It was in the year 2008. The
Israelis at long last gave up their attempts to resist the pressures of the
world. They elected a new government headed by Prime Minister Yossi Beilin,
the original promoter of the Oslo Peace Process, in coalition with the Jewish
and Arab parties of the Left. They announced that Israel was willing to accept
the unanimous proposal for peace supported by every single country in the
world, and would return to its pre-1967 borders, remove all Jewish settlements
from the territories of the new state of Palestine, recognize Palestine and
grant Palestine all of East Jerusalem, that is, all of the city located east
of a line running north-south through Zion Square, renamed Jihad Square.
The world had not seen
celebration like this which greeted the Israeli decision since the fall of the
Berlin Wall or the transferal of power in South Africa to the black majority.
All-night celebrations were held in every city on the planet, but none so
enthusiastic as the party held in Tel Aviv in Rabin Square. Speaker after
speaker appeared under a banner “Liberation at Last” and praised the decision
to agree to the terms of the accord as the ultimate completion of the work and
dreams of Yitzhak Rabin.
The settlers were marched out
of the lands of Palestine at bayonet point, with crowds of jeering Israeli
leftists pelting them with garbage, as they moved into their temporary transit
camps inside Green Line Israel. Liberal Jews in the United States organized a
million man march in Washington together with Arabs and the Nation of Islam to
celebrate the breaking out of peace and the final settlement of the conflict.
“Peace at Last” was the number one pop single. The State Department sent out a
message urging Israel and Palestine to conduct good-faith negotiations and
round-the-clock talks on all outstanding issues of disagreement still
separating the two sovereign states.
At long last, there were two
states for two peoples. Land had been exchanged for peace. Peace had at long
last broken out in the world’s most troubled region.
The morning after the Palestine
Independence Celebrations, the message arrived in the Israeli parliament,
brought in by special messenger.
The newly formed government of
Palestine had only a small number of issues it would like to discuss with
Israel. It proposed that peaceful relations be officially consummated, as soon
as Israel turned over the Galilee and the Negev to Palestine. Israeli cabinet
ministers were nonplussed. We thought we had settled all outstanding
territorial issues by giving the Palestinians everything, they protested. The
spokesman for the Palestine War Ministry explained: the Galilee was obviously
part of the Arab homeland. It was filled with many Arabs and in many areas had
an Arab population majority. Israel was holding 100% of the Galilee territory,
and Palestine none at all, and surely that was unfair. As for the Negev, it
too has large areas with Arab majorities, but is in fact needed so that
Palestine can settle the many Palestinian refugees from around the world in
lands and new homes.
Israel’s government preferred
not to give offense and sour the new relations, and so offered to take the
proposal under consideration.
Within weeks, endorsements of
the Palestinian proposal were coming from a variety of sources. The Arab
League endorsed it. The EU approved a French proposal that the Galilee and
Negev be transferred to Palestine in stages over 3 years. Within Israel, many
voices were heard in favor of the proposal. Large rallies were held in the
universities. The Israeli press endorsed the idea almost in full unison, with
only some regional weeklies from the north and south dissenting. Israeli film
producers began turning out documentaries on the sufferings of Galilee and
Negev Arabs under Israeli rule.
Sociologists from around the
world produced studies showing that these Arabs were victims of horrible
discrimination and that Israel is characterized by institutional racism.
Israeli poets and novelists wrote passionate appeals for support of the
Galilee and Negev ‘Others’.
When Israel’s cabinet rejected
the proposal, the pressures mounted. A Galilee and Negev Liberation
Organization was founded and immediately granted recognition by the UN General
Assembly. It established consulate facilities in 143 countries. Weeks later,
the infiltrations began. Squads of terrorists infiltrated the borders between
Palestine and Israel, and suicide bombers produced a carnage of 75 murdered
Jews a day.
The border fences that Ariel
Sharon had constructed were reinforced, but to no avail. The US State
Department proposed that Israel defuse the situation by considering compromise
on the matters of the Galilee and Negev.
Six months later, the victims
of Jewish discrimination in the Galilee and Negev decided to escalate their
protests. Gangs of Arabs lynched Jews throughout the disputed territories.
Roadblocks were set up, and entire families of Jews were dragged from their
cars by the activists and beaten to death or doused with flames. The EU sent
in observers, but warned Israel that there is no military solution to the
problems of terrorism and violence. When Israel arrested gang leaders from the
riots, the General Assembly denounced Israeli state terrorism against Galilee
and Negev Arabs. French universities gave the pogrom leaders honorary
Meanwhile, boycotts of Israel
arose throughout Europe. Professors at the US Ivy League colleges demanded a
total embargo and divestment from ties with Israel until it ended its racist
The leaders of the Reform
synagogue movement supported the State Department and demanded that Israel end
its obstinacy, redeploy out of the Negev, and formally acknowledge gay
Israel’s own leftists launched
a Movement against Apartheid, and the foreign press reported that 400,000
protesters attended a rally by the Movement in Rabin Square. Cars around
Israel had bumper stickers that read “My Son Will Not Die for Nazareth” and
“Peace Now”. The Israeli Left urged people to refuse to do army service
outside metropolitan Tel Aviv. The Israeli Labor Party proposed erecting a
series of separating barriers throughout the Galilee under the slogan “Good
Fences Make Good Neighbors”.
But Palestine could not sit
idly by. Barrages of rockets and mortars drenched Israeli cities. The death
toll rose to 7,000 Israelis per month. The White House and State Department
threatened to cut off all supplies from Israel if it dared to launch reprisal
raids against independent Palestine. Large cargo ships from Egypt laden with
advanced arms entered the port of Gaza. Thousands of volunteers streamed into
Palestine to assist in the campaign to rescue the Galilee and Negev Arabs from
On the afternoon of Yom Kippur,
tank columns cut Israel in two just north of Tul Karem. Palestine offered to
withdraw in exchange for transferring the Negev and Galilee to its control. An
Israeli newspaper and the Israeli Peace Movement proposed transferring the
disputed areas to EU control until things could be settled.
Synagogues in Belgium and
France were torched. Teach-ins for the Negev and Galilee were held on US
campuses. A new conference was called in Durban to denounce Israeli apartheid.
The White House insisted that Israel not expel the invading Palestine troops
who had divided the country, for it was a matter for negotiations and
dialogue. The President invited both sides to Camp David, with observers from
the Negev and Galilee militias present.
Increasing numbers of Israeli
politicians urged that Israel respond to the situation by granting limited
autonomy to the Negev and the Galilee. When the government proposed to
withdraw from Safed, right wing inciter web sites broadcastnon-stop protests
against the move.
The government then passed a
bill that shut them down. The owners of these web sites were thrown in jail as
inciters against peace. The Americans offered to send in ground troops to
protect the remaining Israeli territories, if Israel decided to accept the
proposal to give up the Negev and Galilee. Let’s at long last have peace in
the hills that Jesus roamed, suggested the President.
Jews living in the Galilee and
Negev were under siege everywhere and the roads were unsafe. The road through
the Negev to Eilat was cut by Arab gangs in four places. Leftist Israeli
professors officially joined the Arab militias fighting for liberation. Two of
them blew themselves up on a Jewish school bus to show their solidarity with
the oppressed Arabs. Ahmed Tibi, head of the largest militia, insisted he was
doing everything possible to stop the suicide attacks on Tel Aviv and Haifa
from the Galilee, but the Americans demanded that he do more. The UK demanded
100% effort to stop the violence. The PLO proposed, as a compromise, that
instead of being annexed by Palestine, the Negev and Galilee be allowed to
form a separate state. The Arab League endorsed the idea.
CNN broadcast a series of
specials on the plight of the Negev and Galilee Arabs, and the BBC started
referring to Tel Aviv as illegally-occupied Arabian Jaffa. Netanya and Beer
Sheba were described by them as illegal colonial settlements. When the carnage
exceeded 10,000 a month, the New York Times, for the first time, expressed
regret in having promoted the peace process and ran as its lead headline
“Oops”. The Washington Post, however, urged more Israeli flexibility
The Negev and Galilee
liberation organizations raised their flags over their towns and proposed that
the Jews living in their territories be resettled elsewhere. The Palestine War
Ministry was shipping them guns and explosives. The first word came of a
detention camp north of Nazareth in which Jews expelled from their Galilee
homes were being concentrated, with a second camp opened in the Negev near
Strange black smoke rose from