A colorful array of political bankrupts is now gathering around this
idea. From Ehud Barak, the monumental failure, to Dan Meridor, a leader
without a party; from Haim Ramon, a promising young man who never
fulfilled the promise, to Michael Eytan, the eternal outcast of the
Likud; from the "leftist" Prof. Shlomo Avineri to the rightist Prof. Dan
Shiftan. All of them serious people, all of them ready to clutch at
straws to save themselves from drowning politically.
The ideological standard-bearers of this patent remedy are magicians,
who repeat the mumbo-jumbo called demography. By means of a secret
language ("so-and-so many copulations, minus so-and-so many condoms...")
they prophesy that in the year so-and-so "the Arabs" will be a majority
in the land between the Mediterranean and the Jordan river. One of them
looks at his crystal ball and pronounces: it will happen in the year
2020. Another looks at the coffee remains and warns: no, it will already
happen in 2010. A professor with a mad glint in his eyes runs from
talk-show to quack-show and cries: Arabs upon you, Israel! Even in
Israel proper the Arabs will reach, God forbid, so-and-so many percent
in the year so-and-so. Awful, simply awful.
There is nothing new in demography. On the contrary, it is one of the
oldest professions. It antedates even the Chinese wall. Already 3500
years ago Egyptian magicians dabbled in it. "Now there arose up a new
king over Egypt…And he said unto his people: Behold, the people of the
children of Israel are more and mightier than we. Come on, let us deal
wisely with them; lest they multiply." And the result of this wise
policy: "But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and
grew." (Exodus 1)
After World War I, Europe was full of such wise men, especially in the
East. There, an array of new states was set up, most of them squalid,
little structures. In each of these the ruling nation busied itself with
a constant counting of its human stock and the oppression of minorities.
Poles oppressed Ukrainians, Lithuanians oppressed Poles, Czechs
oppressed Germans, Austrians oppressed Slovenes, Serbians oppressed
Croats and all oppressed the Jews. All these people are still suffering
from the results.
The cult of demography reached its mad climax under the Nazis. One can
posit a formula: Politics plus biology equals Fascism (P+B=F). Apart
from his anti-Semitic lunacy, Hitler was obsessed mainly by the
multiplication of the Slavic peoples as against the expected shrinking
of the Germans. He planned the eradication of Slavs in order to create a
lebensraum in which the Germans could multiply again. The
demographic madness created a lot of Himmlers.
All this belongs to the dark past. A modern state, like the USA, has
left this kind of calculation behind. The modern nation is freeing
itself from 19th century patterns and learning to absorb
"foreigners", in spite of the Le Pens, Heiders and their ilk. But in
Israel, it seems, things move in the opposite direction. We march
The combination of failed politicians and raving demographers has given
birth to the "Unilateral Separation" idea, which could easily fill a few
more pages in Barbara Tuchman’s "March of Folly". Even a superficial
analysis will suffice to expose its insanity.
Where will the Israeli wall be located? Seemingly, that’s a simple
question to answer: Between us and the Palestinians, from north to
Of course, it will not follow the Green Line. "We shall never return to
the pre-1967 borders," Ehud Barak promised throughout his short career
as National Genius. Of course not. The separators will annex the
"settlement blocs" to Israel. Since this will be a unilateral procedure,
without any negotiations, the separators will vie with each other for
tendering maximal demands, so the blocs will be large. They will include
many Palestinian villages, whose inhabitants will have to be evacuated.
The Green Line will move to the East, definitively.
But what about the Jordan valley? It is clear that Israel will not
relinquish the "back of the mountain". The IDF must be deployed there in
order to be ready to meet the combined invading armies of Jordan, Syria,
Iraq and Iran, and perhaps also Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. So
the future fence must also separate the West Bank from the Jordan valley
and the Dead Sea shore.
But that’s not enough, either. The settlement blocs also divide the
West Bank from West to East. They connect Israel with the Jordan valley
on the Ariel-Tapuah, as well as the Maaleh-Adumim-Jericho axes, thus
cutting the West Bank up into three practically isolated enclaves. It
will be necessary to surround each if them with the electrified fence
system, so they will resemble concentration camps.
The same applies to the Gaza Strip. The separators will not remove the
settlements. Netzarim and Gush Katif will have to be connected to
Israel, cutting the Gaza Strip into three enclaves as well. More fences.
And what about Jerusalem? The separators will not give up the Eternal
Undivided Capital. The fence will have to include all of East Jerusalem
, including the "Temple Mount".
It goes without saying that the Muslim world in general, and the
Palestinian people in particular, will never reconcile themselves to
this unilateral diktat that will remove the Noble Shrine from a
billion Muslims (according to the demographers, two billion in 20 years)
and leave the Palestinian people 10 - 15% of their original homeland,
without any hope of ever solving the refugee problem. The wall will turn
Israel into an isolated and fortified ghetto, ever ready for war against
the Arab and Muslim world, ever dependent on American support – without
a guarantee that this support will last forever.
This armed ghetto will not attract immigration, except for groups of
crazy fanatics who come here to play the Wild West. American Jewry will
develop along opposite lines. Israel will lose the best and the
brightest of its young people who will not want to live in such a
stifling state and die in its defense. The Israeli economy will finally
cut itself off from the economy of the region.
The unilateral diktat, brutally implemented, will revolt the
world. It will, of course, also be a blatant violation of the Oslo
agreement, which says that no changes will be made on the ground and
that the final status of the occupied territories, including Jerusalem,
will be decided upon by negotiations. Israel will join the group of
pariah nations, occupying the place recently vacated by South Africa.
The whole world will turn into one great Denmark.
There are several psychological reasons for this craziness.
First of all, many people don’t want to have any truck with the
Palestinians, just don’t want any contact with them. The legend of
"Barak has given them everything and they answered by starting a war"
has taken deep root. Any idea – idiotic as it may be – seems preferable
to going back to negotiations.
But people want solutions. In every conversation they ask: "What will
happen?" The vicious cycle of violence brings despair. But there must be
a solution somewhere?? Unilateral Separation masquerades as such a
For many, there is something very attractive about the idea that the
Jews will at long last remain alone, a happy band of brothers, in a
state surrounded by walls and fences. It reminds one of the ghetto? All
the better. In the ghetto, a warm family atmosphere prevailed. The walls
separated the Jews from the goyim. And in the new ghetto, we will decide
things for ourselves and do what we like, and to hell with the world.
Of course, many know at the back of their minds that this is a game
divorced from reality, that in the end there will be no escape from a
peace agreement reached by negotiations between the two parties. The
outline of the peace to come is now becoming visible (a draft peace
agreement was recently published by Gush Shalom.) But the price is
painful, and people shun pain.
Israel resembles a patient who knows that he must have an operation. He
is ready to do everything possible in order to postpone it. He will
listen to quacks and charlatans; he will even believe in patent
As Abba Eban once put it: "Nations and people will always do the right
thing – after all other possibilities have been exhausted."