INTO THE FRAY: Gaza-A gigantic shift in the Overton Window

The Overton window is an approach to identifying the ideas that define the spectrum of acceptability of governmental policies. It says politicians can act only within the acceptable range. Shifting the Overton window involves proponents of policies outside the window persuading the public to expand the window.


What once was unthinkable is now moving to the center of mainstream thought

Consideration should be given even to the heroic remedy of transfer of populations…the hardship of moving is great, but it is [still] less than the constant suffering of minorities and the constant recurrence of war.” Former US President Herbert Hoover–“Great Humanitarian”, in The Problems of Lasting Peace

The abandonment of the Gaza belt settlements has shown unequivocally that there will eventually be either Jews in the Negev or Arabs in Gaza – but not both. That is the brutal choice facing Israel’s decision-makers – the true “day-after” dilemma—The War in Gaza, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 11, 2014.

Recently, on Nov. 1, Ram Ben-Barak, a senior MK in the left-leaning Yesh Atid faction and prospective contender for the Head of the Opposition in place of Yair Lapid, appeared on a panel on the popular Channel 12.

“The dream of every young Gazan”

Quoting an unidentified senior Hamas member as saying: “the population of Gaza is made up entirely of refugees”, Ben Barak went on to assert: “…so if all of Gaza is made up of refugees, let’s disperse them around the world. There are 2.5 million people over there [If] each country will take twenty thousand people – 100 countries… It’s humane, it’s obvious. They are refugees anyway…It is better to be a refugee in Canada than a refugee in Gaza. If the world really wants to solve the problem, it can solve it.”

Endorsing Ben Barak’s contention, respected expert on Arab affairs, Ehud Hemo. commented: The dream of every young Gazan is to emigrate.

For anyone not well-versed in the ins and outs of Israeli politics, it is difficult to convey the enormity of the change such an utterance represents—coming as it does from a distinctly dovish politician, who once declared that he viewed favorably the prospect of having an Islamist-Arab as deputy head of the Mossad—a position he once held himself.

Somewhat alarmed at the ruckus his “blasphemous” words aroused, Ben Barak tried to walk them back. Apologetically, he tweeted: “Anyone who thinks I have joined the ranks of the extreme right can relax. My intention was to build a coalition of states and international funding to allow Gazans, who want to leave, to be absorbed in them…to give them an opportunity to flee the Hamas regime of fear, that used them as a [human] shield.”

A humane and historical imperative

This of course is a classic example of a distinction without a difference.
Indeed, three decades ago, I called for the removal of the population of Gaza, precisely to avoid the kind of tragedy that has now befallen them. I wrote: “This is not a call for a forcibly imposed ‘racist’ transfer by Israel but rather for an initiation of an appeal to enlist international support for the rehabilitation elsewhere of the hundreds and thousands of refugees. They are victims of war, held hostage…by those purportedly committed to their welfare”. I urged the then-government to “devote its efforts to marshaling international efforts in support of this humane and historically imperative enterprise”

I challenge anyone to find any daylight between my suggestion then, and Ban Barak’s amended proposal today.

Moreover, the much-maligned Rehavam “Gandhi” Ze’evi, arguably the standard bearer of the “extreme right”, proposed encouraging voluntary Arab emigration by means of—inter alia—monetary grants for the emigrants—which is uncannily similar to the left-leaning Ben Barak’s formula.

Interestingly, similar sentiments were also expressed in other, perhaps unexpected, quarters.

For example, on October 18, The Hill, a well-known US political website, reported that Scotland’s First Minister Humza Yousaf suggested that the UK would be willing to take Gaza refugees displaced during the war between Hamas and Israel.

International calls to take in Gazan refugees

According to Yousaf, himself married to a Palestinian with family in Gaza, “Scotland is willing to lead the way for the rest of the U.K. and is willing to be the first country in the U.K. to take those refugees.” He warned however that “[b]ecause of the numbers, the world should be involved,” and urged countries in the Middle East, Asia, Europe, the United Kingdom and America to open their doors to refugees from Gaza.

According to The Hill report, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) expressed the view that the region’s partners should help Palestinian refugees but that the US should acknowledge its “historic role” in accepting refugees. Likewise, Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) told the New York Post that the United States “should be prepared to welcome refugees from Palestine” but cautioned that it must ensure that none of them are members of Hamas.

Significantly, a Reuters/Ipsos poll found that 78 percent of participants said they agreed that “American diplomats should actively be working on a plan to allow civilians fleeing fighting in Gaza to move to a safe country.”

Just as noteworthy was the fact that Daniel Gordis, arguably the epitome of -centrist moderation, chose to circulate on his widely read blog “Israel from the Inside”, the contents of a Hebrew Op-Ed (by Yehudah Yifrach), extolling virtue and necessity of inducing Arab emigration.

Growing public sentiment

While Gordis refrained from endorsing such a policy, he certainly did not explicitly oppose it, noting that it reflects growing public sentiment in Israel, and poses a challenge to those who oppose it, to produce a more cogent alternative.

Quoting the article, Gordis presents the author’s view: “…there is no point in capturing the Gaza Strip without moving its population to a different place, where it will live under a different rule and a different organizing narrative. From a rational perspective, this is the only solution that will allow the state of Israel to uphold its most elementary obligation—the promise of sa[f]e life for its citizens.

The article continues: “This…presents Israel with an enormous challenge—the ethical justification (both domestically and internationally) of a national process of encouraging Gazan migration. This will be an overwhelming undertaking, for the West has come to think of encouraging migration as the gravest of sins. The West is going to have to undergo a conceptual revolution, it is going to have to understand that this solution is both the most moral and the most humane option.

The author explains:”… if the existence of a Hamas population threatens the existence of the Jewish state, then defending the Jewish state by way of moving the enemy population beyond a threatening distance is a moral act. …If I endanger my people, that is not [an act] of morality, but of moral corruption. …

An act of “pure grace”

The article then warns of the moral iniquity of inaction:” Murder, pogrom and the slaughtering of Jews wherever they may be, are an absolute evil that should never be tolerated. A pogrom is a sin not only if you are the attacker; it is a sin even if you are the victim and you failed to prevent the attack when you could have…”

As for the non-belligerent Gazans, the article enumerates the benefits: “Moving the Gazan population would be the most humane and ethical step for the residents of Gaza themselves. A baby born there is born into a black world where there exists nothing but murder and blood, poverty and ignorance. The Gaza Strip is a cursed land without a future, without hope, without a dream. If there are in the Gaza Strip “innocents”, the only way the Western world can grant them the option of a sane life is to dilute them among other populations that live normal lives, go to learn and to work and earn an honest wage. That sort of normalcy will never be possible for them within the Gaza Strip. For the “innocent non-combatants,” this would be an act of pure grace.

Hobson’s choice for Zionism?

Of course, the cogent question is if Arab migration is ruled out, what is the future policy that Israel is to adopt?

Clearly, the two-state option is no longer feasible in any foreseeable timeframe, while “conflict management”, which merely gave the Gazan terror groups respite to regroup, rearm and redeploy, is now totally discredited by the events that unfolded last month. Moreover, the one-state option is a blatant non-starter which, at best, will lead to the Lebanonization of the country, with all the inter-ethnic strife that would inevitably accompany such an ill-advised measure.

As for the demilitarization of the Gaza Strip, this was one of the cornerstones of the 1993 Oslo Accords—blatantly flouted by the Palestinian Arabs right from the get-go, over a decade before Hamas seized control of Gaza.

But quite apart from the manifest difficulty in attaining such demilitarization, there are no less acute difficulties that would arise if, in fact, it were achieved. After all, if Israel were to effectively and permanently disarm any future regime in Gaza this would inevitably cripple its ability to impose law on any recalcitrant elements in the population—especially given the Jihadi forces in the adjacent Sinai Peninsula.

Accordingly, if one’s point of departure is that Israel is to remain a viable nation-state for the Jewish people, no other policy appears to have any practical feasibility or moral superiority. Indeed, it is Hobson’s choice for Zionism.

Clearly then, the origins of the ongoing catastrophe that has befallen the Palestinians—never mind the Jews—can undeniably be traced to the obstinate refusal to recognize this inconvenient fact

The shifting Overtone Window

It is thus hardly surprising that the idea of Arab migration is now emerging not as radical right-wing extremism – but rather as sound political science that is becoming an increasingly mainstream viewpoint. Moreover, it is becoming clear that, as the public rejoicing at the recent Judeocide indelibly underscores, the population of Gaza is not the victim of Hamas; but the crucible in which Hamas was formed and from which it emerged

Accordingly, this dramatic shift in the Overtone Window on Gaza is rooted in the growing awareness that the only way for Israel to determine how Gaza is ruled—and by whom—is to rule it itself. The only way for Israel to rule Gaza without the burden of having to rule over “another people” is to remove that “other people” from the territory over which it is obligated to rule.

Martin Sherman spent seven years in operational capacities in the Israeli defense establishment. He is the founder of the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), a member of the Habithonistim-Israel Defense & Security Forum (IDSF) research team, and a participant in the Israel Victory Project.

November 12, 2023 | 17 Comments »

Leave a Reply

17 Comments / 17 Comments

  1. @Heartland

    A peaceful Israel is a serious challenge to those who live off conflict to maintain their power.

    A peaceful Israel is a serious religious challenge – if Jews return to their ancestral homeland and live there in peace, whose prophecies will then be fulfilled?

  2. Heartland,

    other tyrannical states, including the US.

    I think you neglected to mention a few other states in this category of “tyrannical”, like,

    North Korea, Cuba, Iran, China, Venezuela, Sudan, Myanmar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Vietnam, Azerbaijan, Russia, UAE, Turkey, Pakistan, Iraq…

    In fact, I wonder how there can be any country in the world that you exclude from this category, if you count the US as “tyrranical”. I live in the US. To where would you suggest that I move, to escape “tyrrany”? Canada?

  3. There is a terrible misconseption here, seemingly shared by the writer and the commenters. Gaza exists as a welfare state, bought and paid for by the United States, the EU, and the United Nations. Like all governmental projects, it is designed to serve the servicers. Gaza transfers money from the private sector to the public sector, thus increasing the power of government. No government is willing to relinquish the power it has so carefully acquired.

    But the deeper motivation here is to limit the ascendency of the the Jews. If Israel can be permanently enmeshed in conflict, it will have no time to build its best possible state. Israel is a challenge to the NWO and to other tyrannical states, including the US. These systems do not want an alternative model that competes with their own. A peaceful Israel is a serious challenge to those who live off conflict to maintain their power.

  4. There is ONE thing that everyone seems to either ignore or not know.

    No YESHA Arab has no genuine document of legal title to land in Israel. NONE.

    When I was living there the biggest “industry” in YESH was the forging of “ancient ” Title Deeds.
    In fact I was present at a Land Registry in which an Arab I knew (he’d told me that his family had lived in Israel since the Crusades) was openly unmasked as having been Illegally in Israel 5 years only. His crumbling Title Deed looked a thousand years old. The Official shocked him when he TOLD him from whom he’d bought it.

    The Land Registry Official regaled me with the TRUE facts of Arab “Title Deeds”.. He even told me where they were printed and “aged”.

    It happened at the time when the Government was urging young people to go out and claim all the Hilltops and live there, they being regarded as strategic outposts of much importance, They woke up because Arabs had begun appearing on them.

    Cast your minds back about 40+years

  5. @Reader
    Your #1 and #2 are an essential first step no matter what the next step might be. Every element of UNRWA must be utterly disentangled from every aspect of the Pal society which they have too long poisoned with their influence.

  6. @EvRe1

    Here is the problem: No Arab country wants them.

    Here is what I think is a good solution:

    1) Dismantle UNRWA – the Palestinian refugee agency which exists only to perpetuate these people’s miserable existence as refugees and as a thorn in Israel’s side (and I mean dismantle – do not reemploy those who work for it);

    2) Let the UN Refugee Agency take care of them, including resettlement – this is what this agency does for millions of people other than the “Palestinians”.

  7. One solution to where to send them is, send them to any country that’s actively attacking Israel or has declared war. Yemen, Algeria, Syria, etc. Lots to choose from. I don’t think any should go to Europe or North America, because they’ll join the Islamist mob already there, and good living conditions and welfare benefits will make them even more fertile. The smart ones who go to college will be even more dangerous. Yemen and Algeria would be perfect.

    Speaking of Saudi Arabia, they’ve publicized a project called NEOM, a self-contained development in the desert. Put them all there and don’t let them out.

  8. @ms45143

    But to lose their home and land? That would create deterrence.

    I quite agree. Annexing the land will act to increase the deterrence while also limit the security needs following the war. A win-win scenario which will drive the Liberal World Order to distraction, but this must be the objective pursued by Israel.

  9. The main form of deterrence that works with Arabs is losing their land. They don’t mind losing lives – their view is that a person is a shahid who goes to heaven and gets his 72 virgins. But to lose their home and land? That would create deterrence. If Israel would make clear that attacking Israel would involve Israel annexing the land that attacked them, that would cause a sea change among Arabs everywhere. It’s not too late. They can do it now. Unfortunately, the ones managing the battle are still the same bleeding hearts who can’t bear bombing a hospital full of terrorists and who still believe in “innocent” Gazans and folded on humanitarian aid right away.

  10. A very important analysis of some of the changes which have taken form in just one month since October 7, even from within Yesh Atid. Very welcome news indeed.

    When all other ‘plans’ have failed to achieve anything but lead towards war and bloodshed, Arab migration was always the only viable solution to the Pal problem. The recent slaughter at the Gaza envelop, however, catalyzed the need to recognize that the goal of the International Liberal Order to maintain the Pal cleft in Israel are not compatible with even the Leftists in Israel. It is good to see the conversation rising even among the Left in support of Arab migration as they read the room among their political followers, but now we must move that political conversation into wise policies to put fruit on the vine as it were. Now is not the time to talk about keeping the Gazans in Gaza, but something much more beneficial, for both the Arabs in Gaza and the Jews in Israel. As in all divorces, only one party might keep the house, and the house is the Jewish State, ours by every right possible and enshrined in international law. We can be subtle about framing the truth, and we can be kind in making the change as palatable as possible, but the simple truth has always been true, even as it was the one truth which was labeled to not be spoken, and that truth is that the Pals must go. To 100 nations where their identity will be disintegrated among the masses or to a single enclave where they can continue to pretend that they are who they never were, such details must be resolved, but whatever the circumstances of their leaving, they must go.

  11. It speaks volumes that, for 75 years, no Arab country has been willing to open its doors to “the Palestinians.” If the Arabs won’t, why should/would anyone else?

  12. Why not Saudi Arabia? A glance at a map of SA shows a huge blank area without roads in the southern part.Assuming that’s a desert, Israelis are experts at desertification. Surely Israel would agree to design a system whereby this land can be made livable. At least it’s worth a study of feasability. And the best part is that the refugees wouldn’t have to adjust to a new culture and a new language.

  13. EvRe1

    suggest the Palestinians be sent to Iran

    😀 Funny, I was thinking the very same thing while reading your post and then saw that at the end. Strap them to gliders and send them in.

  14. OF.: ‘Mrs Meir, don’t you at least feel a little sorry for them?’
    G.M.”” ‘Of course I do. But pity is not responsibility, and the responsibility for the Palestinians isn’t ours, it’s the Arabs…’
    O.F.: ‘Mrs. Meir, what if Israel let the Palestinian refugees come back here?’
    G.M.: ‘Impossible. For twenty years they’ve been fed on hatred for us…the only thing they know is that they must kill Israelis, destroy Israel…But there is a solution. It was demonstrated by the Jordanians when they gave them citizenship and called on them to build a country called Jordan.”

    – Orianna Fallaci, “Interview with History” p.104. (1976)

  15. I can empathize with Israel’s need to remove a population of people who represent an ever growing threat to Israel’s security.

    Here is the problem: No Arab country wants them. Scotland might want them, but the US doesn’t want them. AOC does not represent the American people, but about 20% of the democrat party. The rest of the democrat party and conservatives support Israel and do not want Islamic extremists of any kind in the country.

    Donald Trump has said that if he wins the Presidency he will deport people who support Hamas. So if the Arab countries don’t want the Palestinians, and if European countries can barely deal with their Muslim population as it is right now, where will these people go?

    If you are an Israeli left of center, you see the Palestinians as innocent victims.

    But if even the Israeli left does not want these “innocent victims,” who will?

    Doesn’t the fact that no country wants them, including those on the Israeli left who see them as innocent victims put the lie to the very idea of their innocence?

    If they are people who want to murder Jews, they don’t belong in any country in which Jews or Christians live! We Jews have learned that people who want to murder us will do so, if given half a chance.

    What we are dealing with is a group of people who either have committed crimes against humanity or are waiting for the first opportunity to commit a hate crime.

    Now perhaps there are Palestinians who truly do want to be part of Western culture, accepting Western values and the sanctity of life. How will we find out which Palestinians hold life sacred and which Palestinians hold death sacred? You can’t ask them because Islam forgives lying to the infidel.

    One of the things that is wrong with this picture is that Israel thinks she is responsible for these people.

    I believe these individuals should be held responsible for themselves and their own fate.

    If Israel decides to deport them, I think that is within Israel’s right to do. Israel does not need to pay them off or bribe them, they are responsible for getting themselves somewhere else to go.

    The Arab countries of the Middle East foisted these people upon Israel, and it is in THEIR interest to keep Israel thinking they are Israel’s responsibility.

    But Israel does not have to accept the responsibility any longer. Not when Israel is being attacked on all sides.

    I suggest the Palestinians be sent to Iran to live since Iran seems so genuinely interested in empowering them. They can get there by the same route used in sending the weapons from Iran to Gaza, using the same middle men and the same transportation. Israel can sell their Iranian weapons and use the money for the transportation of these people.

  16. but cautioned that it must ensure that none of them are members of Hamas.

    😀 Good luck with that. We couldn’t even keep them out of the White House.

    “First, there was Maher Bitar, a Palestinian-American and anti-Israel BDS activist, whom Biden has appointed to be the senior director of intelligence programs at the National Security Council….A second alarming appointment by the Biden Administration is that of Reema Dodin, a Palestinian-American, who will now be deputy director of the White House Office of Legislative Affairs….Now comes news that Biden has nominated Uzra Zeya, who has a long record of denouncing the “Israel lobby” and the “secret money” it uses to control American politicians, to become undersecretary for civilian security, democracy, and human rights….”

    March 3, 2021, less than 2 months after Biden took office.

    And that’s without all the killers in the streets and their allies in the k-12 and university educational system.

    They need to go back to the countries they came from and be assimilated into the clans they came from very recently. We need to deport the ones we have here.