Avi Nofech
"democracy and free trade are the only way to peace"

Danger to Israel

(message topic: danger to Israel)

Dear …,

I am writing to you to ask you to have a look at the warning message I tried to convey using Times of Israel comments, about future developments for Israel concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The two-state solution is clearly not happening, may not ever happen, there is no Israeli-Palestinian international border, and one should not blame people for accepting that Israelis and Palestinians are going to live in the same country.

Industrial parks are being built near Israeli settlements for employment of Palestinian workers by Israelis who live in settlements. This means Israelis and Palestinians will work in the same economy, but with different roles: Israelis being the employers, and Palestinians being their workers lacking any civil rights.

I am not a legal expert, but it seems that the current situation in Judea and Samaria/West Bank can be understood as different laws for different groups of people who live in the same territory. Some people can interpret this as apartheid. A Canadian journalist already wrote an article claiming that this word is the correct description.

But the problem is that the Rome Statute of 2002 defines apartheid as a crime against humanity, so if the International Criminal Court finds this to be the case the result may be future economic sanctions against Israel. If the court rules that there is apartheid in the West Bank it is difficult to see how Europe would not follow through and impose sanctions.

Usually Jewish nationalists are enraged by the comparison between Israel and old South Africa and consider in anti-Semitic. But they forget that the judges of the ICC will rule based on their own understanding, not based on the understanding of the Israeli settlement movement. So, rage is not going to help. If the ICC rules “apartheid” the settlers would not be able to outshout the ICC. Europe then will go on to the next step, the sanctions.

Historically there were two cases of Rhodesia and South Africa that were forced by sanctions to accept majority rule (equal civil rights for all). If Israel would be forced to accept majority rule Israel would become an Arab majority country.

Israel is highly vulnerable to economic sanctions, not having its own oil, its own metals, and in fact not having most of elements of the periodic table available on Israel’s territory. Effective sanctions would quickly result in Israel running out of fuel and Israeli industry running out of raw materials.

Israel would then have to agree to majority rule and would become an Arab-majority country. After that control of Israel’s future will not be in Jewish hands anymore. This would mean that Jewish independence will be lost.

Israel losing is hard to imagine today for Israeli nationalists who believe Israel is superior and will always remain so. They think it is preposterous that Palestinians would win in the long run. My warning message was shouted down in Times of Israel comments by gung-ho nationalists who openly say Palestinians are losers and should be grateful for little they have.

I think of my warning messages as being like those transmitted to Titanic about the ice ahead. If only they were taken seriously disaster would have been avoided. But the illusion of the mighty ship not being in danger was too strong, and warning messages were ignored.

Palestinians think long term, like Muslims did during their hudna with Crusaders. It seems like they lost, but they know that history is longer than the human attention span.

It would have been safer for Israel to respond positively to the offer by the Palestinian PM Shtayyeh for demilitarized Palestine with equal territorial exchanges, capital in East Jerusalem, and a NATO peacekeeping force. Then there would be a legally recognized border between Israel and Palestine so that apartheid accusations would be out of question.

But Israel did not even mention the Palestinian peace offer.

Israel and the US are not members of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, but all other Western democracies are. There is a tendency in Israel and the US to disregard the ICC, not realising that other Western nations will follow its rulings.

If you think Israelis and other Jews need to hear this warning message, it would be great if you could transmit it to others.

Avi Nofech

About the Author
I went to graduate school at the Hebrew University and since then worked as a lecturer in Canada and in Israel.
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