Wednesday, January 06, 2010

The Problem In The Middle-East Is Not That Israel Has Too Much Land


I’ll be looking for a new blogging home with a wider built-in audience, so this will be my last extended post at this blog site. In the meantime, I invite you to check out this short YouTube video about Israel, Palestinian Arabs, History and Common Sense at

Let me leave you with this thought.

The problem in the Middle-East is not that Israel has too much land.

The intermediate goal of my book, The Case for a Larger Israel, and this blog, is to ever-so-slightly change the allowable parameters of the international debate regarding the two-state solution. In my opinion, the obsessive international focus on the question: "how do we create a two-state solution within the confines of Israel and the territories?" is wrongheaded. People who do not share the conviction of the necessity of a two-state solution are shunned, and thereby politically silenced.

Perhaps humanity will outgrow the current way in which we divide Earth.
But, given the zero-sum international model of dividing the planet into countries, the important question to ask is this: how much territory should be allocated to the sole Jewish majority state?

The arguments I offer for a larger Israel are rational, not faith based.
Using the Bible or reference to God to convince a believer is unnecessary. Using the Bible or reference to God to convince any non-believer is a non-starter.

Conventional wisdom has it that making Israel smaller is the path to peace. Of course, this wisdom is contradicted by both concrete historical evidence and the general principles of game theory.

One can expect duplicity from the leaders of predator and anti-Semitic nations. But it is hard to fathom the hopeful ignorance of the Western political elites, including President Obama, Secretary Clinton, and envoys George Mitchell and Dennis Ross.

This hopeful ignorance extended into the previous Republican administration as well. Neither President Bush nor Condoleezza Rice deserves a medal. They failed to side with pursuers of freedom and liberty when facing off against dictators and thugs.

The moment President Bush cut a deal with Lybia’s Gaddafi, the war on terror was bound to lose popular support among liberty-seeking Arabs. How could any pro-liberty Arab trust the U.S. to stand by a liberty movement? Most people don’t fear siding against the U.S., but there is great fear in siding against a dictatorship that may survive. Non-fanatical Arabs and Muslims who side with terrorists, or remain silent, are making a rational choice – a choice to survive.

Though it does not sit well in the American Jewish community, one must look to Mike Huckabee or Sarah Palin to find U.S. politicians who appreciate the dangers of appeasing dictators, petty tyrants and perpetual haters.

As for Israel, one either sees or does not see that Israel is on the front line of a war that pits the advancement of humankind against barbarism. One either sees or does not see that the fight in Afghanistan is the same as the fight in Iraq, and the same as the fight in Yemen and Somalia. The Jihadists are using the whole global boxing ring. They are not confining the fight to the battlegrounds we dictate. Like the game whack-a-mole, if the seekers of liberty and human advancement seem to be gaining the upper hand in one part of the world, Jihadists will simply fold their tents at night and surface in another part of the world in the morning.

Without a certain degree of study on the matter, one either instinctively sees this or does not.

I could be wrong about the need for Israel to be larger. I acknowledge the possibility that one day the size of a country may not matter at all. Advances in both civility and technology may simply make the horizontal physical size of a country irrelevant. But then again, perhaps technological advances that eliminate the need for physical land only reduce the need for land in a world where free trade and peace are permanent.

Until we outlaw economic boycotts and boot predator nations out of the U.N., it seems to me that both military strategic depth and self-sufficiency with regard to food, water and energy do matter. Perhaps one day they won’t matter. Today they do.

Few countries are more deprived of military strategic depth and natural resources than Israel.

Why should anyone in the world care? Beyond the morality of allowing Jews to live in peace in their ancestral homeland, it is in the enlightened self-interest of humanity to allow Israel to become a reasonably sized country. There is plenty of land for everyone in this region.

Few communities have contributed more to humanity’s well-being on a per capita basis. The world greatly benefits from Jewish Israeli technology and innovation – from Intel’s Nehalem Processor, to the medical breakthrough of a swallowable camera that can help doctors scope out disease in a person’s body, Israeli companies are changing the world for the better.

Israel is a marvel. If Israel isn’t destroyed, and can avoid a massive brain drain its enemies hope to facilitate through terror, Israel is likely to become an economic powerhouse in the next ten years.

But without a good quality of life, leading entrepreneurs will not stay in Israel, and much good that can be done for the world will be lost. It is morally repugnant that world leaders stand by and do nothing to prevent backwards-looking, hateful people from harassing Israeli global contributors. It is every bit as shameful as their inaction in Darfur.

When I speak of the case for a larger Israel, I frame the issue as an Arab/Muslim-Israel problem, not an Israel-Palestinian problem. I am correct in doing so. For Israel-hating Arabs or Muslims, the problem may be rooted in the Quran, in Israel envy, or even in a misguided sense of justice that precludes Arabs and Muslims from sharing even 1% of the Middle-East with Israel. Israel can win a debate on the international stage if the issue is properly and correctly framed.

But when others are allowed to frame the issue as a conflict between Israel and Palestinian Arabs, Israel will lose the debate in the court of international opinion. This is so notwithstanding the general disgust at Palestinian politics, corruption, and hate. When the debate is mischaracterized as a dispute over a small patch of land between two parties, the natural reaction of most people is to simply call on both parties to share the land.

There is land enough in the Middle-East for Palestinians and Israelis. Israeli withdrawal from the territories will not help the average Palestinian Arab – almost certainly, a withdrawal would lead to chaos in the territories. Per capita income will go down, not accounting for international bailout money. A look at normalized per capita incomes during different periods of Ottoman, British, Jordanian and Israeli rule bear this out.

And returning Israel to the pre-1967 Auschwitz borders may cripple Israel. Israeli withdrawal to these borders will likely make Israel too tempting a target for a predatory enemy.

Further, as in Lebanon and Gaza, terrorists will view Israeli withdrawal as a victory for practicing terror. This tactic must never be rewarded because doing so increases its frequency.

Indeed, weakness is a prime cause of war. Predators look to take on the weak, not the strong. If you have any doubt about this, look to the animal kingdom. Lions attack the weakest animals in a herd, not the strongest.

The well-meaning peace seeking people on the political left do not appreciate that they are the biggest impediment to peace.

By seeking peace in the face of terror, they communicate that terror works. Bad behavior must be punished, not rewarded. The Israeli pursuit of peace over victory paradoxically prevents peace. Only by preparing for victory is peace achievable with predator nations.

Not only does Israel have a full moral right to use force to end violence against it, the U.N., by the terms of its charter, should join Israel in ending violence directed against Jews once and for all. Israel should not be accused of a disproportionate use of force because of the harm done to the perpetrators and instigators of violence. Whether retaliation against evil is proportional should be judged by whether the amount of force used is the necessary force to end the instigator’s violence.

Finally, I encourage all who believe that Palestinian Arabs truly want land for peaceful purposes, to ask: why must the land come from too-small Israel? Most Palestinian Arabs have roots in Israel and the territories of less than 100 years. They came to live in British Mandate Palestine for economic reasons, not ideological ones. Why doesn’t the international community reallocate land to Palestinians from Arab neighbors? After all, the creation of Lebanese, Syrian and Jordanian borders are recent. A Palestinian entity could likewise be created.

While I believe that a larger Israel is in the world’s interest, the size that will produce a permanently viable, self-sustaining Israel is hard to quantify. That being so, perhaps the most fair, face-saving bargain ever attainable will be the one generally agreed to between Jewish and Arab leaders at the 1919 Paris Peace conference. The map showing these bargained for borders can be seen on the YouTube Video mentioned above, at, or in my book.

Clearly, such a bargain is not within reach today.

With pride in the Zionist movement, and deep respect for peace-seeking Arabs and Muslims,

I am yours,

David Naggar