Dear Mr. Prime Minister,
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle famously had Sherlock Holmes say, “When you have eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”
I would modify it to say that “When you have eliminated all other options as untenable, whatever remains, however difficult, must be done.”
We have reached a crisis point. Both in the extremity of Palestinian hatred and genocidal intent, and in the rising publicity tide against us in the world. Crowds of the mad and the deluded are accusing us of “genocide”, and there are even western nations whose leaders are beginning to think in that direction.
You have made it clear, thankfully, that the Palestinian Authority cannot take over the Gaza Strip. But if you can accept them ruling in Judea and Samaria, how can you oppose them ruling in Gaza? Surely it must be clear to you that the same reasons that make a PA-controlled Gaza unacceptable make a PA-controlled Judea and Samaria equally unacceptable.
Returning to the pre-Disengagement status of Gaza will return us to all of the pain which resulted in the Disengagement. The strife over the judicial reform will look like a polite disagreement by comparison if we try that. And it makes no sense to try the same thing over and over and expect different results.
Still, the idea of two states for two peoples is compelling. We clearly cannot live together, so logic dictates that we must live apart. And we cannot do so by establishing a Palestinian polity in the heart of Israel. The Gaza Strip is in a small corner of our country, and they have made life a hell for us. The entire Israeli public, and most of the world, is aware now that something sixteen times the size of Gaza, protruding into the center of our country, will make that hell seem like a paradise by comparison.
I think that the obvious solution is hard for a lot of people to accept, because some will call it “ethnic cleansing”. But this is an incorrect label. Ethnic cleansing means — has always meant — killing or deporting a people based on their ethnicity. “Purifying” a country from ethnically “lesser” people. We have endured this ourselves ceaselessly over the years of our exile, and we know in our bones that it is wrong. But that is not what relocating the residents of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza would be, and the longer we delay this necessary step, the more it will appear to the world that we think doing so would fit that definition.
It does not.
Israel’s record of multiculturalism and tolerance speaks for itself. Fully 20% of our country is Arab. Relocating the Arabs of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza would not be ethnic cleansing in any rational sense of the term, because we do not disparage Arabs as Arabs. But it cannot be denied that the Arabs of the territories, those who identify as “Palestinians”, have long since passed the point at which any sane discussions or negotiations can be had with them. It is not merely that children are being raised from the cradle on a diet of pure hatred and genocidal aspirations. It is that the adults who are raising them in this way were raised that way themselves. As were their parents. There is no possible end to this situation so long as the Palestinians exercise any sort of self-rule. Even on a municipal level. Even on an organizational level, such as a school.
As I said, we have reached a crisis point. In my estimation, and the estimation of many others, it won’t be another decade before the United Nations attempts to send troops to Israel to enforce the will of the world upon us. We need to fundamentally change the facts on the ground and create a new situation.
By rights, the Arabs who identify as “Palestinians” should be repatriated to the country that was created specifically for them. When the Emirate of Transjordan was detached from the district of Palestine just before the British Mandate went into effect, the 79% of that district east of the Jordan River became off-limits to Jews. It became, in point of sober fact, the Arab Palestinian state, regardless of what it chooses to call itself. None of this is news to you, of course.
If we are to pass this crisis point in our history, we have no alternative but to relocate the Palestinians to what is essentially Palestine: The Kingdom of Jordan. Even if they were to take over that country, even if it were to become Gaza writ large, it would be an external foe. We have fought external enemies before. It is fundamentally different than fighting people in land they consider theirs.
This is not a “Kahane was right” thing. This is not a Rehavam Ze’evi call for “transfer”. This is not about disliking Arabs or seeing them as “less than”. This is an acknowledgement that we have tried, harder than any other nation in history would ever have tried, to find a modus vivendi with the Palestinians, but to no avail. We gave them a Palestinian Authority. They used it for terror. We gave them Gaza. They used it for terror. We cannot bear this any more, and we cannot surrender to them. All other options have been exhausted. A military occupation of Gaza is not a viable option. Neither is the continuation of the Palestinian Authority.
You must act now, and inform the Quartet that the Oslo Accords have long since, de facto, come to an end. And you must work out the logistics of relocating the Arabs of the territories to other countries. Offer financial incentives to those who will leave willingly. Jordan is the appropriate destination, but at this point, the people of Israel can mostly agree that “anywhere but here” is acceptable.
Please, Mr. Prime Minister. Reject the idea that relocating the Palestinians constitutes ethnic cleansing. It does not. Do not let that false label prevent you from doing what you know is right for the people and the state of Israel. And right for the Palestinians as well. It is the only option left in order for us to have the future you know we can have.