“The presence of Jews on the West Bank has nothing to do with prospects for peace”

In light of the current open season on the Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria, Murtadd to Human wishes to support these beleaguered communities by sharing with readers Caroline Glick’s powerful address to an Intelligence Squared debate in London ten years ago.

“The presence of Jews on the West Bank has nothing to do with prospects for peace”
Ze'ev Jabotinsky, The Iron Wall.

By Caroline Glick, Intelligence Squared, YouTube, 21 Jan 2013


“Israel is destroying itself with its settlement policy: if settlement expansion continues, Israel will have no future.”

I find the whole resolution rather curious. This resolution essentially tells me that in order to be pro-Israel, I have to support the establishment of a Jew-free state for the Palestinians, I have to say that I support the establishment of a state that must be ethnically cleansed of all Jews before the people who are supposed to have that state will agree to independence. I find that crazy.

The presence of Jews in Judea and Samaria, the West Bank of the Jordan River, has nothing to do with prospects for peace or lack of prospects for peace. Israel has two peace agreements with two neighbouring Arab states that have been respected: the one with Egypt for nearly 30 years; one with Jordan since it was signed in 1994, and we signed six agreements with the Palestinians, with the PLO—all six of which they have been in material breach of since the very beginning, but none of those agreements that we signed with the PLO, nor the agreements that we signed with the Jordanians, or the Egyptians, were impacted one iota by the presence of Jewish communities beyond Israel's 1949 armistice lines. Not one of them was contingent on the absence of those communities and nobody made that a condition for negotiating with the Jewish state or for recognising it.

So if you think that throwing 500,000 Jews, 350,000 Jews, 650,000 Jews 720,000 Jews out of their homes and their communities is the magic bullet through which we are going to achieve peace with the Palestinian Arabs, you're living in Fantasyland. This has not been the case in the past. It has not been the case with our Arab neighbours. It has not been the case with our Palestinian neighbours, and there is no reason to accept the view that it is the case today.

The other argument that we've heard today is that if Jews keep living and building in Judea and Samaria, we're going to end up with a one-state solution in which Jews are a minority. So let's think about this for a second. You're saying that by keeping Jews in Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem, that somehow or other the Palestinians, including the Israeli Arabs within the 1949 armistice lines, are somehow going to magically bridge the three million person gap between the 6.1 million Jews and the 3 million Arabs inside of 1949 armistice lines Israel, and Judea and Samaria, you don't know how to count.

Were Israel to absorb Judea and Samaria tomorrow and offer citizenship to all of its Arab residents, Israel would still have a 2/3 Jewish majority. So the very notion that there is a demographic time bomb on Israel's hands is simply untrue. The Central Bureau of Statistics of Israel came out yesterday with its latest data they found that there is convergence between Jewish birth rates and Arab birth rates, and the Jewish birth rates are trending upwards and happened since 1995, and the Arab birth rates are trending downwards and have since 2000.

In fact, this is not just among the Palestinians or among the Israeli Arabs, this is throughout the Arab world. There is a collapse in the Muslim world in fertility rates and there is a massive increase in Jewish fertility rates. Israel has 3 children per woman among Jews, and it has 3.5 children per woman among Muslims inside a pre-1949 armistice lines Israel, and 3.2 children per woman in Judea and Samaria among the Arab population in the areas. So that the whole trend of the demographic model is completely the opposite of what all of these experts on Israel's demographic dire circumstances would have us all believe. It's simply a matter of not counting properly.

Now the truth of the matter is none of this is important because the whole issue of whether or not the settlements in Judea and Samaria are somehow or other going to destroy Israel or not is not about demography, and it's not about peace. It's about civil rights. It’s about Jewish civil rights. What they are saying, essentially, is that Jews should not be allowed to live there just because they're Jews.

Now why should Jews be allowed to live in London, live in Germany, live in San Francisco, but not be allowed to live in Judea? Why? And in Jerusalem? Where does this come from? They want to talk so much about Palestinian rights. Let’s talk about Jewish rights for a second. You're saying that you so support a Palestinian state that is going to be inherently bigoted and that Jews aren't allowed to even live there, that they have to all be ethnically cleansed first before these people can even deign to accept sovereignty. What kind of state do you want to establish? What kind of nonsense is this? This is a racket. Jews don't have civil rights. We're not allowed to live wherever we have property rights to build just because we're Jewish, and this is a moral argument? This is a reasonable argument?

This is establishing what exactly? A state based upon ethnic purity. This is where we've come to in 2013 in the Western world, where are the liberal values that are being advanced by this cause of a Jew-free Palestine. Somebody can explain this one to me, because I don't understand it. I went to Colombia, I went to Harvard, I just can't get it. And let me just say one more thing about that: I've heard “illegal Palestinian land,” all of this. …

We can talk about Israel's national rights and our legal rights to these areas. They are very strong and in fact they're incontrovertible under international law, but we're talking about civil rights. We’re talking about civil rights and it's not simply that it's morally repugnant to tell Jews that we're not allowed to live anywhere we want to and buy property anywhere that we'll be sold it. It's also true that this is a failed proposition. It has been tried twice and it’s failed twice.

The British tried it. You tried it in 1939 and in 1940 with the White Paper and the subsequent Acts of Parliament that denied Jews the right to buy land in the vast majority of the Palestinian Mandate that the British government was legally bound by the Mandate of the League of Nations to allow close to a settlement of throughout. You abrogated that right in material breach of the Mandate of the League of Nations in 1939 and 1940, and how did that work out? It was done at the time in May 1939 in order to appease the Palestinian Arabs who at that point were allied with the Nazis, and were conducting a terrorist war, not only against the Jews of the Palestine Mandate, but against the British Mandatory authorities, and in an attempt to appease Hajj Amin al-Husseini, who by that time was in Baghdad stirring up an pro-Nazi coup d'etat that took place in 1941, the British said that the Jews have no national rights and we actually didn't mean that we supported the establishment of a Jewish state when we said we did in 1917, and the Balfour Declaration—whoops!

And you know what happened? There was a pro-nazi coup in Iraq and Britain, that was pinned down in Libya, had to go and invade Iraq in order to take it down, and then they had to invade Iran because in Iran you had preachers in the mosques saying, hey Hitler is the second coming of Muhammad. And that's what they did and this is what they got for appeasement. They got King Farouk in Egypt supporting the Nazis. They got the Iraqis supporting the Nazis. They got a Nazi Party in Syria. It didn't work. And by the way, they did it at the time that they abrogated Jewish civil rights in the middle of the Holocaust. Morally repugnant and strategically ridiculous. It didn't work.

We tried it again in 2005 and what did we get? 8,000 Jews thrown out of their homes, twenty-four communities, and Gaza razed to the ground and transferred to the Palestinians. What did we get? We got Hamas in charge. It wasn't just an abrogation of Jewish civil rights. It ended up becoming an abrogation of Palestinian civil rights. Just ask the Christians in Gaza. Just last month they went to Bethlehem for the Christmas celebrations and they came to Israel and they said, don't make us go home can we please have asylum here? Save us. Pretty soon, just weeks from now, there's not going to be any more ancient Christian community in Gaza, but whose civil rights are being impacted here? Not just ours, not just the Jews, but the Arabs as well. The women in Gaza who are now being increasingly intimidated. You have to run around wearing a big hat over your head, or how about those summer camps that are being fired bombed by Hamas because they have girls and boys together.

Whose civil rights are advanced by the expropriation, illegally, of land from Jews and transferred to the Palestinians? Nobody, nobody, I tell you. What this is, what are we talking about here? You want to know what we're really talking about here when we talk about throwing all these Jews off the lands that we bought, that belong to us?  We are talking about trying to find common ground with terrorist organisations that are mandated to enact a genocide of the Jewish people. Just read the Hamas covenant. Just see what they say. They call not for only the annihilation, the obliteration, in their words, of the Jewish state, but they call for the genocide of world Jewry. And to try to find common ground with these murderers, or with Holocaust deniers like PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas.

We have people like Danny Levy and Mr Sieghart saying we can agree that there's a subset of Jews that we also dislike, right? Let's call them the settlers, and say that they're destroying all prospects for peace, not Hamas, not Fatah that are throwing missiles at the homes of now 3.5 million Jews are in their range from Gaza, no, no, no, no, no. It's because Jews have the temerity to build on land that they own. That's the problem. We can sit down and talk to Hamas, because we, like them, hate Jews. Now we don't hate all Jews, but a subset and we're gonna blame everything, all the pathologies of the Arab world, all the pathologies the Palestinians, on them. It's their fault. They're gonna block peace.

Not true.

Again, to return to the beginning at the end of my remarks. Israel has two peace treaties: one with Jordan; one with Egypt, that are just fine, thank you very much for asking. And they were signed sealed and delivered and maintained. While Israel was expanding the Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria and Gaza, we signed six agreements with the PLO, again, none of which they've maintained or adhered to, but they were all signed while we were building in Judea and Samaria.

How is it that suddenly this is the obstacle to peace? Because you can now find common ground when you all want to delegitimise Israel. Oh, we can all agree that we hate these specific Jews and they should all be thrown out of their houses. This is a moral atrocity. It is morally reprehensible. It is strategically idiotic and this resolution should be opposed by all of you unanimously. Thank you very much.

Editorial note:

While Murtadd to Human agrees with the basic thrust of Caroline Glick’s spirited remarks, we would go quite a bit further, and share Ze’ev Jabotinsky’s view of the need for an ‘iron wall’ that makes any notion of obeying Allah’s command to kill all the Jews inconceivable. Any would-be murderer would be dead before they even tried. In other words, peace with the “Palestinians” is only possible if Israel militarily imposes peace on them. As we see it, integral to the iron wall is “close settlement of the land.” The ease with which that peace may be maintained will be greatly enhanced with a many-fold increase in Jewish residence in Judea and Samaria, in close settlement of the land. Contrary to Glick, we argue that the presence of Jews in Judea and Samaria has everything to do with prospects for peace.