Sunday, March 7, 2010

Tzipi for President!

Well, Prime Minister. And not that Tzipi. I'm referring to Tzipi Hotovely, of Israel's Likud party, who is the first Likud MK I know of to offer some sensible resolution for the West Bank Arabs once Yehudah and SHomron (YeSHa) are annexed by Israel - in a word, citizenship. Alright, maybe she hasn't thought it all through yet, but it's SOMETHING!

According to the article, "The country's political centre is increasingly talking about this scenario - but as a potentially disastrous move that will be forced on them if attempts to create a Palestinian state fail."

If attempts fail? How many attempts shall we allow, before we can  concede that attempts to create a Palestinian state will end in failure and more bloodshed? All I'm asking for is a number - 8, 9? We're already at 5, by my count. In that case, there are only a few more attempts left, and then we can focus the collective energies of Arabs and Jews on integration in a Jewish state "from the river to the sea".

I've complained in the past, bitterly - including the short past of this blog - about the intellectual bankruptcy of Israel's right:
The Israeli right is an abject failure; a boorish salad of slogans divorced of pragmatic policy solutions. At least Kahane was honest. I do not believe in ethnically cleansing Arabs, just as I don't believe in ethnically cleansing Jews, but one must appreciate Kahane's commitment to dealing with reality. "Jordan is Palestine", on the other hand, is not a policy. Outlasting a moderately hostile American President by conceding just enough concessions to stave off a complete diplomatic collapse is not a success. Crying "anti-semitism", shaming foreign dignitaries, threatening regimes, endless bungling and embarrassments... these are not signs of competence in international relations. The only right of substance - the only people living and fighting for their ideals, day in and day out - are the settlers.

So, let me be the first to state, in crude Pop-American form - I HEART HOTOVELY. Yes, she is classically beautiful, and probably married, making this a highly immodest point, but the real attraction is that someone, ANYONE, has chosen to deal with reality, at least rhetorically. As I've written about in the past, somewhere, I don't favor bestowing Israeli citizenship on the Arabs of Yesha. Instead, let's begin with permanent residency - it is a pragmatic step that takes into account the needs of the Arab population, while respecting the lessons of a century of war and ethnic violence. I wrote of this in more detail here, reworded slightly now, stylistically:
To be a citizen of the US you have to wait almost 10 years. Millions of Turks are permanent residents of Germany, for decades, without [serious grievance]. Why should the Palestinians be granted citizenship overnight, after fighting 60 years of brutal war with the Jews? That's insane and unreasonable. Those who wish to become Israeli citizens should meet certain eligibility criteria - non-involvement in terrorist organizations, one generation of permanent residency, conscription in the armed forces, etc. I'm sure the details can be worked out. This isn't a matter of demographics, even, but of pragmatism.
Furthermore, Jewish law provides the status of ger toshav - permanent resident - endowing them with civil benefits, and obligating the Jewish nation for their security and well being. Having accepted that the Arabs will not accept partition, the question of what to do with the Arabs of Yesha is a conversation we need to have in the Jewish community, both within Israel and in the Diaspora. Other cultures throw each other off buildings or set up death squads to eliminate their opposition. We Jews engage in a different form of bare-knuckle fistfights - those of the mind. Hotovely has fired the first volley from Israel's center-right. Is this a joke, a political maneuver, a fanciful ruse to stymie Arab fantasies? As someone who played tennis for half a decade in my youth, I know that putting a ball where you want it on the court requires follow through. I'm waiting...


  1. Victor
    before you give Israel the task to integrate the West-Bank have a look at this: Arbeitsanreiz is "incentive to work" as compared to receiving so called transfer payments i.e. welfare and sehr groß is very big (all the very big are the former East)
    this is what we have managed to accomplish in 20 years and not for lack of trying

  2. Growing up in Moldova, I was always told that Eastern Germany was the most industrially advanced of the Soviet bloc countries. Do you think the welfare provided by West Germany was sufficient, or did it stifle potential?

    It will require a generation effort, without question, one that I will take my part in completing, right after my education. Many things work in Israel's favor - the Palestinians were once largely integrated into Israel's labor force, which could now be untethered from its foreign migrant dependency; the Palestinians have no industry to speak of, so the burden of mass inefficient enterprise encountered in Western Germany can be avoided; the Arab population size in Yesha is small enough that American and international sponsorship, say $30 Billion, could prompt an infrastructure boom that transforms the landscape within years.

    We have to remember, the alternative is another decade of misery, another ten billion dollars of internationally financed weapons flooding the Palestinians. I will try to post an interview a friend of mine did with Israeli National Radio about the general security situation in Yesha.

    General Dayton is building the Palestinians an army. Right now, that army's only goal is regime preservation, to prevent a Gaza-style takeover by Hamas at all costs. If that threat were ever to dissipate, this army would immediately turn its attention on Jews, just as it did last time. The wars with the Palestinians get progressively bloodier, for both of us.

    You're right that the task ahead is immense, and I won't iron it out here, but let this begin to soak into the Israeli political discourse. "Land for Peace" is dead as a doorknob. Now what?

  3. Victor
    I couldn't say whether welfare stifled initiative - but I think if welfare hadn't kept them in the East it would by now be even more depopulated - after all welfare buys social peace for the haves.
    - as to infrastructure
    - the speed with which telephone started to work (there was practically nothing one could build on), streets, train lines and hotels and malls, malls over malls, came about was amazing - were mistakes made, you bet, were huge funds siphoned off, you bet, but I once heard a Wessi as we are called as opposed to Ossis, Nike Wagner, member of THE Wagner family who took over the Weimar festival talk about her problems with her Ossi-Staff in very guarded terms it synched perfectly with what colleagues of mine complained about Ossi-stubbornness at work (not laziness but a pride in resisting) - on the other hand some of the best new sales staff that showed up in my local super-market came from the East.
    Maybe our East was the most advanced of the socialist countries (certainly its people were well clad, well educated and well fed and had had premium medical service) it crumbled all to dust when their exports to the east stopped and they were not competitive enough to sell to the west.
    In 1990 nd some time after my academic colleagues were all absolutely sure that we in the west were doomed to become second place because now that the east got all that fancy state of the art infrastructure they would repeat what Germany did to the Brits after WW2 when all our destroyed industry was replaced by the latest and the best. It didn't work out - about 5 years ago I was on a short trip to Leipzig - that's not how high end shopping areas should look like ....
    Of one thing I am convinced, especially whenever I hear the children and grand-children and by now probably grand-grand-children of our own refugees from the east of ww2 venting their grievances about the lost Heimat, it is not going to be a finite amount bn one generation project. If you manage to get it half-way done in a century with enourmous amounts of money poured in Israel will have performed a miracle. Don't forget our own refugees after WW2 were rigorously made to feel unwanted and welfare was meager and there was no other part of the country to go to, so they had to decide to settle, get a life but keep their grievances.
    Please do not read me as a cynic I am sad and that's why I don't tell you what I think would most likely happen human nature being what it is

  4. Victor
    saddle the stallion, grab the red roses, tune the old guitar or whatever was great in Moldova and start the wooing - I'll keep my fingers crossed

  5. Yes, I'll get in line behind the fighter pilots, Torah scholars, high-tech millionaires and politicians sons.

    Now who is being unrealistic? :)

  6. Victor
    that may apply to the job market but as to romance I doubt it due to everyday experiences i.e.
    nobody is going to beat the devoted wooing which a non-status guy can be much better at doing because he doesn't have to think all the time about not damaging his image by maybe looking a bit ridiculous i.e. he is the one who can really really put the woman at the center of the endeavour instead of trying to acquire her as another or even THE premium high end accessory. Lots of guys have managed to jump the queue that way ...


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