Israel’s only alternative to being a garrison state is deep interconnection with the Arabs, particularly in economic matters. The situation now is crucially different from the situation in 1948. The Arabs bullied the new kid on the block, found him strong, and accepted him. Likewise, America fought Russia in Siberia in the 1918-1925 war, but then switched to cooperation. The Arabs were reluctant to fight in 1967, and only fought for the return of Sinai and the Golan Heights in 1973. Israel cannot quite develop a Hong Kong-type economy because the Arab countries, unlike China, are economically worthless and relatively open, thus Western companies don’t need Israel as an intermediary. Israel can become a Western representative in the Middle East, offering the Arabs Western investment vehicles and financial opportunities in the familiar Middle Eastern environment. Arabs won’t attack their own investments and bank accounts.
Israel is following South Africa’s path of rejecting the obvious demographic and political changes, fixing the untenable status quo, engaging in hysterical military actions, and building a police state. But today, South Africa is building a nominally democratic country which excludes blacks only informally. Blacks don’t achieve in South African business, and the corporate world is white. Corporations pay off the blacks with welfare and sinecures to accept the de facto white rule. That precarious balance could be swept away at any time, but it is holding for now. Lebanon struck a similar balance between the Christians and Muslims with government and parliamentary quotas. White South Africans tolerate astronomical rates of HIV infection (30%), crime, and unemployment (40%) among the blacks. That’s reminiscent of Rabin’s plan to seal Gaza off so that the Arabs kill each other (and presumably starve) like spiders in a can.
The International media trumpets the few black faces in South African government and corporate management while the majority of blacks remain rabble. The Israeli left successfully implemented the South African approach for decades, but since the 1990s they have put Jewish money where the leftists’ mouths are, and now heavily subsidize the Arabs.
The Saudi peace plan is not entirely unrealistic. Most of the descendants of the 1948 Palestinian refugees won’t return to Israel. They have already settled in other countries and received citizenship, and they won’t move to be second-class citizens of Israel out of nostalgia. In the worst-case scenario, even if the 300,000-400,000 Palestinian refugees who live now outside the PA return to Israel, they won’t add up too much to her Arab population. Besides, the Saudis have called for a “just solution” to the refugee problem, which does not necessarily mean return; they will accept compensation and the Americans will finance it.
The Saudis demand that Israel abandon East Jerusalem, but Palestinians have settled it, anyway. The place is as Judenfrei as practically possible. Muslims will never sign a peace agreement with Israel that abandons their claim to Jerusalem. Israeli leftists imagine they can attach suburbs to Jerusalem and give them to the Palestinians as “East Jerusalem.” That won’t work.