Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Future of the MidEast: Anarchy & Disintegration

"Disintegration" by Richard Kostelanetz

The One-State Solution Is on Our Doorstep -David P. Goldman

A one-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is upon us. It won't arrive by Naftali Bennett's proposal to annex the West Bank's Area C, or through the efforts of BDS campaigners and Jewish Voice for Peace to alter the Jewish state. But it will happen, sooner rather than later, as the states on Israel's borders disintegrate and other regional players annex whatever they can. As that happens, Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria [the West Bank] is becoming inevitable.

Palestinian organizations are in their worst disarray in 20 years.

Iran's intervention into the Syrian civil conflict has drawn the Sunni powers into a war of attrition that already has displaced more than 10 million people, mostly Sunnis, and put many more at risk. The settled, traditional, tribal life of the Levant has been shattered. Never before in the history of the region have so many young men had so little hope, so few communal ties, and so many reasons to take up arms.

As a result, the central premise of Western diplomacy in the region has been pulled inside-out, namely that a resolution of the Palestinian refugee issue was the key to long-term stability in the Middle East. Now the whole of the surrounding region has become one big refugee crisis.

The region has seen nothing like it since the Mongol invasion of the 13th century. Perpetual war has turned into a snowball that accumulates people and resources as it rolls downhill and strips the ground bare of sustenance. Those who are left shiver in tents in refugee camps, and their young men go off to the war.

As a result of this spiraling warfare, four Arab states—Libya, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq—have effectively ceased to exist.

Lebanon, once a Christian majority country, became a Shia country during the past two decades under the increased domination of Hezbollah. [But then] nearly 2 million Syrian Sunnis have taken refuge in Lebanon, as Israeli analyst Pinhas Inbari observes, and comprise almost half of Lebanon's total population of 4 million, shifting the demographic balance to the Sunnis—while the mass Sunni exodus tilts the balance of power in Syria toward the Alawites and other religious minorities, who are largely allied with Iran. Jordan, meanwhile, has taken in a million Syrian Sunnis, making Palestinians a minority inside Jordan for the first time in a generation. A region that struggled to find sustenance for its people before 2011 has now been flooded with millions of refugees without resources or means of support. They are living for the most part on largesse from the Gulf States, and their young men are prospective cannon fodder.

The remaining states in the region—Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Iran—will alternately support and suppress the new irregular armies as their interests require.

Israel has little to fear demographically from annexation. Net Jewish immigration and net Arab emigration will combine with higher Jewish fertility to establish a Jewish supermajority over time.

The character of the West Bank population is changing: It is becoming older and more educated, and increasing numbers of Arabs are benefiting from the strong Israeli economy. Over time, West Bank Arabs may embrace Israeli citizenship—when it is offered—as firmly as their counterparts inside the Green Line. The so-called apartheid issue is a canard. Israeli Arabs lived under martial law between the end of the War of Independence in 1949 and 1966, and no one spoke of apartheid. Israel's most pressing problem in the near future may be Arab refugees trying to get in.

[T]he notion that the Palestinians could stay clear of the riptide that has engulfed their neighbors was fanciful to begin with and has now been trampled by events. Over the past two decades, since the Oslo agreements were signed, the Palestine Authority shown little ability to govern anything. After Egypt's military government suppressed the Muslim Brotherhood, it turned viciously against the Brotherhood's Palestinian wing, Hamas, and blockaded Gaza. If the PA were capable of ruling the West Bank, it would have allied with Egypt and Saudi Arabia to further isolate Hamas: Instead the PA formed a national unity government with Hamas. Events have shown that the PA cannot rule without Hamas, and it cannot rule with Hamas; it can neither support nor suppress terrorism on the West Bank. The inability of the Palestine Authority to govern, the inability of Hamas to distance itself from its patron in Tehran, and the collapse of the surrounding states eventually will require Israel to assume control over the West Bank. This time the Israelis will stay.

Israel's border with the Hashemite Kingdom in the Jordan Valley, meanwhile, has become a strategic pivot. ISIS is now operating in strength at the common border of Israel, Syria, Jordan, and occupied Iraqi-Syrian border towns close to the common frontier with Jordan. Jordan's own security requires a strong IDF presence on its western border.

When Israel absorbs Judea and Samaria—and it is a when, not an if—the chancelleries of the West will wag their fingers, and the Gulf States will breathe a sigh of relief.

The historical homeland of the Jewish people will pass into Israeli sovereignty not because the national-religious will it to be so, or because an Israeli government seeks territorial aggrandizement, but because Israel will be the last man standing in the region, the only state able to govern Judea and Samaria, and the only military force capable of securing its borders. It will happen without fanfare, de facto rather than de jure, at some moment in the not-too-distant future when the foreign ministries of the West are locked in crisis session over Iraq or Syria. And it will happen with the tacit support of Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia.

Israeli authority will replace the feckless regime of the Palestine Authority in order to maintain public order and ensure that the electricity works, and the roads are secure, and that bands of jihadist marauders or Shiite terrorists do not massacre entire villages; this action will elicit the reflex condemnation from bored and dispirited Western diplomats. The realization of the Zionist dream will then be consummated not with a bang, but a whimper; the bangs will be much louder elsewhere.
[Tablet Magazine]
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2 comments:

John Vagabond said...

The fly in the ointment is likely to be IS in Iraq, whose thirst for conquest is unequalled, either by Hamas or Hezbollah. If they continue south unchecked, the Gulf states will be forced to intervene and the consequences for the Syrians and Jordanians, hence their behaviour towards refugees from Hamas, may reconfigure the algebra on the ground.

Bruce said...

Indeed, indeed.

This article was one of the most interesting in recent memory.

I wish the West had a leader who saw the potential in this reconfiguration. A bold, bright leader would bring Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia together and closer to Israel.