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Monday, January 07, 2008

Kosovo, Kurdistan and 'Israeli Arabs'

Writing in YNet, Eldad Beck spins a scenario that most Israelis are ignoring.
Allow me to present the following scenario: In contradiction to all the pessimistic predictions, Israel and the Palestinians are able to successfully conclude negotiations on a final-status agreement, among other things based to incentives provided by the European Union. In the final stages of negotiations, Israeli representatives cave in to international pressure and waive the demand to recognize Israel’s unique Jewish character.

A short while after the agreement is signed, an uprising breaks out in the Galilee, in the Triangle area, and in the southern Negev desert, with Arab Israelis demanding a cultural and political autonomy that would enable them to manage their own lives while disconnecting from the State of Israel’s “Jewish” institutions.

The bloody clashes between the sides prompt the United Nations to call on Israel to restrain itself and consider the deployment of multinational forces to serve as a buffer. The European Union threatens to renounce Israel’s special status if it fails to act immediately in order to meet the demands of the minority living within it. Israel’s dependence on the EU is so great that it is forced to capitulate and turn into a “greater Tel Aviv” shtetl.

Is this horrific scenario completely imaginary, or is it taking shape right before our eyes? The conduct displayed by the international community, and particularly by the EU, on the issue of Kosovo’s independence should worry Israel. Kosovo’s declaration of independence has indeed been postponed, yet with every further delay certainty grows that sooner or later Kosovo will become an independent state with the West’s sweeping support.

This will create a dangerous precedent whereby the international community backs the right of an ethnic minority to undermine the sovereignty of a recognized state. At the same time, it is interesting to follow the West’s hypocrisy on another burning issue: Europe and the United States continue to turn a blind eye while the Kurds are being oppressed, now in Iraqi territory as well, while rejecting the Kurdish right for self-determination in their own country.
The reasons for the hypocrisy in the way the world treats minorities should be obvious:
The conclusion is that everything starts and ends with interests, rather than principles. The US and most Western countries wish to weaken Serbia, which is Russia’s traditional ally, and therefore Kosovo’s struggle for independence enjoys full support. The US and most western countries do not wish to anger Turkey too much, and therefore they remain silent while Turkey pounds the Kurds. Would you like to guess who the West, and particularly Europe, will be supporting should Israel find itself facing an ethnic uprising by its Arab citizens?
One of the assumptions underlying Prime Minister Ehud K. Olmert's seeking to be raped is that once the rape is over, the Arabs won't come back for more. But does that accord with reality? Have you ever bargained in a Middle Eastern souk (bazaar)? The bargaining is almost never done and it becomes a game in itself.

I've written before why Israelis and our supporters ought to be concerned about what's happening in Kosovo.
For those of you who cannot figure out why the points I've highlighted are not in Israel's interest, the paper (by James Jatras and Serge Trifkovic under the auspices of the Begin - Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar Ilan University) lists seven reasons why supporters of Israel should be concerned by the possibility of an independent state of Kosovo. Those reasons mostly relate to the precedent that would be set by world powers awarding part of a country's territory to an ethnic minority living in that territory without the country's consent. That has implications beyond Judea, Samaria and Gaza, as Arabs are a majority in parts of the Negev and Galilee as well. In fact, it has long been claimed that if the 'Palestinians' ever get their state reichlet in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, the next thing they will do is try to claim the Negev and Galilee.

As in the Middle East, there is already an Islamic state in the Balkans. It's called Bosnia. Thus, like here, there is no reason to create another state where none existed before.
And just a week ago, I questioned why both Israel and the United States are supporting Islamist Turkey in its struggle against Iraqi Kurdistan:
Kurdistan is a region that holds an ethnic minority that stretches over parts of Iraq, Turkey, Iran and Syria. The Kurds regard themselves as allies of the US and Israel and fought against Saddam Hussein for years. But now, both the United States and Israel are choosing to support Islamist Turkey in its quest to snuff out the Kurdish attempt at statehood. And I have to wonder why.
Israel ought to realize that if - God forbid - it agrees to a 'Palestinian' state reichlet, the demands won't end there. There are pockets of mostly-Arab populated areas in the Galilee and the Negev, among other places. The Arabs are not interested in 'population exchanges' because they don't want to become part of the 'Palestinian state.' But they would likely be more than happy to take the democracy lessons they have learned from Israel and set up their own state in the areas in which they live, further cutting into the heart of the Jewish state. And so, even if we give the 'Palestinians' their reichlet, the demands will not end. The real question is how to awaken the average Israeli to this reality.


At 2:46 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 2:49 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

I wouldn't mind swapping hostile Arab areas in Israel for annexing much of Judea and Samaria. The catch of course is the Arabs will never accept an arrangement that would divest Israel of a hostile Arab population and which leaves Israel with more Jews and more secure borders. That is not the point of pushing for a Palestinian reichlet. The point is its a way station towards Israel's eventual destruction. It doesn't need to come all at once. All the Arabs are asking now for is a down payment and they can make more demands later. At no point will the Arabs agree to ever end the conflict. If Israel's leaders are so stupid as to agree, it would become G-d forbid, a self-fulfilling prophecy. Or perhaps Israel's leaders do not want to leave the state to real Jews - such as yourself, Carl. They can always retire abroad after the dirty work is done.

At 4:27 AM, Blogger Naftali2 said...

This is my first post here, and I realize that most discussions on these topics tend to be politically focused. But given the theme of the introduction to the blog in general, shouldn't or I should say couldn't the discussion take on a religious theme. Aren't all of these questions ultimately religious questions. And it seems that religious discussions, at least in Judaism, can go in many different directions. I mean, after a while, I think we get it, that the motivations of both Israel's friends and enemies can be questioned. So, what next? Yes, the Arabs want to destroy Israel, yes Europe doesn't care one way or the other, yes the US State Department feels like Europe but just a little more savvy. So what next? What's our move? I'm asking as an open question.


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