hamas flags 88.
(photo credit: AP [file])
One of the greatest problems of the State of Israel is the fact that our
leadership has never determined in advance what the policy should be on any
important issue. Everything is up for discussion and we therefore find our
society constantly debating the most basic things. Key issues like national
borders, Jewish identity and expectations from minorities never seem to be out
of the scope of public debate. Our own uncertainty breeds confusion for our
friends and neighbors, both here and abroad.
The borders of the State of
Israel have never been determined by our leadership based on an understanding of
our national interests.
Rather, the borders came about by chance, as a
result of wars forced upon us by the Arab countries who banded together in an
effort to annihilate us in 1948 and then again in 1967.
The de facto
borders are the result of the territory lost by the Arabs in those
The so-called pre-1967 borders had no resemblance to the suggested
UN partition plan of 1947, a plan that was rejected by all Arab countries and –
ironically – embraced by the Jewish leadership. At the time, they were happy
just to be acknowledged in any way, and to receive any part of our historic
Arab residents of areas that were captured by the IDF in that
first war in 1948 were granted full Israeli citizenship. They have since been
granted all benefits awarded to Jewish Israelis and are expected to fulfill some
civil obligations, but not all. They are exempt from military or national
service, but benefit from university scholarships and representation in the
Knesset. They enjoy the full extent of Israel’s democratic nature, and some take
advantage of this in an extreme way when they use their freedom of speech to
defame the very state that grants them those freedoms and rights.
areas captured in 1967 were never officially annexed. The Arab residents were
not incorporated as citizens. Rather, their municipal services are provided by
the civil administration, a subdivision of the government. Acting
schizophrenically, Israel refrained from annexing the area captured from Jordan,
while it invested major resources in developing and settling Jews in communities
built throughout the region.
Since the 1977 Camp David accords, the
Israeli leadership has been debating different forms of autonomy to be granted
to the Arab population in areas captured in 1967. This debate has evolved into
the presently popular concept of a “two-state” solution. At the basis of the
theory of the two-state solution is the establishment of a new Arab country
called Palestine, which would be located on the territory captured from Egypt
THIS CONCEPT was tested when Israel withdrew from Gaza in
2005, and it failed terribly.
All Jewish communities, homes and
businesses were destroyed and the Jewish residents were displaced. The local
Palestinian population elected its own government through democratic elections.
Hamas won those elections and have been firing rockets into Israel’s cities ever
since. Not only has this development been a disaster in terms of the relations
between Israel and the Arab population of Gaza (many of whom worked for Israeli
employers before the change of government), but also for the local Arab
population whose standard of living has deteriorated dramatically as a
The Islamic republic of Hamas in Gaza in is fact a Palestinian
state with a democratically elected government, which has cut off all ties with
the “moderate” PA leadership under Mahmoud Abbas. The proposal to establish a
second Palestinian state in the “West Bank” clearly ignores the factual results
of the establishment of the first one in Gaza. Abbas is well aware of the
strength of Hamas in the West Bank and that is the reason why he canceled
municipal elections that were supposed to be held last July. It is obvious that
a pullout from the West Bank and the establishment of a second state west of the
Jordan River would mean the development of a hostile Islamic country alongside
Israel. The new country would have the advantage of the mountain ridge
overlooking all of the highly populated central region from Gedera to Hadera,
Tel Aviv and Ben- Gurion Airport, and the ability to launch rockets toward these
cities, whose fate would be like the fate of Sderot and Ashkelon.
FACTS are known, yet they still do not answer the recurring question: What about
the Palestinians? Don’t they deserve a state of their own? And if not, then
Israel must offer them full citizenship and voting rights. Wouldn’t this
threaten its Jewish character? Here is my response: Is that so? Where are all of
the spokespeople of democracy and civil rights when it comes to all other
countries in the Middle East? Do Jews, Palestinians or women, for that matter,
have rights in any of Israel’s neighboring countries or in the Palestinian
Authority? Has anyone bothered to suggest international sanctions or even send a
flotilla to protect the oppressed Coptic Christians in Egypt or the Kurds in
Turkey or to save women for “honor killings” by family members throughout the
Muslim world? Israel was founded and formed to be a Jewish state. For the
moment, let’s put aside the historical and biblical rights of the Jewish people
to this land. The League of Nations, which gave international consent to the
British Balfour Declaration, is the same international body which established
four other new countries in the area after the fall of the Ottoman Empire in
World War I. Those countries are Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt, and they are
all far behind Israel (West Bank included) in offering democracy and civil
The failure of the proposed two-state solution must bring brave
leadership to come forward with a wise alternative that will bring stability and
peace to the region.
We only need one state – Israel, which will include
all territories currently under its control, while ensuring the rights of all
individuals, regardless of race, religion, color or sex as long they are loyal.
This will be a state with the necessary laws in place to protect its continued
Jewish character for future generations.
That is a value which has
priority above and beyond the wisdom of mimicking American-style Western
multicultural democracy, which grants a vote to every man regardless of his
With this policy in place, many non-Jewish Arab Israelis on
both sides of the 1967 Green Line would choose to live in Israel as loyal
citizens enjoying benefits not offered in surrounding Arab countries, even at
the cost of not having full democratic political rights. This is what is needed
to determine the national character of the country.The writer is the
director of the Shomron Liaison Office. He lives with his wife and their eight
children in Kfar Tapuah.