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Monday, July 14, 2014

The one-state solution is on our doorstep

David Goldman argues that because of changing demographics in the Middle East, the one-state solution is on our doorstep. Only one state is capable of ruling Judea and Samaria. That state is Israel.
In the background of the region’s disrupted demographics, a great demographic change overshadows the actions of all the contenders. That is decline of Muslim fertility, and the unexpected rise in Jewish fertility. The fall in Muslim birth rate is most extreme in Iran and Turkey, with different but related consequences. When Ayatollah Khomeini took power in 1979, the average Iranian woman had seven children; today the total fertility rate has fallen to just 1.6 children, the sharpest drop in demographic history. Iran still has a young population, but it has no children to succeed them. By mid-century Iran will have a higher proportion of elderly dependents than Europe, an impossible and unprecedented burden for a poor country. Iran’s sudden aging will be followed by Turkey, Algeria, and Tunisia.

Israel is the great exception to the decline in fertility from North Africa to Iran, as I argued in a 2011 essay for Tablet magazine. The evidence is now overwhelming that a Jewish majority between the Jordan River and the sea is baked in the cake.
The CIA World Factbook estimates total fertility of Arabs in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza at just 2.83 in 2014, versus 3.05 in 2011. The total fertility of Israeli Jews, meanwhile, has risen above three children per female. Yakov Faitelson reported in the Middle East Quarterly:
From the beginning of the twenty-first century the TFR of Israeli Muslims decreased considerably, from 4.7 in 2000 to 3.5 children per woman in 2011. The TFR of all Arabs decreased still further to 3.3 children per woman, very close to the 3.09 for Jews born in Israel. In November 2011, a new comprehensive ICBS projection was published in which the government office admitted that in the past it had overestimated Israeli Arab fertility and underestimated Jewish fertility.
Jewish immigration is consistently positive and accelerating, while Palestinian emigration, at an estimated 10,000 per year since 1967, is reducing the total Arab population west of the Jordan River. Palestine Authority data exaggerated Arab numbers in Judea and Samaria by about 30 percent, or 648,000 people, as of the 1997 census. As Caroline Glick observes in her 2014 book The Israeli Solution, Jews will constitute a 60 percent majority between the river and the sea, and “some anticipate that due almost entirely to Jewish immigration, Jews could comprise an 80 percent majority within the 1949 armistice lines and Judea and Samaria by 2035.”
Israel therefore has little fear demographically from annexation. Net Jewish immigration and net Arab emigration will combine with higher Jewish fertility to establish a Jewish supermajority over time. The character of the West Bank population is changing: It is becoming older and more educated, and increasing numbers of Arabs are benefiting from the strong Israeli economy. Over time, West Bank Arabs may embrace Israeli citizenship—when it is offered—as firmly as their counterparts inside the Green Line. The so-called apartheid issue is a canard. Israeli Arabs lived under martial law between the end of the War of Independence in 1949 and 1966, and no one spoke of apartheid. Israel’s most pressing problem in the near future may be Arab refugees trying to get in.
As a non-Israeli, I do not wish to recommend a particular course of action to Israel’s government. But the notion that the Palestinians could stay clear of the riptide that has engulfed their neighbors was fanciful to begin with and has now been trampled by events. Over the past two decades, since the Oslo agreements were signed, the Palestine Authority shown little ability to govern anything. After Egypt’s military government suppressed the Muslim Brotherhood, it turned viciously against the Brotherhood’s Palestinian wing, Hamas, and blockaded Gaza. If the PA were capable of ruling the West Bank, it would have allied with Egypt and Saudi Arabia to further isolate Hamas: Instead the PA formed a national unity government with Hamas. Events have shown that the PA cannot rule without Hamas, and it cannot rule with Hamas; it can neither support nor suppress terrorism on the West Bank. The inability of the Palestine Authority to govern, the inability of Hamas to distance itself from its patron in Tehran, and the collapse of the surrounding states eventually will require Israel to assume control over the West Bank. This time the Israelis will stay.
Israel can’t rely on the PA to conduct counterterrorism operations against Hamas, its coalition partner. Israel’s border with the Hashemite Kingdom in the Jordan Valley, meanwhile, has become a strategic pivot. ISIS is now operating in strength at the common border of Israel, Syria, Jordan, and occupied Iraqi-Syrian border towns close to the common frontier with Jordan. Jordan’s own security requires a strong IDF presence on its western border.
When Israel absorbs Judea and Samaria—and it is a when, not an if—the chancelleries of the West will wag their fingers, and the Gulf States will breathe a sigh of relief.

The historical homeland of the Jewish people will pass into Israeli sovereignty not because the national-religious will it to be so, or because an Israeli government seeks territorial aggrandizement, but because Israel will be the last man standing in the region, the only state able to govern Judea and Samaria, and the only military force capable of securing its borders. It will happen without fanfare, de facto rather than de jure, at some moment in the not-too-distant future when the foreign ministries of the West are locked in crisis session over Iraq or Syria. And it will happen with the tacit support of Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia.
Israeli authority will replace the feckless regime of the Palestine Authority in order to maintain public order and ensure that the electricity works, and the roads are secure, and that bands of jihadist marauders or Shiite terrorists do not massacre entire villages; this action will elicit the reflex condemnation from bored and dispirited Western diplomats. The realization of the Zionist dream will then be consummated not with a bang, but a whimper; the bangs will be much louder elsewhere.
Read the whole thing.

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At 12:42 AM, Blogger ais cotten19 said...

Great article, but I think Goldman errs by saying TFR dropped to 2.83% in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. The world factbook lists Gaza's TFR at over 4%, although 2.83% is correct for the "West Bank".

Still, long term this is excellent news for Israel. Also, the article page has a very entertaining collection of comments ranging from outright denial to typical kvetching about Orthodox Jews.

At 1:07 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

What would prevent a Naomi Chazer type from forming a ruling coalition between the Jewish left and the Arabs ?

At 10:54 AM, Blogger ais cotten19 said...

Preventing the Arabs from getting the vote would help - wonder why we are considering such a situation anyways. Goldman's news is good, but his idea that Israel break away from the status quo in the disputed territories by annexing is a bad one. If anything need be done, Israel needs to quietly expand settlements, both in area size and density, and continue to provide security to those who choose to live on the land - that's all.


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