higher in refugee camps and cities (35% each) compared to villages and towns (26%), among those between the ages of 18 and 28 (45%) compared to those over 50 years (13%), among holders of BA degree (41%) compared to illiterates (17%), and among students (52%) compared to merchants and farmers (17% and 18% respectively). Desire to emigrate is specially high among Gazan youth between the ages of 18 and 28 (60%), Gazan students (66%), and among unmarried Gazans (68%). ( 4-6 June 2015)

    BTW – note the younger they are the more they want to leave

    (c) From a Palestinian poll – WITHOUT a robust system of incentives for leaving and disincentives for staying being put in place

    Positive evaluation of conditions in the Gaza Strip stands at 12% and positive evaluation of conditions in the West Bank stands at 31%. Similarly, perception of safety and security in the Gaza Strip stands at 40%. In the West Bank perception of safety and security stands at 49%. Moreover, findings show that the percentage of Gazans who say they seek to immigrate to other countries stands at 52%; in the West Bank, the percentage stands at 24% (17-19 September 2015)

  15. The TSS is only a continuation of the failed holocaust attempt of eliminating Jews!
    The world from West to East, East to West, North to South and South to North is involved in immorality and perversion and fundamentally rejects the principle of the Ethics of LIFE! The most “Ethical” country on the planet of the “monkeys” is the pariah among the barbarians.Everything is upside down.

  16. What could be more “fascist” than supporting the establishment of yet another misogynistic homophobic Muslim-majority tyranny, whose hallmarks would be gender bias against women/girls, persecution of gays, religious intolerance ,and oppression of political dissidents – and which would almost inevitably become a base of Islamo-fascist Jihadi terror.

    The above quote is 100% on the mark. Those married to the Two State Folly just simply ignore that a Pal State is doomed to be a terror state. The Palestinians treat each other much worse than what is proposed by either Bennett or Martin Sherman proposals. If they had their way with us we would end up like Aleppo.

    So we are obligated to make sure that Israel prospers and stays secure in spite of those whose ideas would imperil us by acquiescing to the obvious dangerous of a Pal State in our midst.

    The ideas may not be perfect but the conflict is over 100 years
    old and is a zero sum conflict and both sides can not be happy completely in zero sum conflict. I choose that we the Jews win in such a conflict even if some call us names.

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