Liberty Just in Case

A Dialogue for the September 12th World

Israel and the Pullout: Three Choices

Posted by Mark on September 24, 2005

As most know, Israel has pulled out of Gaza and portions of the West Bank. There is currently an increase in violence, as Hamas has used the vacant land to start rocket attacks, and Israel has responded.

Why in the world would Israel pull out of the occupied territories, leaving it to terrorist groups, and the masses of Palestinians?!?!? An answer comes from a trip a member of my Saturday morning Bible study took to Israel. Scott met with members of the Israeli cabinet, Israeli Supreme Court Justices, and his meeting included an hour and a half lunch with Benjamin Netanyahu. Here is his email from September 12th, 2005:

As most of you know I am currently in Israel, having arrived in mid-morning, and having already had six hours of meetings with several members of the Israeli government and the Canadian embassy. Largely discussions so far have focused on background context for understanding the current regional political climate.
An insight I found interesting came in response to my question about the benefits Israel perceived from exiting Gaza. Following the meeting in which the canned response was echoed, an individual pulled me aside and explained it this way:
“You must choose two, and only two of the following three alternatives. Any two are possible in combination, but any two eliminate the third:
– Israel retains its geographic borders (including the ‘occupied territories’;
– Israel remains a democracy; and
– Israel remains a Jewish state.
Which two do you choose?”
From my American perspective I posited remaining a democracy was the first priority.
He responded, “The majority in Israel firmly believe remaining a Jewish state is the first priority, and which of the other two items we choose is open to discussion.”
The demographics of the population are such that by retaining Gaza and the “West Bank”, over a relatively short period, the voting majority would shift from the Jewish population to the Arabs. Abandoning Gaza assurred a continuing Jewish voting majority.
This is an insight I had not garnered from the U.S. press.

Three choices. Israel has, for now at least, chosen to remain a Jewish state, and a democracy. To maintain control of the occupied territories, Israel could no longer function as a democracy. To be a democracy, and maintain control of the territories, Israel could not remain a Jewish state.

Scott just returned from his trip, and is still processing his time there. I hope to have more insights from him over the coming weeks. My thanks to him for providing this email.
Cross posted at Gun-Totin’ Liberal

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