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Transfer Means Peace

by Boris Shusteff Arutz Sheva November 17, 2003

The verdict is in. An unprecedented majority of Israelis support transfer for
the purpose of achieving peace between the Arabs and the Jews. In case you
missed them, let us briefly recapture the highlights of the events that must
inevitably bring us to this conclusion.

Polls conducted in February 2002 in Israel demonstrated that 46% of
respondents supported the transfer of Arabs from Judea, Samaria and Gaza, while 60%
were inclined towards the transfer of Arabs from Israel proper. In October 2003,
the Israeli Left announced the drafting of the so-called “Geneva Initiative”,
which is supposed to be officially signed on December 1. The core idea of the
document is to facilitate the transfer of 4.5 million Arabs and half a
million Jews in an attempt to separate Jewish and Arab populations for the sake of
peace. Yossi Beilin, the ideologist of the Geneva transfer initiative, plans to
distribute the document to every Israeli household. According to the latest
polls, 25% already support the initiative. Since most of them are situated on
the Left flank of Israel’s political spectrum, knowing the ratio between Left
and Right in Israel, it is safe to assume that the number will grow to 30-35%.
That means that more than 90% of Israelis, in one way or another, support the
transfer idea. The only difference is that the majority of them prefer for the
transferees to be only Arabs, and the minority sees both Arabs and Jews among
the transferees.

Disregarding for a moment the ethnic origins of the people subject to
relocation, let us stress again the great importance of this point. Israelis – both
Left and Right – are overwhelmingly keen on the idea of transfer. Moreover, if
Jews are included in the population group that must be transferred, the world
community immediately weighs in with its wholehearted support for transfer.
Even prior to the news of the “Geneva Initiative”, the international community
eagerly endorsed all the plans that were in the works, including the “Road Map”
. And it is no secret that the “Road Map” has as its endpoint the transfer
of several hundred thousand Jews (as a result of dismantling Jewish “settlements
” in the disputed territories).

Clearly, those who claim to oppose the transfer of Arabs because it is wrong
to forcibly move people out of their homes, cannot truly believe in this
principle if they simultaneously support forcibly transferring Jews out of
primordial Jewish lands.

Let us pause for a moment in order to clarify some misunderstandings in
terminology and misconceptions associated with the word “transfer”. In his article
on November 11 in The American Conservative, Doug Bandow criticizes American
syndicated columnist Ben Shapiro for stating that “if you believe that the
Jewish state has a right to exist, then you must allow Israel to transfer the
Palestinians and the Israeli-Arabs from Judea, Samaria and Gaza and Israel proper.
” As is typical of those who oppose this sort of policy, Bandow claims that
Shapiro is “advocating forced ethnic cleansing.”

The term “ethnic cleansing” is relatively new. As Drazen Petrovic
demonstrates in his article “Ethnic Cleansing – An attempt at Methodology”, it did not
exist before 1992, and was introduced in order to describe the military
operations conducted during the civil war in former Yugoslavia. He writes that the
term “has its origin in military vocabulary. The expression ‘to clean the
territory’ [literal translation from Serbo-Croatian] is directed against enemies,
and it is used mostly in the final phase of combat in order to take total
control of conquered territory. …The word ‘ethnic’ has been added to the
military term because the ‘enemies’ are considered to be the other ethnic
communities.” The word “ethnic” was added, the military aspect of the operations was
dropped, and the usage of the term became much looser, meaning any action that
had as its goal the expulsion or relocation of any ethnic majority or minority
group of people from a certain location. This kind of action is not new in
world history. It was employed by nearly all modern democracies at some stage of
state-building, and later with their approval, toward the successful
resolution of several international conflicts [between Greece and Turkey, India and
Pakistan, Germany and Poland, etc.].

Since the term is not defined in international law it appears that it
receives a negative or positive connotation only in the context of its usage. For
example, it is negative when the Jews consider the transfer of the Arabs out of
Judea, Samaria and Gaza. At the same time, it is positive when the world
community supports the proposal to transfer several hundred thousand Jews, as
envisioned by the “Road Map”. Although, in this case, the term “ethnic cleansing”
is shyly replaced with some politically correct synonym such as “dismantling
settlements”.

Even more telling is the fact that the world democracies are ready to support
the transfer of the Arabs as well. This can be perceived from their approval
of the “Geneva Initiative”. The document envisions a forced transfer, within
a certain period of time, of 4.5 million Arabs from the so-called “refugee
camps” into several Arab and other countries. One must realize that the transfer
of the Arabs that Yossi Beilin, Amram Mitzna, Amos Oz and other authors of the
document have in mind will be involuntary. The Arabs’ “permanent place of
residence” will be “determined by the International Commission” and the Arabs
will have only two years to submit an application for the selection of the
place to which they will be relocated. Even the people who do not submit such
applications will be forced to move from the refugee camps somewhere else in
search of a means of sustenance. In language void of political correctness, this is
called a mass relocation (i.e., transfer) of 4.5 million Arabs.

This means that the negative connotation assigned to the term “ethnic
cleansing” by Bandow is of a purely political nature. If the “ethnic cleansing” of
Jews from Judea, Samaria and Gaza – transferring hundreds of thousands of them
– is viewed by the world community as totally acceptable, the transfer of the
Arabs from the same land must be considered acceptable, as well. It should not
matter whether one “cleanses” territory of Arabs or of Jews. The connotation
of the meaning of the word should stay the same. If one differentiates
between them, only one possible explanation suggests itself – anti-Semitism.

In addition to “ethnic cleansing”, another label commonly attached to the
word “transfer” is “genocide”. One does not have to spare a lot of effort to
squarely reject any connection between the terms. Article 2 of the 1948
Genocide Convention defines as genocide, “Any of the following acts committed with
intent to destroy, in whole or in part a national, ethnical, racial or religious
group, as such: (a) Killing members of the group; (b) Causing serious bodily
or mental harm to members of the group; c) Deliberately inflicting on the
group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in
whole or in part; (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the
group; (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.” This
definition is absolutely inapplicable to the transfer of the Arabs envisioned by
the Jews. Especially since the main purpose of the Arab transfer from Judea,
Samaria and Gaza is to save as many lives as possible, and not to destroy
them.

The existence of so many misrepresentations and misinterpretations of the
transfer idea proves that the time is long overdue to approach the issue in a
serious and responsible manner. Since the supporters of transferring Jews have an
open forum all over the world in advocating their case, it would be only fair
to allow the voices of those who support the transfer of Arabs from Judea,
Samaria and Gaza, for the sake of peace in the Middle East, to be heard too. It
is time to hold an International Transfer Conference where proponents of both
options will openly bring forward their arguments in support of their
respective positions.

It is also important to remember that transfer should not be an idea in
itself. Its main purpose must be the achievement of peace between the Arabs and the
Jews. This, in its turn, raises many questions that must be objectively
answered.

For example, those who advocate the transfer of several million Arabs into
Judea, Samaria and Gaza must honestly prove that the Arab state, which they want
to create on a meager 2,200 square miles of land can be viable. It is the
world community that will foot the bill for any population transfer operations,
and it must wisely choose between investing the money and throwing it into a
sewer. One must understand that an Arab state on the minuscule land areas of
Judea, Samaria and Gaza will be the most densely populated country in the world,
with millions of people living in dreary substandard conditions, with rapidly
dwindling last available resources of drinking water, in a surrogate
semi-state that will not be independent. This option does not even deserve a comparison
with Jordan, a real state of Palestinian Arabs (who comprise more than 65% of
its population), which is not only 20 times bigger in size, but is already a
full-fledged independent country.

Another, even more poignant point that nullifies the main incentive for
transferring Arabs into Judea, Samaria and Gaza must also be considered. The
transfer idea, with all hardships that it involves, makes sense only if it leads to
a decrease in tensions between the two ethnic communities. However, the exact
opposite will be achieved if more Arabs are relocated into Israel’s backyard.
The unanimous conclusion of the American Joint Chiefs of Staff that a majority
of Judea, Samaria and Gaza must remain in Israel’s possession in order for
her to defend herself is well known. An Arab state, if created there, will rob
Israel of vitally needed strategic military assets. Instead of increasing Israel
‘s defensibility, this will severely hamper it, making Israel much more
vulnerable in the eyes of the Arab world, thereby further delaying any chances for
real peace.

At the same time, it is easy to demonstrate that the transfer of the Arab
population from Judea, Samaria, and Gaza will substantially increase Israel’s
defense capabilities, achieving true separation between the Arabs and the Jews,
and giving realistic chances for lasting peace in the region.

The raging fire of the Israeli-Arab confrontation can indeed be extinguished
by means of population transfer. Instead of running away from this option, it
is time to look at this legitimate mechanism of achieving peace in the Middle
East. The suggested International Transfer Conference must commence a series
of deliberations on serious issues. Freedom of speech does not prohibit any
kinds of discussions, especially with peace between the Arabs and the Jews as the
incentive. The blood of the victims on both sides of this continuing conflict
demands that all people of good will work to start the ball rolling. It is a
task of the utmost urgency.

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