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Likud Announces Greater Israel

14 million Jews between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River

 

 

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A popular saying claims that a picture is worth a thousand words. Yet, some pictures are beyond such quantification, like the one to the right. It belongs to the 2011 Leah Rabin Remembrance Ceremony and was taken on November 12 of that year; it shows President Shimon Peres delivering a speech. You don't need to know the problematic relationship between Peres and Rabin—the latter called Peres an "indefatigable conspirator"—to recognize the disgust of Peres in his contracted lower lip. A comic little touch is a badly fit black kipah which is almost touching his forehead, as if purposely showing disrespect. The 2012 yearly remembrance of Yitzhak Rabin at the Knesset—on November 4—was the occasion of a scandal and further disclosures of Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin regarding the plans of his party—Likud—for the next government. A few days before the sad event, he urged the annexation of the West Bank, during the Rabin Remembrance Ceremony at the Knesset, he went far beyond that.

Shimon Peres at Leah Rabin Remembrance

Shimon Peres at Leah Rabin Remembrance
November 12, 2011

Rivlin and Peres

Rivlin and Peres
Rabin Remembrance, Knesset
November 4, 2012

Nowadays, the Knesset is home to many of Rabin's enemies. The faces of Shimon Peres and Reuven Rivlin during the remembrance ceremony at the Knesset don't leave any doubts as to how they feel about Rabin. The opposition to the 1993 Oslo Accord between Israel and the PLO, works in Israel like a twoheaded serpent; in the picture to the left there is a rare opportunity to see agents of both of them. One of them is obvious; Reuven Rivlin caused an uproar during the memorial event when he said that the Oslo Accord, signed by Rabin, is dead. He accurately represents the wishes of most rightwing voters; in an interview that he gave after the events to the settler Channel 7, he described a near future without Palestine. The second serpent head is subtler in its style. It says “yes,” but means “no.” This “yes and no” cost him two elections. Overtly, Peres says “yes” to Oslo; his actions show a clear “no.” The most violent proof of that occurred in the short period when he was Prime Minister following Rabin’s assassination. He ordered Operation Grapes of Wrath in April 1996; despite its limited duration, this was an especially cruel attack, in which 500,000 Lebanese were displaced, and much of Southern Lebanon's infrastructure was destroyed. It is difficult to deal with Peres’ approach; one ends up with unproven allegations. The other head is easier. On the 17th anniversary of the assassination that killed the peace process in the Middle East, the right-head of this bicephalous serpent was clear in its brutal goals.

Greater Israel

Attempting to explain his words, Rivlin claimed that if Peres can justify the Oslo Accord during a memorial, he has the right to oppose it during the same event. There is no doubt about that, but the circumstances transformed his words into offensive ones. He continued with a description of Israel in 2040, in its demographic and territorial aspects. Since neither of his arguments can be a base for a peace agreement with the Palestinians, he was preaching war.

Rivlin claims that the consolidation of two countries west of the Jordan—Israel and Palestine—can only keep the struggle between the people alive. This is the historical view of the Likud—and its predecessor Herut—as described in The Rebirth of the Stern Gang. Rivlin was explicit, mentioning Ze’ev Jabotinsky’s book "The Iron Wall." Published in 1923, this text became the basis for the Likud ideology; "All colonization, even the most restricted, must continue in defiance of the will of the native population," Jabotinsky said there. “Only one country west of the Jordan,” is the Likud position.

Rabin Being Shot

Rabin Being Shot
State Assassination

The second point made by Rivlin was new. He claimed that, in the year 2040, there will be fourteen million Jews between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River living under one sovereignty, the Israeli one. A few days ago, he claimed that the Israeli government should apply Israeli law in the West Bank without announcing this publicly; this meant an unofficial annexation of the West Bank. Now, he went further in his vision, declaring this a preliminary step to a formal unification of the territories west of the Jordan under Israeli Administration.

The number he quoted has a serious political implication. He didn’t expand so I will make a basic assessment of the demographics in the relevant areas. By the end of 2012, Israel has roughly 8 million inhabitants, 6 million Jews and 2 million Palestinians. The West Bank has an opposite ratio, of its 2,5 million inhabitants, 2 million are Palestinians and the remnant are Jewish settlers. Gaza has almost 2 million Palestinians and no Jews. Mr. Rivlin didn’t expose the math behind his demographic vision, but it is astounding. He claims that in less than 30 years, the Jewish population will grow up from its current 6.5 million to 14 million. Considering that the growth rate of the Secular-Jewish population—roughly 80% of Jewish population is secular—is low, the more than doubling of the population in a generation means that Rivlin plans a mass immigration of Jews to Israel. From where will they come? He wasn’t kind enough to reveal this. What will happen to the over six million Palestinians living in the same territory? Their number almost matches the number of Jews and their population growth rate is higher than that of the Jewish population. Israel’s density population is a misleading number. Formally it reaches almost 400/km2 (almost 1,000 per square mile), but the reality is different. The Negev desert is sparsely populated; this means that the real density is roughly double the mentioned number. This makes Israel one of the most densely populated areas in the world. Rivlin plans to more than double it, which is difficult unless he is planning to remove the Palestinian population. In that case, the total population will feature a reasonable growing rate in the next 30 years. Considering that Rivlin didn’t specify the fate of the Palestinians, it is difficult to be more accurate in the analysis. That was the purpose of his ambiguity.

Let's be even clearer. Likud wants a Jewish state. Likud wants to unify all the territories west of the Jordan under one Jewish sovereignty. Likud preaches for democracy. The actual situation is of a highly dense territory populated by an almost equal number of Jews and Palestinians. Unifying it in a single, democratic country, you get a binational country. Jews will have no preference there. In other words, either the Likud is presenting contradictory policies or is hiding from the people its evacuation plans for the Palestinian population.

Rabin Memorial at the Assassination Spot

Rabin Memorial at the Assassination Spot | "Here, in this place, was killed at the end of the Sabbath, November 4, 1995, the Prime Minister and Defense Minister of the State of Israel. Yitzhak Rabin. The Peace-his testament."

 

A long time ago, one of my readers complained about a comment I made regarding Rabin's commitment to peace. "He committed crimes himself," he said (he was much bolder). That is true, but Rabin changed. In 1995, he was serious about achieving a permanent peace agreement with the Palestinians. He was so serious that he was assassinated for that with the court-proven involvement of the Israeli Shin Beth (political secret police) in the crime. This implies that somebody in the political level signed the operation's approval. At that moment, the Israeli political upper echelon killed the Oslo Accord. Rivlin's words brought the formal annulment of the agreement a bit closer. His words announced war. In typical Israeli sarcasm, he did that at the memorial of he who tried to bring peace.

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