The Haifa Declaration, published last Monday by some 50 intellectuals and political activists, is the fourth and final document in a series outlining Israeli Arab leaders’ vision of what Israel should be. The others were the Mossawa Center’s 10 Points, the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee’s Future Vision and Adalah’s Democratic Constitution. Together, these documents’ drafters comprise virtually the entire political, intellectual and civil society leadership of the Israeli Arab community, excluding the Islamic Movement. And their almost identical prescriptions leave no doubt about their common goal.
The main demands are as follows: 1. Establishing a Palestinian state – whose residents would then be given the right to relocate to Israel (and vice versa). 2. Letting 4.4 million descendants of Palestinian refugees “return” to Israel. 3. Repealing the Law of Return, which entitles Jews worldwide to immigrate to Israel. 4. Making Israel a “state based on equality between the two national groups.” 5. Giving Israeli Arabs veto power over issues that affect them.
As Gordon makes clear, implementation of these demands would mean the end of Israel as a Jewish state and its replacement by another Arab-dominated nation (in addition to the Palestinian state in the territories), which might contain some Jews. But not for long.
In fact, it’s likely that the long-term result would not be significantly different from that of a military defeat of Israel by the Arab nations and Palestinians, although of course the amount of short-term violence would be much greater in the latter case.
The unfortunate part of this, as Gordon says, is that the writers of these documents represent the “most liberal” Arab Israelis; for example, they condemn the mistreatment of women common in Palestinian society. If they don’t want coexistence — and it’s clear that their demands preclude it — then who does?
As I’ve written before, the radicalization of the Israeli Arabs, about 20% of the population, is one of the greatest challenges facing the state in the near future. It may be the greatest challenge — after all, I can imagine a whole range of acceptable solutions to the Iranian threat.
By making such unreasonable demands, demands that no rational Israeli Jew could accept — more than that, by moving the consciousness of the mass of the Arab population to a point where such demands seem reasonable — the Arab leadership shows itself to be either certain of success or highly irresponsible.
Although they continually express fear that there will be “another nakba” in which the remaining Arabs will be expelled from Israel, they are doing everything that they can to create a situation in which Israel is caught between expulsion and possibly civil war, and destruction.
They are betting that the explosion that they cause will wreck Israel but leave them standing. Not a good bet.