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Speaking the Unspeakable
By Robert I. Lappin
Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz, has promulgated a practical way for Israel to deal with terrorism. He proposes that Israel, with fair, advance warning, destroy Arab villages that have been used as a base for terrorist operations. The residents would have 24 hours to leave, and then Israeli troops would come in and bulldoze the buildings. Israeli leaders would do well to implement Professor Dershowitz's proposal.
A detail that Professor Dershowitz has not dealt with is the relocation of those displaced.
The Arab world, and the world of Islam, are saturated with hatred of Jews and of Israel, beyond the point of no-return. That Israel is an interloper of Arab hegemony, who must be expunged, is an Islamic dictum. It is now widely recognized that negotiations, including the Oslo peace process, and the Barak initiative have been a snare and a delusion, and that negotiations are not a realistic option, given the existing, and foreseeable circumstances. Terror, by suicide-homicide, is the Arab tactic-of-choice to destroy Israel, and indeed to intimidate the world.
To protect its citizens, Israel must occupy the West Bank and Gaza Strip for the foreseeable future, thereby ruling, de-facto, over several million Palestinians. If Israel relinquishes its hold on the territories, and retreats, as it has so many times, terror and suicide attacks resume. This is intolerable.
To rule over another people, is an assault on the Jewish conscience, and unacceptable over the long-run, to the world, as well. However, the very process of relocation, once started, may result in shocking the Arabs into a condition of reality, even to the point of moderating their behavior.
None-the-less, an option that must be considered is the unspeakable: relocating Arabs from the West Bank and Gaza, to Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and other Arab countries. Relocation can be a gradual process, starting with those who will be displaced under the Dershowitz plan.
In tandem with this policy of relocation, Israel should pass a bill, already presented to the Knesset, encouraging Arab emigration to Arab lands, by offering a basket of financial assistance. Israeli Arabs, most of whom identify with Israel's enemies, are a deadly source of terrorism. Another bill, already introduced in the Knesset, calls for every citizen of Israel to take an oath of loyalty to the state of Israel as a Jewish state, as a condition for citizenship. As a nation under siege, from both within and without, inhabitants of Israel who are unwilling to identify as loyal citizens, should be subject to relocation.
It is time, too, for Israel to affirm its rightful claim to Judea, Samaria, and Gaza. Our Torah provides a solid deed to this land, which should be asserted. The historical roots of the idea of relocation must be vigorously presented to the world. Since the time of Muhammad, relocations of Christians, non-Islamic peoples, and Jews have been commonplace in the Islamic world. Elsewhere in the world, relocation of tens of millions of hostile populations, have taken place, particularly following World War II. It is not acceptable for the world to impose on Israel, or for Israel to impose on itself, standards, that no other nation, has assumed. It cannot be required that Israeli-Jews live permanently with people whose greatest joy is the mass murder of Jewish civilians. Events have borne out that Jewish-Arab coexistence is no more than a cruel fantasy.
As difficult as it will be, Israel will have to hunker down, and make the best of the extreme economic and political adversities that it will face under this plan. Solidarity and support of Diaspora Jewry for Israel will be essential, perhaps as never before, since Israel's rebirth.
Mr. Lappin is a past president of the Jewish Federation of the North Shore (Mass.). He has recently produced a documentary video, "Great Jewish Achievers", which has been distributed, free-of-charge, to over 2000 synagogue schools, Jewish camps, day schools, and JCC's. He is a member of UJC's Renaissance and Renewal Committee.