Friday, August 19, 2005

The Failed State None Dare Name

“Contrary to the expectations of the early Zionists, most of the world's Jews have not joined their brethren to live in Israel. Of the world's 13 million to 14 million Jews, a minority - 5.26 million - make their home in Israel, and immigration has largely dried up. Last year, a record low 21,000 Jews immigrated to Israel”
Israel is consistantly called a successful state, a democracy with a high standard of living and many proud accomplishments, but it's not a democracy, and its failure is worse than others, because it should have been.

The Zionists expected Jews elsewhere to suffer misery that has not materialized. Over half a century after the establishment of the Jewish state, more Jews live in the United States than in Israel.

The Palestinian population has grown far more rapidly - and Palestinians have proved far more willing to fight - than many on the Israeli right had anticipated. The newspaper Haaretz reported that the proportion of Jews in the combined population of Israel, the West Bank and Gaza had dropped below 50 percent. Many Israelis argue, that unless they yield territory, they will have to choose a Jewish state or a democratic one; they will not be able to have both.

The truth is the choice was made unconciously. A Jewish state for the benefit of Jews can't be democratic any more than a White state for the benefit of Whites. You can have a democratic state period. Hyphenate it, and you have something else entirely.

Jewish immigration never achieved anticipated levels, the Palestinian population has ballooned. The question of the role played by Palestinian violence is hotly contested.

Some argue that the two Palestinian intifadas, or uprisings, from 1987 to 1993 and from 2000 to the present, drove Israel out. Others say that Israel's increasingly effective counterterror measures - the building of a barrier, killings of terror leaders and military reoccupation of selective Palestinian cities - broke the back of the insurgents, allowing Israel the sense of strength to walk away. In fact, both factors seem likely to have played a role.

"Of course terror has a role in the disengagement," said Michael Oren, a senior fellow at the Shalem Institute, a conservative Jerusalem research group. "It convinced us that Gaza was not worth holding onto and awakened us to the demographic danger. It took two intifadas for a majority of Israelis to decide that Gaza is not worth it."

A senior Israeli official who spent years closely associated with Likud leaders, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the topic, said that Israelis long had little respect for Palestinians as fighters, but that had changed.

"The fact that hundreds of them are willing to blow themselves up is significant," he said. "We didn't give them any credit before. In spite of our being the strongest military power in the Middle East, we lost 1,200 people over the last four years. It finally sank in to Sharon and the rest of the leadership that these people were not giving up."

Some came to a similar conclusion much earlier. The Israeli left has been calling for a withdrawal from Gaza for years, and even many on the right believed settlement there to be futile and counterproductive. Mr. Kimche, the former foreign ministry official, recalled that when Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir of the conservative Likud party was running against Yitzhak Rabin of Labor in the early 1990's, several Shamir advisers told him: "Unless you withdraw from Gaza, you're going to lose these elections." He did not withdraw; he lost.

Mr. Rabin himself said that he decided to negotiate a withdrawal with the Palestinians when he realized how unpopular military service in Gaza had become.

"He said privately - I heard him say it - that military reservists don't want to serve in the occupied territories and while they are not formally refusing they are finding excuses to stay away," Yoel Esteron, managing editor of Yediot Aharonot, recalled. "That put a real burden on the army and it meant we couldn't stay there forever."

With Gaza soon no longer in their hands, Israelis will face a much more complex set of decisions regarding the occupied West Bank. Settlements in distant corners of the West Bank are also being dismantled in the coming weeks, but no one knows how much more land Mr. Sharon and his successors will be willing to yield.

In fact, settlements in the West Bank are expanding, encroachment in East Jerusalem continues.

What is clear, however, is that the internal Israeli logic of what is taking place this week - a scaling back of ambition in the face of reality - could lead to traumatic withdrawals of larger numbers of people on the West Bank.

…. Failed states facilitate to terror. Failed democracies give us rwandas, kampucheas, and yes even Nazi Germany. Unfortunately, propping up a state militarily doesn't preserve or spread democracy. Failure to recognize the fundamental flaw turned Israel, first into a police state, lead to death squads, all because they thought they could have democracy for some, but not all. They staked their survival on it, but their continued survival may depend on whether they can abandon it.

Alfred Ingram…

con·cept: The Failed State None Dare Name