Chasing Peace

Review of ‘The Israeli Solution: A One-State Plan for Peace in the Middle East’ by Caroline Glick

AP

Caroline Glick is well known for the sound analysis, strategic thinking, and mental toughness she brings to her op-eds in The Jerusalem Post—which makes the title of her new book The Israeli Solution: A One-State Plan for Peace in the Middle East all the more startling. It suggests a solution to a problem the tough-minded tend to view as insoluble.

Glick’s book is divided into three parts. The first delivers a stake through the heart of the near universally accepted "two-state solution." The second—to this writer the most problematic—puts forward her own solution. The third argues the likely responses to that solution.

The author nails the chief problem with the two-state paradigm: The Palestinians don’t want it. They do not seek to live side by side with Israel. "Rather," she writes "their principal goal has always been the destruction of Israel. For this reason, no amount of U.S. pressure and no Israeli concessions will bring peace."

She offers a dramatic case in point. When Prime Minister Ehud Barak and subsequently Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered to return to the 1949 borders with only minor changes—offers so generous no future Israeli government could outdo them—the Palestinian leadership walked away in both cases.

Glick devotes a chapter to the supposed challenge of Palestinian demography, one of the key arguments of supporters of the two-state solution, and shows how this threat has been overblown, based on falsified numbers from the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. Proportionately, it’s as if the U.S. Census Bureau grew the U.S. population by 162 million people, Glick writes.

The demographic analysis is crucial because Glick’s "solution" is to apply Israeli law to Judea and Samaria (essentially annexing these territories) and she is prepared to offer the Arabs of Judea and Samaria Israeli citizenship. She admits this will "doubtlessly cause a host of difficulties for Israel" but, she says, unlike the two-state policy, "it is a viable, realistic option, not a pipe dream."

Glick outlines the benefits of her plan. These include defensible borders for Israel, and the elimination of dangerous Palestinian forces within them. Glick also says Israel’s diplomatic situation will improve in the long run, because the Jewish state’s adherence to the two-state solution means it is complicit in the narrative that it is somehow responsible for the war against it.

Glick foresees a process by which the Arabs of Judea and Samaria start with the status of permanent residents, but are able eventually to apply for Israeli citizenship. Using the precedents of the Druze in the Golan and Jerusalem Arabs, Glick counts on relatively few Palestianians taking advantage of Israel’s offer, though she does acknowledge that this is a risk: "The prospect that, contrary to expectations, the Palestinians will apply en masse for Israeli citizenship, and that as a consequence Israel’s citizenship rolls will expand massively, is an important issue for policy makers to consider."

Here Glick returns to her demographic argument: "But we need to keep our sense of proportion … were all the Palestinians of Judea and Samaria to apply for and receive Israeli citizenship, the Jews would still maintain a solid two-thirds majority of the population of the State of Israel."

Glick has come in for criticism on this point from some otherwise sympathetic to her perspective.  Martin Sherman, a fellow columnist at the Jerusalem Post, and founder of the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies, cannot understand Glick’s nonchalance. The addition of some 1.6 million Arab citizens to Israel’s population is a recipe, he says, for Israel’s "Lebanonization" — by which he means a state riven with ethno-sectarian strife.

It would mean the end of Israel as a Jewish State, Sherman says. He notes that in Israel the Star of David is on the national flag, the menorah is the state emblem, the calendar revolves around Jewish and Zionist holidays, Hebrew is the language of daily life, and Saturday is the day of rest. "In the absence of discriminatory repression, how would it be possible to persist in their use if up to 40 percent of the population is not only unable to identify with them, but harbors fierce hostility toward them?"

Glick would counter that Arab attitudes are changing. She cites polls showing Arab admiration for Israel’s democracy. She also provides anecdotal evidence of an integrationist trend, like Corporal Eleanor Joseph, the IDF’s first female Arab combat soldier, and the Arab brothers Atrash, who also served in Israel’s military, illustrating developments she says have been "overlooked or belittled."

The evidence for integration is small beer against a wealth of surveys and anecdotal evidence showing the opposite. Glick writes: "By 2000 all of the Israeli Arab members of Knesset opposed Israel’s right to exist." The latest Gaza war has provided evidence of such attitudes. On August 3, Israelis were treated to the spectacle of three Arab members of the Knesset rising to denounce the soldiers of the IDF as "murderers." When rumors spread that an Israeli soldier had been kidnapped by Hamas, the streets of Nazareth broke out in celebration. Israel’s Channel 10 reports that ISIS flags have been flying for months in Arab-Israeli towns.

None of this is to say that Glick hasn’t made an important contribution. She has thought outside the box. This encourages more out-of-the-box thinking. Mordechai Kedar, a well-known professor at Bar-Ilan University, has just proposed dividing Judea and Samaria into seven emirates. For over a decade, Martin Sherman has suggested encouraging voluntary migration by offering generous financial incentives to Arabs willing to relocate.

In the wake of the most recent Gaza war, alternatives to the worn-out two-state solution are bound to seem more attractive. Even long-time two-state proponent Alan Dershowitz has written, "Hamas’ decision to fire rockets in the direction of Ben-Gurion Airport may well have ended any real prospect of a two-state solution." Four days into Operation Protective Edge, Prime Minister Netanyahu said leaving Gaza in 2005 had been a mistake, and there was no possibility Israel would relinquish security control west of the Jordan River. The West Bank, he said, was 20 times the size of Gaza. Israel is not prepared "to create another 20 Gazas."

Glick’s contribution is to help consign the two-state solution to the dustbin of bad ideas. It will likely fall to others to build on the ruins.

David Isaac is an editor at Newsmax. He is also the founder of a Zionist history site, Zionism101.org.