Monday, January 28, 2008


posted by Lewis Lipkin.

1st part of 2

This article is about population exchange, specifically, the physical separation of Arabs from Israelis. Over time, there have been several pendulum swings in opinion as to the morality and justice in doing this. Currently, there is increasing interest both from the political Left and the political Right in, at the very least, discussing exchange as an alternative to unworkable peace processes.

It doesn't take a crystal ball to see that the resolution of the West Bank and Gaza strip problems will sooner or later be resolved by negotiation (unlikely) or, regrettably, by war. In the event that these territories come under full Israeli control, it has to be understood that such control must be accompanied by two necessary conditions.

  1. The first is a legal annexation of what are now called "occupied territories".
  2. The second is a completion of the population exchange that began before 1948 when nearly a million Jews were expelled or "encouraged" to leave Arab lands and (despite Arab and British obstruction) settled in Israel. The Arab-promoted flight of the Palestinian Arabs in 1948 and 1967 was not the second part of this transfer -- a refugee camp is not a home.

Without completion of the population exchange -- transfering the Palestinian Arabs and settling them in neighboring Arab lands -- Israel will find herself in exactly the position she is now -- besieged by implacable internal enemies who frankly consider the Jewish State a monstrosity to be totally destroyed. The intention is not to make the West Bank "Arab-rein". It is to allow Israel the right to defend its citizens and to treat declared and active enemies as enemies. Surely any sovereign Western nation should regard the right to defend its citizens as a fundamental responsibility, the basic function of any state.

The current status(Oct 2002) of the Oslo War is briefly this:

  1. Israel (both the pre 1967 land and the territories of the West Bank and Gaza) is effectively infiltrated by close to two million Arabs.
  2. Both the Israeli Arabs and the Palestinian Arabs are openly supportive of anti-Israeli terrorism -- suicide bombing, weapons of mass destruction, etc.
  3. Arab schools within Israel deeply inculcate a hatred of Israel, Israelis, and all Jews -- an indoctrination that has progressively deepened for several decades. Generations of implacable terrorists are now in schools being prepared for 2010, 2020 and later, if necessary
  4. After decades of Israeli concessions, land transfer and treaties that were broken before their ink was dry, many Israeli military officers now seem to discount faithless Arab promises. Acknowledging that the Arab intent is the destruction of the State, they no longer see "Peace" as the objective, but, rather, a victory over the PLO.
  5. With each, now almost daily, terrorist attack, the expectation that Israel should "take risks for peace" becomes ever more absurd.
  6. The events of Sept 11 has changed the parameters of warfare not only for the United States but for all developed countries. Tactics that could defend the pitifully constrained geography of Israel are now not adequate to repel both external Arab enemies and multiple simultaneous mass terrorist attacks by the internal Arab fifth column.

Arab Attitudes Towards Israel

The almost universal Israel Arab and Palestinian antagonism to Israel and Jews has been evident and is documented in many sources. Boris Shusteff ("The Morality of Transfer",, 01/22/02 ) describes some typical poll results:

"The Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) in Ramallah and the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem conducted this poll among Palestinian Arabs during the week of December 19-24, 2001. They found that `69% of Palestinians would not view as an act of terrorism the future use of chemical and biological weapons against Israel by Palestinians, but when committed by Israel 93% of Palestinians would define it as terror.'"

This sampling is backed by other recent polls.

Efraim Karsh (Commentary, July-August 2002) shows that the term Occupation now refers to the entire State of Israel, not just the Territories. Arabs now call

".... into question not Israel's presence in the West Bank and Gaza but its very legitimacy as a state.........There are limits to Israel's ability to transform a virulent enemy into a peace partner, and those limits have long since been fault is the perduring Arab view that the creation of the Jewish state was an original act of `inhuman occupation' with which compromise of any final kind is beyond the realm of the possible."

This hardening attitude is reinforced for successive generations by what Arab children are taught in their schools and even by what they read in their comic books. In the Palestinian schools, the Jewish victims are demonized while the perpetrators of eight decades of anti-Jewish violence in Arab lands are treated as heros who may attain the Islamic paradise. The danger becomes even more evident when we realize that each entering class is indoctrinated and that the numbers of confirmed internal enemies grows with each school year. David Horowitz (Why Israel Is The Victim In The Middle East, Center for the Study of Popular Culture, p 15) provides a graphic description:

... "the mosques and schools of the Arabs, generally -- and the Palestinians in particular -- preach and teach Jew hatred every day. Elementary school children in Palestinian Arab schools are even taught to chant `Death to the heathen Jews' in their classrooms as they are learning to read. It should not be overlooked, that these twin policies of deprivation (of the Palestinian Arabs) and hatred (of the Jews) are carried out without any protest from any sector of Palestinian or Arab society."

The Basis For A Possible Transfer

I believe we should stop denying the history of Arab hostility. There have been Arab attacks, Arab slaughters, Arab progroms and Arab wars against the Jews, beginning as early as 1922. The evidence of history clearly shows that separation in whole or in part of the populations is necessary, if Israel is to survive.

When the hostility between the two sides is of such long duration and of such intensity, it warrants unusual action.

The action taken in the face of irreconcilable differences ranging in scope from a street-brawl to the Kashmir problem has usually been to recommend and promote physical separation of the combatants. When the combatants are many in numbers and intermixed -- as were the Greeks and Turks in Asia Minor and as are the Palestinian Arabs and Israelis at present, the separation to be effective calls for a population exchange.

It is possible to identify three categories of mass population movements that are precipitated by irreconcilable differences among peoples within a political entity. Briefly they are: emigration (encouraged or forced); expulsion (which differs from forced emigration in that family, economic and social values are more or less ignored during the process); and exchange, i.e., the legal and enforced exchange of populations so as to eliminate conflict by eliminating contact. As we shall see, population transfer does not necessarily have extremely severe social or economic consequences for the transferees. Some of these patterns are noted in the historical footnote below. I devote the immediate discussion to relevant events of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Two major twentieth century episodes of ethnic slaughter showed the necessity of separating irreconcilably hostile ethnic groups. During World War I (WWI), the Moslems committed genocide on the Armenians. It is true that the exigencies of war made intervention impractical, but, whatever the reason, the other Central Powers made no effective opposition. The second event was the gutting of the Greek-occupied Turkish city of Smyrna in 1922 and the slaughter of its non-Moslem population.

During and after World War I, the 19th century political chess game was continued in the Middle East. Most of the former Ottoman empire formed the game board and a bevy of new states -- Iraq, Oman, Yeman, to name a few -- were created. It was the victorious Western powers, England and France, that imposed the borders. Promises and conflicting promises were made, and usually broken. Peoples and places were aligned by rivalries between the colonial powers. Oil became an important factor. The end result was that by 1922 the root elements of the Arab-Israeli conflict had been planted. (See, for example, Samuel Katz, Battleground, rev. ed. 2002.)

Just at that time the League of Nations under Fridtjof Nansen's leadership -- he won the 1922 Nobel Peace prize for this work -- helped to impose the Greek-Turkish population exchange (http://www.Hellenic Resources Network), which saved thousands of Greek and Turkish lives. The first clause of the Treaty states:

"As from the 1st May, 1923, there shall take place a compulsory exchange of Turkish nationals of the Greek Orthodox religion established in Turkish territory, and of Greek nationals of the Moslem religion established in Greek territory. These persons shall not return to live in Turkey or Greece respectively without the authorisation of the Turkish Government or of the Greek Government respectively."

Additional clauses go into details protecting family structure and economic interest in great detail. To monitor and protect the function of the treaty, a High Commission was established which included League of Nations representatives.

The results have been regarded as a political success and, because of the lives saved, as morally justified. Its political justification resides in the peace established by the physical separation of the previous combatants.

The newly born United Nations after World War II (WWII) was faced by the same dilemma that confronted the League of Nations at the end of WWI.

Ethnic integrity and the rights of man could not be the primary determinants of borders. If ethnicity and human rights had been logically and systematically applied by the makers of treaties, it would have resulted in hundreds of micro nations across the map of Europe. The Basques and the Bretons would not now be governed from Paris.

The opposite alternative, sweeping population exchanges, was rejected. The victorious Russians would have none of this and neither would the French, or other victors.

Instead, the ad hoc diplomatic solutions resulted in the formation of multinational states in which a dominant ethnic group was de facto in charge of an included cluster of minority groups. The national rights of the minorities were consequently compromised. For example, passports were issued in the name of the dominant group -- you were a Chechoslovak even though you were a ethnic German. The paradigm is the creation by the League and the revivification by the UN of the former Yugoslavia. Its confirmation by the UN at the end of WWII laid the ground work for the ethnic troubles that prevail there today. (See chapter 9 of Hannah Arendt's The Origins of Totalitarianism, 2nd ed.)

WWII also re-animated the ancient peace table principle: (Samuel Katz, ibid, p. 190)

"If the victim [of aggression], however succeeds in repelling the aggressor, he holds the territory he has conquered or regained at least until he is ready to make a peace treaty and only the peace treaty will determine the fate of those territories."

To discuss the effectiveness and morality of population transfer, we are going to use as reference standard for comparison the territorial and demographic policies of the Soviet Union in the pre- and post-WW2 eras. Hugh Seton-Watson in his From Lenin to Kruschev (Praeger N.Y. 1960) notes that after initial occupation in Sept-Oct 1939, the Baltic States, Esthonia, Latvia and Lithuania, were presented with a Soviet ultimatum in June 1940 that demanded

".....unlimited admissions of Soviet troops and that they institute governments friendly to the Soviet Union. Annexation was completed by July 1940. The effect was to increase the depth of the Russian frontier by more than 200 miles, making (among other factors) for the failure of the German army to take Moscow in 1941."

This geographical shield was fortified by an effective population transfer. More than 120,000 Balts were deported to the Siberian Far East. How many survived the Gulag is an open question. Their places were taken by Russians and other nationalities who had but little time left to build the defense against Hitler's 1941 stroke.

This was a characteristic Russian geopolitical maneuver. As Bernard Pares (History of Russia, Vintage Edition, 1965, Knopf N.Y) points out in his chapter on the 2nd Fatherland War (the Russian name for the Hitler Invasion):

"There are certain constant elements in the history of Russian military defence.....Russia has always had to retire before a sudden aggression .....Russia's vast distances are in themselves a great defence. ......The newly acquired [Polish, Bessarabian and Baltic territories] was quickly overrun, but it served a purpose in giving time to recover from the first effects of shock."

At the end of WWII, in reconstructing Eastern Europe, the depth defense was preserved by creating a Poland that was deprived of its east, and "compensated" by a slice of former German territory. The flanks were extended by the reannexation of the Baltic states in the north and Moldava and parts of Roumania in the south.

The geography and topography of the broad flat plain extending from northern Germany through central Poland and to the Byelorussian-Northern Ukraine has always been an invitation for rapid invasions in either direction. There are no serious natural obstructions and the only real initial defense is depth. Russia, without any qualms, as a victor, annexed sufficient slices of the East to give her depth against a future resurgent Germany. Behind the borders, population transfers of German or other potentially disloyal groups beyond the Urals secured the geographic shield from internal enemies, real or fancied. "The Soviet Union had annexed 272,500 sq. miles of foreign territory with an extra population of 25 millions." (Norman Davies, Europe, p. 1062).

The Cold War had not begun, yet no one in the West complained. Samuel Katz (ibid, p. 191) reports that even Winston Churchill in the House of Commons declared:

"Twice in our lifetime Russia has been violently assaulted by Germany. Many millions of Russians have been slain and vast tracts of Russian soil devasted as a result of repeated German aggression. Russia has the right of reassurance against future attacks from the West, and we are going all the way with her to see that she gets it"

This was before any peace treaty with Germany

The Russian annexations were not unique. The Czechs, even before the war was over, executed a forced territorial and population exchange with the Hungarians, who were Axis satellites.

Even while still in exile during the war, the Czech-Slovak governments decreed the exile of Hungarians from the territories to be recovered at the end of the war. The population exchange that eventually took place is detailed in

"Hungary, left to fend for itself in the international arena, and Czechoslovakia signed an agreement on population exchange on 28 February 1946. Under the terms of the agreement the Czechoslovak authorities were entitled to deport as many Hungarians as many persons in Hungary volunteered for repatriation to Czechoslovakia. Originally 95,421 Slovaks enrolled for repatriation from Hungary. The number of repatriated eventually reached 73,273, as 22,148 people had changed their mind in the meantime. The Slovak displaced left behind 39,135 acres of land in Hungary. In Slovakia 105,047 Hungarians were to be resettled by the authorities. 68,407 people were resettled and 6,000 Hungarians left of their own free will. The resettled Hungarians left behind 136,619 acres of land in their native land."

The contrast in Israeli policy in 1967 and 1971 to that of the WWII victors is striking. Israel in 1948, in 1967, and again in 1971 was the eventually victorious victim of aggression. But she was not allowed to grasp the fruits of victory. In this post WWII world, only Israel -- the undoubted repeated victim of aggression by multiple adjacent Arab states -- is thought by the UN, Europe, the Arab States and the American State Department obligated to restore the conquered territory to the agressors or the agressor's assignee (PLO). Israel did not behave in 1967 as did Russia after WWII. The West Bank and Gaza were not annexed, and the Israelis foolishly allowed the myth of the Occupied territories to stay unanswered.

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

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