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Humanitarian Transfer of Palestinians the Solution for Israel’s Dilemma?

“Virgil” in today’s Breitbart report had a provocative assessment of Middle East issues in the wake of this Tuesday’s Victory by incumbent Israeli PM Netanyahu, The Future of the Middle East: Ominous Scenarios and a Possible Solution for Israel:

If we think hard, we can envision that Israel, the U.S., and the cause of moderation and modernization in the Middle East all have a real chance to make solid gains. But we will need to be alert to opportunities as they arise—and be ready to jump on them, making tough choices.

We can identify three likely future scenarios, potentially dangerous and, for sure, consequential:

Despite international pressure, Israel will not agree to the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank.

“Virgil” said this about the irresolvable Palestinian issue facing Netanyahu and Obama:

First, no Palestinian state. Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has long opposed the creation of a Palestinian state, albeit quietly. And then, on March 16, on the eve of the Israeli election, he opposed it—loudly. And as a result, he rallied the nationalist right within his country and was re-elected by a wide margin, far wider than most experts had anticipated. Since then, under enormous pressure from the Obama administration and the mediaNetanyahu has sort of backed down—except, of course, that he doesn’t mean it. He doesn’t want a new Palestinian state, and neither do Israelis.

As a result of this flare-up, whatever lingering wisps of affection that might have existed  between Netanyahu and President Obama have now vanished.   So the immediate challenge for Israel will be to ride out the deep hostility of the Obama administration.

“Virgil” proposes something familiar, humanitarian  transfer as a solution to the Palestinian state impasse:

Since the Israelis believe that they need the land of the West Bank, permanently, for their own physical security, perhaps it’s best if the Palestinians depart. Okay, if one wants to put it more bluntly, perhaps it’s best if the Palestinians are forcibly removed from the West Bank.

In Israel today, the idea of removing the Palestinians is known as “transfer.”   Indeed, Breitbart News’s Ben Shapiro endorsed the idea back in 2003:

Here is the bottom line: If you believe that the Jewish state has a right to exist, then you must allow Israel to transfer the Palestinians and the Israeli-Arabs from Judea, Samaria, Gaza and Israel proper. It’s an ugly solution, but it is the only solution. And it is far less ugly than the prospect of bloody conflict ad infinitum. When two populations are constantly enmeshed in conflict, it is insane to suggest that somehow deep-seated ideological change will miraculously occur, allowing the two sides to live together.

Shapiro concluded: “Transfer is not genocide. And anything else isn’t a solution.”

Transfer would be controversial and it would not be easy. But if, in the next ten or more years, the three scenarios we have described come to pass—that is, the Palestinian problem continues to fester, the Muslim world continues to be shaken by sectarian strife, and Iran continues its march toward nuclearization—not to mention whatever else might be happening in the world, then Israel could have the opportunity, as well as the obligation, to change the demographic facts on its ground while the rest of the world might be preoccupied with other issues.

Moments in history such as that don’t come very often.

“Virgil” of Breitbart is extolling the solution of Humanitarian Transfer to solve Israel’s Palestinian Dilemma.  It is a solution that both Dr. Arieh Eldad, former National Union MK, and Palestinian Jordanian Murdar Zahran have proposed. “The Jordan is Palestine”  option that  the Obama Administration, the Netanyahu coalition in the last government, King Abdullah of Jordan, the now defeated Zionist Union and left parties in the Knesset have implacably opposed. Although Netanyahu’s ‘clarification’ of his no Palestinian State election stance post election prompted the ire of President Obama virtually icing relationship with the new Israeli government once formed.  Watch this post Knesset election Huffington Post interview with the President.

Here is what Dr. Eldad said in our 2008 interview,republished in our collection, The West Speaks:

Eldad: Humanitarian resettlement of Arab refugees is neither original to me nor is it new. Arab refugees are not under the responsibility of the United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees, but instead are controlled by a special agency designated only for Palestinians. – The UN Refugee Works Relief Administration or UNWRA. 50-70 million refugees have been resettled since the end of World War II. More than four million Palestinians are the only ones still in these UNWRA refugee camps. Because the UNWRA camps are virtually administered by Palestinians, these UNWRA refugees, now in the third generation in 60 years, have been taught incitement to hate against Israel and Jews, all thanks to funding of nearly a half billion dollar annually donated by tax payers in the West. … I am convinced that these people must be resettled, preferably in Jordan. Jordan is effectively, Palestine. 70% of the Jordanian population are Palestinians. This is the de facto fulfillment of “the two state solution.” If a large scale international program was created to bring water, energy, housing and jobs to a designated area in Jordan a willing transfer could happen. Within a few years we would be able to resettle 2-3 million refugees in Jordan.

This plan will not solve the problem of Arab Israeli citizens who oppose the state of Israel as a Jewish state. They do not want individual rights. They want national minority rights in Israel. They demand that Israel become a Bi-National state. They are not satisfied with Jordan as the Palestinian state. They want a third state for Palestinians only. Effectively what they are seeking is a ‘Judenrein’ (Jew free in German) state in Gaza, Judea and Samaria. They seek to undermine the State of Israel and reject it as a Jewish state. They want to eliminate Israel so that Jews will not have a state of their own in the world. They want to change the national Anthem “Ha’tikva” to something else that they can identify with, change the flag, and erase “the law of return” that grants Israeli citizenship to every Jew who makes Aliyah. In other words they are the enemies within the Jewish state of Israel.

Murdar in his 2012 Middle East Quarterly, article, “Jordan is Palestinian” wrote:

Thus far the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has weathered the storm that has swept across the Middle East since the beginning of the year. But the relative calm in Amman is an illusion. The unspoken truth is that the Palestinians, the country’s largest ethnic group, have developed a profound hatred of the regime and view the Hashemites as occupiers of eastern Palestine—intruders rather than legitimate rulers. This, in turn, makes a regime change in Jordan more likely than ever. Such a change, however, would not only be confined to the toppling of yet another Arab despot but would also open the door to the only viable peace solution—and one that has effectively existed for quite some time: a Palestinian state in Jordan.

[…]

In most countries with a record of human rights violations, vulnerable minorities are the typical victims. This has not been the case in Jordan where a Palestinian majority has been discriminated against by the ruling Hashemite dynasty, propped up by a minority Bedouin population, from the moment it occupied Judea and Samaria during the 1948 war (these territories were annexed to Jordan in April 1950 to become the kingdom’s West Bank).

As a result, the Palestinians of Jordan find themselves discriminated against in government and legislative positions as the number of Palestinian government ministers and parliamentarians decreases; there is not a single Palestinian serving as governor of any of Jordan’s twelve governorships.

Witness this comment from Yossi Halevy of the Shalom Hartman Institute, the only voice  of reality during a biased Charlie Rose Show panel discussion on the 2015 Knesset Elections, ” Israelis believe that Palestinian State maybe both an existential solution and a threat given the impasse over negotiations”. Halevy conveyed  that view that Israelis across the spectrum view Obama consummation of an Iran nuclear deal an existential threat. Halevy quoted left wing author David Grossman saying that Obama Administration on Iran nuclear deal is “criminally naive and perilous for Israel.”

The Charlie Rose panel was composed of the usual suspects, save Halevy.  It included with Jeffrey Goldberg of The AtlanticAri Shavit of Ha’aretz, Ronen Bergman Military Intelligence Columnist of Yedioth Ahronoth, Yousef Munayyer of the US Campaign against Palestine Occupation and Jerusalem Fund advocate for Anti-Israel BDS, and Lisa Goldman of  leftist +972 Magazine and Israel –Palestine Fellow of the New America Fund.

The comments of Goldberg and Ronen were especially problematic and controversial. Ronen suggested that only the international BDS campaign could change things by hitting Israelis in their back pockets, calling out Netanyahu as the virtual unbeatable “Caesar from Caesaria.” Goldberg, who has virtually unlimited interview access to the Obama West Wing,  thought Netanyahu drawing attention to Israeli Arab votes was equivalent to a “Lee Atwater “southern strategy” suggesting that the narrow Right wing government would fall in a year with new elections. Suffice to say he warned that relations will (have) gotten worse with Obama. Shavit was his usual  self bemoaning the progressive peacenik failure on the Left in Israel, Israel losing its soul, portending looming violence -a reference to a Third Intifada-  and demographic problems ahead. Munayyer hewed to  his usual pro- Palestinian anti-Israel stance calling it a tribal election.  Goldman  in her comments praised the Joint Arab List third place in the Knesset elections as an important development for “Palestinian Israelis” but pooh-poohed  comments of Shavit  that a Third Intifada was not in the cards; “the West Bank is in lock down”. She is living now in Brooklyn and a colleague of Peter Beinart at the NAF who is a decidedly anti-Israel, liberal Zionist. Watch the Charlie Rose panel discussions:

“Virgil”, Eldad and Murdar may be correct that humanitarian transfer for Palestinians from Judea and Samaria may be a logical solution to the current impasse. But if isolated Israel under the new Netanyahu coalition ever considered such a unilateral move it would erupt in a firestorm of international criticism and spike the already toxic relationships between the Obama Administration and Israel and possibly rupture completely the existing Jordanian Israeli peace treaty. The irony is that the Sunni nations in the region witnessing the rise of nuclear hegemony over four Arab capital by the Shia Mahdists in Tehran, wouldn’t be troubled by such a proposal. Unlike, Obama and the EU, they do not believe any longer that peace in the Middle East doesn’t run through Jerusalem.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

What will Israel do with ISIS on its Doorstep?

ISIS Flags at Gaza Funeral

ISIS Flags at Funeral in Gaza.

Yesterday, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) declared a Caliphate to be ruled under Sharia in the lands it has conquered in Syria and Iraq.   Jerusalem-based Dan Diker on yesterday’s Lisa Benson Show, on the Salem Radio Network was in the midst of a discussion with Mudar Zahran about the ISIS threat with “Jordan in its gunsight”, listen here.   He commented that the announcement should be viewed as a political statement to Al Qaeda and its leader Ayman al Zawihiri.

Zahran noted that  Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) had morphed into ISIS.  AQI  founder Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was a Jordanian from Zarqa who became self indoctrinated, joined Al Qaeda in Afghanistan in 1990’s and  ran his own Jihadi training center. He established brutal barbaric assaults in Iraq in 2005 engaging against US military and contractors,  and Shia Iraqis that set a precedent for ISIS.  al-Zarqawi was killed in a 2006 USAF -F16a  bombing attack at a targeted safe house in Iraq.

The ISIS declaration was also a statement to other Sunni terrorist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine, Hamas.  The Algemeiner reported  ISIS flags were flying this weekend on pickup trucks in Gaza for a funeral an indication that it was operating there.   Conquering large swaths of terrain, looting upwards of a billion dollars worth of  money and gold, capturing US supplied Humvees and Blackhawk helicopters abandoned by a corrupt and incompetent Iraqi Army have morphed ISIS into an Islamic State with its own army.

ISIS is more than just a political threat elsewhere in the sectarian turmoil of the Middle East. That was recognized in comments by  New York Rep. Pete King  onABC’s This Week that President Obama should be “very  very aggressive” about ISIS.  He was most immediately concerned about protecting our Embassy in Baghdad with  500 US security troops.  There are also 300 US military advisors engaged in assessing what to do with a divided Shiite- dominated al Maliki government in Iraq. A government whose military is now  supported by drones of Iran’s Quds Force gathering intelligence on ISIS forces near the capital of Baghdad.

King was also concerned about the estimated 100 American jihadis reported to be fighting with ISIS. ISIS has enticed them with English language  weekly and annual reports and videos.    My co-host on yesterday program, Lisa Benson,  commented off –line about the plethora of such sophisticated ISIS social media that is published daily.  That brought back memories of the campaign  2008 endeavoring to get Google to shut down Al Qaeda jihadist training sites.

The Administration for its part looks like the proverbial deer frozen in the headlights of ISIS.  Last week, It floated  the belated idea of funding $500 million to train “moderate” rebel fighters in the Syrian civil war. A civil war  that looks increasingly like a stalemate between ISIS and  the Assad forces are  backed by Hezbollah and Iran’s Quds Force with support from Putin’s Russia.  That Administration proposal may be more than a day late and a dollar short.  We had reports in mid-June from Der Spiegel and other sources that the some CIA-trained rebel fighters in Jordan  opted to join ISIS given its stunning successes.

As Diker pointed out on Sunday’s Lisa  Benson  Show the makeup of the anti-Assad  rebels  according to a Times of Israel report may control 95 percent on the Syrian side of the Golan Height. He, said, “we can see Hezbollah flags flying”.  Then he noted that the balance might be Al Nusrah, the official Al Qaeda anti-Assad contingent that increasingly has seen their fighters opt to join the “successful” ISIS.

ISIS Flags in Ma’an, Jordan

I asked Zahran, who is pro-Israel and promotes the view that Jordan is Palestine, about the peculiar circumstances  behind  last Thursday’s Jordanian Security Court decision acquitting  Al Qaeda preacher, Abu Qatada.   Abu Qatada had been extradited from the UK  for preaching incitement and allegedly raising funds for terrorist causes. The Jordanian court had dismissed one charge based on a failed 1999 plot to attack an American School in Amman. The second charge of plotting terrorism against Israel targets has yet to be heard.  Last month on May 28, 2014, the Jordanian Security Court had sentenced 11 allegedly involved in an  2012  Al Qaeda plot to attack both British and US Embassies in Amman.  Zahran drew attention to the nearly six decade dalliance with the Islamic Action front, the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan, by the Hashemite Kingdom under the late King Hussein and now his son, King Abdullah II.   Zahran noted that the IAF, Muslim Brotherhood which is largely Bedouin, is the strongest organized Islamist group in Jordan. He drew attention to the daily pitched battles in  the southern town of Ma’an  between  Jordanian security forces and  local tribal supporters  of the IAF flying ISIS flags. Ma’an is located  less than three kilometers from Israel’s frontier.  The headline in a Washington Post report on the turmoil in Ma’an read, “Jordan fears homegrown ISIS more than invasion from Iraq”.

The security of Jordan as a buffer state, as  Diker pointed out is foremost on the agenda of Israel ‘s national security. We note the comments in The Times of Israel  by  former  Israeli  security cabinet strategic advisor Gen. Yaakov Amidror,  who  said that Israel should bolster the defense of Jordan against the ISIS onslaught.  At the Institute of National Security Studies  (INSS) of Tel Aviv University, yesterday Israeli PM Netanyahu underlined these security issues.     He talked about support for an Independent Kurdistan and completing a security fence along Israel’s eastern frontier from the Golan to Eilat.  Netanyahu said:

The forces of fanatical Islam are already knocking on our door” and  Israel needs to be proactive to bolster its defense against enemy infiltration.

“The first thing that we need to do is to build a security fence on our eastern border, and to build it gradually all the way from Eilat to merge with the security fence that we’ve been building over the last two years in the Golan Heights,” he said. “That fence does not hermetically prevent infiltration; it doesn’t prevent shooting through the fence as we saw tragically just a week ago; it doesn’t prevent barrages of missiles over it, or the digging of tunnels underneath it. But it does narrow down dramatically that permeatio on Israel’s border.”

Israel will not cede the Jordan Valley approaches, much sought after by Secretary of Kerry and the US facilitator in bi-lateral discussions between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, former US Ambassador to Israel, Martin Indyk.  Diker pointed out Indyk’s announced return to the Washington-based Brookings Institution indicative of the US failure to achieve a final status agreement with the unified Palestinian government of Fatah with Hamas.  Diker cited the abduction of three Israel youths, including one American, by Hamas the prime suspects sought in the massive Operation Brother’s Keeper as evidence that no security for Israel could have emerged from the US facilitated negotiations. Unfortunately, the bodies of the three youths were recovered by the IDF, today amidst grief for their families and sorrow expressed by many Israelis and Americans.

Deceased three Israeli abductees likely slain by Hamas suspects. From left: INaftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach, in three undated family photos. Credit Image by Reuters

Netanyahu’s  INSS remarks reflect the deep concerns about the stability of Jordan rife with more than 1.4 million Syrian refuges, and a million Iraqis. There are an estimated 1.5 million  Arabs Refugees of Palestinian origin.  Jordan’s population of 7.9  million is based on CIA Factbook estimates.  Note the last census was taken in 2004.  Then there is the  accommodation of Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist support growing in the country’s Bedouin population . They feel aggrieved about  the lack economic participation and high unemployment amid  alleged  corruption charges against the ruling autocratic Hashemite King and family.

Umm al Fahm, Israel protests by Islamic Movement, June 27, 2014.

Netanyahu also recognized internal threats to Israel’s  security at yesterday’s cabinet meeting.  He announced that  he would move to outlaw the Northern Branch of the Islamist movement, whose leader, Sheikh  Read Salah,  has proposed to establish  a Caliphate on the Temple Mount.  In October 2013, we wrote in the Iconoclast  post about Israeli Arab adherents of Sheik Salah joining up with anti-Assad Al Qaeda rebel forces in Syria.   Last Friday, there were rallies organized by  Salah and his Islamist adherents in the Israeli Arab town of Umm al Fahm protesting the raids by the IDF in Operation Brother’ s Keeper denying Hamas abduction of the three slain  youths.  Rock throwing by protesters was broken up Israeli riot police with tear gas and sound bombs. Netanyahu noted:

[The northern Branch of the Islamist Movement] constantly preaches against the State of Israel and its people. [The Islamist Movement ] publicly identify with terrorist organizations such as Hamas. Therefore, I directed the relevant authorities to consider declaring the northern branch of the Islamic Movement as an illegal organization. This would give the security authorities significant tools in the struggle against the  movement.”

In May 2014, Netanyahu had been thwarted in such a move against the northern branch of the Islamist Movement by the Justice Minister Tzipi Livni of Hatnua, because these enemies of the Jewish State are citizens. They are represented in Israel’s Knesset by Arab parties, espousing pro Palestinian positions verging on sedition.

Israel knows what it has to do with ISIS on its doorstep and fellow travelers inside. The question is the resolve of Jerusalem to take the hard steps. Israel’s friends in the US Congress are urging the Administration to undertake actions to protect its only reliable ally and interests in the region.   The ISIS Caliphate’s declaration means that Israel will have to defend itself from jihadis both inside and on its doorstep.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The New English Review.