Why Must An Arab Palestinian State Be Jew-Free?

[The following commentary was written by Stephen M. Asbel, as a special to The Bulletin. Stephen Asbel is a lawyer in Delaware County.]

It seems that everyone who talks about trying to have an Arab-Israeli "peace settlement" takes it as a given that all Jews must be removed from all areas which will be given over to an Arab Palestinian state. However, no one ever seems to want to talk about why this is necessary. Israel within its pre-1967 borders has an Arab minority population that accounts for about 22 percent or so of the total. There is no significant support for any idea of forcibly removing the Arabs within the pre-1967 borders of Israel (Avigdor Lieberman does not want to remove Arabs from Israel but to remove Israel from the Arabs, but that is another topic.) Why is it that in every proposal — unilateral or negotiated — Israel will retain a large Arab minority and perhaps even face demands to take in additional Arabs, but the potential Arab Palestinian state would have to be Judenrein — Jew-free? Of course, we are not talking only about removing live Jews but dead ones too, as indicated by the removal of bodies from Gaza graves. The case of Israeli Jews is the only example where it is American policy (and Israeli policy) to favor the complete expulsion of an ethnic group from an area. The United States led NATO aerial bombardment campaigns to stop the expulsion of Bosnian Muslims and of Albanians in Kosovo, yet it is promoting a policy that requires the expulsion of Jews from Judea and Samaria. (While the U.S. did not fully endorse the Olmert unilateral withdrawal plan, it does favor a negotiated solution involving expulsion of Jews.)

The obvious answer to why the Jews are to be removed is because the presence of Jews, especially Jews who will not submit to the humiliation of dhimmi status (Islamic laws under which Jews and Christians are tolerated to be present but in a second-class status), is utterly offensive to the Arab Muslims in the region, and thus any Jews who would be left to live under an Arab regime will face persecution, violence and death. Arab racist intolerance, which is of long standing as shown by the historical record of how Jews in Arab lands have been treated especially in the last 60 years, compels such a conclusion. One infamous example is the 1941 farhoud (pogrom) in Iraq when on the major Jewish holiday of Shavuot, there was a pro-Nazi riot of murder, rape, and looting inspired by the Islamic Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Amin al-Husseini, which left 200 Jews dead, 2,000 injured and 900 Jewish homes destroyed.

During the 1948-49 War of Israel's Independence, Arab forces overran long-established Jewish communities in Hebron, Kfar Etzion, Kfar Darom and half of Jerusalem, including the ancient Jewish Quarter of the Old City. In every one of those locations, every Jew there either fled or was killed. Not a single Jew remained alive in the Judea, Samaria and Gaza regions which were occupied by Jordan and Egypt. Yes, Arabs fled Israeli-held areas but largely at the urging of their own people, and while there were violent incidents against Arab civilians, those were the exception, not the rule. So, as the record shows, when the world seeks for Israel to withdraw to the 1949 lines and to expel every Jew beyond them, the world is seeking to ratify the result of the Arab genocidal war launched in earnest in 1948.

That raises the next question - if the general hostility of Arabs toward Jews is so intense that not one Jew can be tolerated to live in a proposed Arab Palestinian state, then how can Israel possibly expect to live in peace with such a state? To date, there is no indication that any strong political faction among the Arab Palestinians is willing or able to accept Israel as a Jewish state and to live in peace with it. Before Israel rushes to expel Jews from the heart of the Jewish homeland in some vain hope for peace in the current political climate, there must first be a massive cultural and educational transition among the Arabs. The Arab racial and religious supremacist doctrines, which gave rise to dhimmi laws, the invention of color-coded clothing for religious minorities, overt complicity with the Nazis by Grand Mufti Amin al-Husseini, and massive instigation of violence led by Husseini and his disciples which has continued to this day, mass persecution and expulsion of 900,000 Jews that once lived in Arab lands, and the complete ethnic cleansing of Jews from Judea, Samaria and Gaza in 1948-49, must be overcome before Israel can hope to have a lasting peace with Arab neighbors. For Israel to unilaterally put its major cities in range of hostile missiles and mortars in the absence of such fundamental change is a dangerous folly.

posted: February 10, 2007   |   permanent link  |  

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