The Wages of Conquest

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"The Wages of Conquest"

[Matt]

I haven’t been over to Martin Peretz’s blog in some time, but if I’m reading this post correctly, the New Republic editor in chief’s position is that the so-called “occupied territories,” including both the Golan Heights and the West Bank, must be kept perpetually in Israeli hands in order to punish Syria and Jordan for past acts of aggression. He writes:

After World War II, the allies allocated to themselves (and their allies) territories from which Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy had aggressed against the rest of Europe. These are the costs paid by the bellicose and the belligerent. Japan paid a similar price, too.

This of course raises the question of what to do with those pesky Arabs who happen to live in this territory. They could be given full Israeli citizenship, of course, though that would entail a fairly radical departure from the Zionist concept of a Jewish state. Alternatively, they could be perpetually held captive as stateless subjects of a Jewish herrenvolk democracy. Or, of course, they could be forcibly removed from the territories — told they had to depart under thread of death. I take it by Peretz’s approving citation of the handling of the situation in postwar Europe that this is what he wants — something similar to the mass expulsions of Germans from Eastern Europe following the war.

But if this is his preferred resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, surely he should say so more plainly than this. He’s the editor-in-chief of a well-regarded biweekly magazine, after all, so it’s not as if he couldn’t find a venue in which to publish the (counterintuitive!) case for ethnic cleansing in a straightforward manner and let people debate this vision of the Jewish future in a more head-on manner.

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