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August 02, 2002

A Carrot

I don’t care for the Palestinians. Though as individuals there are probably bright, funny, intelligent and peaceful Palestinians, as a people they have chosen a way that makes them murderous bastards in the eyes of many in the world. Any people that dances and sings when innocents are murdered, whether on Sept 11th or because of the latest suicide bombing, doesn’t really deserve the human rights given to them. You can argue that the celebrants are a minority, that most Palestinians don’t rejoice when Israeli babies die, but you certainly don’t hear Palestinians condemning the festive cheers. The only condemnation of the suicide bombings comes from a tactical argument, rather than a moral one.

Yet, for Israel’s safety and our own, there must be a peace. We cannot just wipe the Palestinians out, the peace of the grave would make us no better than they, and I believe the state of Israel, founded as a refuge against genocide, would founder if it became the agent of one. Conquering the Palestinians may quiet them for a time, as it has before, but every bloody hiding given to them creates the radicals who will cause the next Intifada, creates new warped hypnotists to indoctrinate another generation of suicide bombers. And the suicide bombers will never stop. To stop would mean admitting that the ones who have already strapped on a bomb and gone to paradise have spent their lives in vain. With each new bomber that number grows, and each new bomber makes the collective admission that much harder. There is no border, no fence that can keep out all who want to cross it. Bombers will cross and they will kill and die. The circumstances surrounding them will become worse, the horror more dire. There is no line that can be drawn in which you say “Here, on one side of this line there are the suicide bombers, and on the other side there are not. There are female suicide bombers. There are children who will become suicide bombers before they turn thirteen. One day, one day closer than you can think or fear, there will be a Jewish suicide bomber, blowing themselves up to protest the occupation. On that day Israel dies.

Yes, the Palestinians are mulishly stubborn, and mulishly stupid. And like a mule, they will stand in the traces and die before moving, no matter how hard they are beaten, because they have made up their minds that this is how they resist. Israel can beat them harder and harder, and we will collectively cheer the savage beating, and urge Israel on, because in our minds we think; “Surely this time they will crack. Surely this savage punishment will show them the errors of their ways. This beating will teach them at long last the value of peace.” But this is wrong, because we are rational, and punishment only works on the rational. The Palestinians are not rational, for rational people do not send their children off to die. We cannot beat them hard enough to make them rational, because beatings don’t make people rational. If anything, a beating makes one crazier.

To move a mule, as anyone with even a passing acquaintance with clichés knows, one needs a carrot as well as a stick. There is no carrot being offered to the Palestinians now, nor has anyone thought of a new one to offer them. What we call for, and I am as guilty as any, is a harder and heavier stick. “Kill their leaders and they will stop.” Kill their leaders and new ones spring to take their place. “Wall them off and they will stop.” Wall them off and they will go over, or under, or their weapons will go over, or under. “Lock them inside their homes for 24 hours a day and they will stop.” They will not stop, and we cannot kill them all without becoming them.

Israeli/Palestinian negotiations, such as they were, always ran headlong into one final sticking point, no matter what else had been agreed on. The Right of Return. Israel cannot afford to grant it, and Yasser Arafat cannot afford to give it up. Presumably no Palestinian leader who was not our puppet would, and what puppets give away is meaningless. The Right of Return must be removed as a stumbling block, or the numbers it applies to reduced to a point acceptable to Israel. We must offer something to the Palestinians, something valuable enough that they give up the Right of Return. So here is where I think I’ve stumbled across a carrot. A carrot called America.

According to best estimates, there are just over 5 million Palestinians in Israel and the occupied territories. There are maybe 5 million more scattered throughout the Middle East. Let’s start with the ones in the occupied territories and let them emigrate; in small numbers at first, then more, then hundreds of thousands a year. Let them come to America. And in exchange, they give up the Right of Return for themselves and all their progeny, forever.

The immediate response is visceral, negative; “Why would you allow a race of suicide bombers into the US?”

They are not a race of suicide bombers. Believing that they are is a step down the path towards dehumanizing them, to making genocide a viable possibility. Palestinians are under the sway of the suicide bombers because they have no other recourse, because they live under leaders who promote it. To make them rational, they must be removed from the influence of a leadership that extols suicide. Their leaders are terrorists, they are not welcome. They can stay in the hell they’ve created and die. The ones who do come should be screened. If Mossad doesn’t have a file on them, we can welcome them with open arms. Sure, a few bad ones will get in, as did during the Mariel boatlift. But the majority will be overwhelmed with joy to be here and will work hard at crappy jobs, to give their children the shining city on the hill.

As Palestinians leave the occupied territories, spaces will open up that can be offered to the Palestinians of the Diaspora. If one decides that they’d rather stay in Jordan, or Lebanon, then they have given up the Right of Return as well. How many Palestinians do you think will trade the rule of King Abdullah for the tender mercies of the Palestinian Authority when they have to make the choice? Given only a few years, the Right of Return will apply not to millions but to only hundreds of thousands, and perhaps only tens of thousands.

Clearing a Mossad review should by no means be the only step. We are letting them in, so we can make the rules. And there will be rules, restrictive rules, rules that can be applied because the Palestinians won’t be citizens, they’ll be parolees;

1.) Families get the first spots, and extended families are preferred. The more relatives a Palestinian has in country, the less likely it is that they will do something to endanger them. Young, single males are at the very end of the list. The families will go where we choose, be that New York City, Duluth, or Lizard Lick.

2.) Families with a “history” of suicide bombing wouldn’t be allowed to emigrate. This would produce an immediate benefit to Israel. Everyone wants to come to America. People die every month trying to get here. How many Palestinians would risk the chance of America for revenge? Instead of ululating joyfully when their son explodes, a Palestinian family would curse his name for removing their chance at a better life. The worst life in America is better than 90% of the lives Palestinians lead now. How many of them will decide that a dead child in paradise isn’t as good as a live one at the 7-11?

3.) As was stated above, Palestinians who come to our shores are on parole. We’re going to monitor their lives as well as their bank accounts. If we label a group as supporters of terrorism, they can’t associate with them. All the money the Palestinians bring with them and all that they earn is deposited in a bank of our choice, and monitored by us. They have the free use of it, but no money goes back to the Middle East, not to relatives, not though charities. Each family gets a parole officer/social worker who, as part of their training, watches videos of the aftermath of suicide bombings. Yes it will take a bureaucracy to handle this, but if we build the monitoring system correctly, it won’t have to be huge. And it’ll give the department of Homeland Security something better to do than spying on us.

4.) Palestinians who break our rules or our laws are jailed, in a jail built by us, but the funding for which comes from a variable tax on the Palestinians in the US. The more Palestinians that break the rules, the higher the tax will be.

There will be more rules, Mr. or Mrs. Palestinian Immigrant. But there will also be rewards.

1.) You get to live and work in America, the land of opportunity. Work hard and you’ll have a life you never dreamed of. Your children will have riches and liberty beyond your most fervid imagination.

2.) All your children born here are citizens.

3.) With each year, if you behave, we’ll monitor you less.

4.) Learn English, pass courses in civics and American history, and behave yourself for fifteen years, and you can be a citizen. Monitoring ceases then, for you and you alone.

And it need not be just the United States. Other democratic western countries could adopt the same program. I’m thinking specifically of Australia, Canada, Brazil, Japan, and New Zealand. It must be a place where a network of Muslim support for the Intifada and Osama doesn’t already exist, or is rudimentary at best. That leaves out Indonesia, and it leaves out Europe as well. Europe is almost as poisonous a well of hatred for Israel as Saudi Arabia, and I’m including Britain, not because of the government or its policies, but because an angry, ghettoized Muslim population already exists there.

Obviously this is a rough draft of an idea, and there are thousands of details that would have to be worked out, and hundred of objections and roadblocks to overcome. But the path we are traveling down now doesn’t appear as if it will end well for us or for Israel, and most definitely not for the Palestinians. They must be shown another way, a Third Way, if I can steal a phrase from Mr. Blair, a way that does not have the genocide of either the Jews or themselves as its termination. Palestinians don’t know how to function in a democracy, because they have never lived in a democracy. They cannot conceive of liberty for others because they have no liberty of their own. They have no examples, so we must give them one. The first family to arrive can come to Durham, and they can be my neighbor. I’ll have to be a better American to be a good example, but I could stand to be a better American, and I have a daughter who might want to see Bethlehem one day.

Update: I've addressed a lot of the comments here.

Posted by Bigwig at August 2, 2002 12:49 PM | TrackBack
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