The title of Hallinan’s hit piece says it all, even though it is nearly the only portion of his article which is readable and coherent. The title is “Ethnic Cleansing and Israel.” The charge, as near as we can tell, is that Israel is contemplating the ethnic cleansing of its Arab population. The evidence, according to Hallinan:
1) There are extremists in Israel, who preach “transfer.” Hallinan finds a few and quotes them. Of course, there are extremists in Israel, just as there are extremists in America who want to send Mexicans back to Mexico or blacks back to Africa. Every society on earth has its extreme elements. So what else is new?
2) The concept of Arab population transfer has gone mainstream. This is simply not true. To arrive at this conclusion, Hallinan cynically confuses population transfer (i.e., ethnic cleansing), with the redrawing of borders. Israel has no eastern border recognized by all its neighbors. Instead, it has an armistice line, the so-called green line. After the Six Day War in 1967, Jewish settlers moved over the green line into the West Bank and also into the Gaza Strip, establishing facts on the ground. That was then. Now, a basic premise of the “peace process” is that not a single Jew may live as a loyal citizen of the to-be-created State of Palestine (i.e., Jews must be ethically cleansed). Indeed, all Jews have already been ethnically cleansed from Gaza. However, some of the settlements on the other side of the West Bank greenline are considered too large to cleanse. They are in fact full fledged cities. Complicating the “peace process” further, it has become axiomatic that Palestine should consist of no less land than it had before the Six Day War. One proposed solution has been to draw permanent borders so that some Israeli Arab towns and villages, which are adjacent to the West Bank, would become part of Palestine, while some Jewish towns and cities currently on the West Bank would be placed within Israel.
According to these plans, not a single Arab would be “transferred” from their home, but instead of residing within the borders of Israel, their residences would now become part of Palestine. Jewish settlers, of course, would prefer to remain citizens of Israel than of Palestine. However, the inverse is not necessarily true. Umm al-Fahm is the largest Arab town that might be affected by this “transfer.” Hallinan states that this town is “near Haifa.” It is not close at all to Haifa by Israeli standards (it is a small country). Haifa is on the sea. Umm al-Fahm is way inland, adjacent to the West Bank, quite near to Jenin. We believe that this was no mere mistake in Hallinan’s knowledge of geography. We believe that it was a crafty attempt to confuse his readers into believing that Israel would transfer the population miles from their homes by the sea, which is false. Umm al-Fahm is governed by the Islamic Movement, an Islamist party, closely aligned with Hamas. Because the party advocates the destruction of Israel, one would think that the citizens of Umm al-Fahm would be delighted to live in Palestine. Not so. When the idea of transferring the town to Palestinian sovereignty first surfaced, the mayor at the time, Sheikh Raed Salah, vehemently objected. He was famously asked on Israeli TV why, if he hates Israel, would he object to becoming a citizen of Palestine. His response was that, to be sure, he does hate Israel, but at least in Israel he is free to express that hatred. In Palestine they would kill him.
3) The next generation of Israelis hates Arabs. To support this thesis, Hallinan drags out a poll of Israeli high school students. High school students everywhere hold simplistic ideas, and this poll was conducted during the Gaza War, a time of deep emotional turmoil for Israelis at large and for high school students in particular, as they will be drafted after graduation into the army. However, the biggest problem with this “poll” is its source, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI, Hallinan gets the name somewhat wrong). This is no Gallup organization. It is an extreme radical group:
As further evidence, Hallinan quotes one poll that is reliable, from the newspaper, Ha’aretz, which found that among high school students, ”the left-wing Mertez party came in dead last.” Hallinan neglects to mention that Meretz basically came in dead last in the national elections as well, garnering less than 3% of the vote. The far left wing tends to lose in the U.S., also. Witness happened to Ralph Nadar or Dennis Kuscinich (roughly equivalent to Meretz). Only communists, like Hallinan, tend to fare worse at the polls.
4) Hallinan writes that “all the major parties voted to remove two parties—United Arab List-A and Balad—from the ballot because they opposed the Gaza War.” False. They were expelled because they advocated the destruction of Israel. The Israeli Supreme Court immediately reversed the ban, as it should have. Politicians do what politicians do, and courts, in a vibrant democracy like Israel, are there to undo what politicians do. Arab party advocacy for the destruction of Israel resonates much like flag burning does here in the U.S.; it is a severe test of the maturity of a democracy. Think also of how Rev. Wright’s “goddam America” almost sunk Obama.