The Israel Solution: A One-State Plan for Peace in the Middle East
(Crown Forum, 324 pages, $25)
By Caroline Glick
Hillary Clinton essentially has been coronated the next Democratic nominee and first woman president of the United States 33 months before the 2016 election. This media-driven certainty ignores her many negatives, including the Benghazi debacle on her watch, the circus sideshow of her husband Bill, her tendency to give off an unlikable vibe, and the possibility that another green amateur could swoop in out of nowhere to defeat her in the primaries like Barack Obama did in 2008.
There is also the issue of Israel. Hillary has a long record of sticking her foot in it and saying callous things about the Jewish state. For example, as Secretary of State, she quipped that Israelis generically have a “lack of generosity” and a “lack of empathy” toward Palestinians, and that, “There is more that the Israelis need to do to really demonstrate that they do understand the pain of an oppressed people” (as if Jews do not know oppression first-hand). As First Lady, she sang the praises of “the leadership of Chairman [Yasser] Arafat,” the terrorist-sponsoring leader of the Palestinian Authority, and stated outright that, “I think it will be in the long-term interest of the Middle East for Palestine to be a state.” More than missteps, such statements clearly reflect her ideological position on the great question in the Middle East.
There are two hitches that prevent Israel from becoming a major campaign issue. The first is that American Jews overwhelmingly vote Democratic no matter how hostile a liberal candidate is towards Israel. Obama got 74% of the Jewish vote in 2008 and 70% in 2012 despite his flagrantly pro-Islamist worldview, policies, and attitude. The second problem is most Americans’ eyes glaze over when the Mideast topic comes up. Decades of conflict, unfulfilled peace negotiations, and countless U.S. diplomats scrambling in hopes to win the Nobel Prize have exhausted the interest of the average voter. Plus, the mess just seems so complicated.
Into the breach of issue overload jumps Caroline Glick, a columnist for the Jerusalem Post. Her new book, The Israel Solution: A One-State Plan for Peace in the Middle East, cuts through all the relativistic baloney regarding the Palestinian controversy and provides a comprehensive explanation for why it is vital for supporters of Israel not go wobbly now. If there is a single new book that can help the public make sense of the Mideast crisis, this is it. Its clarity in straightening out myriad political complexities also provides fodder for tripping up Hillary on foreign-policy questions on the stump.
The author starts the book with a chronicle of failure detailing the wrongheadedness of the U.S. policy advocating for two states — Israel and Palestine on top of one another — a scheme she insists will never work. Nine two-state proposals pushed by Washington failed in the 43-year period between 1970 and 2013. Continuing to beat their heads against the same wall to no avail makes U.S. diplomats look ridiculous and weak. But even more senseless is pretending that Muslim intransigence isn’t a major cause of the lack of progress. “The policy assumes that only Israel and the United States are actors on the ground and that both are at fault for the conflict: Israel because it refuses to surrender to all the Palestinians’ demands, and the United States because it has failed to force Israel to surrender to all the Palestinians’ demands,” Ms. Glick explains.
The middle of the book wanders out on patrol through the history of the modern Jewish state and shoots down all the usual bugaboos one-by-one. You may ask: Isn’t Israel’s eventual capitulation inevitable because of demographic trends that will lead to Palestinians dramatically outnumbering Jews? The answer is “no” because the Palestinian population has been hugely over-counted. “Researchers discovered that the 1997 Palestinian census was a fraud,” Ms. Glick writes. “The PCBS [Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics] had exaggerated the Palestinian population figures by nearly 50 percent, or 1.34 million people.” Immigration growth was also fudged significantly. To provide some context, the author reports, “The magnitude of the error would be comparable to the U.S. Census Bureau suddenly increasing the population of the United States by 162 million people.”
Another typical argument addressed in this book is the charge that Jews are colonial occupiers of the Holy Land and thus don’t have a legitimate claim to sovereignty. In a general sense, this is a silly point because most of the planet’s territorial boundaries are the result of conquest one way or another, by one invader or colonial power or another, and most of these lines aren’t under pressure to be redrawn. Though, more to the point is the underlying issue of whether or not this specific scrap of land is the homeland for this specific tribe of people. On this point, the author simply asserts, “During the 3,500-year political history of the land of Israel, the Jews were the only nation that viewed Israel as a single political unit, separate and distinct from all other territory, and as territory that uniquely served as their national, political, religious and territorial center.” Christian Byzantines and Crusaders ruled the land for a combined 500 years, yet it was never the capital of their world but more of an outpost, albeit a spiritually crucial one. The same goes for the thousand years of Islamic domination; the Holy Land was merely a part of a larger Muslim world, not its heart.
Speaking of heart, the heart of this matter — and of this book — is Ms. Glick’s ultimate proposal for one, single, unified, permanent state of Israel to the exclusion of Palestinian aspirations for nationhood. The plan would entail the dissolution of partitioned Palestinian territory, the dismantling of the governing Palestinian Authority (P.A.), and the extension of Israeli law to the entire region. This might sound like a simple win-win for the Jews, but it’s not as if life is bearable for Palestinians under the corrupt and tyrannical P.A. What the new Israeli residents would get in return is the right to vote in national elections, establish their own local democratic representatives and members of the Knesset, the new freedom to move around and live anywhere in the country, as well as the benefit of enjoying the general prosperity and liberty of the only liberal nation in that part of the world.
The world community might go crackers over this vision, but at the end of the day, outside powers have limited leverage to force their will in matters of Israeli internal affairs. No doubt, Europe would squawk and probably threaten sanctions, but the old continent isn’t as important as it once was, and European corporations would resist trade restrictions, especially on lucrative high-tech arms sales. Neighboring Muslim nations would hate it but aren’t militarily competent enough to do anything about it. As for the Palestinians themselves, it is almost guaranteed that their radical leaders would resist the change with terrorist attacks, but they support violence already. For the average Palestinian on the street, Ms. Glick suggests that life would improve so much, so quickly that it’s not far-fetched to posit that they would get accustomed to their new rights and opportunities and go along with it. Eventually, the radical minority would lose support in its own community.
Ultimately, for the one-nation plan to have a chance, American policymakers need to stop inhaling the smoke of the two-nation pipedream. The present time is an opportune time for such a shift in worldview in Washington. In November 2012, the United Nations voted to upgrade the Palestinian status in the world body to being an “observer state,” clearly identifying Palestine as its own state. The vote was an astounding 138-9 in favor with 41 abstentions. This anti-Zionist vote reminds what a dangerously hostile world it is for Israel, which has fewer than ten reliable allies. The Jewish state needs to be able to work out its own fate. In The Israel Solution, Caroline Glick makes a convincing case that the only way to move toward peace in the Middle East is through the one-state plan — no matter what Hillary Rodham Clinton thinks.