I know. I may be scorned by some, merely for asking, but there are those who keep reminding Jews and Israelis that “it all depends…” whereas the Palestinians, the Iranians and almost all Muslims are strong believers in the expiration date prophecy, as they continue to populate the “Definitively YES!” column of the above question.
And that is the main reason for the impending failure of the peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs.
If the Arabs believe that Israel is due to expire in some foreseeable future date, then any peace accord will only yield a protraction of that final solution. A peace agreement will lead to relaxation of international pressure on Israel; it will weaken and possibly end the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movements, and it will bring about a reversal of the creeping isolation of the Jewish State. Peace between Israel and the Palestinians would run counter to that expiration date hallucination, and hence, the Palestinians want to see it sidestepped.
How do the Arabs come about this insight into their version of the future?
Although a nuclear Iran is the most prominent and explosive threat casting its dark shadow on Israel’s future, it is not the one the Arabs are counting on. They base their doomsday premonition on two potential developments, destined to stimulate a disintegration of the Jewish State.
The first Jewish State’s killer is the ticking population time bomb. In the absence of peace between the Palestinian Arabs and the Jewish State, the combined Arab population in Israel and the West Bank, even without counting in Gaza, will become the most significant population segment under Israeli government’s jurisdiction, assuming the present birth rates continue unabated for the next decade. In fact, in December 2012, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics predicted that the combined number of Arabs in Israel and in the Palestinian Territories will be equal to the number of Jews by 2016 and exceed it by 2020.
The Palestinian Authority is aware of these extrapolations. They know that In the absence of a peaceful two-state solution Israel has a choice between either being a democracy or preserving its Jewish character, but not both. In other words, the above logic states that if Israel rules over a Palestinian majority in the West Bank, then either these Palestinians become Israeli citizens with full voting rights, a fact which would undermine the Jewish character of the state, or they become second class citizens, a fact which would undermine the democratic moral fiber of the state.
When adding the number of Jewish, anti-Zionist, ultra-religious Haredim segment, whose current birth rate is as high as or even higher than that of the Palestinian Arabs population, (it is not uncommon among Haredim to have ten children per family), Israel may be heading towards a violent implosion. This is so, because the Haredi segment prefers Torah study to work; they shun military service or any other national service, while at the same time, taking advantage of the Jewish State’s welfare policies designed to support the poor and the multi-children families.
If current trends continue, then, twenty years from now a democratically elected Knesset (parliament) and the government will be controlled by anti-Zionist moochers (Haredim and Arabs), and a democratic Jewish state may not be able to sustain itself. It will implode.
A second existential threat is a world-wide Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) imposed on the Jewish State once it becomes clear that the Jewish occupation of the west bank is permanent with no hope for change. If the US elects a president whose views are consistent with the world’s immoderate political Left, viewing Israel’s claim on Judea and Samaria as an illegal occupation—this is not an impossible nightmare. We have seen and we still witness presidential candidates like Rand and Ron Paul, Ralph Nader, Pat Buchanan, Jessy Jackson—then the BDS movement may gather considerable strength and may even be led by a hostile American Administration.
The only way Israel may be able to convince the Palestinians that a peace agreement between them and the Jewish State is worth pursuing, is convincing them that Israel will never expire, that the population time bomb is about to be defused by employing aggressive government programs to change its course, and by telling the west Bank Arab residents that under no circumstances they will be part of an Israeli state. Their choices are either to be part of a Palestinian state or continue to be occupied by Israel. And that this choice is for them to make. In addition, Israel needs to make clear that BDS has no chance of ever gaining momentum by launching an all-out war intended to devastate this movement.
In addition, Israeli positions and actions must deliver an unmitigated reading that time is not on the Palestinian side. The more time passes before a final peace agreement is signed the more established facts on the ground would make it harder for Palestinians to meet their aspirations. They need to hurry before their own expiration date becomes an inevitable conclusion.
Can it be done?
It must be done. Otherwise, peace will never take root, and Israel will continue to face threats to its existence—not only from Iran, but even more so—from within its own borders.