'Oslo wise men allowed east Jerusalem Arabs to vote in West Bank elections from within Jerusalem'
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Photo: Dan Balilti
The peace camp is mourning. The vision of dividing the land is no longer possible, and the inevitable result is a "bi-national state," they claim. Yossi Sarid lamented "the end of the Jewish state" on television, and the bi-national phobia has even been joined recently by Benjamin Netanyahu – who is, seemingly, still head of the national camp.
The creators of this artificial panic should deal with the previous attempt to divide the land: The UN General Assembly resolution from November 29, 1947. On a territory allotted there to a state defined as "Jewish," sat next to 598,000 Jews another 497,000 Arabs – almost equal numbers. In other words, that partition solution contained exactly what concerns those who oppose the wholeness of the Land of Israel today – the danger of a bi-national state. What saved the State of Israel from becoming bi-national was the Arabs' departure, which happened during the War of Independence and created a democratic Jewish majority and that same "Jewish state" which Sarid and his friends are mourning the loss of.
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But the peace camp, and not just them, opposes the idea of a "transfer," and rightfully so, and so if they were there in those days, the State of Israel would not have been established in the first place, because there were too many Arabs on its territory. Or would Yossi Sarid have established the State as well despite its demographic situation, between the sea and the Jordan River? So what does the great justice of the leftists rely on, Kahane's doctrine?
Those who drafted the 1947 Partition Plan thought differently. They believed the state would be Jewish nevertheless, as long as not all Arabs in it would be its citizens, but rather the citizens of the neighboring nation state, the Palestinian one. It was not their physical presence in the Jewish state that appeared as an obstacle, but rather the danger that they would become a political majority. The UN considered overcoming that danger by having an Arab resident in Jaffa, for example, vote in Nablus. This principle was also adopted by the Oslo wise men, who allowed the Arabs of east Jerusalem to vote in the elections for the West Bank autonomy from within Jerusalem – at the post office on Salah al-Din Street.
In general, the Jerusalem coexistence experiment has escaped the eyes of the observers, who are ignoring the fact that most of the city's Arabs prefer Israeli rather than Palestinian sovereignty. They are also ignoring the cooperation between members of the two nations in daily life, which is evident in shopping malls, in hospitals and in any taxi, restaurant and factory. It's not a love story, but it is a success story.
Today's demographic conditions are better than ever before. Instead of an Arab advantage of six children per family on average in the previous century, it is almost equal now: Three children among the Arabs and three among the Jews. And yet, it would be better if the Arabs of Judea and Samaria continue to enjoy their autonomy as it is today, which allows them to elect their representatives for their home rule. The national right to vote which they are missing is only possible in that part of the Land of Israel – Palestine, as they call it – which the English separated for that need in 1922, and is today Jordan.
From any aspect, there is no reason why all Arabs in the western Land of Israel should not live a full life in a Jewish state, apart from satisfying their political desires. The land has already been divided once for that purpose, and that division fulfills the "two state for two people" vision. It makes no difference if that state will be called Jordan or Palestine. A second division, of the one-quarter left for the Jews, is not a vision but a curse – and if indeed, as the Left fears, this division is no longer possible, we should thank God.