Friday, May 14, 2010

Israel demographic problem and its federal solution

The real danger for the State of Israel future is more demography than terrorism. In the most peaceful ways - making babies - Israeli Arabs will become the majority in a few decades and will turn Israel in an Arab state. Military might and readiness to self-sacrifice won’t protect us.
Perhaps there will be a huge influx of immigrants from the United States? But we don't rely on miracles!
The solution of splitting the land into two territorial states is also not proving feasible. Palestinians don't want the Bantustan they have been "offered" at Oslo. More, neither Jews nor Arabs have completely renounced the idea of living in the entire area called Eretz Israel/Palestine. Even if a Palestinian State would be created in the 1967 occupied territories, it couldn't be militarily independent because of Israel security concerns.
Nor is this territorial separation a solution for the future: it won’t prevent Israeli Arabs becoming a majority inside Israel within some fifty years from now.
If the Israel territorial state wants to keep its Jewish character, it will have to relinquish more and more pieces of its own territory: first Galilee, than North Negev… Or it will have to expel Manu military Palestinian Israelis from its territory.

Outside, Palestinian Arabs in growing numbers, starving in a Third World Palestinian state at the doors of a wealthy Jewish state could not be held back forever by frontiers and barbed wires.
What is even worse is the danger presented by separating the two populations: a totally Jewish ‘enclave’ would be a prime target for weapons of mass destruction. Saddam Hussein has not fired his missiles on a mixed Jerusalem, but on the pure jewish Tel Aviv…
One bi-national state is not a solution either. Neither Jews nor Palestinian Arabs are willing to sacrifice their national identity.
So what is the solution?

I think the only solution left is a political, non-territorial separation.
True, it means creating a political structure of a new kind. However, the Jewish People present a problem unheard of in the annuals of mankind - a people claiming its right over its land after an absence of two thousand years. A unique problem that requires a unique solution.

I suggest that Israel and the Palestinian Authority should become a federation of two independent, non-territorial states - one Jewish and one Arab. The two national states will govern human beings, not territory; the sovereignty of their national law will apply on their own citizens only, and not on the territory, like Halacha and Shaaria always did. Territorial sovereignty will belong to the Federation only.
Jews and Arabs could live anywhere in the territory of the Israel-Palestine Federation but could only vote for their own government. In that way, the Jewish state would always comprise 100% Jews, no matter how many Palestinians live among them. The same is true for the Palestinian state: it will always count 100% of Arab citizens, no matter the number of Jews living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The federate government, composed of an equal number of Jews and Arabs, would ensure a just distribution of land and natural resources. The awful "demographic problem" won't exist anymore, and the Law of Return for the Jews, and the Right of Return for the Palestinians would be equally implemented for both peoples by the Federal Government.
Territorial continuity would be preserved; both economies would be interdependent and would benefit from each other. Zahal would become the Israel-Palestine Federation Defense Forces and will be composed of israeli and palestinian units. With the signature of peace treatises with all arab states of the region, there will not be any obstacle left for the direction of the army to reach full parity. And Jerusalem would have special status as the Federation Capital.

This solution may seem utopian today but I can’t envisage any other solution - except waiting for the coming of Messiah.
It would be proposed to the Palestinian Authority instead of a separated territorial state.
In case they wouldn't accept, Israeli Jews and Arabs from Israel and Jerusalem could anyway implement it inside Israeli territory. Nothing would prevent more Palestinians areas from the military-occupied territories to join the Federation later, causing no demographic problem because they will be counted as Palestinian citizens, not Israeli citizens. It will give Palestinians an attracting alternative to Abbas small and poor state.

The need for a Jewish State appeared with the rising of Nation-states in Europe in the aftermaths of the French Revolution. Because Nations became sovereigns instead of kings of flesh and blood, it became impossible for two Nations to dwell in the same state: there cannot be two sovereigns for one power. In reaction to this problem, the Zionist Movement creates its own Nation-state for the Jewish people. Of course, it has only inversed the problem, the Jewish Question turned into a Palestinian Question, which is exploding literally in our faces.

The problem with the Israel nation-state, like with any nation-state, is that it doesn't suit Jewish identity: anyone can become both a citizen and a member of the French or American People by being born on French or American territory; an “Israeli People” cannot be defined this way as Israel contains two historical peoples, the Jewish people and the Palestinian-Arab people. And you don’t become a Jew by being born in Eretz-Israel. Jewish identity is not dependent on territory, so it can't absorb strangers that live on the same territory.
Arab identity, in its abrahamic-nomadic roots, has quite the same structre as the jewish one.
We can’t escape the need to give this fact a political expression. This is what this conflict and this solution are about.


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