Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Only Realistic Solution How to Solve the Palestinian Problem

The Only Realistic Solution How to Solve the Palestinian ProblemReader comment on article: Solving the "Palestinian Problem"
Submitted by Prof. Paul Eidelberg (Israel), Jan 7, 2009 at 03:34

A large majority of the so-called Palestinians reject Israel's existence. Indeed, they have taught a generation of Arab children to hate Jews and Israel and to emulate suicide bombers. Surely this is why Daniel Pipes sagaciously said a few years ago that it would take at least two generations to undo the murderous hatred that has been instilled in the Arab inhabitants of what is called the West Bank.

Hence, to propose a Palestinian state united with Jordan is a non-starter. This would not only threaten Jordan, whose population is mostly "Palestinian," but it would also threaten Israel, since it would give the Arabs control of the Judean-Samarian highlands overlooking Israel's coastal plain on which some 75% of Israel's population lives.

I have a more realistic though by no means a quick-fix solution: make Israel more Jewish, which would increase its attachment to Eretz Israel, dampen Arab-nationalist ambitions, and prompt "Palestinians" to emigrate to Arab lands. Here is only a small part—the institutional part—of the plan which I have elsewhere formulated.

Merely by making members of Israel's Knesset individually accountable to the voters in constituency elections would go a long way in making the country more Jewish. This follows from the fact that a large majority of the electorate—at least 75 percent—is more traditionally oriented than the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches of government, which make the policies and laws of the State.

Personal, direct election of Knesset Members alone will make public opinion more influential on the deliberations and decisions of the Knesset, since the election and reelection of MKs will be more dependent on the beliefs and values of their constituents, which most Jews derive from Israel's religious heritage. Let me elaborate.

First, ever since the establishment of the State, no party has ever won a majority of seats in the Knesset, and no Labor- or Likud- or Kadima-led government has ever been toppled by a Knesset vote of no confidence. The Knesset, sovereign in theory, is in practice subservient to the Government. This allows prime ministers to ignore the Knesset even on matters affecting the borders of the State, which is why certain parties call for a national referendum on territorial issues.

Second, although a large majority of Israel's Jewish population is either orthodox or traditional, the parliamentary representation of Israel's major parties has never reflected the proportion of religious, traditional, and secular Jews in this country. This is a direct consequence of a very low parliamentary electoral threshold, which has enabled citizens of various religious and secular persuasions to form their own parties. The resulting multiplicity of parties in the Knesset produces a farrago of parties in the cabinet whose rivalry renders it virtually impossible for the Government to pursue—even if it were inclined to pursue—coherent Jewish policies.

Third, under this system, diverse party leaders become cabinet ministers and dominate the Knesset. Having different agendas, the parties forming the cabinet do so, as David Ben-Gurion said, "not on the basis of a common program but merely to divide up the positions of influence and the national budget." Moreover, since Knesset Members are not individually elected by or accountable to the voters, those who become cabinet ministers can ignore the convictions of the public with impunity.

Let me put this another way: Representation is often defined as having one's views reflected in the legislative decision-making process. Representation may also be defined as having one's views reflected in actually enacted policies of government. The first raises the question: How well does the mode of election enable the national electorate to impress its opinions on the legislature? The second raises the question: How well do the actually executed policies of the government represent the opinions of the national electorate?

Now it so happens that Israel's single countrywide elections with fixed party lists cannot but insulate Knesset Members from the voters between elections. Hence the "representational bond" between MKs and voters is weak. This is especially true of cabinet ministers, since they occupy safe seats on their party's list. It follows that Israel's method of electing members of the Knesset does not enable the electorate to impress its opinions and conviction effectively on the legislative process nor on the actually executed policies of the government. This not only diminishes the democratic character of the state, but also its Jewish character as well—for reasons already mentioned.

If Israel had regional elections, where the people could vote for individual candidates rather than for a party slate, the representational bond between MKs and constituents would be relatively strong. The electorate would thus be more capable of impressing its opinions and convictions on the Knesset and on actually enacted government policies. The resulting constraints on elected officials would make the country more Jewish, since more than 50% of Israel's Jewish population are traditional Jews while another 25% are orthodox, it follows that making the country more democratic by means of district elections would make it more Jewish.

Thus far I have mentioned only institutional means of making Israel more Jewish hence of increasing Jewish commitment to the Land of Israel. This will profoundly influence the territorial ambitions of Arabs West of the River Jordan and prompt many to leave, especially if given economic incentives. Here, an Epilog is in order..


The American-Israel Demographic Research Group (AIDRG) ( revealed in 2006 that Israel does not need to retreat from Judea and Samaria to secure Jewish demography. The study shows that the Arab population in Judea, Samaria, Gaza and Jerusalem is no more than 2.4 million. Since those registered as Jews in Israel comprise almost 80% of Israel's population, they make up a 59% majority with Gaza and Judea and Samaria and a solid 67% majority with Judea and Samaria without Gaza!

Moreover, the American and Israeli researchers found that Jewish fertility rates are steadily increasing while Arab fertility rates are steadily decreasing. So, not only is there no demographic time bomb necessitating the surrender of Judea and Samaria to Palestinian terrorists, but Israel's demographic position should encourage its government to develop a strategy for annexing Judea and Samaria.

Furthermore, the American researchers recommend a multi-district voting system divided along the lines of the Interior Ministry's administrative partition of the country. It turns out that with regional elections, Jews will form large majorities in every administrative district in the country except the northern district, where Arabs comprise a bare 52% majority. But the internal migration of just 52,000 Jews to the North would overturn that majority.

Finally, since 1997, not only has Jewish population growth exceeded Arab growth in Judea and Samaria, but average Arab net emigration from these areas has ranged between 10-20,000 per year and has been rising sharply because of the kleptocracy of the Palestinian Authority. An internal migration of approximately 150,000 Jews to Judea and Samaria would give them strong Jewish majorities. Since the Tel Aviv district has a 99% Jewish majority and the central region of the country has a 92% Jewish majority, it would be easy to facilitate such a migration of Jews from these crowded areas.

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