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Population transfer

Reader comment on item: How Israel Can Win

Submitted by Jeff in USA (United States), Apr 4, 2006 at 23:36

I have believed for a long time that population transfer is the only thing that can really end this conflict, and Pipes's perceptive article, if anything, just makes the case for it even stronger.

Israel without the West Bank and Gaza is too geographically vulnerable. The main metropolitan areas (Tel Aviv and Jerusalem) would be within a few miles of hostile territory, closer than most American cities are to their own outermost suburbs. On the other hand, if Israel permanently rules over a growing population of millions of Muslims in those territories, it will be forced to give up either its democracy or its Jewish/Western character. The only way to avoid this dilemma is to transfer the Muslim population to Muslim countries and incorporate the territory permanently into Israel.

As Pipes points out, wars generally end when one side accepts that it has been decisively and irrevocably defeated. That has not yet happened in the Arab-Israeli conflict, therefore the violence drags on and on. The expulsion of the Muslims from the West Bank and Gaza, and the realization that those territories were irrevocably lost to Israel, would be precisely the kind of psychological blow needed to bring about that awareness of decisive defeat.

As an earlier commenter said, the argument that such a step would increase Muslim hatred of Israel is implausible. Muslim hatred of Israel is already at the highest possible pitch. The difference would be that the Muslims would be more likely to recognize their own impotence and abandon the hope that they could someday destroy Israel.

For a historical analogy, I would point to the Polish, Russian, and Czech expulsion of millions of ethnic Germans from the Sudetenland and trans-Oder-Neisse territories at the end of World War II. This action meant that about one-quarter of all the land historically inhabited by ethnic Germans was irrevocably lost (a fraction much higher than what the West Bank and Gaza represent out of the totality of the Arab world). The expulsion was carried out with far greater brutality than anything Israel would ever contemplate, and millions of refugees had to be absorbed into the remainder of Germany. But this did not create a permanent refugee crisis or undying German hatred and revanchism towards the Slavic nations. Instead, it drove home the reality of final defeat -- and thus helped ensure that the conflict was truly over.
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