What if Obama wanted to transfer Miami to Cuba so as to lower percentage of Jews in U.S.?

Israel/Palestine
on 71 Comments

As Alex Kane noted yesterday, high Israeli officials are pushing a scheme in which it would “transfer” communities containing 300,000 Palestinian citizens to Palestinian sovereignty under any proposed peace plan so as to bolster the Jewish majority in Israel.

Afif Abu-Much, a high tech specialist who lives in the Palestinian city of Baqa al-Gharbiyye in the “triangle” of targeted communities near the Green Line, has a post up describing his anger over this proposal at journalist Tal Schneider’s site. Abu-Much is the kind of Palestinian American supporters of Israel point to as examples, because he has worked to increase interaction between Jews and Palestinians. For instance, in the video above, he describes the difficulties Palestinians face getting employment in Israeli high-tech businesses. “My message to my Arab colleagues… Please don’t give up. Keep on trying to get working in high-tech. It’s not easy but at the same time it’s not impossible. This is my message in life.”

From his post yesterday:

It has been reported this week that Israel has proposed to the US administration to consider the transfer of certain Israeli areas located within the Triangle, to Palestinian sovereignty. Some 300 thousand Israeli Arab citizens live there. The idea is to compensate the Palestinian Authority (PA) for the annexation of the settlement blocs in the framework of the land exchange between the parties.

Were the plan to come into fruition, the Arab proportion of the Israeli population would drop to 12 per cent, which may please some of the parties participating in the negotiations between Israel and the PA. At this stage it seems as if the Americans have not responded and it is far from certain whether the Palestinians would agree to taking populated areas containing infrastructure dating back to the ‘fifties in return for the settlements. Nevertheless there is no doubt that the proposal shows the kind of thinking which is prevalent in the upper echelons of government in regard to both the Israeli Arab population on one hand and the settlers and settlements on the other.

ֿI am an Arab citizen who lives in the community of Baqa al-Gharbiyye in the Triangle [near the Green Line], a region that Israel has proposed hand over. Every month about half my wages are taken by state in taxes so that the Prime Minister would have the ability to buy ice cream for 10,000 shekels per annum, scented candles for 6000 and allow himself to squander water to the tune of 80,000 shekels (not to mention the half million spent on that bed for Thatcher’s funeral etc.)

עפיףThe taxes that I’m compelled to pay by law, financed the construction of the settlements. Over the same period, my community and other Arab communities rarely saw anything in return for those taxes. All Israeli governments over the years have been meticulous in channeling the money to the settlements and not to those places which were in need of it. Now, as a New Year “present” , they are going to move me and my family, deprive me of my citizenship (do they have the legal right to do it?) and all that in order to keep the settlement blocs as part of Israel.

Why we should be used as a bartering object for the purpose of keeping the settlements? In what way are people who live there superior to Arab citizens? On the contrary, nothing does more harm to Israel’s image than the settlements. It not for nothing that Israeli law has not been applied there and the place is under military rule. Have you ever heard an American or European leader attack or condemn Israel because of the Arab communities in the Triangle, the Galilee, or the Negev?

The status of the settlements is a controversial matter in international law. Most countries are opposed to the policy that led to the establishment of the settlements and their continuing expansion. Israel has been criticized, condemned and has been on the receiving end of countless reprimands by US, European officials as well as the UN Security Council. Those criticisms stemmed from the fact that the existence of the settlements is a violation of international law. Israel has also been described as an Apartheid state because of the settlements, and because of the suffering caused to the Palestinian population in the Territories.

It is simply wrong to place Arab towns and villages and the settlement blocs on the same level. Those who lives across the Green Line and beyond the State’s “borders” are the settlers and not the Arab citizens. Those who inflict damage on, and undermine the peace negotiations, are the settlers and not the Arab community. Accordingly, this proposal – the transfer of Arab citizens to the Palestinian Authority as if we were dealing with a herd of sheep and not citizens of the state – is unacceptable. It also contains a not inconsiderable number of backward ideas. What is happening here is trafficking in humans beings — citizens who happen to belong to a minority.

Finally, just imagine what would happen if one day the President of United States, Barack Obama, were to propose to transfer sovereignty of certain parts of the US populated by the Jewish minority to another country (say Cuba) as compensation for other regions and thereby reduce the number of Jewish citizens in the US.

How would that be viewed? How would it have been taken in this country? What would be the reactions within the government? How would Prime Minister respond? Here is your answer: Straightaway everyone would rise and scream and yell and shout and call Obama an anti-semite, a racist, a President of an Apartheid country, a person devoid of human feelings and so on. What is the difference between that and the Israeli offer to transfer me and my family as compensation for the annexation of settlement blocs in Judea and Samaria?

Translation from Hebrew with the kind assistance of Sol Salbe.

The piece has also been posted by Mitchell Plitnick. Update: I changed my headline to reflect the issue here, one of citizenship.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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71 Responses

  1. Annie Robbins
    January 8, 2014, 1:02 pm

    just curious why the title says canada instead of cuba, as represented in the text?

    anyway, excellent post.

    • yrn
      January 8, 2014, 2:44 pm

      I agree let it be cuba, but what’s the connection.
      Obama will have to give over to Canada New York , are you ready to give NY to Canada.

      • Denis
        January 8, 2014, 5:20 pm

        No, no, no — speaking on behalf of all of my Canadian friends, neighbors, and compatriots: Keep NYC and all your other dirty cities.

        We could use some more Jews, tho’. Not Zionists, Jews. Send the good ones, like the ones on MW, and we’ll give you some of our best tar sands crude, guaranteed to rot your pipes.

        When Jon-boy Pollard gets out, keep him.

      • puppies
        January 8, 2014, 6:07 pm

        That would definitely improve the quality of life of all New Yorkers.
        It’s not as if they were transferring sovereignty to the Racist Jewish State, after all.

      • Hostage
        January 9, 2014, 4:38 am

        I agree let it be cuba, but what’s the connection.

        Well Duh! Do you suppose Miami could be used as a swap for the Guantanamo Naval base? The Cuban people do have permanent sovereignty over their natural resources and have been complaining that the USA is illegally occupying the island, ever since its onerous lease was canceled back in 1953?

  2. eljay
    January 8, 2014, 1:10 pm

    Finally, just imagine what would happen if one day the President of United States … were to propose to transfer sovereignty of certain parts of the US populated by the Jewish minority to another country … as compensation for other regions and thereby reduce the number of Jewish citizens in the US.

    How would that be viewed? How would it have been taken in this country?… What is the difference between that and the Israeli offer to transfer me and my family as compensation for the annexation of settlement blocs in Judea and Samaria?

    1. Better warm Cuba than the “Great White North” of Canada! ;-)

    2. Whether it’s done by the U.S. or by the supremacist “Jewish State” of Israel, “transferring sovereignty” – stripping legitimate citizens of their nationality – is unjust and immoral. Given that Zio-supremacists are unjust and immoral people, it makes perfect sense for them to champion such a move.

    • Peter in SF
      January 9, 2014, 2:09 am

      “transferring sovereignty” – stripping legitimate citizens of their nationality – is unjust and immoral.

      Do you really believe this? Just after WWI, many European borders were changed, e.g., Alsace transferred from German to French sovereignty, North Schleswig transferred from Germany to Denmark, Czechoslovakia carved out of Austria-Hungary, etc. People who lived in Alsace and in North Schleswig, who had been legitimate citizens of Germany, lost that citizenship and became citizens of France or Denmark. Millions of legitimate citizens of Austria-Hungary became citizens of Czechoslovakia. While we might disagree with some of the details of how and why these borders were moved, if there is a transfer of territory from one sovereignty to another, then transferring the inhabitants’ citizenship seems eminently sensible to me.

      • Hostage
        January 9, 2014, 5:03 am

        Do you really believe this? Just after WWI . . .

        Yes the lessons learned were codified in the prohibition against the acquisition of territory by war included in Article 2(4) of the UN Charter. It was a conventional obligation at the time, but has since become a customary rule due to its universal ratification.

        In his 1986 article on “The International Status of Jerusalem”, the late Judge Antonio Cassese wrote that Robert Jennings (author of “The Acquisition of Territory in International Law”, Manchester University Press, 1963 and editor of several volumes of Oppenheim’s International Law, London, Longman) was recognized as the great authority on the acquisition of territory in international law.
        In his “Acquisition” Jennings had explained (see pages 54-57) that as a result of developments in customary international law and the adoption of the UN Charter “conquest as a title to territorial sovereignty had ceased to be a part of the law.” Jennings cited the Jewish Agency’s former legal advisor, Judge Hersh Lauterpacht’s, work on the International Law Commission (ILC). Lauterpacht had explained that, even when force is used against an aggressor, the fact of aggression itself is irrelevant in deciding the legal remedies. They do not include acquisition of title to territory through a treaty settlement imposed by or as the result of force or the threat of force.

        • Peter in SF
          January 10, 2014, 2:31 am

          Hostage:

          Yes the lessons learned were codified in the prohibition against the acquisition of territory by war

          acquisition of title to territory through a treaty settlement imposed by or as the result of force or the threat of force

          I’m talking here not about acquiring territory, but a country choosing to give up territory to a new country — with the result that the people living in that territory acquire citizenship in the new country and lose citizenship in the old country (except for those who choose to leave that territory and move somewhere else within the old country’s borders).

          • Hostage
            January 10, 2014, 9:22 am

            I’m talking here not about acquiring territory, but a country choosing to give up territory to a new country

            No that’s incorrect. Israel’s only title to this territory was acquired by conquest after the UN Charter entered into force. It can’t convey a better title to any other party than the one it possesses. It is only trying to trade this illicitly acquired territory so that it can retain other illicitly acquired territory, i,e, “Robbing Peter to pay Paul.”

          • Sibiriak
            January 10, 2014, 9:29 am

            Hostage:

            [Israel]is only trying to trade this illicitly acquired territory so that it can retain other illicitly acquired territory, i,e, “Robbing Peter to pay Paul.”

            But is Israel really trying to trade this territory, or is the whole proposal a disingenuous political trick?

      • Sibiriak
        January 9, 2014, 5:14 am

        Peter in SF:

        “transferring sovereignty” – stripping legitimate citizens of their nationality – is unjust and immoral.
        —-
        Do you really believe this? Just after WWI, many European borders were changed, e.g., [etc.]

        You make some good points in this and previous posts, however, I feel you are not addressing the main point.

        It seems to me that a principle of democracy in the post-WWII international framework is that all citizens of a state should be treated equally. If one portion of a citizenry is especially subject to de-nationalization solely because of their ethnic/religious identity –i.e.they are explicitly singled out on the basis of that identity–then that is a clear violation of the principle of equality under the law, imo.

        if there is a transfer of territory from one sovereignty to another, then transferring the inhabitants’ citizenship seems eminently sensible to me.

        But in Israel’s case, the transference of a particular ethnic groups’ citizenship is the motive for the transfer of territory, not vice versa, as your formulation suggests.

        • Peter in SF
          January 10, 2014, 3:57 am

          It seems to me that a principle of democracy in the post-WWII international framework is that all citizens of a state should be treated equally. If one portion of a citizenry is especially subject to de-nationalization solely because of their ethnic/religious identity –i.e.they are explicitly singled out on the basis of that identity–then that is a clear violation of the principle of equality under the law, imo.

          Denationalization can officially be based solely on residency in a particular area, and not on ethnic/religious identity. The reality is that Israel is so segregated that almost all of the people living in the area to be ceded are Palestinians. There are so few Jews living in that area, there wouldn’t be much of a problem for them to move to another area that remained in Israel.

          In my (slightly maligned) post-WWI example, when North Schleswig was transferred to Denmark, each individual living there was given the option of (a) staying put, becoming a Danish citizen, and losing German citizenship; or (b) retaining German citizenship but moving out of North Schleswig to some other area that remained part of Germany. This passes your legitimacy test because there was no disparate treatment of ethnic Danes vs. ethnic Germans. Israel could get away with something similar and be seen as doing something legitimate.

          But in Israel’s case, the transference of a particular ethnic groups’ citizenship is the motive for the transfer of territory, not vice versa, as your formulation suggests.

          Yes, you are right, but as I suggested above, if the president of Georgia were motivated to get rid of a troublesome ethnic minority group in his country, he could simply announce the cession of South Ossetia. Now in this case it’s probably true that most of the people living in South Ossetia would prefer that South Ossetia secede from Georgia. But before Russia went to war with Georgia over that area, I’d be surprised if the Russian government didn’t begin by telling the Georgian government that by giving up South Ossetia, Georgia would be acting in its own interest by reducing the proportion of ethnic non-Georgians in its population.

          • talknic
            January 10, 2014, 5:16 am

            @Peter “as I suggested above, if the president of Georgia were motivated to get rid of a troublesome ethnic minority group in his country, he could simply announce the cession of South Ossetia”

            Only the people of the territory to secede, have the right to determine if they want to secede or not. It’s called self determination. The President is not the people and the President is not the state. Like Lieberman and his ghastly naziesque notions. He does not have the right to be a dictator.

          • Sibiriak
            January 10, 2014, 7:27 am

            Peter in SF:

            [Sibiriak:] If one portion of a citizenry is especially subject to de-nationalization solely because of their ethnic/religious identity –i.e.they are explicitly singled out on the basis of that identity–then that is a clear violation of the principle of equality under the law, imo.

            —–
            Denationalization can officially be based solely on residency in a particular area, and not on ethnic/religious identity.

            But in this case, it is the ethnic/religious identity which is driving the desire to de-nationalize a group of people in a certain area. It’s not that the territory is being considered for a trade, and the people there just happen to be non-Jews. It’s precisely because the people are living there are non-Jews that Israel wants to jettison the land. De-nationalization of non-Jews is the very purpose of the proposal, not a by-product. (The major settlements are non-negotiable, in any case, from the Israeli point of view.)

            Now in this case it’s probably true that most of the people living in South Ossetia would prefer that South Ossetia secede from Georgia.

            It’s not “probably true”, it’s undoubtedly true. And that fact makes the all the difference. South Ossetia was an autonomous region in the USSR which was swallowed up by Georgia when the USSR was dismantled:

            South Ossetians declared independence from Georgia in 1990, calling themselves the Republic of South Ossetia. The Georgian government responded by abolishing South Ossetia’s autonomy and trying to re-establish its control over the region by force.[6] The crisis escalation led to the 1991–1992 South Ossetia War.[7] Georgian fighting against those controlling South Ossetia occurred on two other occasions, in 2004 and 2008.[8] The latter conflict led to the Russia–Georgia war, during which Ossetian and Russian forces gained full de facto control of the territory of the former South Ossetian Autonomous Oblast.

            (Wikipedia)

            Frankly, I’m not sure what point you are trying to make with your various analogies. Are you just trying to assert the general notion that the transference of territory +de-nationalization is not always a bad thing? Or are you trying to argue that because it was a good thing in some other cases, Lieberman’s proposal should be viewed positively?

      • talknic
        January 9, 2014, 7:25 am

        @ Peter in SF

        “Just after WWI..”

        Uh huh. A century ago. Say…. you really do have a lot of catching up to do

        1933 link to cfr.org

        1945 link to un.org

        1948

        The State of Israel … will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex link to pages.citebite.com

        “.. if there is a transfer of territory from one sovereignty to another”

        i.e., ceding state territory. Statehood is irrevocable except by the self determination of the people. In order to cede state territory the legitimate citizens of that territory must agree (self determination).

        ” then transferring the inhabitants’ citizenship seems eminently sensible to me”

        I’m sure it does to someone who isn’t going to lose their citizenship because of the idiotic ideas of some criminally insane f&*kwit zionist

        • Peter in SF
          January 10, 2014, 2:50 am

          talknic:

          Statehood is irrevocable except by the self determination of the people. In order to cede state territory the legitimate citizens of that territory must agree (self determination).

          Yes, that’s what I was getting at when I said that there’s usually a vote among the inhabitants of that territory, as there was in South Sudan. But once South Sudan became independent, the people living there (and who chose to stay there) lost their Sudanese citizenship. Although when this kind of thing happens there are usually cases where some people who are “from” one side are living on the “other” side and might become stateless because the criteria for citizenship are not equivalent in the two countries, those are edge cases, and the general idea of people losing citizenship when borders move is not controversial. This isn’t to say that movement of borders isn’t controversial: it is almost always controversial. But if the transfer of sovereignty of some area is considered to be just, the transfer of citizenship of its people is also considered just.

          ” then transferring the inhabitants’ citizenship seems eminently sensible to me”

          I’m sure it does to someone who isn’t going to lose their citizenship because of the idiotic ideas of some criminally insane f&*kwit zionist

          I think you have hit the nail on the head. Most people are not familiar with criminally insane f&*kwit zionists. You’re essentially admitting that although ceding territory (and together with it, citizens who live on that territory) seems like a reasonable Israeli proposal, even a generous one, the problem is that it comes from the idiotic ideas of some criminally insane f&*kwit zionist. I really don’t think that kind of argument sells well. To be clear, I do see something wrong with the proposal, but it has to do with the built-in power imbalance between the two states.

          • talknic
            January 10, 2014, 5:59 am

            Peter in SF “… once South Sudan became independent…”
            by self determination of the people in South Sudan to secede ..
            “..the people living there (and who chose to stay there) lost their Sudanese citizenship.”
            By self determination to secede they became citizens of the new state. They GAINED the independence they chose.

            Mr Lieberman is not the Palestinian citizens of Israel. He has no right to act as a naziesque dictator.

            “But if the transfer of sovereignty of some area is considered to be just, the transfer of citizenship of its people is also considered just”

            “if” it is considered to be just. However Mr Lieberman playing dictator is not just

            “You’re essentially admitting that although ceding territory (and together with it, citizens who live on that territory) seems like a reasonable Israeli proposal, even a generous one,”

            Your conclusion that I think it seems like ” a reasonable Israeli proposal, even a generous one” is really quite bizarre. I suggest you go see a shrink

          • Sibiriak
            January 10, 2014, 7:52 am

            Peter in SF:

            You’re essentially admitting that although ceding territory (and together with it, citizens who live on that territory) seems like a reasonable Israeli proposal even a generous one, the problem is that it comes from the idiotic ideas of some criminally insane f&*kwit zionist. I really don’t think that kind of argument sells well…

            Of course, stated that way, it would be a weak argument. But the actual argument is that the Israeli proposal is neither reasonable nor generous, for the reasons already pointed out by various posters.

      • eljay
        January 9, 2014, 10:53 am

        >> Do you really believe this?

        Yup. I find it interesting that you consider something to be just and moral simply because it occurs.

        • Peter in SF
          January 10, 2014, 3:06 am

          >> Do you really believe this?

          Yup. I find it interesting that you consider something to be just and moral simply because it occurs.

          Huh? What did I say in my comment:

          While we might disagree with some of the details of how and why these borders were moved, if there is a transfer of territory from one sovereignty to another, then transferring the inhabitants’ citizenship seems eminently sensible to me.

          You think there was something “unjust and immoral” about stripping legitimate German citizens of their nationality in 1920, even though the borders were moved so that the places where they lived were no longer in Germany? Was it “unjust and immoral” that all the people of South Sudan were stripped of their Sudanese citizenship when South Sudan split off from Sudan? A few years ago, there was some Quebec separatist leader who told Quebeckers that if Quebec became an independent country, Quebeckers would not lose their Canadian citizenship. He was roundly mocked throughout the rest of Canada. However, this separatist did not go on to say that Canada would be doing something “unjust and immoral” if it dared to strip Quebeckers of their citizenship in the event that Quebec became a separate country with its own citizenship.

          • yrn
            January 10, 2014, 5:11 am

            Very good point Peter in SF, but for the residence of MW what’s applicable in Canada is not applicable in Israel.
            Figure out why ?
            In Any case their arguments are weak, incase this is going to be the condition for the peace solution, nothing will stop it.

          • talknic
            January 10, 2014, 5:39 am

            Peter in SF ” A few years ago, there was some Quebec separatist leader who told Quebeckers that if Quebec became an independent country, Quebeckers would not lose their Canadian citizenship.”

            A) A state cannot be independent and a part of another state, however;
            B) the citizens of the new state might have been able to obtain dual citizenship were it made available by agreement between the two states

            “He was roundly mocked throughout the rest of Canada”

            He either failed to understand A) or they failed to understand that he meant B), if of course he did mean B)

            “However, this separatist did not go on to say that Canada would be doing something “unjust and immoral” if it dared to strip Quebeckers of their citizenship in the event that Quebec became a separate country with its own citizenship”

            Why would he have? Their citizenship would not have been stripped by Canada. The Quebeckers would have chosen not to be Canadian citizens.

          • Walid
            January 10, 2014, 7:01 am

            “A state cannot be independent and a part of another state…”

            Talknic, in the case of Quebec, it’s already independent to a certain point in that it shares some jurisdictions with the other provinces that are within the confederation that any province can opt out of at any time it chooses. There has been 2 referendums (1980 and 1995) on separating from the rest of Canada and both were lost by a very narrow margin. Close to half the population is favourable to separation; it may still happen. The only reason it hasn’t so far is because 20% of the population, which is non-French are 100% opposed to separation. In that last vote, those that wanted to separate were 2,308,360 or 49. 42% and those that were against 2,362,648; or 50.58%

            Peter was wrong in saying the separatists were mocked in the rest of Canada; they were actually wetting their pants from the chance of it happening. Only 30,000 votes stood in the way of Canada breaking up.

          • eljay
            January 10, 2014, 7:22 am

            >> Huh? What did I say in my comment:

            No matter how many times I read it, your comment does not condemn “transferring sovereignty” – stripping legitimate citizens of their nationality – as unjust and immoral.

            >> You think there was something “unjust and immoral” about stripping legitimate German citizens of their nationality in 1920, even though the borders were moved so that the places where they lived were no longer in Germany?

            If it was done without their concensus, yes.

            >> Was it “unjust and immoral” that all the people of South Sudan were stripped of their Sudanese citizenship when South Sudan split off from Sudan?

            If it was done without their concensus, yes.

            >> A few years ago, there was some Quebec separatist leader who told Quebeckers that if Quebec became an independent country, Quebeckers would not lose their Canadian citizenship. He was roundly mocked throughout the rest of Canada. However, this separatist did not go on to say that Canada would be doing something “unjust and immoral” if it dared to strip Quebeckers of their citizenship in the event that Quebec became a separate country with its own citizenship.

            If Quebec – by the concensus of its citizens – were to choose to separate from Canada, it would become its own nation with its own nationality. The citizens of the country of Quebec will have chosen to forego their Canadian citizenship in favour of their new Quebec citizenship. Canada will not have stripped them of anything.

          • Hostage
            January 10, 2014, 9:46 am

            While we might disagree with some of the details of how and why these borders were moved, if there is a transfer of territory from one sovereignty to another, then transferring the inhabitants’ citizenship seems eminently sensible to me.

            It’s worth pointing out that unilateral annexation or bilateral agreements on annexation went the way of the dodo bird after the Concert of Europe vetoed the Crimean War settlement between Russia and Turkey and demanded a multilateral agreement. Eyal Benvenisti has explained at length that unilaterally imposed dispositions of territory as a result of private wars had been outlawed in the 19th century and resulted in the adoption of the Hague rules of 1907 regarding belligerent and armistice occupation regimes. See Eyal Benvenisti, “The Origins of the Concept of Belligerent Occupation, Law and History Review 26.3 (2008), link to archive.is

            I’ve pointed out on several occasions that part of the resulting multilateral settlement of the Crimean War put the rights of all the religious communities in Ottoman Asia under the protection of the public international law of Europe and that the ICJ had noted in the Wall case that those internationally-guaranteed “existing rights” and protections were the subject of safeguarding clauses in the San Remo resolution, the Palestine Mandate, and an entire chapter in the UN partition plan.

            On many occasions, the General Assembly has recommended that a multilateral Diplomatic Peace Conference of Plenipotentiaries be convened outside the UN organization to draft the terms of a territorial settlement, after hearing the petitions and arguments from the parties concerned. Israel has always rejected the suggestion. So it’s odd that you are trying to rationalize the unilateral or bilateral transfer by citing the past cases of involuntary multilateral transfers of territory.

      • Sibiriak
        January 10, 2014, 9:24 am

        Peter in SF:

        Just after WWI, many European borders were changed, e.g., Alsace transferred from German to French sovereignty, North Schleswig transferred from Germany to Denmark, Czechoslovakia carved out of Austria-Hungary, etc.

        [...]f there is a transfer of territory from one sovereignty to another, then transferring the inhabitants’ citizenship seems eminently sensible to me.

        Counter-argument :

        link to peacenow.org

        One big problem with Lieberman’s scheme is that it falls back on obsolete nineteenth century solutions, for example regarding Alsace Lorraine between France and Germany or the lakes district between Switzerland and Italy. Back then, entire populations could be transferred with their lands between countries, then forced to change citizenship.

        These days, civil and national rights are enshrined in internationally endorsed conventions, to say nothing of Israeli rights guaranteed under Israeli law. Thus Lieberman’s scheme would not change the demographic balance because it would leave the Arabs of Wadi Ara and their descendants Israeli citizens–the Israel High Court of Justice would ensure they could not be disenfranchised even if they live in Palestine–while moving the Israeli-Palestinian border some eight kms from the Mediterranean.

        That would nullify the very rationale that, some 40 years ago, was cited when the settlement blocs were built on West Bank territory: expanding Israel’s narrow waist.

        One wonders if the Lieberman proposal isn’t nothing more than an insincere PR/political move.

  3. American
    January 8, 2014, 1:30 pm

    ”Finally, just imagine what would happen if one day the President of United States, Barack Obama, were to propose to transfer sovereignty of certain parts of the US populated by the Jewish minority to another country (say Cuba) as compensation for other regions and thereby reduce the number of Jewish citizens in the US.”

    lol……just imagine if Obama declared the US was going to transfer all the Jews in Fla. or NY to Israel in exchange for giving all the Palestine refugees, or any other Palestines who so elect, their place in those states and US citizenship.
    Or if he purposed to send Israel all the Jewish Russian refugee immigrants in the US from the 90′s and take in an equal number of Palestine refugees.
    Or if he just purposed sending all the dual citizen Israelis now living and working in the US back to Israel and taking in a equal number of Palestine refugees.

    The sound of US Jewish heads exploding would be deafening….but Netanyahu would love it, so maybe Kerry should put that offer on the I/P table as a trade off for Palestine acknowledging Israel as a Jewish State.

    • yrn
      January 8, 2014, 2:47 pm

      American

      Don’t get carried away.
      The plan is not to remove the people, it’s to move the border line.
      Are you ready to give Florida or NY to Canada.
      I am not sure that there will be many who would love to have the Canadian social system more then your “Social System”

      • Djinn
        January 8, 2014, 6:56 pm

        So if the US proposed moving borders in order to half the Jewish population of the US would that be OK?

        • Sibiriak
          January 9, 2014, 1:23 am

          Jews are members of the American nation. Israeli non-Jews are NOT members of the Jewish nation. There is no “Israeli nation”. That what a “Jewish State” means.

        • yrn
          January 9, 2014, 6:44 am

          Sure it would be ok .

      • Justpassingby
        January 9, 2014, 3:04 am

        yrn

        Your sick propaganda would have be valueable to stalin and hitler.

      • eljay
        January 10, 2014, 8:42 am

        >> Don’t get carried away. The plan is not to remove the people, it’s to move the border line.

        Wow, you really are that dumb.

    • eljay
      January 10, 2014, 8:40 am

      >> Peter was wrong in saying the separatists were mocked in the rest of Canada; they were actually wetting their pants from the chance of it happening.

      The separatists who insisted that citizens of an independent Quebec would get to retain their Canadian citizenship were mocked, and rightly so. And I don’t know of anyone who wet their pants at the prospect of Quebec separating from Canada.

  4. stardust
    January 8, 2014, 3:11 pm

    Exactly. Can you imagine the uproar from the media, pundits and ethnic lobbies should the US government ever suggest transferring, say, 10,000 Hassidic Jews from NYC to Alabama or 50,000 Hispanics from California to Oregon for purposes of demographic balance or for any economic or social reason for that matter?

  5. Peter in SF
    January 8, 2014, 4:12 pm

    To someone unfamiliar with the conflict, the case made here doesn’t really make sense. In most countries, when there’s a region populated mainly by members of a minority group with grievances against the central government, the government refuses to give up that territory, and so there is often separatist sentiment, sometimes even turning into violence, such as in Nagorno-Karabakh (Armenian-populated region of Azerbaijan), South Ossetia (Russian-populated region of Georgia), Kashmir, South Sudan (before its separation from Sudan), and elsewhere. Now what if the Georgian president announced, “Henceforth, South Ossetia will no longer be a part of Georgia; I am transferring this area to Russia”? This would be seen as a major concession by Georgia, and the Russians would be very happy about it, EVEN IF the Georgian president said that his reason for doing this was to increase the proportion of ethnic Georgians in the population of Georgia. Of course, no government ever makes a concession like this; instead, the major concession is allowing for a referendum to be held in the region at issue, when it is known that separatist sentiment is predominant. That’s what happened in South Sudan, and it IS telling that Israeli leaders pushing this proposal aren’t calling instead for a referendum in the region they’d like to transfer.

    MW readers know that the real issue is that Israel (enabled by its powerful friend with no daylight between them) will see to it that the putative State of Palestine will be effectively a vassal state under Israeli suzerainty. This is what must be communicated, or else the message is lost on the audience we’re trying to reach. I think this “pro-Israel” sentiment among Palestinian citizens of Israel (in a sense, that’s undeniably what it is) can even be spun in a way that shows there is hope for peace and a mutually beneficial solution.

    • Peter in SF
      January 8, 2014, 4:22 pm

      The historical precedent with the most similarities to this is the South African policy during the 1970s and 1980s of transferring territory and citizenship to what they called “homelands” (others called them “Bantustans), which S.A. recognized officially as independent countries. If Palestinian leaders were calling for a united Palestine, this would be a perfect example to cite. But Palestinian leaders are calling for a two-state solution, so citing this precedent is more problematic.

    • ziusudra
      January 9, 2014, 12:29 am

      Greetings Peter in SF,
      Federal law goes over State law in the US.
      Let’s look at Israel.
      .Israel was forged out in modern times.
      .All modern structures & infrastures were in place.
      .A small nr. of People with enough intelligence &
      talent to run a state.
      .Unlimited charity was available to Israel.
      . An immediate Standing competent army appeared.
      . They were independent in agriculture.
      . They prospered & milions came.
      What went wrong?
      Like the Spaniards, Americans & Australian, they found
      People already there! The mondane accumulation of
      garbage began.
      They had a better chance than the Spaniards, Americans, Australians,
      Rhodesians, South African Euros to do it differently, especially
      learning of their past mistakes, but they only chose the others
      way of entry, conquest!
      The age old saying, next year in Jerusalem, was not thought out
      logistically, philosophically & morally – they didn’t confide in their
      religion Judaism- to do it together with the indigenous People, the
      Falesteeni.
      They had the chance & opportunity of a millenium & blew it!
      ziusudra
      PS Ride the tigre.

  6. pabelmont
    January 8, 2014, 5:38 pm

    POINT OF CURIOSITY.

    We’re talking (I suppose) about changing borders (changing the GREEN LINE) by mutually agreed changes of borders in a PEACE DEAL. If not, then, yes, you are talking about another EXPULSION PLAN.

    If borders are to change in a peace deal, then Israel might grow into the OPTs, true, but OPTs (thereafter to be known as Palestine) might grow into 1948-Israel. Of course, the latter sort of growth might push into land now occupied principally by Israel Jews and inconvenience them, ort it might grow into land now principally occupied by Israeli non-Jews.

    If PA had a chance to grow into Galilee, for instance, should PA take it? even if it were occupied by Palestinians already? Or maybe especially in that case?

    Just saying.

  7. radii
    January 8, 2014, 6:55 pm

    good, Phil

    this is the type of language and imagery it will take to get uninformed Americans to get it

    • Shuki
      January 8, 2014, 10:35 pm

      He has plenty of practice writing for the uninformed.

      • puppies
        January 8, 2014, 11:16 pm

        Yes, and he does it well. Why don’t you, too, try to learn something?

      • Djinn
        January 9, 2014, 12:04 am

        Whereas you have barely literate experience in deflecting & distracting.

        What would you think about a US plan to gerrymander borders in order to deliberately reduce America’s Jewish population?

        • Peter in SF
          January 9, 2014, 1:35 am

          What would you think about a US plan to gerrymander borders in order to deliberately reduce America’s Jewish population?

          The US does not share any borders with the Jewish State, but I would think that if it did, and gave up some of its territory to a Jewish State in order to reduce the American Jewish population, Zionists would be very pleased.

          • Hostage
            January 9, 2014, 9:24 pm

            The US does not share any borders with the Jewish State, but I would think that if it did, and gave up some of its territory to a Jewish State in order to reduce the American Jewish population, Zionists would be very pleased.

            Then why do you suppose US Jewish legal experts were responsible for introducing the safeguarding clause in the Balfour Declaration?:

            When the British sent a revised draft of the statement for Wilson’s examination in early October, he turned it over to Brandeis for his comments. The Justice and his aides redrafted it in slightly stronger and cleaner language, substituting “the Jewish people” for “the Jewish race”—thereby muting the vexing question of who’s-a-Jew—and making the final clause read that there would be no prejudice to the “rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”

            Murphy, The Brandeis/Frankfurter Connection, page 60 and Sanders, The High Walls of Jerusalem, page p. 598 cited in Donald Neff, Britain Issues the Balfour Declaration link to wrmea.org

            That applied to the Jewish communities in neighboring Syria, Lebanon, and Egypt.

      • talknic
        January 9, 2014, 7:28 am

        @Shuki and you have plenty of practice at remaining uninformed

        • just
          January 9, 2014, 7:41 am

          Shuki is just another bothersome drone with no payload.

          Shoots. Leaves. Grins. Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

          • bintbiba
            January 9, 2014, 8:31 am

            @just… that was very good!!!

        • Peter in SF
          January 10, 2014, 3:24 am

          I wrote:

          The US does not share any borders with the Jewish State, but I would think that if it did, and gave up some of its territory to a Jewish State in order to reduce the American Jewish population, Zionists would be very pleased.

          Hostage responded:

          making the final clause read that there would be no prejudice to the “rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”

          That applied to the Jewish communities in neighboring Syria, Lebanon, and Egypt.

          If there happened to be a sliver of Syrian land along the border with Palestine that contained villages that were populated mostly by Jews, then I am fairly sure that the people there would petition for their area to become annexed to the Palestinian Jewish State — with the full expectation that they’d lose their Syrian citizenship if it were to happen. And if the people there were not convinced that they wanted to be included in the Palestinian Jewish State, I’m absolutely sure that the Yishuv leadership would want them to be included, and would do everything it could to encourage them to have their villages annexed to the Palestinian Jewish State.

          It would be a different matter for Jewish communities living in areas that did not have a Jewish majority, or for areas that did have a Jewish majority but were far enough away from the border with Palestine that they couldn’t practically be annexed to the Palestinian Jewish State.

  8. Les
    January 8, 2014, 8:06 pm

    If anyone has a better place on Mondoweiss to put this letter to the editor (with a most interesting headline) of the Financial Times, please do so.

    January 7, 2014 10:06 pm

    Do actions seem to redefine Jewish statehood?

    From Mr Zachary Mollengarden.

    Sir, With reference to your report “Africans rally over Israel asylum” (January 6), for many Israelis, Jewish statehood is inextricably tied to Jews’ history as a persecuted and homeless people: “a stranger in a strange land” (Exodus 2:22) from Pharaoh’s Egypt to Hitler’s Germany. The strangers that took to the streets of Tel Aviv recently will likely receive little sympathy. Indeed, the persecuted, most from Sudan and Eritrea, are “infiltrators” in the eyes of Israeli law. In lieu of formal recognition as refugees – a privilege granted to fewer than 1 per cent of applicants – many of the migrants live under temporary collective protection, an unstable status that denies them a legal place in the labour force as well as much of the material support due to formally recognised refugees.

    For other Israelis, the crux of a Jewish state lies instead in its adherence to religious principles. Yet here, too, it is difficult to reconcile Israelis’ sense of identity with their government’s actions. Exodus 12:19, 12:48-49; Leviticus 16:29, 17:15, 18:26, 19:34, 24:16; Numbers 9:14-15, 9:19, 9:29-30; Joshua 8:33; and Ezekiel 47:22 all reiterate the assertion that there shall be no distinction between the foreigner and the Israelite: “One law shall be to him that is homeborn, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you.”

    In 2012, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that, without a more forceful approach, African migrants would soon “inundate the state and, to a considerable degree, cancel out its image as a Jewish and democratic state”. The question before the Israeli government and its citizens is what a Jewish and democratic state truly looks like. Positive answers are elusive. However, considered alongside images of Israel as a home for the persecuted, or Israel as a political manifestation of Judaism’s religious ideals, the government’s actions seem to redefine rather than “preserve the nature” of Jewish statehood.

    Zachary Mollengarden, London E14, UK

    link to ft.com

  9. RoHa
    January 8, 2014, 8:30 pm

    It seems to me that Florida is largely populated by Cuban refugees and their descendants, and that these people are far more interested in being Cuban than in being Americans. If that really is the case, then surely handing Florida over to Cuba (as part of a comprehensive resolution of the Cuban/US tensions) would be a good idea.

    Wouldn’t it?

    • Hostage
      January 9, 2014, 8:36 pm

      It seems to me that Florida is largely populated by Cuban refugees and their descendants, and that these people are far more interested in being Cuban than in being Americans.

      Florida had been part of The Captaincy General of Cuba, but Cuba was not included in the Treaty of Adams-Onis (1819). Cuba was subsequently ceded to the United States by The Treaty of Paris (1898), but attempts to implement a single state solution were frustrated by the Teller (1898) and Platt (1903) Amendments.

      handing Florida over to Cuba (as part of a comprehensive resolution of the Cuban/US tensions) would be a good idea.

      There is a solid case there based upon irredentism. The analogy would be perfect if the US were proposing to swap Florida for the US Naval Station at Guantanamo, “that will remain part of Israel the USA in any possible future peace agreement.” (/sarcasm off)

  10. Sumud
    January 8, 2014, 11:02 pm

    Fifty percent income tax? That’s enough for a revolution in itself – especially since Palestinian Israelis are so neglected by the Israeli government.

  11. Peter in SF
    January 9, 2014, 1:54 am

    Isn’t most of the Triangle in the area that was designated for the “Arab State” in the 1947 Palestine partition plan? We have talknic coming on here all the time reminding us that the legal boundaries of the state of Israel are those of the “Jewish State” in the partition plan. So by giving up the Triangle, Israel would be withdrawing from territory that’s not its own, anyway. This is usually seen as a good thing.

    • Hostage
      January 9, 2014, 10:29 pm

      Isn’t most of the Triangle in the area that was designated for the “Arab State” in the 1947 Palestine partition plan? . . . So by giving up the Triangle, Israel would be withdrawing from territory that’s not its own, anyway. This is usually seen as a good thing.

      The Arabs didn’t propose partition in 1947. That was the Jewish Agency’s plan for obtaining half of Palestine without having to purchase it. The General Assembly Plan required freedom of transit for the citizens of both states and Jerusalem, Leiberman’s proposal doesn’t.

      talknic correctly points out that Israel acquired millions of dunams of territory beyond the boundary approved by the UN.

      President Truman wrote to King Abdullah on March 28, 1949 and advised him about US policy on the final settlement:

      “I desire to recall to Your Majesty that the policy of the United States Government as regards a final territorial settlement in Palestine and as stated in the General Assembly on Nov 30, 1948 by Dr. Philip Jessup, the American representative, is that Israel is entitled to the territory allotted to her by the General Assembly Resolution of November 29, 1947, but that if Israel desires additions, i.e., territory allotted to, the Arabs by the November 29 Resolution, it should offer territorial compensation.

      See the FRUS Volume VI 1949, pages 878-879.
      link to digicoll.library.wisc.edu

      In this case, Israel would only be withdrawing in order to retain settlement blocks that were also part of the territory designated for the Arab State.

      • Sibiriak
        January 9, 2014, 10:50 pm

        Hostage:

        In this case, Israel would only be withdrawing in order to retain settlement blocks that were also part of the territory designated for the Arab State.

        That’s a crucial point.

      • Peter in SF
        January 10, 2014, 4:40 am

        In this case, Israel would only be withdrawing in order to retain settlement blocks that were also part of the territory designated for the Arab State.

        Certainly true, but a withdrawal is a concession nonetheless, even when offered only for the purpose of trying to get a concession from the other side.

        • talknic
          January 10, 2014, 6:16 am

          Peter in SF /// In this case, Israel would only be withdrawing in order to retain settlement blocks that were also part of the territory designated for the Arab State///

          “Certainly true, but a withdrawal is a concession nonetheless”

          It is a legal requirement under International Law, not a concession.

          ‘Here’s the deal yer honor, I’ll return part of the stolen car and keep the rest OK! Now can I go?’

          “, even when offered only for the purpose of trying to get a concession from the other side”

          The other side have been making concessions for 65 years. They currently agree to forgo 78% of their rightful territories, accepting only 22% of their rightful territories for peace with Israel. Israel wants to try to get more concessions? You’re a joke!

        • Sibiriak
          January 10, 2014, 7:02 am

          Peter in SF:

          [ Hostage:] In this case, Israel would only be withdrawing in order to retain settlement blocks that were also part of the territory designated for the Arab State.

          Certainly true, but a withdrawal is a concession nonetheless, even when offered only for the purpose of trying to get a concession from the other side.

          It would only be a concession if it involved conceding to a Palestinian demand. Has Israeli withdrawal from those territories been a Palestinian negotiating point?

    • Walid
      January 10, 2014, 3:25 am

      Peter, talk of giving up, or withdrawing is confusing 2 issues. When the armistice was signed in 1949, it was agreed between Israel and Jordan that the Little Triangle and Wadi Ara that was originally planned to be part of the Arab state in the partition plan was to become part of Israel to be exchanged with the south Hebron hills area that was originally planned to be part of the Jewish state. Whether or not the whole issue of Israel’s existence is legitimate, Israel was occupying the area in question under an agreement signed by Jordan. To say that the territory is not Israel’s is to say that the whole of Israel is illegitimate.

      • Peter in SF
        January 10, 2014, 4:26 am

        Walid, are you sure that the land Israel ceded to Jordan was designated for the Jewish state — rather than being a part of the designated Arab state that was occupied by Israel? If you are right, then maps like this one are wrong because they show all of the land of the designated Jewish state as being located inside the area controlled by Israel during 1949-1967:
        link to upload.wikimedia.org
        If you can find a map of the 1947 partition that shows the Jewish state including a south Hebron hills area that became part of the West Bank, let me know.

        • Walid
          January 10, 2014, 6:25 am

          Peter, maps are hard to read but the question is simplified by the fact that Israel overran the whole of the West Bank where the originally intended south Hebron hills were to be part of Israel and where today, there are Israeli settlements built. A good part of the south Hebron hills such as at Yatta are within what Israel calls Area C and where Palestinian villagers are allowed neither running water nor electricity from Israel’s grids supplying the 3000 settlers there. The deal was made with Jordan because it was the occupying force on the WB after the war. Yatta was in the news a couple of months back when Israel demanded that Palestinians dismantle solar panels that had been installed by Palestinians to provide electricity to 12 homes. Israel wants to make the Palestinians suffer as much as it can to the point of not letting them share in the sunlight. No limit to how vicious Israelis can be.

          link to maannews.net

        • talknic
          January 10, 2014, 8:28 am

          @ Peter in SF“are you sure that the land Israel ceded to Jordan was designated for the Jewish state..”

          Walid didn’t mention ‘ceding’ territory/land. Israel didn’t ‘cede’ any land to Jordan. In 1949 it was an Armistice Agreement. The Armistice agreements specifically did not change any sovereignty over territory.

          Article I
          With a view to promoting the return of permanent peace in Palestine

          i.e., not ‘in Israel’

          … the provisions of this Agreement being dictated exclusively by military considerations link to avalon.law.yale.edu

          BTW The Wikimap is a poorly detailed representation drawn by an obvious Israel propagandist link to en.wikipedia.org

          Attempts to address its inaccurate legend and have a more detailed map were ignored and/or defeated by a small cabal of Israeli apologists who infest Wikipedia and who, in what appears to be collusion with Wikipedia administrators, do their utmost to have people banned.

          “If you can find a map of the 1947 partition that shows the Jewish state including a south Hebron hills area that became part of the West Bank, let me know.”

          The only definitive partition map link to domino.un.org

  12. ahhiyawa
    January 9, 2014, 8:29 am

    Whether out of desperation regarding the path of negotiations or a desire to provoke, whatever Liberman’s motive his grand scheme has sunk like a stone. Even his number 2 in Yisrael Beytenu, Yair Shamir, has protested against striping Israeli Arabs of their citizenship. In any case Liberman’s fantasy was pronounced DOA by Abbas, before it even had its chance to sink like a stone, which is still racing to the bottom.

  13. giladg
    January 9, 2014, 10:23 am

    Afif Abu-Much sounds great. Right? Not so fast. Ask Afif what he thinks about the importance of recognizing Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people, that there should be at least one Jewish country in the world. Ask Afif if he agrees that the Temple Mount is as important to Jews as it is to anyone else and you will then realize where he falls short. There are certain areas of discussion that Afif will not go into. His flexibility and will suddenly disappear. And so the same story goes with all those soft spoken, seemingly wonderful Arabs out there.
    I don’t want to over simplify the conflict but the two points above are the main stumbling blocks to real peace. When the Palestinians discover the courage to embrace these points, they will then be able to put their own Mandela forward. Until then they offer very little.

    • Annie Robbins
      January 9, 2014, 4:56 pm

      Ask Afif what he thinks about the importance of recognizing Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people,…. two points above are the main stumbling blocks to real peace.

      you do know the whole demand to recognize the “nation state of the Jewish people” was a hasbara campaign cooked up in 09 don’t you? link to mondoweiss.net

    • Woody Tanaka
      January 9, 2014, 5:11 pm

      “Ask Afif what he thinks about the importance of recognizing Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people, that there should be at least one Jewish country in the world.”

      I’m sure he’d point out that such recognition would be a bold-faced lie, as 20% of that state are non-Jews and 50% of the people who’ve been governed by that state for most of it’s existence are non-Jews.

      “Ask Afif if he agrees that the Temple Mount is as important to Jews as it is to anyone else and you will then realize where he falls short.”

      Oh, I’m sure he’d agree with the fact that it’s imporant to Jews. But you and you Judeo-supremacists don’t want mere recognition, you want ownership of their property. The land hasn’t hosted a Jewish anything since the Middle Iron Age. Any claim to it died then. It’s been been Muslim property for over 1,500 years. You liquidated the Morrocan quarter, destroying a historic mosque and killing a woman in the process to have your Western Wall. Go pray there.

      “When the Palestinians discover the courage to embrace these points, they will then be able to put their own Mandela forward”

      LMAO. You’re asking them to embrace your Judeo-supremacism. You must not know much about Mandela in your Apartheid State, but he rejected supremacism like yours. It’s not the Palestinians who need a Mandela, it’s the Jews.

    • puppies
      January 9, 2014, 9:20 pm

      “those soft spoken, seemingly wonderful Arabs out there”
      They are smart, too. They aren’t buying any of your bullshit.
      You can’t make a case about the need for a “Jewish country” anywhere in the world anyway, and you want it accepted by the victims of your thefts and massacres?
      The “stumbling block to real peace” is the Jewish state, period. By the way, “real” for you has nothing to do with “real”for others.

    • Peter in SF
      January 10, 2014, 4:36 am

      Ask Afif what he thinks about the importance of recognizing Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people, that there should be at least one Jewish country in the world.

      If you ask Afif if there should be a Jewish country called Israel that is the nation state of the Jewish people, I doubt he’d put up much of an objection if you told him this state would be in Argentina or East Africa or Poland or Florida.

      When the Palestinians discover the courage to embrace these points, they will then be able to put their own Mandela forward.

      Hey, wait a minute: Mandela was best known for being the leader of a national movement of liberation against oppression. Are you suggesting that Palestinians are oppressed? By Israelis?? Meaning, by the Jewish people?? I sense a whiff of anti-Semitism by this implication.

  14. Hostage
    January 10, 2014, 10:04 am

    Hey, wait a minute: Mandela was best known for being the leader of a national movement of liberation against oppression. Are you suggesting that Palestinians are oppressed? By Israelis?? Meaning, by the Jewish people?? I sense a whiff of anti-Semitism by this implication.

    There are dozens of non-Israeli lobbies in this country that have “Jewish” in the name of their organizations. They fall all over themselves speaking on behalf of the Jewish people and Jewish communities and have spent almost 100 years and untold millions of dollars in contributions preventing Arab independence and the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state. I sense that you are really naive, bigoted, or both if you think that it is anti-Semitic for anyone to notice that situation.

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