Does Israel Exist as a Nation State?
Criticism of Israel's actions may have one built-in failure -- critics are dealing with the wrong Israel. To whom are the United Nations and the U.S. Secretary of State addressing? They may direct speech to leaders of a nation called Israel; but is there a nation called Israel? Not according to Israel; its answer to proposals for either two-state or one-state solutions for the Middle East crisis is simple -- a no-state solution, a route Israel has deceptively pursued from day one and is on a trajectory to purse for eternity. Here are the facts:
Borders define a nation and Israel has no defined borders.
Starting from the 1947 UN Partition Line, Israel fought a 1948 war and doubled its allotted territory, used the 1956 Suez War to expand to the Red Sea, contracted back from pressure by President Dwight Eisenhower, occupied Gaza and the Sinai after the 1967 war, contracted back in later years, seized the Golan heights, all of Jerusalem and West Bank territory outside of an established Green Line, and has occupied both areas since 1967. Settlers who appear in the Golan and throughout the West Bank are Israeli citizens but do not inhabit a land that shows on world maps as being part of an Israel nation.
There is no Israel nationality.
In modern and democratic nation states, nationality and citizenship are identical. Israel has more than 130 recognized nationalities to register for an ID card, most prominent being, Jewish, Arab, and Druze. All of the recognized nationalities might be Israeli citizens, but none are Israeli nationals. Because nation implies people of a common nationality, Israel cannot be a certified nation.
Laws govern a nation and some of Israel's laws are contested or prejudicially applied.
Some examples from http://www.mfa.gov.il/mfa/aboutisrael/state/law/pages/basic%20laws%20of%20the%20state%20of%20israel.aspx
Basic Law: Jerusalem, Capital of Israel
1. Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capital of Israel.
As of January 1, 2017, no nation has its embassy in Jerusalem.
3. The Holy Places shall be protected from desecration and any other violation and from anything likely to violate the freedom of access of the members of the different religions to the places sacred to them.
In October 2016, the United Nations cultural organization, UNESCO, passed a resolution that "firmly deplores the continuous storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque by Israeli right-wing extremists and uniformed forces, and urges Israel, the occupying Power, to take necessary measures to prevent provocative abuses that violate the sanctity and integrity of Al-Aqsa Mosque. UNESCO strongly condemns the escalating Israeli aggressions and illegal measures against the Awqaf Department and its personnel, and against freedom of worship and Muslim access to their Holy Site Al-Aqsa Mosque."
4. (a) The Government shall provide for the development and prosperity of Jerusalem and the well-being of its inhabitants by allocating special funds, including a special annual grant to the Municipality of Jerusalem.
Have Palestinian neighborhoods received one shekel of these funds?
Basic Law: Israel Lands
1. The ownership of Israel lands, being the lands in Israel of the State, the Development Authority or the Keren Kayemet Le-Israel, shall not be transferred either by sale or in any other manner.
Approximately 93% of the allocated land in Israel is owned by the State. Shortly after the 1948 war, the government transferred to the Jewish National Fund [JNF] about 2 million square kilometers. On June 12th, 2014, after Israeli forces demolished the Bedouin village of Al Araqib, the Bedouin village land was transferred to the JNF, and the Bedouin were reclassified as "infiltrators" on lands they've registered as far back as the Ottoman Empire. http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=12020#pop1
Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty*
1. The purpose of this Basic Law is to protect human dignity and liberty, to establish in a Basic Law the values of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.
Isn't there a contradiction between being a democratic state and proclaiming it as a Jewish state in a nation in which a large minority is not Jewish?
2. There shall be no violation of the life, body or dignity of any person as such.
On January 18, 2010, over 5,000 young Ethiopian-Israelis and their supporters marched through central Jerusalem to protest against racism and discrimination. From the BBC at http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-32813056
"Many of the Ethiopian Israelis live in the periphery of society that already grapples with issues of unemployment and scarce public resources. This makes it more difficult for them to integrate and causes friction with the more veteran population. Ethiopian Jews suffer from the highest poverty rate among the Jews in Israel, and suffer much higher levels of police stop-search, arrests and incarceration. It was the cycle of discrimination, racism, poverty, hopelessness and higher levels of law breaking that led to the recent clashes in the streets of Israeli cities, between Ethiopian Israelis and the police."
Basic Law: Freedom of Occupation
1. Fundamental human rights in Israel are founded upon recognition of the value of the human being, the sanctity of human life, and the principle that all persons are free; these rights shall be upheld in the spirit of the principles set forth in the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel.
Human Rights Watch at https://www.hrw.org/report/2010/12/19/separate-and-unequal/israels-discriminatory-treatment-palestinians-occupied exposes this hypocrisy.
3. Every Israel national or resident has the right to engage in any occupation, profession or trade.
Government studies conducted in conjunction with The Hebrew University of Jerusalem have found that "a job applicant with an Ashkenazi-sounding name has a 34 percent higher chance of being hired by an employer than a person with a Sephardi-sounding name applying for the same position. ... [and also that] over 22% of employers openly stated that they actively discriminate against applicants with Arab-sounding names."
The Times of Israel reported that a man with a Sephardi-sounding last name, Michel Malka, who applied to the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) for a paramedic position was refused hiring — the employer’s rep, when he received the resume, allegedly responded by making a derogatory comment regarding Malka’s ethnicity, calling him an “ars.” When he re-applied two months later having changed the name on his resume to Meir Malkiely, a more generic-sounding Israeli name, he received a call a few minutes later from the same individual who had earlier rejected him, who enthusiastically explained about the position and asked him to begin work at IAI as soon as possible."
The Israeli Right of Return, which permits Jews from any nation to migrate to Israel and automatically have the right to apply for citizenship, is not a rule pursued by nations, except Armenia.
Nations that have a Right of Return give that right to previous nationals and usually their children. The exception, Armenia, has only a small minority and all disbursed Armenians can directly trace their heritage directly back to an Armenian ethnicity. Contrary to the Armenian position, there is no accepted historical or genetic proof that Jews disbursed throughout the world have more connection to a land in Israel than other persons in much of the world. Israel's self-absorbed and patronizing attitude of being the official protector of world Jewry imposes problems for Jews in other nations and violates the sovereignty of their home countries. By granting previous non-citizens title to citizenry only because they are Jews Israel operates as a mini-empire and not as a normal nation state.
Israel has a chaotic political system in which political Parties come and go every few years.
Previously established major political Parties have severely declined, while individuals, due to media popularity, spontaneously form active Parties. In each election, it is difficult to know the present characteristics of a political Party, and what are the policies. Cabinet positions, especially Foreign Minister, are filled based on political compromise and personal favors and not on experience and/or skill.
A major part of Israeli society, which is now playing a dominant role in its politics, are orthodox religious, who are interested only in their own communities and not in a state.
The growing ultra-orthodox constituency, previously regarded as a state within a state, is now playing a decisive political role, which, with the demise of previous Shas leader, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, mostly favors continuing West Bank settlements, halting negotiations with the Palestine Authority (PA) and expanding in East Jerusalem.
Israel has failed to comply with any of the myriad of UN Resolutions condemning Israel's practices and human rights violations
The U.N. General Assembly’s 2015 session adopted 20 resolutions singling out Israel for criticism — and only 3 resolutions for the rest of the world combined.
An unusual large percentage of Israelis do not live in Israel.
Accurate statistics are not available, but a figure of more than 1 million Israelis living abroad, which is 12% of the population, has been accepted. Claims have been made that an estimated 70-80 percent of Israeli Jews have other passports, and a quarter of all Israeli academics live abroad.
Israel's intelligence services have engaged in a large number of extra-judicial killings and its military has seized and attacked peaceful ships in international waters.
Because they bypass the due process of the legal jurisdiction in which they occur, many, if not all, of these assassinations are illegal. A detailed list can be found at:
Examples of two of many audacious and illegal attacks:
(1) A parcel sent to the Heliopolis rocket factory in 1962 killed five Egyptian workers. The bomb has been revealed to be sent by Mossad operatives as part of a plan to halt Egypt's missile developments.
(2) Kamal Nasser, Palestinian Christian poet and PLO spokesman who advocated non-violence, was assassinated in West Beirut by Israel Defense Forces on April 9, 1973.
Examples of two of many violations in international waters:
(1) On June 8, 1967, during the Six-Day War, Israeli Air Force jet fighter aircraft and motor torpedo boats attacked the United States Navy ship, USS Liberty, in international waters. The attack killed 34 and wounded 171 U.S. sailors.
(2) On May 31, 2010, in international waters in the Mediterranean Sea, Israeli naval commandos boarded the Mavi Marmara, one of several ships bringing assistance to Gaza. Nine volunteers for the Gaza mission were killed in the raid.
Take all of the characteristics together -- no fully defined borders, no constitution, sketchy laws, an unrecognized capital city, failure to respect UN resolutions, severe human rights violations, chaotic political system, biased immigration policy, committing a great number of extra-judicial killings that violate sovereignty of other nations, and large number of citizens living outside the country -- and the conclusion is that Israel has many trappings of a nation, but has not completely evolved from its Zionist ideology to a developed nation state. Evolved might not be the correct word; Israel's actions indicate it knows it can expand its borders by not becoming a complete state. Even if it incorporates all of the West Bank and the Golan into a desired perimeter and self-defines its borders, the international community might not recognize Israel's self-declared borders. Without recognized borders, where is sovereignty asserted? Without respect to international law, how can international legitimacy be claimed? Can this Israel ever be a nation state?
Regarding the conclusion as semantics may be a dangerous assumption. Lack of proper definition of Israel has deformed a perspective of Israel, derailed international attention, and destroyed the path to a solution of the Middle East crisis.
If Israel is an incompletely developed state, what is it and how should governments treat it?
An ethnocracy, where resources and power are distributed mainly by ethnicity and not by citizenship, describes Israel's operations but does not define its status as a state. By lacking the total institutions that define a legally constituted nation state, Israel remains unidentified, leaving its classification as a combination of a military state, tribal state, theocracy, supercharged council, and a highly refined association of collective minds -- a mini-mini-empire -- all of which are consistent with a lack of constitutional rule. Treating Israel from that perspective enables a more clarified image of its actions and redefines its international relationships.
Firstly, the concepts of two-states or one state as solutions for the Middle East crisis are irrelevant and have been since 1948. Those solutions apply to a different Israel and not to this Israel, which, since 1948, has pursued a no-state policy. If peace efforts had concentrated on changing Israel's mind set and ambitions and not on limiting Palestinian aspirations, then peace may have been achieved.
Providing Israel with tens of billions of dollars worth of military armaments to defend its borders and sovereignty is contradictory and worthless. Israel has no defined borders or identifiable sovereignty, and uses the armaments to expand its territory, demolish those who counter its expansion, and increase its control and oppression of another people. A principal reason for Israel's constant wars is due to its lack of diplomatic ingenuity, which is a guiding feature of nation states One overlooked reason that the Camp David agreement was doomed to fail is because no Israeli Prime Minister would be willing to go down in history as being the leader who halted progress to a Greater Israel. If he/she were leader of a nation, he/she could have made a decision for his/her nation. However, there is no nation, and the leader is mainly an arbitrator of internal disputes.
Perceiving Israel as a western entry for democratic development in the Middle East and as an ally for that development has proven naive and incorrect. Because the Israel military guides government actions, Israel has fought innumerable wars, exacerbated the Middle East turmoil, stimulated international terrorism, which affects others but not Israel, and used U.S. military and political assets to oppose its foes from Sudan and Libya to Iraq and Iran. How many democracies have developed in the Middle East, and how stable is this powder keg in the decades of having Israel pave the way to a democratic Middle East?
Believing that Israel serves as a support for furthering western interests in the Middle East has proven false. The several states within a state generate competing interests and these interests distract an Israel government from a concentrated effort that allows support to outside states. The principal support that Israel presence has encouraged are those of Iran. Due to Israel's actions, Lebanon Hezbollah, Syria and now Iraq are completely aligned with Iran, much to the chagrin of the western powers. In many instances -- bombing the USS Liberty during the 1967 war, selling U.S. technology to China, spying on its friends, never responding to complaints against its illegal actions, actually belittling and ridiculing officials from the major benefactors that have enabled its survival, and operating apart from international law -- Israel has shown it has only one interest, which is its own. Why western nations cater to and support Israel is a mystery. Maybe, at one time, protection of oil deliveries compelled the U.S. to make certain western nations had a footprint in the Middle East, but, with oil deliveries no longer an emergency, that is not a valid reason. U.S foreign policy direction agrees -- President Obama signaled retreat from interfering in Middle East politics so that the U.S. could give more attention to Southeast Asia affairs. Wise! How much benefit and how much trouble can the U.S gain by being deeply involved in the conflicts of the Middle East? Does the U.S. need Israel to assist in any developments? Politically, economically, militarily and socially, Israel has little to offer the United States or western Europe.
Realization that present diplomatic arrangements with Israel are incongruous with composition of the state of Israel offers new diplomatic moves to reshape the Middle East crisis into a more natural mode. In the new approach outside influences do not promote the present trajectory of a greater Israel and do not comply with the destruction of the Palestinian people. The U.S. government could contemplate:
(1) Removing assistance to a military that is used to oppress, impose illegal settlements and enable territorial expansion.
(2) Disallowing dual citizenship for citizens that do not have a common nationality in their passports.
(3) Halting cultural and educational exchanges with states that do not fulfill the requirements of a modern nation state.
(4) Enforcing legal action against violations of international law, sovereignty intrusions, war crimes, and extra-judicial killings.
These policy changes are not unusual and are meant to accomplish the usual, which may be:
- Jewish Israelis will leave the area en masse and find peace and contentment in new surroundings;
- Israel will shrink in power and capability;
- Palestinian life will be revived;
- Israel will slowly but inevitably become a bi-national and nation state;
- Over idealized dreams will be destroyed but lives will be saved.
- Peace will finally come to the former British Mandate.
january 5, 2017
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