“And if you will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then those that you let remain, of them shall be thorns in your eyes and thistles in your sides and shall torment you in the land wherein you dwell.” (Numbers 33:55)
Some years ago I was arrested by the Israeli police and charged with “incitement to revolution.” The grounds? I had breached the conclusion that it was impossible to find a solution for the Arab-Jewish confrontation in the Land of Israel (both the State of Israel and the lands liberated in 1967); that the Jewish state was inevitably headed toward a situation like that in Northern Ireland; that the only possible way to avoid or to mitigate it was the emigration of Arabs. Consequently, I had sent letters to several thousand Arabs offering them an opportunity (funds and visas) to emigrate voluntarily. The fact that many Arabs replied positively and that a major Arab village in the Galilee, Gush Halev, offered to move all its inhabitants to Canada in return for a village there did not prevent the worried Israeli government from arresting me.
Four long years and one important war later, a scandal broke in Israel. It was revealed that Yisrael Koenig, a high official in the Ministry of the Interior who is in charge of the northern region of Israel, had drafted a secret memorandum in which he warned of the increasing danger of Arab growth (which would make Arabs in the Galilee a majority by 1978) as well as of increasing Arab national militancy. His solution included several measures that he hoped would lead to Arab emigration.
On August 10, 1979, thirty-six Knesset members took part in a tour of the Golan Heights. Their guide was the head of the northern military command, General Ben-Gal. At Kibbutz Ein Zivan he told the thirty-six legislators: “First priority, today, must be given to the Jewish settlement in the Galilee, because of the growing strength of the Arab residents there. Their hatred of Israel is growing. They are becoming a cancer in our body . . . . They are waiting for the moment to hit us.”
The pity is that vital years have passed since my original proposal, wasted years that saw the Yom Kippur War produce a major psychological change in Arab thinking. In the aftermath of that war and its political consequences, vast numbers of Arabs, who in 1972 were depressed and convinced that Israeli sovereignty could not be destroyed, are today just as convinced that time is on their side, that it will not be long before the Zionist state collapses. Then they—the Arabs—will hold sway over all that will be “Palestine.” The necessary corollary is, of course, that hundreds of thousands who were potential voluntary émigrés nine years ago are now determined to stay and await the day of Arab victory. But they must go.