Op-ed: When the president of the Zionist state and a Palestinian MK share a similar view on annexation and a binational state, there must be something wrong with their vision. One way to test the waters, though, would be a small-scale pilot attempt at incorporating Palestinians into Israel.

It has been claimed that the infiltrators from Africa steal workplaces from Israelis, burden the social services and endanger security. Had we not curbed their inrush, the character of Israeli society would have changed completely.

These arguments, which drove the state to invest a fortune in the construction of a fence on the Egyptian border, are not in line with the annexation of the occupied territories and the millions of people living in them. From all the aforementioned aspects, an annexation will lead to a much worse outcome. Even if we settle for the annexation of Area C alone, it will add to Israel a number of residents which is double the number of the migrants from Africa, and we will only be able to thwart their influence at an extremely high cost and after a long political battle, which will end with jailing the Palestinians inside islands surrounded by fences.

Tibi and Rivlin. The Arab MK is trying to warn Israeli Jews of the results of an annexation (Photo: Noam Moskovich)
Tibi and Rivlin. The Arab MK is trying to warn Israeli Jews of the results of an annexation (Photo: Noam Moskovich)


Nevertheless, there are those who support an annexation, including our president, Reuven Rivlin, who is in favor of establishing one state and granting full civil rights to the Arabs living in the areas that will be annexed. Since his youth, Rivlin has adhered to an outlook expressed in the poem “The East of the Jordan,” which was written by Ze’ev Jabotinsky in protest of the removal of the territory east of the Jordan River from the British Mandate’s boundaries. One of the poem’s verses promises that “From the wealth of our land there shall prosper / The Arab, the Christian, and the Jew / For our flag is a pure and just one / It will illuminate both sides of my Jordan.”

The composed song became the anthem of the Beitar movement, and the oldest followers of the movement’s founders support its content, just like they believe in the content of his famous essay, “The Iron Wall.” But while the essay is an example of profound realism, the poem describes a disappointing dream, just like the disappointing dream of the state described by Theodor Herzl in his utopian novel “Altneuland” (“The Old New Land”). The visionary of the state imagined a secular and liberal Israel which is not very different from the “state of all its citizens.”

If we assess the Hebrew state’s attitude towards its Arab citizens according to Herzl and Jabotinsky’s vision, we must admit that this has so far failed. Our failure was demonstrated recently in two events that took place at the same time: The security forces’ extreme patience towards the rioters in Amona compared to their violence towards “the sons of Arabia” in Umm al-Hiran.

But the 70 years of the state’s existence may not be enough for reaching a conclusion on the chances of the success or failure of a move with a huge historical significance. Therefore—without completely rejecting the annexation idea—I suggest that it should be fulfilled like cautious planners act before building an enormous factory: They look into its feasibility through a modest experiment and decide to expand it only after carefully examining its results.

Similarly, we will start a pilot project at a limited cost with relatively low risks. After we are convinced that the experiment went well and that it has a high chance of succeeding, we will establish the great annexation enterprise in which “from the wealth of our land there shall prosper the Arab, the Christian, and the Jew” and where purity and integrity will prevail. The pilot project is, simply put, establishing equal relations with the Arabs—one-fifth of Israel’s citizens.

Last week, we were surprised by Joint List and Knesset Member Ahmad Tibi, who joined the president in supporting the annexation idea. But if the Zionist president and the Palestinian MK hold a similar view on the long-awaited state, doesn’t it mean that there is something wrong with their vision?

The answer to this question is simple: The shrewd Tibi is not interested in an annexation, because he knows—like the Jews who have not become inundated by their passion for the territories—that one state would be a disaster. When he predicted that he would be the elected prime minister in this state, his intention was to warn the Jews of the results of the annexation and urge them to let go of the occupied territories and create a fundamental change in the situation of Israel’s Arabs. The anti-Zionist Arab is protecting Zionism better than the president of the Zionist state.

As reported by Ynetnews