I usually don’t send out pieces by Gordis [who is affiliated with the neoconservative Shalem Center], but this one from his column in The Jerusalem Post is humorous, if not tragic:
At long last, even if years too late, Israelis woke up this week to the realization that we face yet another existential threat. Yes, it took 100,000 “Men in Black” in downtown Jerusalem to make the point, but finally, we get it. As dangerous as are the delegitimization of Israel and the specter of a nuclear Iran, Israel is no less threatened by a growing population of religious fundamentalists who insist on the right to racial discrimination in their schools and who utterly reject the legitimacy and authority of the Supreme Court. They reject, in other words, the idea of a “Jewish and democratic” state. [….]
THE HAND-WRINGING of the past week suggests that most Israelis believe that there’s little we can do. I disagree. With apologies to Jonathan Swift, I offer the following modest proposal for our collective consideration. Those who argue that the two-state solution will not work are right. We need not a two-state solution, but a five-state solution.
1. Hamastan will be created on the territory now known as the Gaza Strip, and will be ruled by the same people who already run it. Like Iran and North Korea, Hamastan will survive through sheer force and the use of terror, until its citizens rebel. Its borders are already internationally recognized. It already has a flag, and international sympathy in abundance.
Yes, it’s short on many other commodities, so one presumes that even as Israel continues to blockade it (for it will remain sworn on Israel’s destruction), it will have to continue to let in massive humanitarian aid, either by sea or by land. But perhaps Egypt will open its borders and let goods flow in from the south. After all, it’s not as if Hamastan will be sworn on Egypt’s destruction. In Hamastan, in short, nothing but the name changes.
2. Fatahland, on the other hand, will rise from what is today the West Bank, or Judea and Samaria. It, too, thankfully already has a flag. It could become a democracy, though probably a limping one at best, considering the Palestinians’ record of creating transparent, democratic institutions. True, we might be pleasantly surprised, and its democracy might flourish. Equally possible, though, is that absent Israel’s efforts at propping up the scaffolding of its democratically inclined leaders, Fatahland could slip into dictatorship. The jury is out, but whether Fatahland is democratic or just another version of the brutal regime of Hamastan would really not be Israel’s problem.
Fortunately, even if Fatahland begins as a despotic regime, however, that could eventually change. For as Americans like John Adams and his compatriots knew, as millions of former Soviet citizens learned and Zionists before May 1948 understood well, you can earn freedom when you want it badly enough and are willing to risk – and sometimes to die – for it. Perhaps Fatahlandians will really crave freedom enough to be willing to die for it. They’ve proven that there are those of them willing to die to kill us; now we’d see if they’re willing to die to make themselves free.
3. Palestine will be the country of today’s Israeli Arabs. Increasingly, Israeli Arabs are wholly unambiguous about the fact that they reject the notion of Israel as a Jewish state. Adalah is only one of the Israel-Arab advocacy groups that have openly called for ending the Jewish character of the State of Israel. And the citizens of Umm el-Fahm, Israeli Arab citizens who rioted after the recent flotilla incident, continuously make it clear that they want a different type of government. It’s time to give them one. Though its borders would have to be negotiated, Palestine would be based in the “Triangle” section of the Galilee where such sentiment is strongest. And we’d have to figure out how to handle the other pockets of such sentiment, which are not geographically contiguous with the Triangle.
Palestine would probably be democratic. It would simply be liberated from the oppressive Jewish regime that it can’t bear, and would be free to chart its own course. And amazingly, Israel might have a neighboring Arab state with which it’s never been at war.
Alas, Palestine does not have a flag. The PA’s flag will be taken by Fatahland. And Israel’s flag, based as it is on the image of a tallit, would be thoroughly unacceptable. Designing a flag will thus be one of the first challenges to which the leaders of the new state will have to turn their attention.
4. Haredia will be the ultra-Orthodox state. Based primarily in the Jerusalem neighborhoods of Mea She’arim, Geula and Sanhedria, along with Bnei Brak and perhaps a few other localities, Haredia would be the country that last week’s 100,000 plus protesters clearly desire. It would have a Supreme Council of Rabbinic Elders, not the vile secular Supreme Court that so offends them. They would be free to do whatever they wished with their schools, and with their Sephardim. They could impose a halachicly based system of law as other countries have done with Shari’a. They could virtually guarantee the exclusion of all the nefarious influences they so deeply object to in contemporary Israel. They could impose whatever standards for conversion they wished, without causing a rift with the rest of the Jewish world, which would actually have more in common with Turkey than it will with Haredia.
Today’s haredim already have a political party called Degel Hatorah, the flag of Torah. Surely, they’ll have some ideas for a flag.
How Haredia will defend itself against attacks from elements emanating from Hamastan and Fatahland is, admittedly, not entirely clear. Defense, after all, takes some serious commitment, a willingness to risk and lots of training. There is a real possibility, unfortunately, that Haredia will be utterly unable to defend itself, and Haredians (some will just call them Haredim, probably) will find themselves the most abandoned and vulnerable group in the Middle East. What will the world say about that? Will there be the same outpouring of concern that there is now for the Palestinians of Gaza? We’ll learn a lot about the world from watching how many other countries come to the verbal and physical defense of Haredia facing its Arab neighbors all alone.
5. Israel will be the region’s Jewish and democratic state. It doesn’t have recognized borders, but at least it does have a flag. It will be mostly Jewish, though some Israeli Arabs will decide to remain Israelis instead of becoming Palestinians, and they should be welcomed. The same with Haredim – a few might be willing to recognize the legitimacy of the Supreme Court and might decide to live in a Zionist entity. If they want to go to the army and are willing to live off their own salaries and not off government subsidies, then they, too, should be welcomed.
ISRAEL WILL be a broad tent. It will include religious and secular, right wing and left wing, free marketers and those more inclined to socialism. It will be home to Im Tirtzu, a right-of-center student organization seeking to restore Zionism to Israeli campuses that countenances no criticism of Israel whatsoever, and Breaking the Silence, former IDF soldiers – and other peaceniks who’ve now glommed on to them – who travel across the world telling anyone who’ll listen about the excesses of Israeli power. It will be home to Avigdor Lieberman and Naomi Chazan. …
His entire piece may be accessed online by clicking here http://danielgordis.org/2010/06/24/the-five-state-solution/print/.
How many ways can neo-conservative ideologues like Gordis come up with to avoid supporting a two-state solution, a la the Clinton Plan? This “five-state solution” is not humorous, but rather points out the need for Israel to settle its conflict with the Palestinians, and to pay more attention to the internal conflicts that threaten Israel democracy and society. The alternative to a two-state solution is not five states, or ten states. It will be one state, like Lebanon. The Jewish and Arab populations already are so mixed together outside (and inside) the Green Line that the possibility of a two state solution is receeding. A collapse of the two-state solution will lead much of the world to proclaim to Israel: You simply ARE a mixed population state like Lebanaon; now start dealing with it as such, and try to do a better job than Lebanon, if you can. I hope that this can be avoided. But once this dynamic begins, it will likely take on a life of its own. Israel might then begin to unilaterally withdraw from large parts of the West Bank, but it won’t stem the tide. Israel’s long time enemies (and there are still many of them) will have smelled the blood; the Arab League will withdraw their peace plans; Fatah radicals on the West Bank will start assasinating those who continue to talk about a “two state solution” What a tragedy this would all be …..
Mark Kaufman, Topeka