Palestinians Call for Good Fences?

Of course separating Arabs and Israelis is a good idea.

There's not much more to say about the 4,000 year running conflict between Jews and Arabs which hasn't already been said.  This is why Scragged rarely discusses the matter: we don't like to be an echo.

An article in Israeli newspaper Haaretz quoting Maen Areikat, the Palestinian Liberation Organization's ambassador to the United States, however, gives us something worth discussion.  Not because it's new - in fact, Scragged has made exactly the same point as Mr. Areikat.  What's stunning is that it's coming from him:

The future independent Palestinian state will not include a Jewish minority, a top Palestinian official told USA Today on Wednesday, adding that it was in the best interest of both peoples to "be separated."

Answering a question about the legal status of a Jewish minority in the future state, Areikat apprently rejected the issue, saying: "I believe, I still believe that as a first step we need to be totally separated," adding "I think we can contemplate these issues in the future."

Former U.S. National Security Council official Elliot Abrams responded to the Palestinian official's comment, saying to USA Today that the Palestinian demand was "a despicable form of anti-Semitism," adding: "No civilized country would act this way." [emphasis added]

Still, it's an improvement over terrorism.

Stating the Blindingly Obvious

Mr. Abrams' observation is nothing more than every American and civilized citizen of the West should instantly agree with: any country that expels all Jews is by definition not civilized.  Of course, fifty years of terrorist assaults have amply demonstrated that the Palestinian territories are not civilized, and without a total and complete change of culture, they never will be.

The would-be nation of Palestine is hardly alone.  Saudi Arabia, for example, not only prohibits Jews and/or Israelis from entering their country, it forces American airlines flying there to enforce this bigoted policy.

Palestine at least won't have this problem as it has no airport, when it did no Western airlines flew there, and it doesn't seem likely that any would want to.  How can you operate out of an airport when the Gazan security agencies doing the security checks are the terrorists we're trying to catch?

The Hamas terrorist organization and its police forces, which rule the Gaza Strip, are effective at reducing violence when they want to be.  Unfortunately, they prefer to concentrate on torturing Israeli collaborators, kidnapping Israeli soldiers, and making sure there are no Jews in their domain.

None of this is new; it's been going on for decades.  When Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005, not only was every last Jewish settler removed, even the dead Jews buried in Gazan graveyards were dug up and relocated.

All Jews left for good reason: the Hamas charter states that all Jews are to be killed and that any sort of peaceful resolution of the Palestinian conflict is anathema.

Hamas has been looking forward to implement Allah’s promise whatever time it might take. The prophet, prayer and peace be upon him, said:The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!


[Peace] initiatives, the so-called peaceful solutions, and the international conferences to resolve the Palestinian problem, are all contrary to the beliefs of the Islamic Resistance Movement. For renouncing any part of Palestine means renouncing part of the religion; the nationalism of the Islamic Resistance Movement is part of its faith, the movement educates its members to adhere to its principles and to raise the banner of Allah over their homeland as they fight their Jihad.

Why would any Jew want to live in a place ruled by an entity sworn to pursue his death?

The Arabs in Israel, on the other hand, are as free as they choose to be; some are even members of Israel's Parliament, the Knesset.  However, this presents a long-term demographic problem: Israeli Arabs have far larger families than do the Jews, so their proportion doubles every generation.  In the not-too-distant future, Israel's Jews will be outnumbered in their own homeland.

The Immovable Object Moves

Peace hasn't moved an inch in 40 years because  Palestinians have always demanded a so-called "right of return."  As they define it, descendants of Arabs who left Israel in 1948 would be permitted to move back and take citizenship there.  Obviously, Israel could never accept this; it would be no different from military conquest since there are vastly more Arabs than Israelis.

This intractable problem has torpedoed every peace proposal from Jimmy Carter until now.  The Palestinians, being sworn to destroy Israel and drive the Jews into the sea, will not give up the phony "right of return" which would allow them to carry out their vow of destruction.  Israel can't agree to anything which would destroy it.  The impasse has remained immovable for decades.

If Mr. Areikat is serious - always doubtful given the Islamic doctrine of taqiyya or "holy lying" - he's broken the back of the conflict, as well as agreeing with Scragged.  We have long maintained that the only possible hope for peace is absolute separation, with the Palestinians moving elsewhere in the very large Arab world and Israel being left alone as the Jewish homeland.  If the Israeli army had simply shoved all the Arabs into Sinai back in 1967, there would have been a lot of yelling and screaming at the time, but a whole lot less murder, violence, and terrorism ever since.

The past decade has proven that, as Robert Frost observed, "Good fences make good neighbors."  Israel and the West Bank may not be the best of neighbors, but since the building of the wall separating Jews from Palestinians, terrorist attacks have plummeted.  So have Israeli army incursions into Palestinian areas; both Jews and Palestinians are alive and healthy today that wouldn't be without the wall.

If Hamas, Fatah, the PLO, and the international community followed Mr. Areikat's lead, there might be some hope of some sort of cold peace.  Move all the Jews out of what becomes Palestine; move all the Arabs out of Israel; erect a nice high wall between the two well-monitored by cameras, minefields, and international observers; and the slaughter might stop.

An Idea Whose Time Has Come

In condemning this idea, ex-U.S. National Security Council official Elliot Abrams probably thinks he's standing with longtime American traditions of liberty, free expression, and justice for all.  Unfortunately, there has not been any respect for human rights in the Palestinian territories since there has been such a thing; there hasn't been any respect for Jews in the Muslim world for far longer than any of us have been alive.

Gaza is not Sweden or Switzerland and it isn't going to be; we need to settle for what we can get.  Our leaders have forgotten that good fences make good neighbors.  100% separation of Jews and Arabs and completing the border fence is the only possible path to peace today.

Why not take "Yes" for an answer and see what happens?  It can't be much worse than what we've already been putting up with.

Petrarch is a contributing editor for Scragged.  Read other articles by Petrarch or other articles on Foreign Affairs.
Reader Comments

You know, it's funny -- I still think the most "fair and balanced" description of the Arab-Israeli conflict and its history I've ever read is the one on Go figure.

I guess as Americans we should just count ourselves lucky that the God of Abraham never promised any land to the Native Americans!

September 22, 2011 5:00 PM

@Werebat - the fact that we have less trouble with Native Americans than, say, the Afrikanners had with the Zulu is that we more or less exterminated them. The Afrikanners didn't exterminate the Zulus, were outbred, and lost a civil war. Numbers count.

Americans are lucky they were more immune to smallpox than the natives, whereas the Zulu were more immune to African diseases than the Boers were.

Numbers count.

September 22, 2011 7:45 PM

@FredF - I think you missed my point.

Of course "numbers count", along with a great many other things, in determining who controls what land. I think we all know that nations do not have any "right" to exist; they have the POWER to exist, or they do not exist for long. But that is rarely what is argued in the context of Israel.

I will, however, grant that convincing a large number of people that God wants a nation to exist, and expand, can also have a great effect on whether or not those things happen. It has worked many times in the past. It worked for the USA during the "manifest destiny" years, and it is working for Israel now.

It doesn't necessarily mean that there's any truth to it -- but illusions can be powerful things.

Now comes the question of morality. It is right and just for the Jews to wrest every square inch of the land they claim to have been awarded to them in a divine real estate deal, but it would not be so for Native Americans to do the same (leaving numbers out of it for the moment), because the God of Abraham didn't broker any deals with them. Is that about right?

September 22, 2011 11:12 PM

I would agree with the above solution in the article, but two questions remain unanswered. One, what of the Israeli-Arab-Palestinians living in Israel? Two, far vaster - how would a wall prevent rockets? If only a wall separated the new Israel and new Palestine the cheer proximity would be an issue. Gaza is controlled by the Palestinians and they shoot rockets all the time - luckily Gaza is in the very south of the country so not as many fatalities are seen as if it was the West Bank, which runs parallel to the center of the country. Before there was the control there is in the West Bank the center of the country fled to bomb shelters on a daily basis.

Cameras and a good fence GREATLY cut down on suicide bombers, but the lack of rockets is from being in control of the area. This is why a two state solution in the tiny area is pretty impossible today just as assuming the Palestinians will live with the Israeli's in peace in one state is an impossibility. The third impossibility that people love to point at is that one group should just leave. The fact is no one wants the Jews or the Palestinians and neither group have some other place to go at least a few generations of both have been born on that soil speak the two dialects and have no other place or passport.

September 28, 2011 1:20 AM
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