Humans are tribal creatures by nature. Hundreds of thousands of years ago they lived in tribes that provided them with physical security, food and a sense of belonging. Today the nation-state has replaced the tribe, and its job is to provide the exact same things.
To create loyalty, every nation seeks its own uniqueness reflected in language, culture, history and religion. Therefore, when two peoples are forced to live in a single state, it will end in a civil war in which each nation will try to seize power. It happened in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Cyprus, Northern Ireland and Kurdistan, and that’s a partial list. That’s also the reason for the disintegration of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia into several nation-states.
Therefore, “one state” with two peoples means an all-out war using every available means, including terror and murder, between Jews and Arabs…
Shtrasler has caught a glimpse of the reality facing the State of Israel. It’s a horrifying prediction, as illustrated by the examples he gives. We have seen the disaster that is Lebanon from close by, and we don’t want it to happen here. Shtrasler understands this as well, but he, like the rest of the Israeli left, cannot face the implications, cannot accept what must be done to preserve the Jewish state. And so he moves from reality to fantasy:
The Jews preserved their national identity in exile for 2,000 years until they could return to the land of their ancestors and establish a nation-state. And that’s exactly what the Palestinians want now: an independent nation-state, separate from Israel, where they can express their national aspirations.
Of course this is exactly what they do not want, at least, it is not what any possible Palestinian leadership wants. The reversal of the Nakba has become an essential part of Palestinian identity and Palestinian politics. But Shtrasler and many others, including the American president and State Department, as well as the European Union, find it necessary to adopt some form of this fantasy because they can’t face reality.
Shtrasler correctly sees that one state containing Jews and a significant minority of Arabs will devolve into civil war. But he thinks that dividing the state (and its capital), and giving half of it away to the Arabs will satisfy them. He has not thought far enough ahead to see that the day after the partition of the land into two states, the war will not end. It will simply relocate to whatever part of the land has been (supposedly) left to the Jews, while at the same time the ability of Israel to defend herself against her external enemies will be greatly, even fatally, impaired.
The reality is that there will only be one state. A truncated Israel or, for that matter, a tiny “Palestine” will not be viable as sovereign states in today’s world. And the conflict between peoples in the single state is real, and is going on now. If you doubt that, think about last May’s anti-Jewish pogroms in the mixed cities well within the pre-1967 boundaries. Pay attention to the statistics (Hebrew link) for small- and large-scale terrorism against Jewish civilians by Arabs in the first half of 2022. Think about all the places in Israel – inside and outside the Green Line – that an unarmed Jew cannot safely go.
The question is not between “one or two states.” It is between “one Jewish state or one Arab state,” and if the choice is the latter, then the inhabitants of the Jewish state that survive the struggle will be dispersed yet again in a very unfriendly world.
An Israeli government that wants to preserve the state needs to adopt policies different from those of the recent past. It must acknowledge the conflict between peoples and fight to win it, rather than try to attain the delusional coexistence that we know is impossible. It must act to recover sovereignty in all of Eretz Yisrael, including all of Jerusalem, the Negev, and the Galilee. It must settle Jews throughout the land. And it must expel hostile Arabs (members of Hamas, Fatah, and similar groups). It must encourage Jews in the rest of the world to make aliyah, and encourage non-Jews to leave.
This is a program that could not be more politically incorrect in this age. It’s not particularly “democratic,” as the term is used today. And yet, there is no alternative. The Arabs understand this, as I suspect that their allies in Europe do as well. It’s time Israel’s Jewish leaders did too.