Gilad was an MP jailed for syphoning dirty money to his father's campaign. He openly advocates tranfer of Israel's Palestinian population to increase the Jewish majority.
Wed., April 25, 2007
Let Taibeh go to Palestine
By Gilad Sharon
On the occasion of Independence Day, the time has come to forget about A.'s skirt for a moment, to disengage temporarily from H.'s lips and take a bird's-eye view of the country's basic problems. Basic problems which, if dealt with, could change our lives here significantly and for the better, while neglecting them could be fateful and endanger us. There is no possibility of dealing with a hundred big issues at once, or even with 10. Even a leadership of stature cannot do this, and certainly not the one we have now. At most it is possible to deal with two or three big issues, and even this, only with a great deal of talent and superhuman effort.
We shall focus on one of the strategic problems: Israel and its Arab citizens. On the issue of a Jewish state versus a state of all its citizens, it must be said without embarrassment and without apology: Of course we want to live in a democratic country, but at the same time we want to live in a Jewish country. Israel was not established to bring a democratic regime to a benighted region. Israel was established as a national home for the Jewish people. Even the United Nations partition resolution of 1947, which the Jews accepted and the Arabs rejected, talks about two states according to a national division - a state for Jews and a state for Arabs. The wars, the truce agreements and life experience have led to the current situation in which about one-fifth of the population of Israel is Arab. There is no similarity between the situation of the Arabs of Israel and the situation of Jews in other countries of the world. The Jews of the United States, for example, despite their support and their feelings towards the State of Israel, proudly fly the American flag, sing the national anthem and celebrate American Independence Day on the 4th of July.
Memorial Day in Israel, which is so sacred to us, is not a day of pain for most of Israel's Arabs. Independence Day is a day of mourning for them. Go out and look for a national flag in Arab locales. This will prove to be a fruitless search. The fact that the Arabs of Israel are citizens of the Jewish state and not citizens of an Arab state is a mishap of history. If, heaven forbid, Israel were to find itself in a crisis and our enemies were to succeed in defeating us, then a single fate could be expected for the leftists, the rightists, the ultra-Orthodox and the secular Jews in Israel. This is not the case for the Arabs of Israel. There would be no danger for them. We are not really in the same boat; we do not share the same fate.
So what in fact connects us? Convenience is the connection. Israel as an economic and social wonder has, in only a short time, reached the level of the most developed countries in the world. Despite the difficulties, there is a good health system, national insurance, unemployment allotments, freedom of expression, and so on. This is the glue.
Representatives of the Arab sector and Knesset members from the Arab parties are discriminated against; this is a fact. It is possible to try to whitewash this. It is possible to appoint someone as deputy Knesset speaker, or bring a representative into the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, but then it is impossible to talk about security matters, and all the reports are moved to the subcommittees. Is it possible to accuse the security institutions of racism? Not at all. How is it possible to reveal the state's security secrets to someone who consistently identifies with the enemies of the state, to someone who meets in Beirut and Damascus with the heads of the terrorists and their supporters? There is a conspiracy of silence here around the lie that we "supposedly" discriminate against them and they are "supposedly" loyal to the state.
To tell the truth, what is most disturbing is not the unqualified support for our enemies by the Arab sector's representatives. It is possible to understand this, because after all there is national identity between them. The main part of the problem is their hypocrisy; they are not prepared to pay the price for this support and identification. The possible solutions to this problem are not easy and they require deep thinking, but it is necessary to know what the goal is, what the state of Israel wants.
Therefore, as I see it, the goal has to be a significant Jewish majority among the citizens of Israel, forever. Minorities have to be totally loyal to the state, to fulfill all the obligations and enjoy all the rights, like the Druze, some of the Bedouins and the Circassians. An example of action in this direction is changing the citizenship of the Arabs of Umm al Fahm, Taibeh, Jaljulya, Kafr Bara and so on - as far as and including Kafr Qasem. After all, there is no real reason why Qalqilyah and Tul Karm should be Palestinian and Taibeh Israeli. This is a mistake and nothing more.
A change of citizenship without a change of place of residence is also possible in other places. The inhabitants will live securely in their homes and will not lose a single dunam of land. Their citizenship will change, but let us admit the truth: Anyone who passes through one of these locales today will not see a single sign of the state of Israel. Nationally and culturally the population belongs to the other side, and their representatives will no longer be discriminated against because, after all, in a situation like this their citizenship and their nationality will be identical.
It is very easy to avoid the discussion and escape to the refuge of racist demagoguery, but this would be the easy way out. Of course there are other problems and other kinds of distress which are necessary to address, and even issues that are easier to deal with. But despite the difficulty and the cautious treading, this is an issue that should be put on the table frankly and courageously, and not ignored. If we try to run away from the problem it will pursue us. It is better to deal with it at our own initiative.
The author is a farmer and businessman and the son of former prime minister Ariel Sharon.