Israeli Reactions to Peace in the Middle East

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VOL. 7

1977/78

No. 4
P. 34
Articles
Israeli Reactions to Peace in the Middle East
FULL TEXT

 

It was once observed that if there is anything to be learned from history it is that men never learn from history. If the events in the Middle East are any measure, the statement is only half right. That men should rarely learn from their past is a function of the fact that they are not wholly rational beings. Not independent analytical mechanisms, they are, to one extent or another, dependent on cultural patterns of perception and conditioned manners of behaviour. Yet, they are also partially rational and thus on occasion they can look back, take the hint, as it were, from past debacles and break boldly, if briefly, from their culture-bound conditions.

Such appears to be the case with Anwar Sadat. Whether one thinks him an opportunist out for personal glory, an Egyptian nationalist preparing the way for a separate peace, or a true pan-Arab patriot, one cannot doubt his courage nor his capacity for periods of convention-defying sanity. His actions in those last days of 1977 seem purposely based on lessons learned from his country's history and thus, eschewing decades of conditioned hatred, he stepped forth to shape the present with a bold bit of strategic realism. It was realism in the sense that, given Egypt's present social and economic situation, there can be nothing more reasonable for her than peace. From a tactical point of view, Sadat also seemed to be taking history seriously. The October War notwithstanding, Egypt's current capacity to wage successful war against Israel is poor and prospects for the immediate future are no better. If the enemy was to be dealt with it would have to be other than on the battlefield. At the peace table, one man's craft and cunning may, perhaps, prove more valuable than the other's surplus of tanks.

The result seems to be a balanced Egyptian package of principles for peace that would give Israel recognition of her right to exist, the Palestinians their right to come into national existence, and the various Arab "confrontation" states their right to once more become territorially whole. If accepted all around, Sadat's name would go down in history as that of a great statesman and peacemaker - an example from which other, generations may or may not care to learn. In the event of failure, the burden of responsibility would be on the Israelis, which means that in a very second best sort of way, Egypt would win anyway.

Thus, the final word on Sadat's destiny will come from Israel, and, before taking those potentially fatal personal risks inherent in his break with tradition, he must have tried to ascertain the chances for success. We can only assume he thought them reasonably good. Given the events of the past few months, the confronting of the Israeli leaders with the prospect of a compromise peace and observing their reaction, can we say Sadat was right? At least at the moment, it unfortunately does not seem likely.

The Egyptian press indignantly suggested that Prime Minister Begin was being greedy in his response to Sadat's proposals. Judging from the initial airport reception, the Israelis were happy and grateful to accept the Egyptian President's offer of recognition. Having done so, however, they proceeded to tell him what else they wanted (particularly the maintenance of Zionist settlements throughout the occupied territories) and what they did not want (the realization of Palestinian self-determination). After the painful readjustments necessary to come to the peace table with the Israelis, President Sadat had every right to be disappointed in finding them acting there like the conqueror rather than partners in a precedent-setting venture. Perhaps he was also surprised. If so, he had less of a right, for while he learned from recent Arab history well enough, he seems to have learned not at all from that of the Israelis.

Whatever the domestic issues that led to the political downfall of the Israeli Labour Party, its replacement by Likud was, in all ways, a sharp turn toward the Zionist right. Menahem Begin is nothing if not a hardliner and his ascension to power is a recent historical happening that suggests one fault in President Sadat's otherwise largely reasonable view of things. The flaw lay in acting as if the Israeli leaders themselves were capable of following his lead and breaking with the past. There never has been much reason to believe them capable of acting objectively, even when offered peace, and, after the events of January 1978, there is less still.

If we are to understand why this is so we must realize that Israeli policies, both domestic and foreign, are not fundamentally guided by pragmatism. Rather, they are in almost every aspect a function of two obsessive and intertwined aspirations. First and foremost is the dedication to the maintenance of the Jewish state. This means literally what it says: Israel will forever be a state dedicated to the interests of Jews alone. Second is an unswerving devotion to realizing the territorial "completion" of Eretz Israel. There can be no mistake that, at least for Menahem Begin, the achievement of the biblical borders of Eretz Israel is a first principle. His pronounced attitudes on "Samaria" and "Judea" as well as the Gaza and Sinai settlements make it clear that he is more interested in maintaining Israeli footholds in these areas than in any Arab recognition of Israel's right to exist within her pre-1967 borders. "We have never asked anybody to recognize our right to exist," the Prime Minister said: "We [have existed], my dear Egyptian friends, without your recognition for 3,700 years." [1]

To this last goal may be appended a corollary - that conveniently vague idee fixe of "defensible borders." Although "defensible borders" have become a synonym for national security and, in great part, derive their compulsive power in the Zionist mind from the nightmarish consequences of centuries of defencelessness, it is always a "greater" Israel that must be defended. Thus, for those like Begin, such borders are unrealizable until manifest territorial destiny has been fulfilled. Both primary ends have their origins in historically conditioned perceptions dominated by a mixture of acute fear and feelings of vulnerability, as well as religious fidelity to a basically non-rational historical mission. Significantly, President Sadat now acts as the catalyst that brings to the fore the tragic potential of this combination. For the manifest destiny the Israeli leaders feel so deeply drives them forward, blinding them to the fact that Sadat's offer of peace is the coup de grace to that era (actually gone since 1948) when Israel and her Jewish citizenry were in any real danger of extinction at the hands of Arab neighbours.

Therefore, both the paranoia which gives purpose to an exclusively "Jewish" state and the sense of territorial fulfillment persist strongly, drawing strength from a worldview that is distorted because no longer relevant. Within this context it must be realized that many of the attitudes and actions of the Israelis that, to the cursory observer, seem sane have been nothing of the sort. The prevailing irrationality has been affirmed by the untimely election of Mr. Begin, a man whose capacity to act in the present other than in terms of an obsolete past is doubtful in the extreme. Nowhere can this be more sorrowfully seen than with his government's response to peace.

A dictionary definition of "sanity" is the "ability to make sound, rational judgments and show good sense." One can, of course, argue for a totally subjective interpretation of such terms as rational and sensible. However, if we assume-and I do not think it is taking much of a liberty-that, in our world, having national aspirations and assigning an importance to national sovereignty are reasonable and sensible attitudes, then Egypt's minimum principles for peace are "sane" ones while Israel's attempts to maintain the Sinai and West Bank settlements and block the founding of a Palestinian homeland, are quite irrational.

Of course, the Israelis do not see it this way. They want national security and this also, given our times, is a rational aspiration. However, it is exactly how the Israeli leaders define security and judge what are and are not circumstances of real danger that leads one to believe that they are not rational, but obsessive and paranoid.

In his speech in January 1978 to the Egyptian parliament, President Sadat noted that the huge United States arms build-up of Israel has only enhanced a stubborn arrogance. This was accurate but also pointed to a greater paradox. Some US sources now estimate that in another war, Israel could wreak such havoc on her principal Arab enemies as to immobilize them militarily. It is hard to know how better to define a nation's security than the achievement of such power over its adversaries. Yet time and again we are confronted by the spectacle of Israelis bewailing their vulnerability. Israel can (now having a nuclear capacity) utterly destroy Egypt, Syria and Jordan combined, but the thought of a Palestinian mini-state tied to Jordan sends her leaders into apoplexy. As King Hussein's rather brutal dealings with the more radical Palestinian armed factions make abundantly clear, the chance of a Palestinian state with strong links to Jordan ever becoming a "Russian base" is remote at best. Even if we allow for the possibility of Mr. Arafat being elected as the new president of such a state and his guerrilla forces being commissioned as a new standing army, what can reasonably be expected to happen? Sandwiched between a hostile, overwhelmingly powerful Israel and an equally suspicious Jordan, such a regime - even if awarded all the Soviet arms it can absorb - could do little. Indeed, Palestinian military effectiveness, where it does exist, is a function of its guerrilla status. Turn it into a conventional force and there is no rational reason to believe it would be any more effective against the Zionist state than other Arab armies before it. Finally, one suspects that it is not the Arabs now resident on the West Bank (and who would make up the bulk of the citizenry of any new state) who really worry the Israelis. Their willingness to grant them even a modicum of "self-rule" suggests that they do not see them as an immediate threat. Rather, it is the multitude of Palestinians who, by Israeli action, have been dispossessed and reduced to life in refugee camps in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan that they fear. For the Zionists they have become (inaccurately) the epitome of the Arab anti-Semite and, not surprisingly, they do not want their repatriation to the West Bank and Gaza. Yet, as unjust as it might be, their exclusion, at least for the foreseeable future, is an issue on which Sadat would probably be willing to negotiate.

Are we then to take all the Zionist fretting over Israel's constant mortal danger seriously? Are all those prerequisites to security that place Israel's alleged needs so far above others' rights to be taken at face value? The answer is no only if all we see in Israel is a clique of "greedy" expansionists looking for excuses to keep what they have already taken by force. However, while Israeli policies are indeed expansionist one would be mistaken to think it is only Machiavellianism that lies behind their behaviour. It is more. Behind the seeming machinations lies a collective paranoia.

There is that classical psychiatric observation that long periods of abnormal stress can cause personality aberrations in many individuals. Withdrawal and paranoia are two such aberrations. One can go further and hypothesize that this susceptibility to serious neurosis can, under certain conditions, be visited upon whole national groups. This might explain why it is so often true that peoples beset by long periods of violence and the disruption of daily life opt for militaristic and authoritarian patterns of response-a response distortive of reality by being at once self-aggrandizing, and dehumanizing of out-groups that they believe (often incorrectly) to have victimized them.

It is not in the way of offering excuses to make the observation that the history of anti-Semitism in Europe is quite sufficient to turn any group paranoid. Understandable or not, the resulting neurotic worldview of dedicated Zionists has proved predictably disastrous. They live in a world apart and unto themselves. All around them they believe they are beset by racially motivated opponents. Thus it is that they flail out at all who oppose them in word or deed, rationalizing their over-reactions by stereotyping those who would differ as reincarnations of past committers of genocide. In this way they satisfy an inner compulsion to prove over and again to themselves and the world that "never again" will they adopt the supposedly unmanly pacifism of the ghetto response to ubiquitous enemies. And so, despite their own vaunted strength and determination, in truth their lack of real inner security condemns them to chronic anxiety. They can never feel safe no matter how many weapons they possess.

Menahem Begin's performance as peace talks opened in mid-January was a telling sign of the tenacious strength of these conditioned patterns of perception and behaviour. Take, for instance, his attitude toward those Palestinians who assert national aspirations. They are, according to his public statements, merely a contemporary version of Nazi land grabbers. Actually, such statements sound uncomfortably similar to the wild accusations made by Hitler and Goebbels against their East European victims before forcibly expropriating their land. However, one should not repeat Mr. Begin's enormous faux pas. He is not a "Nazi" and does no more seek the genocidal elimination of the Arab people than they (despite his fears) seek the elimination of his. He is rather a man driven to a distorted view of reality by a single-minded life lived under truly abnormal levels of stress. When he alluded to the Palestinians as nefarious land grabbers he was, tragically, projecting. Buried very deeply in that subconscious is the awareness of just who the territorial usurpers are (what else can one call the adamant refusal to give up settlements in Sinai and the West Bank that even the United States describes as illegal?). Begin, of course, cannot admit this truth but no less will it go away. It festers in the unconscious and produces its inevitable guilt. The pressure of this guilt has, of late, increased - heightened by the appearance of President Sadat as peacemaker. How does one relieve oneself of it? In the most classical of manners one assigns it - projects it - onto one's victims.

Given such an attitude of mind, it is doubtful if Sadat will be able to make peace unless he gives up his own first principles. He will play his last card, the American card, and try to get the Carter Administration to twist the Israeli arm. He overestimates the power of the American government (for it has long been in doubt whether Washington has anywhere near as much influence in Israel as the other way around). Even if Carter decided to put serious pressure on Israel it is doubtful if he would get an equally serious response. The laying of the cornerstone, in late January, for the new Israeli West Bank settlement at Shiloh (ingeniously put forth as just an "archeological" outpost) [2] is only one indication that Begin is simply ignoring American wishes for curtailment of a settlement policy in the occupied territories. Thus, one can only take at face value the Prime Minister's curt reply to a reporter's question about the possibility of effective American pressure on Israel. He said that such a thing was "impossible." Beyond a certain point Begin will listen to no one but his dark Jehovah who, he is sure, will smite all enemies and deliver the (whole) promised land.

Ultimately, then, there will be no peace because neither the Israeli leaders nor people are, after all, very interested in it. According to a Hebrew University poll some 71 percent of all Israeli adults oppose withdrawal to the 1967 borders even in return for genuine peace, while fully 91 percent are against the establishment of an independent Palestinian state. [3] It is not surprising. Besides the inherited paranoid perceptions [4] there is the fact that a state of neither war nor peace has best served those first principles of the Zionist cause, such as the territorial "destiny" of Eretz Israel. Peace means recognition, but recognition implies formalized borders. In August 1967 Moshe Dayan claimed that "Israel must not return to the 1948 borders. We must consider the reality of 1967." [5] David Ben-Gurion had already prophesied continuing border alterations because the state had as yet only been "resurrected in the western half of the land" of Israel. [6] He, in turn, appears to have been following the Old Testament generally, but more specifically a map prepared by the World Zionist Organization and presented to the Supreme Council of the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. This map marks Israel's eastern border roughly just beyond the Jordan river. [7] Obviously, any final boundary lines compatible with Sadat's peace initiative would not leave Israel indefensible so much as Zionist "destiny" unfulfilled. Thus, the answer to the Egyptian President's clearly and publicly spelled-out choice, "The Israelis must decide between peace and land," has historically always been there. Israel will take the land.

There is one more way (again in terms of Zionist first principles) in which peace would produce problems while non-peace has served Israel's purpose. An end to the state of war would clear the way for normalized relations with the Arabs not only without, but within the country. It would, presumably, eliminate the atmosphere under which the Arabs of Israel are socially and economically segregated and regimented. What then would be the need for residential discrimination and the like? However, if the primary raison d'etre of a "Jewish" state is to be maintained there must continue to be regulation of such things as property ownership rights for non-Jews. Thus, the fact that Arabs are not allowed to settle in the newly built towns or on the kibbutzim, are not allowed to buy property in 'Tel Aviv or can only take up residence as migratory workers in many areas otherwise reserved for Jews, and continue to be subject to periodic confiscation of what land they do possess cannot be expected to cease with the end of hostilities. This is because such policies are not a function of those hostilities, but are logical extensions of tenets of a racially oriented state. Though peace will not see such activities ended, it will cause them to become more embarrassingly blatant for lack of having "security needs" as a rationalization. And thus reconciliation would threaten Israel with the truth-that she is not, at least for non-Jews, as democratic a state as she purports to be. Likewise, it will tend to give the lie to those rather disingenuous calls by Israelis like Abba Eban for good neighbourliness and Middle Eastern economic integration. Are the Arab states, even given de jure peace, expected to seek close cooperation of any sort with a country whose domestic philosophy necessitates socio-economic discrimination against Arabs?

Thus, both primary concepts of Zionist ideology, the territorial realization of Eretz Israel and the maintenance of the "Jewish" state, seem better served by not achieving a formal state of peace. Yet one can now ask whether these two paramount cornerstones of Zionism are themselves mutually self-serving? Are they, in practice, logically and reciprocally consistent? It might come as a shock to many Zionists, but there is real doubt as to this point. The whole idea of a racially pure and dominant Jewish population within the context of a "greater" Israel is, as the Israelis themselves are bound to find out under the leadership of Menahem Begin, a potential cul de sac. As we have seen, for Begin Israel must still become territorially complete and thus the West Bank is nothing but the Samarian and Judean patrimony finally within grasp. Just so Gaza, of which the present Foreign Minister, Moshe Dayan, said in 1967, "The Gaza Strip is Israel's, and steps will be taken to make it part of the country." [8] However, like Palestine in 1948, the land does not come "pure,' i.e., empty. It comes occupied by non-Jews whose ancestors, unlike those of the bulk of Israelis, were not, until 1948, absent for a millennium. And here lies the supreme paradox in Begin's obstinate clinging to both the principle of a state wherein the laws and institutions are designed first and foremost to serve one group, and the belief in a manifest territorial destiny. The realization of Eretz Israel is also the realization of the "ingathering" of ever greater numbers of non-Jews. Thus every Israeli military and foreign policy success (they are, more often than not, one and the same) makes the ultimate goal of domestic policy that much harder to achieve.

When the United Nations enacted partition, there were in Palestine some 1,874,000 people of whom 1,280,000 were Arab and 594,000 were Jewish. [9] That is, the Jews made up approximately one third of the overall population. Partition, however, gave the Zionists 57 percent of the total land area. Even here, in the Jewish zone, there numbered some 499,020 Jews and 509,780 Arabs (if, as is sometimes not the case, an Arab Bedouin population of 105,000 is counted). [10] The "Jewish" state, from its inception, had a "non-Jewish" majority. The same thing is true of land ownership at the time of partition. In none of the sub-districts in the Jewish zone did Jews own a majority of the land." [11] How, had there been peace, the Zionists planned to handle these embarrassing and very troublesome facts and still maintain their publicly avowed position of political democracy can only be surmised. As it turned out, however, the dilemma was resolved as a result of the ensuing hostilities-a precedent still being exploited. Wars inevitably produce refugees. The Arabs claim that the Zionists incited mass evacuations of Arabs in 1948 by threatening (and on occasion committing) atrocities. There is evidence that Haganah radio broadcasts of the winter and spring of that year encouraged rumours of the spread of contagious diseases and the probability of "bloodbaths." [12] And, of course, there was the contribution of Mr. Begin's own organization, the Irgun, in the form of the Deir Yassin massacre. The Israelis, in their turn, claim that the refugees left at the beck and call of the Arab governments themselves (for which there is no evidence). [13] It is most likely true that many of those who left did so for the same good reason refugees always flee-to escape the fighting, regardless of the nationalities behind the guns. Whatever the case may be, there is no doubt that once the Zionists realized what was happening they encouraged the process. Begin describes with obvious satisfaction the "panic" that "overwhelmed the Arabs of Eretz Israel" as an "unexpected and momentous consequence.... The mass flight soon developed into a maddened, uncontrollable stampede. Of the about 800,000 Arabs who lived on the present territory of the State of Israel, only some 165,000 are still there. The political and economic significance of this development can hardly be overestimated." [14] He was right. Jews were now in an absolute majority and a combination of immigration measures and laws such as the Absentees' Property Law of 1950 [15] were undertaken to prevent the return and obtain the landed property of those Arabs absent (for whatever reason) during a specified period. Other Arab land was obtained by clearing it for 'security" reasons, then declaring it "abandoned" or "uncultivated" and thereupon turning it over to nearby Jewish settlements. [16] Such procedures put Israel in direct violation of the UN resolution 194 (III) regarding the repatriation or compensation of refugees (adequate compensation has been refused unless it aids in the permanent settlement of refugees outside of Israel-what Golda Meir calls the "overall solution to the problem" [17] ) but did place much of what had been Arab property, some 65 percent of all the land in the Jewish zone, in Zionist hands. Today, approximately 92 percent of the total area of Israel is owned by the government and the Jewish National Fund. [18] It is managed by the Israel Land Development Administration and reserved for Jewish use exclusively.

It seems that at least some Israelis surmised that what worked once could work again. According to British observers on the scene, Israeli military commanders used rumour and innuendo to maintain and increase panic fleeing already taking place on the West Bank at the outbreak of the 1967 war. [19] The British journalist Michael Adams reported that such tactics, along with distinctly more physical manners of intimidation, were used in the Gaza Strip. [20] Nonetheless, with the cease-fire in 1967 Israel had acquired an additional non-Jewish population of some 1.1 million, bringing the overall total to 1.4 million. [21] According to the Israeli census taken just after the war, the population of Israel plus the occupied territories was 3.7 million, of which 64 percent were Jewish. In Israel minus the new conquests, the percentage of Jews was 87 percent.

This acquisition of so many more Arabs made some Israelis uneasy, particularly the demographers. Soon such people as Professors Dov Fried- lander and Calvin Goldsheider of the Department of Demography at Hebrew University were warning that, given continued low Jewish birth and immigration rates, high Arab reproductive rates, and a maximum, permanent acquisition of territory, the overall Jewish percentage in "greater" Israel could shrink to 47 percent by the year 2000. [22] The fear that such a prospect instills in the hearts of many such as Abba Eban and Yitzhak Navon can be seen in the phrases, once more laced with paranoia, that they use to describe it: "a demographic holocaust," and "extermination without war." [23]

This would seem a strong incentive to return to the 1967 borders and the comfortable 87 percent majority it implies. Such a move would almost certainly assure the future of the "Jewish" state. But then what of the goal of a "completed" Eretz Israel? In the face of this dilemma there have been attempts to find the salvation-yielding loophole that will demonstrate the possibility of both more land and a Jewish majority in the population. Quite recently, no doubt encouraged by Begin's hard line, Amos Ben-Vared, writing in Haaretz, asserted that he had found it. He begins by shrewdly laying down an ideological path of retreat - "In a value-oriented approach that places the historical right of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel as an essential slogan, there is no room for demographic calculations.” [24] Nonetheless, recognizing that without a significant Jewish majority, democracy, even for Jews, will be hard to maintain, he deems to take the figures seriously. What he then comes up with is, significantly, the phenomenon of alleged voluntary Arab emigration.

Mr. Ben-Vared reports that, according to the Israeli annual Statistical Abstract and the Department of Demography, Health and Labour, between 1968 and 1976 some 88,300 Arabs emigrated from the occupied territories. What is more, this outflow seems to be of "families, young people and people in their working years, that is, also in their fertile years." Projecting to the year 2000, the Haaretz reporter comes up with a hopeful figure of some 330,000 Arabs, mostly from the West Bank, leaving an enlarged Israel. [25] Thus, he concludes, "assuming a low fertility rate for Jews, but a stable one for Arabs, the percentage of Jews will still be 63.3 percent." [26]

There are many problems with this analysis, one possibly fatal to it. There is a long-standing tradition of seasonal migration of labour from the west to east bank of the Jordan and back again. Much of the projected 330,000 figure used to establish a pattern of permanent emigration can, in fact, represent seasonal movement, the participants in which, once out of the country, will simply not be allowed to return by the Israeli authorities. This is hardly a normal definition for a process of emigration. Furthermore, by Ben-Vared's own account, the West Bank Arab movement across the Jordan has been steadily declining since 1973. [27] The Israelis like to attribute this to their having built up the West Bank economy (then, one can ask why any significant number of young people of working age "voluntarily" leave?) However, it may also, in part, be attributed to the fact that more and more West Bank residents are realizing that if they do leave, they will most likely never be allowed back. Thus, fewer go. Ultimately, then, the results for which Mr. Ben-Vared and his party look are in doubt.

What then will be the prospects for a future wherein Eretz Israel is territorially realized, Jewish birth and immigration rates stay low but Arab birth rates remain high? This will, to quote Ben-Vared one last time, "make life in Israel very difficult for at least the next generation," to which he adds, "the country will either be non-Jewish or non-democratic." [28] If history is any guide, the Israelis will not learn from the past and old patterns will be repeated. Even if, under the Begin plan, West Bank Arabs are accorded a limited "self-rule," Palestinian emigration and immigration will remain for at least ten years within the category of the "security apparatus"-that is, under Zionist control. There will be continued, and, one can assume, ever greater, pressure to increase not quite voluntary emigration. Jewish settlements on the West Bank will proliferate rapidly, creating (at least in Zionist eyes) a de facto claim in the area. One can expect an attempt to implement some variation of Article 125 of the Defence Laws of 1945 which, after the founding of the State of Israel, was carried over in the Security Zones Emergency Regulations. This ordinance allowed military governors to confiscate land for "security" reasons or because it was needed for "manoeuvres." According to Shimon Peres, "It is by making use of Article 125, on which the Military Government [which has jurisdiction over Israeli Arabs] is to a great extent based, that we can directly continue the struggle for Jewish settlement and Jewish immigration. [29] What Arabs remain will be viewed as "squatters" or temporary residents in the Land of Israel constituting a pool of "cheap, unskilled labour."

As the pressure of natural Arab population increase steadily encroaches on the Jewish majority, Zionist paranoia will inevitably deepen and the choice between "Jewishness" and democracy will be answered in favour of the former. For the Arabs under Israeli administration it will not mean much of a political loss. It is clear that while those who are citizens (now a minority of the 1.4 million under Israeli control) can cast a ballot and make what ex post facto use they can of the courts, there is very little that is meaningfully democratic about their situation. What they can expect is a quantitatively more intense version of the socio-economic segregation and regimentation (which makes a mockery of political "rights") they now experience. The matrix for selective totalitarian control is already in place. It is just a matter of applying it with greater thoroughness. Indeed, the outcome of any choice between a "Jewish" state and democracy can only qualitatively worsen the environment of the Israeli Jew himself. This is because every intensification of racial discrimination against the Arab must also signal a parallel further ghettoization of the Israeli psyche. As the fear of a "demographic holocaust" increases, the amplifying institutionalization of national paranoia will result in ever greater de facto self-regimentation of Jewish society. There are precedents for this type of scenario and its inevitable outcome. Sadly, they are to be found in such almost universally decried examples as South Africa. Here, faced with an enormous disparity in numbers, the minority whites have perfected methods of segregation and totalitarian control (all in the name of preserving the best of Western civilization! ) that are also a direct function of ultimately self-destructive racial paranoia. Thus, one must unfortunately conclude that both in feeling and practice the difference between Israel and South Africa is only one of degree. And, if Begin's ambitions are realized, the demographical tensions leading to an ever greater likeness are bound to grow.

Finally, there is one other possible scenario for a "Grossdeutsch" Israel. As the racial balance tips in favour of an Arab majority, an outlet, both for pent-up fear and paranoia as well as the unwanted population pressure, might be found in yet another reliable and tested manner-war. Such a new war might not be primarily for the purpose of attaining yet more territory (though one should not be surprised if southern Lebanon and a portion of the east bank of the Jordan are taken) but rather to create the circumstances under which large numbers of Arabs can, all at once, be forcibly transferred into neighbouring states.

Ironically, the real choice for the Israelis is not, as present leaders imply, between survival as a "Jewish" state and retreat to the pre-1967 borders. Rather, it is between such survival and not going back to those borders. Reason demands that Begin compromise with Sadat, if not for the sake of a "comprehensive" peace, then at least for that of his own racially based state ideology. Once more, however, it must be emphasized that, unlike Anwar Sadat, Begin is not a reasonable man. He is a Zionist ideologue in the strictest sense of the term and thus moored to a congenitally narrow view of history. It is a terrible thing to be so completely bound by the past-it makes the future almost predictable. And, given a little objectivity, it is hard to avoid the prediction that Menahem Begin will single-mindedly pursue his inbred ideal of a Greater Israel until, too late, it becomes tragically clear that in its realization lie the very seeds of destruction.

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Lawrence Davidson is a free lance writer living in Washington, DC.

1 The statement was made in a speech by Begin to United Jewish Appeal officials from France, broadcast on Israel radio, recorded in the BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, January 19, 1978.

2 A Christian Science Monitor report of February 2, 1978 states of Shiloh: "A British Broadcasting Corporation correspondent in Jerusalem reported on February 1 that although the Israeli government originally authorized only an archeological project in Shiloh, "the fact is that there are 10 Israeli families in Shiloh and 40 students of the newly established Centre for [Jewish] Religious Studies. Not one of these is known to be an archeologist."

3 Reported in the Cbristian Science Monitor, January 23, 1978.

4 Time, February 6, 1978, p. 37, reports on yet another recent Israeli poll which indicates that while 78 percent of all Israelis believe Sadat to be truly interested in achieving peace, nonetheless 60 percent of them simultaneously believe that Israel will have to go to war again within a decade.

5 Statement made to the Guardian (August 11, 1967).

6 Israel Government Yearbook, 1951-1952, p. 64.

7 See J.C. Hurewitz, Diplomacy in the Near and Middle East (Princeton, N.J.: D. Van Nostrand Co., 1956), Vol. II, p. 46.

8 Christian Science Monitor, July 7, 1967.

9 Hisham Sharabi, Palestine and Israel (New York: Pegasus, 1969). pp. 165-66.

10 Ibid., pp. 166-67.

11 Institute for Palestine Studies, The Partition of Palestine (Beirut, 1967), App. II, p. 32.

12 Ibrahim Al-Abid, A Handbook to the Palestine Question (Beirut: Palestine Liberation Organization Research Center, 1969), p. 84

13 See Erskine B. Childers, "The Other Exodus," in the Spectator (London), May 12, 1961.

14 Menahem Begin, The Revolt (New York: Henry Schuman, 1951), p. 164.

15 As the text of the law explains, the property of any person who "was a Palestinian citizen and left his ordinary place of residence in Palestine" at any time between November 29, 1947 and the day on which "a declaration is published that the State of Emergency declared by the Provisional Council of State... has ceased to exist" is subject to confiscation, if he left the country during the above period: "(a) for a place outside Palestine before 1 September 1948; or (b) for a place in Palestine held by forces which sought to prevent the establishment of the State of Israel or which fought against it after its establishment." Laws of the State of Israel, Vol. 4, 5710 (1949-50), Jerusalem, Government Printer, p. 68.

16 The laws by which this was done are the Emergency Regulations (Security Zones) of 1949 and the Emergency Regulations (Cultivation of Waste Lands) of 1949.

17 Golda Meir, "Toward a Solution of the Arab Refugee Problem," in G. Meir, A Land of Our Own, edited by Marie Syrkin (Philadelphia, Pa.: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1973), p. 153.

18 S.N. Eisenstadt, Israeli Society (New York: Basic Books, 1967), p. 79.

19 Reports of Ian Gilmour, M.P., and Dennis Walters, M.P., in the Times, London, July 27, 1967, p. 8.

20 The Guardian, January 26, 1968.

21 Sharabi, op. cit., p. 172.

22 Amos Ben-Vared, "The Catch of the Demographic Map," in Haaretz, December 1, 1977. 23 Ibid.

24 Amos Ben-Vared, "Some Bright Possibilities in the Demographic Balance," in Haaretz, December 2, 1977.

25 Ibid.

26 Ibid.

27 Ibid.

28 Ibid.

29 Reported in Davar, January 26, 1962.