Time to decide: A Jewish Israel or an Arab Israel?
Op-ed: Those who believe in a bi-national state as a solution must realize that the inequality imposed by today’s majority on the Arab minority in Israel and on the Arab population in the West Bank will come back to haunt us when they become the majority.
Building permits, land ownership rights and a governmental enforcement policy have been combined three times recently in three different places—in Amona, Qalansawe and in Umm al-Hiran.
Let me address the first two cases. In a nutshell, this is what happened: In Amona, Jewish settlers built about 40 homes without a permit and on land owned by Palestinians who are claiming their property. The government has tried and is trying in every way not to demolish the homes and to at least find an alternative solution for the settlers. In Qalansawe, Israeli Arab citizens built 12 homes without a permit on private land owned by them. The homes were demolished.
Both cases involve Arabs’ private land. When it is robbed by Jews, the government seeks a way out although it looks almost impossible. When the construction is carried out by Israeli Arab citizens, and a solution can be simple and immediate, we don’t even see an attempt to find a way out.
Even without talking about Arabs’ rights for equality in Israel and justice in Judea and Samaria, it’s enough to weigh the considerations of Jews in Israel—their right to exist and the risks to their existence—in order to resent the foolishness and injustice in the government’s actions. The foolishness is unacceptable, even if one believes in the need for two states and even if one wants one state between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean.
If there is one state west of the Jordan River, it will have an Arab majority in the foreseeable future, and as there is no way for it to exist in the modern world without equal rights, it will eventually turn into an Arab state. Immediately after the annexation of Judea and Samaria, the Arabs will have the option of establishing the largest party in Israel with about 35 to 40 percent of voters. Whoever believes in this direction as a solution must realize that the inequality that we—as today's majority— are imposing on the Arab minority in Israel by demolishing its homes, and on the Arab population in Judea and Samaria by robbing its lands, will come back to haunt us when they become the majority.
If the solutionis having two states, we should clearly soften our relations with the Arabs in the West Bank, and at the same time stop discriminating against our Arab citizens as if they were a fifth column of the Palestinian state. They want to remain Israeli citizens, and they should and can serve as a bridge to their brethren’s neighboring country. We must not alienate them with unnecessarily dramatic moves. One-tenth of the government discussions dedicated to solving the Amona problem would have been enough to solve the Qalansawe problem, for example.
In fact, these contradicting events serve as a warning sign in light of the big issue ahead. Assuming it would be impossible for us to sustain a state with a large minority without full rights, we must choose between the State of Israel as the Jewish people’s nation state, in the spirit of the Declaration of Independence, although on a reduced area that would not include Judea and Samaria—a larger state than the one we celebrated when it was declared in 1947—and a state from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, in which we will be a minority and won’t be able to serve as a shelter for all Jews of the world if the rug is pulled from under their feet in their countries.
The risk to our existence—as the Jewish nation state—from a bi-national state is exponentially bigger than the two-state solution. The risk seen by the opponents of the two states—a security threat—is something we can handle. The risk of an Arab majority, which will put an end to Israel as a Jewish nation state, will not be in our hands.