The Right’s plan to beat Palestinians into submission

The good news: the Right has a plan to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The bad news: it’s as racist as you think.

Jewish Home MK Bezalel Smotrich at a Knesset committee hearing, November 28, 2016. (Photo by Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Jewish Home MK Bezalel Smotrich at a Knesset committee hearing, November 28, 2016. (Photo by Miriam Alster/Flash90)

The truth is that that there is no future in the Middle East for Jewish Home MK Bezalel Smotrich’s new political program, which seeks to completely erase Palestinians from the river to the sea. There is no place for his plan here, nor anywhere else in the world. There will never be a place in this world for Jews alone without any room for “non-Jews.” I hope this is obvious to everyone.

But before you jump from your seat, let me be clear: Jews, like all people, deserve a place where they can live with dignity and in peace. I did not establish these facts, nor did the millions of Palestinians who were here before the establishment of Israel and who aren’t going anywhere.

What can you do? This is the universe in which we live. In 2017, there is no state on earth that is racially or religiously “pure.” There are two models for this kind of regime: the first is the Vatican, the second is the territory controlled by Islamic State.

Thankfully, ISIS’ mission is a difficult one that isn’t going as planned. Humans migrate across the world through water and land, reaching new places where they can live with other people. It is not always easy, and often depends greatly on the prudence of the nations and states that take them in. Just like in this country, where Jews lived in pre-state Palestine, and which took in millions of Jews after the 1948 War.

The problem arose with the relentless desire for complete and utter control by Jewish Israelis — who arrived here for various reasons — over the land, its resources, and its people. Everything must surrender to the Jews. In my opinion, this is what perpetuates the conflict between the Palestinians and the Jews in the region. No fence will help; no barbed wire will bring security to Jews who desire control, some of whom believe God granted them exclusive rights to this land.

Palestinians try to climb over the separation wall at the Qalandyia checkpoint between the West Bank city of Ramallah and Jerusalem on their way to attend the last Friday prayers in Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque during Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Friday, July 1, 2016. (Photo by Flash90)
Palestinians try to climb over the separation wall at the Qalandyia checkpoint between the West Bank city of Ramallah and Jerusalem on their way to attend the last Friday prayers in Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque during Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Friday, July 1, 2016. (Photo by Flash90)

But soon this will end. This week we learned about Smotrich’s “plan to end the conflict. Remember, this is the man who wants his son to be born in a sterile delivery room, where no black person can lay a hand on him, where no midwife will cut his umbilical cord, and where he won’t be bothered by a Mizrahi hafla.

He was very convincing in what he says, and you can tell that he real means it. On the one hand, I appreciated his honesty — he is not ashamed, has nothing to hide, and doesn’t play any games. On the other hand, it was difficult for me to get into the head of a messianic Jew — who is no idiot — and discover how the most racist and violent kind of mind thinks.

In a speech to the Knesset, Smotrich laid out his alternatives to the current conflict, the first of which is going to war against the Palestinians. The war will be bloody and brutal, in which Palestinian women and children will be murdered. It won’t be nice, it won’t be pretty, but it will be necessary. According to Smotrich, women and children were murdered in World War II (will anyone tell him that Russia’s war against the Nazis does not justify this?). Not every Jew or German was slaughtered in that war, and no nation was wiped off the map. And yet the world was left broken.

Smotrich’s second alternative is erasure: a complete submission by Palestinians who choose to remain here. Complete cultural, linguistic, social, and political destruction by the Jewish state. Palestinians will physically remain, but their national aspirations will disappear alongside Israel’s full-throttled Jewish supremacy. They will enjoy their lives, their work, they will come back home after a long day and thank their merciful Jewish overlords. Both sides will enjoy quiet.

The final alternative will be wholesale abandonment by Palestinians. Millions will pack their bags and board buses to Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, or Egypt. “They will choose the ISIS they want to live under,” Smotrich says. Those who will not submit are welcome to leave. Those who remain will be forced to fight. It is clear who will win at that point.

Students play soccer outside of their school in the village of Khirbet al Fakheit, South Hebron Hills, West Bank, October 17, 2012. (Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)
Students play soccer outside of their school in the village of Khirbet al Fakheit, South Hebron Hills, West Bank, October 17, 2012. (Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

Smotrich’s illusion (which he shares with others in the government) that Palestinian national aspirations for independence and self-determination will vanish into thin air with the implementation of one of the above three options — is a deeply engrained one. Personally, it is clear that the two last scenarios simply won’t come to be, despite laws such as the nation-state bill. After all, a law that cancels Arabic’s status as an official language of the state will not cause millions of Arabs disappear.

As the government is busy with enshrining the occupation, racism, and Jewish supremacy into the law books, I am reminded of my late grandmother’s eternal argument with my father. She would always curse the Arab leaders who abandoned Palestine to the Jews. If only they showed some force “Israel would fold,” she would say. My father would laugh at her. “Keep dreaming and waiting for them…forget about it,” to which she would respond, “I’m not counting on them, I never counted on them, but the fact that they exist is a deterrence.”

My father refused to agree. Grandmother: “And yet, as much as Israel is gaining strength, all it will take is one Arab country to scare it to do the trick. There is no need to fight — just one angry stare down from a serious leader.”

“There are no good Arab leaders,” he would retort.

This argument went on until the fall of Saddam Hussein, after which my grandmother passed away. Today I think about just how right she was. If only we had strong, stable Arab countries around us, Smotrich wouldn’t dare open his mouth.

This post was originally published in Hebrew on Local Call.