Have you ever thought about the Dead Sea as a symbol of the leadership of Israel? This unique body of water is sitting openly before the whole world, in the center of our country, and simply disappearing slowly but surely before our eyes. The level of water in the Dead Sea is decreasing by more than a meter per year. The phenomenon of the erosion of the Dead Sea creates sinkholes, which are a clear and present danger to human lives. This trend also threatens to destroy the few tourist and residential enterprises that have been developed through blood, sweat and tears along the Sea’s coast.
The solution to the disappearance of the Dead Sea is clear to everybody. In fact, it has been sitting on the desks of Israeli decision makers for more than a century. Theodor Herzl presented the solution in a straightforward and accurate manner in his book “Altneuland” in 1902. There he described a sea to sea water conduit, a large pipe, which brings water from the Mediterranean Sea to the Dead Sea utilizing gravitational force created by the topographical difference in sea levels, and using the force of water flow to create hydro-electric energy on the way. Shimon Peres promoted this idea in the seventies and eighties, and a significant amount of public funds were invested in research and scientific feasibility studies regarding the project’s implementation.
The problem is that the correct solution to the Dead Sea crisis requires audacity and courage, primarily because it will affect a body of water that is located on our border with Jordan and the Palestinian Authority. If we do not take unilateral action, but rather wait for a consensus with Jordan and the Palestinian leadership, the Dead Sea is likely to completely vanish in the meantime.
When the desire to reach an agreement at all costs outweighs the desire to reach a logical solution, aberrations are created. The project, which received the consent of Jordan and the Palestinian Authority and was recently presented to us by Minister Silvan Shalom, is the result of such an aberration. Minister Shalom’s project is a nice idea that might help solve Jordan’s water shortage problem to some extent. However, one thing is clear to any intelligent bystander: the project will not solve the Dead Sea crisis. Furthermore, contrary to the Med-Dead water conduit project, which, through the use of gravity and topography, creates “green” energy, his project requires large pumps to thrust water over the mountains between the Red Sea and the Dead Sea, requiring substantial energy output in the process. Hence, this project, which is beautiful on paper, will remain on paper. No entity will invest hundreds of millions of dollars in a project which will consume a huge amount of energy without solving the Dead Sea problem.
This situation illustrates that the level of bravery and courage of the Zionist movement is decreasing concurrently with the level of Dead Sea water.
This is further illustrated in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which, like the Dead Sea crisis, has simple and clear solutions. Again, similar to the Med-Dead water project, the solution requires bold unilateral action, and the desire to reach an agreement at any cost creates totally illogical aberrations. The establishment of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders is a solution that everybody is speaking about and nobody actually believes can be practically implemented.
The Advantages of Recognizing Gaza as a Palestinian State
It may be difficult to admit, but an independent Palestinian State with clear geographic delineations, inhabited exclusively by Palestinians, already exists. I am obviously referring to the Gaza Strip. If the government of Israel would courageously declare today that it recognizes the Hamas government in Gaza as a Palestinian state, a few problems would be immediately solved.
First, following such recognition, the Hamas state would be subject to international laws that apply to nation states. As a state, it will be possible to bring it to justice in international forums for its promotion of terrorism. As long as Gaza remains a non-state player, its government is not accountable to any formal international legal framework.
Second, following the recognition of the Gaza Strip as a Palestinian state, the road will be paved for Israel to annex all of the territories in Judea and Samaria, without the risk of creating a demographic “time-bomb”. Indeed, if today we were to grant citizenship to all Arabs living in Judea and Samaria, they would become no more than 30% within the Jewish State. Would this create a major shift in political realities? Yes. Would it create an additional burden on our welfare system, which is already barely surviving? Yes. Would the Haredi community need to actually work in order to support themselves (as difficult as that may be)? Probably. However, in so doing, we would put an end to the claims of “occupation” without removing one Jew from his or her home, and without endangering the Jewish majority of the state of Israel.
The essence of the Zionist movement is the decision to take our future into our own hands, and not to remain subject to the whims of the international community. Those who established our nation were visionaries who marked their targets and directly attacked them. If we want everything they built here not only to survive, but to flourish and thrive – we will need the same level of audacity and courage.