Maligned foreign minister’s plan better than current notion of two-state solution
By Haim Misgav
All those people who are now calling for Avigdor Lieberman to quit, or be fired, should know that we’ve seen similar conduct by previous foreign ministers. For example, once upon a time we had Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, who worked behind his prime minister’s back and formulated the contemptible Oslo Accords without the PM’s knowledge.
I cannot recall what all those people who currently seek Lieberman’s head thought about Peres’ abovementioned move, undertaken with the help of his adjutant, Yossi Beilin. However, I’m certain that they did not demand PM Rabin fire the two, despite the diplomatic folly they dragged him into.
I have one question for all those people who now seek to crucify the foreign minister for daring to present his plan (and keep in mind this is no more than a plan at this time) – did they stop for a moment to examine it? That is, perhaps it includes some measure of logic?
In fact, what did Avigdor Lieberman tell us? The “Palestinian people” wants, in practice, a “Palestinian state” clear of any Jews (in German this was called Judenrein) in Judea and Samaria, another such state in the Gaza Strip, and yet another one, similar to the other two, across the Jordan River.
At the same time, the Palestinians (who were not recognized as a people by the nations of the world until 1967) want the State of Israel to be a bi-national state, or a multicultural one (to borrow a phrase from the anarchists from the leftist anti-Zionist camp) that would be home to a very large Arab majority, which is already demanding cultural autonomy, as well as to hundreds of thousands of refugees (and possibly many more) who shall return to their villages and to the communities they left in 1948.
This is, in fact, what Avigdor Lieberman seeks to avert.
Clearly marked borders
If there is no solution, he says, let’s turn the two states – the State of Israel and Palestine – into nation-states that are only home to the nationalities they were established for. Such solution is only possible if we see the tradeoff of populated areas. The Triangle area in northern Israel, for example, with its land and homes and residents, would be handed over to the Palestinian Authority, while areas such as Gush Etzion, Ariel, and Maale Adumim, with their residents, shall shift into the State of Israel’s territory.
We shall see clearly marked borders. All the Jews would be on one side of the border, and all the Arabs would be on the other side. A homogenous Jewish parliament without Ahmad Tibi and Taleb al-Sana. What could be bad about that?
I’m not saying this should be the solution, or that there are no other possible solutions, such as one federation from Sea to River that has two houses of parliament, a Jewish and an Arab one, as is the case in other places in the world.
I don’t know what the best, safest solution is for us Jews, who already experienced quite a few pogroms and Holocausts, not only at the hands of the Muslims but mostly at the hands of European nations. Yet I’m certain about one thing: The “solution” being offered today, premised on the current “two states vision,” would bring about the Jewish state’s demise within a very short period of time.
No security arrangements would prevent the Iranians, for example, from deploying missiles on the eastern boundaries of central Israel towns. They already did it in the Gaza Strip and in southern Lebanon after the IDF foolishly withdraw from there.
Ahmad Tibi and Taleb al-Sana will apparently be happy with such solution. But we must not agree to even hold a real public debate on issues that are crucial to our existence. And so, automatically disqualifying Avigdor Lieberman is a move that must not succeed.
More Quotes About "Palestine"
"There is no such country as Palestine. 'Palestine' is a term the Zionists invented. There is no Palestine in the Bible. Our country was for centuries part of Syria. 'Palestine' is alien to us. It is the Zionists who introduced it".
- Auni Bey Abdul-Hadi, Syrian Arab leader to British Peel Commission, 1937 -
"There is no such thing as Palestine in history, absolutely not".
- Professor Philip Hitti, Arab historian, 1946 -
"It is common knowledge that Palestine is nothing but Southern Syria".
- Representant of Saudi Arabia at the United Nations, 1956 -
Concerning the Holy Land, the chairman of the Syrian Delegation at the Paris Peace Conference in February 1919 stated:
"The only Arab domination since the Conquest in 635 c.e. hardly lasted, as such, 22 years".
"There is not a solitary village throughout its whole extent (valley of Jezreel, Galilea); not for thirty miles in either direction... One may ride ten miles hereabouts and not see ten human beings. For the sort of solitude to make one dreary, come to Galilee... Nazareth is forlorn... Jericho lies a mouldering ruin... Bethlehem and Bethany, in their poverty and humiliation... untenanted by any living creature... A desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds... a silent, mournful expanse... a desolation... We never saw a human being on the whole route... Hardly a tree or shrub anywhere. Even the olive tree and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil had almost deserted the country... Palestine sits in sackcloth and ashes... desolate and unlovely...".
- Mark Twain, "The Innocents Abroad", 1867 -
"In 1590 a 'simple English visitor' to Jerusalem wrote: 'Nothing there is to bescene but a little of the old walls, which is yet remayning and all the rest is grasse, mosse and weedes much like to a piece of rank or moist grounde'.".
- Gunner Edward Webbe, Palestine Exploration Fund,
Quarterly Statement, p. 86; de Haas, History, p. 338 -
"The land in Palestine is lacking in people to till its fertile soil".
- British archaeologist Thomas Shaw, mid-1700s -
"Palestine is a ruined and desolate land".
- Count Constantine François Volney, XVIII century French author and historian -
"The Arabs themselves cannot be considered but temporary residents. They pitched their tents in its grazing fields or built their places of refuge in its ruined cities. They created nothing in it. Since they were strangers to the land, they never became its masters. The desert wind that brought them hither could one day carry them away without their leaving behind them any sign of their passage through it".
- Comments by Christians concerning the Arabs in Palestine in the 1800s -
"Then we entered the hill district, and our path lay through the clattering bed of an ancient stream, whose brawling waters have rolled away into the past, along with the fierce and turbulent race who once inhabited these savage hills. There may have been cultivation here two thousand years ago. The mountains, or huge stony mounds environing this rough path, have level ridges all the way up to their summits; on these parallel ledges there is still some verdure and soil: when water flowed here, and the country was thronged with that extraordinary population, which, according to the Sacred Histories, was crowded into the region, these mountain steps may have been gardens and vineyards, such as we see now thriving along the hills of the Rhine. Now the district is quite deserted, and you ride among what seem to be so many petrified waterfalls. We saw no animals moving among the stony brakes; scarcely even a dozen little birds in the whole course of the ride".
- William Thackeray in "From Jaffa To Jerusalem", 1844 -
"The country is in a considerable degree empty of inhabitants and therefore its greatest need is of a body of population".
- James Finn, British Consul in 1857 -
"The area was underpopulated and remained economically stagnant until the arrival of the first Zionist pioneers in the 1880's, who came to rebuild the Jewish land. The country had remained "The Holy Land" in the religious and historic consciousness of mankind, which associated it with the Bible and the history of the Jewish people. Jewish development of the country also attracted large numbers of other immigrants - both Jewish and Arab. The road leading from Gaza to the north was only a summer track suitable for transport by camels and carts... Houses were all of mud. No windows were anywhere to be seen... The plows used were of wood... The yields were very poor... The sanitary conditions in the village [Yabna] were horrible... Schools did not exist... The rate of infant mortality was very high... The western part, toward the sea, was almost a desert... The villages in this area were few and thinly populated. Many ruins of villages were scattered over the area, as owing to the prevalence of malaria, many villages were deserted by their inhabitants".
- The report of the British Royal Commission, 1913 -