Friday, March 07, 2008

Avi Dichter and Transfer

Last week, there was a lively debate at Dovbear's blog about Rabbi Kahane and the concept of transferring hostile Arabs living in Israel out of the country, for the safety and integrity of the state. Many points were made, but one of the central ones was that Rabbi Kahane's ideas were defeated by the very fact that no-one supports them anymore. It was pointed out that there are sizeable percentages of Israelis who support this transfer idea, but that was brushed aside by others. I would like to point out that Minister of Israel's Interior Security, Avi Dichter, supports transfer as well.

There was a religious-halachik aspect to Rabbi Kahane's position, certainly. However, he also supported this transfer of hostile Arabs for demographic and security concerns, as well. It is these reasons that resonated with people like Yitzchak Rabin and Ariel Sharon, and led them to the realization that co-existence is not realistic, and that a two-state solution is necessary. Instead of annexing Gaza and the West Bank, a Palestinian state would be created there, and that would allow most hostile Arabs to live without the state of Israel. A transfer by excision, but transfer nonetheless. In fact, there was forced transfer, but it was the movement of Jews instead of the movement of Arabs. (The idea that they were moved "in", and so it is not as bad as moving others "out" is disingenuous. The Israeli government encouraged people to settle Gaza and the West bank for thirty years, economically and philosophically. In fact, Sharon himself stated years back that any order to uproot settlements was immoral and should be refused. I find the eminent domain argument weak as well, since eminent domain is to be used for government purposes, to better the lives of the majority of citizens, and not to chip away at the homeland and provide terrorists with bases ever closer to our borders.)

However, no matter how close these leaders came to admitting that transfer was the only option, they always could claim that no Arab living in Israel, no Israeli Arab, would be forced from his home, and made to live in any theoretical "Palestine". It was deeply implied by all concerned, and believed by a nation desperate that there be a group of Arabs they could call "friend", that these Israeli Arabs did not hate us, except for a few bad apples; that the Israeli Arabs would not hurt us, except for a few extremists; that the Israeli Arabs would live in peace with us, and any that would not could be treated as any other Israeli criminal -- jailed and eventually released, rehabilitated to the love of his Jewish neighbors. However, that has now changed.

Yesterday's brutal terror attack, in which seven Jewish teens and a 26 year old were murdered in cold blood in their study hall, brought the problem even closer to the surface. The attack of two city employees in East Jerusalem, the attempted lynch, the vicious attempted murder, also helped. Israelis are beginning to realize that nothing will change the fact that even among Israeli Arabs, the majority is not supportive or loyal to the state, and they would, in a heartbeat, join the throngs of enemies when it seems possible to kill Jews. The minority is not those who wish to destroy us, but those who do not.

And so, Israel begins to realize that transfer of hostile Arabs is the only solution left. Here is what Avi Dichter said, today in Merkaz Harav (as quoted by Arutz 7): "He [Avi Dichter] added: "If an intifadah breaks out, we know how to put it down," and expressed hope that a way will be found to send terrorists from east Jerusalem to Ramallah."

Avi Dichter sees Ramallah as outside Israel. He hopes to be able to banish terrorists who are Israeli citizens (after all, he speaks of terrorists from east Jerusalem) from east Jerusalem to Ramallah. Obviously, he speaks of terrorists who have not yet committed their terror, for if they already have, they would have to be put on trial. Clearly, Dichter does not advocate a situation in which a terrorist like last night's would be caught alive and not tried, but sent to live in peace in Ramallah. He is talking about potential terrorists -- people who support terror against our country -- he is talking about hostile Arabs of Israel.

And now we have come full circle. Israel rejected Rabbi Kahane as a rascist and an extremist for putting forth a platform that highlighted, among many other issues, the issue of Israeli-Arab hate of Israel and the need to rid the country of a fifth column. He was denounced; he was punished; he was imprisoned; his party was outlawed. And yet, it seems, the result of 30 years' policy that took the opposite track has ended up with a virtually identical statement by Avi Dichter to those of Rabbi Kahane. The only difference, in the end, is where "outside Israel" is. In Rabbi Kahane's book, it was Jordan, or Lebanon or Sinai. In the Dichter/Olmert/Rabin/Sharon book, it is Ramallah -- a virtual stone-throw from Jerusalem. Rabbi Kahane's plan would have put Israel's enemies far from our population centers, and across natural, defensible borders. The Dichter plan places the hostile Arabs to be transferred masochistically close to our population centers, a spitting's distance across Abba Eban's "Auschwitz borders".