Only Israel West of the River

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Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Dr. Mordechai Nisan, a retired lecturer in Middle East Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He continues to teach in other educational institutions on topics ranging from the Arab-Israeli conflict, Islam, Israel, Lebanon, and Minorities in the Mideast. He is the author of the new book, Only Israel West of the River.

FP: Dr. Mordechai Nisan, welcome to Frontpage Interview

Thank you for having me.

Congratulations on your new book. What inspired you to write it and why did you write it now in 2011?

Nisan: Thanks Jamie.

There is a significant erosion in the world and in Israel itself of belief in the justice of Zionism and Israel as a legitimate Jewish state. I felt that the charges of racism and illegal occupation had to be met in a reasoned fashion, so I mobilized arguments on behalf of Israel’s cause. In 2011, we witness the Palestinian diplomatic campaign for statehood, and this idea focused on the territories of Judea and Samaria – what the world calls the West Bank. It is a grave threat to Israel’s welfare. My response is a timely and I hope effective defense of Israel’s national rights and explanation of her political and security predicament.

FP: What is the major theme of the book?

Nisan: The predominant theme is that Israel is justifiably in control of all of Jerusalem and the territories as a historical homeland and national space for fulfilling Israel’s development and growth. This converges with my argument against a Palestinian state west of the Jordan River, a state that would destabilize the situation on the ground, catalyze tension and terrorism, radicalize the Arabs in Israel, demoralize Israel’s population, and raise doubts about the country’s stamina to face the Palestinian push to the sea. It is the Palestinian state idea that will excite popular Palestinian passions that Israel is on the way down and that the future is with the Palestinians.

FP: How does this book fit into the range of your other research and writing concerns?

Nisan: I have written on Israel from the start of my research with a focus on the Arab challenge to the Jewish state. So this book is a continuation and application of my thinking given the present circumstances of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But my broader research concerns and writings, like minority peoples and Lebanon, have sensitized me to the fragility of small peoples in the Muslim/Arab dominated Middle East. As a small people in an Arab sea, the Jews of Israel will always face demanding challenges to preserve their identity and cultivate their resourcefulness in pursuing the modern Israel national venture.

FP: What do you make of Abbas? How is he different from the leaders of Hamas?

Nisan: Coming after the passing of flamboyant and legendary Fatah-founder Yasser Arafat, Mahmoud Abbas has to try and make his individual political mark. He has adopted the political discourse of peace-making with Israel, but without ever abandoning the essential Palestinian demands, like refugee return, which are designed to destroy Israel from within. Without any doubt, leading the Fatah movement, the PLO, and the Palestinian Authority, Abbas shares with Hamas the long-term Palestinian goal to destroy Israel. Hamas uses an Islamic idiom and a Sharia-based policy agenda, while the Abbas-run PLO/PA apparatus plays to the Western audience, media outlets, and the Israeli public. The deceiving and pugnacious Abbas is a far greater danger and threat to Israel than Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, a transparent enemy of Israel.

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  • Ben Cohen

    Dr. Nisan never explains what to do with the 2.5 million Palestinians on the West Bank/E. Jerusalem, and the 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza. He never proposes the Kahanist solution (expulsion), and says Israel should annex the West Bank. His answer to Israel's problems is to double the Arab Israeli population.

    This is another political fantasy of the Likudnik mental masturbaters; Israel annexes the west bank and leaves Gaza in a permanent legal limbo. Jews are still in the majority (55-60)%, we keep control of the Jordan river, etc.

    These people don't live on the same planet we do.

    • aspacia

      What happened to the 650,000 Jews driven from Arab lands. Tiny Israel absorbed her brethren; the vast Muslim majority Middle-East can absorb its brethren but refuse to do so because they are used as cannon fodder to destroy Israel.

  • Ben Cohen

    One more thing; I have to congratulate the Israeli right for being master of obfuscation, if there was a Nobel prize for sophistry they would win it every year. I have never seen a group of people deflect attention from glaringly obvious political realities so well. The obvious political reality is this:

    1. Israel's core national interest is to survive as a Jewish state. If there are more Arab than Jewish citizens it is not a Jewish state. If Israel annexes the occupied territories it has a choice, give the inhabitants citizenship or not. If they don't give the inhabitants citizenship the world community will brand you an apartheid state, enact an embargo, and you won't last 6 months. So therefore if you annex these territories you must give people citizenship.

    But if you give them citizenship than you will eventually have a binational state due to differences in birthrate; in the beginning Jews would hold a small majority but this would quickly disappear.

    2. One possible solution to extricate itself from this dilemma is to make Israel a more pleasant place to live. How? PEACE!!!!!!!! A lot more people would want to live there and a lot more firms would invest in Israel if there was peace. The biggest reason Jews don't want to live there is because of the constant low level war going on.

    Also, Israel's economy is significantly hampered by the lack of a peaceful resolution. It can't trade with most of it's neighbors and the gulf states won't sell it oil. If the economy were to boom, there would be a lot more immigrants (especially from Eastern Europe).

    What Netanyahu and the rightwing have done to Israel is so transparently not in that countries best interest, it is a major miracle that people believe their crap.


    • WildJew

      You wrote: "The biggest reason Jews don't want to live there is because of the constant low level war going on….."


      Where do you live, may I ask?

      • Ben Cohen


        • WildJew

          OK. So do I for now. I fully intend to make Aliyah irrespective of the 'constant low level war' or any inherent danger. It is not a consideration for me. It's not been a consideration for any Jew I know who has or intends to make Aliyah. I've been to Israel a few times. I realize it is not easy living in Israel compared to the U.S. Not all, but many Jews make Aliyah for ideological or for religious reasons. The biggest reason Jews don't want to live there is because:

          1) We are too comfortable here
          2) We are too comfortable here

    • aspacia


      Muslims will never tolerate a peace with Israell.

    • Wallace Brand

      Ben Cohen is wrong. I have a solution.

      "Harvard Had no Room for a One Jewish State Solution"
      Published in Arutz Sheva Wednesday, February 29, 2012 10:29 PM
      "This Harvard alumnus applied to speak at the Harvard One State Solution
      Conference, but his solution was not seen as deserving of a voice in the "free
      market of ideas" advertised by the university. The question of the day is: how much lasting influence does Prince Talal's $20 million check have, the one he donated to Harvard in 2009? To my knowledge, donating to colleges is not a part of AIPAC's operations.
      What I do know is that here is no room for a one Jewish state solution with a continuing Jewish majority population at the Harvard Conference on March 3 on one state solutions to the Arab-Israel Conflict.
      Alan Dershowitz talks about this biased conference in Newsmax at ttp://
      A Mr. S. Benzimra of Toronto and I have been trying to get Harvard to accept a speaker on the panel to talk about a one Jewish state solution. He just had his book on the San Remo Agreement of 1920 published last November. The San Remo Agreement granted the Jews exclusive political rights to Palestine. The speaker would have also talked about the Palestinians being a people invented in
      1964 by the Soviet dezinformatsia. The term "Palestinian Arab People" appears three times in the preamble to the 1964 Charter of the PLO as if to comply with the Humpty Dumpty standard. It is the first time it had been seen anywhere so far as I can tell. It is corroborated only by affirmation of the first 422 members of the Palestinian National Council, formed contemporaneously, each hand picked by the KGB. The PLO Charter was drafted in Moscow, according to the reports of Major General Ion Pacepa. He was the highest ranking defector from the Soviet bloc during the Cold War. He has personal knowledge of the matter. Newt Gingrich recently said they were an "invented people", but didn't say who nvented them, Pacepa did.
      The speaker at the Harvard Conference could also talk about the fiduciary obligations of Britain under the trust or guardianship and of Britain ignoring them in the White Papers of 1922, 1930 and especially the Chamberlain White Paper of 1939 that blocked Jews trying to flee for their lives from the Holocaust from entering what was to become Israel. In the debates on Chamberlain's 1939 White Paper, Winston Churchill charged that Britain was reneging on its promise to the Jews.

    • Wallace Brand

      A one Jewish state solution II
      The speaker could also dispel some of the canards about Israel, including the lie that the Jews expelled the Arabs from Israel, by showing that the Wall Street Journal reported that Mahmoud Abbas has written to the contrary in "Filastin", the official organ of the PLO. He wrote that almost all left at the call and threats of the Arab Higher Executive without ever seeing a Jewish soldier; and after a manufactured report of a massacre at Deir Yassin, ultimately corrected by the BBC interviewing the Arab news commentator of 1948.
      Harvard put out a statement on this conference extolling its free market of ideas — this about a conference that has only Arab and Israeli anti-Zionists and apologists for terrorism speakers on its schedule. Try as we may, we cannot get our speaker on the panel or even have an op-ed published in the Harvard Crimson that would let the students know about the possibility we raise, based on a Jewish one state solution in the San Remo agreement. San Remo is obscured by time and the action of anti-Zionists and anti-Semites. It would be an excellent history lesson for the students. I have a connection to Harvard. My late wife and I were in the Law School class of '57; she also was in the Radcliffe class of '54. Her mother was President of the Radcliffe Class of 1920, her father was at the law school then; her two brothers went there in the '50s.
      I attended the funeral of a relative last week in North Carolina whose family connections to Harvard go back to the time of the sinking of the Titanic. But no access to the panel for our speaker.
      Prince Talal went to Menlo College in California and did graduate work at Syracuse, but I have found no evidence of his donations to them. He is known as a shrewd businessman.
      Harvard has put out a statement about its free market of ideas, but access to that
      market is blocked to us. It really would be an excellent history lesson, commencing with the drafting of Part I of the Treaty of Versailles that is the Covenant of the League of Nations. Article 22 provides for trusts or guardianships over parcels of land captured from the Ottoman Empire in WWI by the Allies. The speaker could show that the Allies intended to reconstitute a Jewish state by granting exclusive political rights to the Jews, but these were not to vest until the Jews were a majority population, a goal to be attained from immigration from the diaspora. If it had been allowed to vest immediately, the plan would have been anti-democratic, as the Jews were only 10% of the population in 1917. This was referred to in a memo of the British Foreign Office in September 1917 by Arnold Toynbee and Lewis Namier during the drafting of Lord Balfour's declaration. and also confirmed by Winston Churchill after WWI as stated in the Arabs' submission to UNSCOP in 1948. (See: Musa Alami, The Future of Palestine, Hermon Press, Beirut and London, 1970.) That policy is what was later adopted by the Allies at San Remo.

  • Ron Grant

    “The river should be the border and the two-state solution — Israel west of the river and Palestine east of the river – can be implemented in a strategically sound fashion.”

    For someone who can write and publish a whole book you talk sheer nonsence here.Like,in your dreams,eh.There is something close to unconscionable in this assertion,another step in the Apartheidzation of the Zionist state.Replace the Wall with a river.Push the Arab hoards back.This goes by the name of ethnic cleansing.Out of sight/touch,out of mind,for Jews and the Western Liberal Democracies.Again,in your dreams.The Western Democracies will not stand for it.Neither will the Arabs nor Muslim world.

    The Jews are not morally superior to the Arabs.They have shown this in their unconscioable actions against the Palestinian people.While Palestinian acts of terror are equally unconscionable,Israelis are equally accountable for such acts and must share responsibility for the consequences in placing their loved ones,including children and other innocents,in harms way in an apartheid-like society based on Zionism,occupation and ethnic cleansing.

    Sure,Jews in Israel are caught between the Devil and the deep,blue sea.But the Zionists chose to occupy Palestine.Not surprisingly,Palestinians did not roll over and play dead,and Jews,of all people,should understand this.Jews must understand that their security cannot come at the expense of the Palestinian women,children,people,homelad nor birth right.

    There are options,including a single state solution for Christian,Muslim and Jew.Jerusalem would be undivided and Judea and Sumaria would be part of the Jewish/Palestinian homeland/birth right.There is even the option of the 500,000 Jewish settlers becoming an integral part of a Palestinian homeland,just as the Arabs are an integral part of Israel.Zionists wouldn’t like it.Islamists wouldn’t like it.But there will be a significant Arab population in Israel,like it or not,just as there will always be Jews in Israel/Palestine.Like it or lump it.The Arabs would be wise to accomodate Jews.One just has to acknowledge how much they contribute to their and all societies where they reside as citizens.Arab countries have been the poorer for the loss of their Jewish communities.muchiboy

    • Patrick

      Thanks for an interesting yet flawed post Ron. Left or right wing politics aside the fact is the Palistinians will never stop until the Jews are driven out of what they (the Pals) consider their lands. Eventually the birthrate difference will win them thier country if the ongoing wars do not. Once they are the Majority its all over for the Jews. Actually I estimate that long before they become the Majority the Jews will be once again killed and expelled. With Europe succuming to Muslim rule later this century (demographicly certain) its all but inevitable that Israel will fall…

    • aspacia


      Israel is morally superior to Muslim majority lands:
      1. There is no death penalty
      2. Women have equal opportunity
      3. Gays are not murdered in the name of religion.
      4. Israel has freedom of religion

  • Bar Kochba


  • phil

    Israel is in a difficult position. She is up against a Arab population that believes in the Koran and follows its dictates to hate and kill. No peace is possible with Islam. Since 9-11 there have been over 17,000 attacks by Moslems killing in the name of Allah. Unless the West faces up to this "religion of peace" the consequences will be dire. WWII will look like a minor conflict as Islam wields atomic weapons.

  • Skip

    What do we do with the Palestinian Christians, the historic Christian church in the West Bank territory, when we send the Palestinians to Jordan to make Israel complete and secure.

  • Wallace Brand

    Ironically, Alan Dershowitz although a strong pro Zionist, is a liberal and supporter of Obama, and is pushing for a two state solution that would needlessly give away much of the Jewish and Christian heritage in Palestine. such as Rachel's Tomb, Tomb of the Patriarchs and sites in Bethlehem.
    But a Jewish one-state solution would end up. in the short run. with one less enemy on Israel's borders. and in the long run. with sovereignty over Gaza as well if it doesn't stop firing rockets at Israel. Home Rule could be provided for the Gazans, but no vote on Israeli policy, until the Jewish population expands enough so that annexing Gaza would not destroy the Jewish democracy, Israel, the only Middle East country with Western values.
    That is all that was guaranteed by the cession of sovereignty over Palestine by the Ottomans in Article 95 of the Treaty of Sevres — unamended in the Treaty of Lausanne. It preserved the civil rights of the non-Jews in Palestine prior to the Mandate, but no more. That is all the rights the Arabs in Palestine had for 400 years of rule by the colonist/occupiers, the Turkish Ottomans before 1920. It is also all that was required by the French "process verbal" to the British Mandate for Palestine — that the non-Jews are not required to surrender any rights.
    According to Abbas Zaki, speaking on Al Jazeera in Arabic, a member of the Fatah Central Committee, and quasi Ambassador to Lebanon, "With the two-state solution, in [his] opinion, Israel will collapse, because if they get out of Jerusalem, what will become of all the talk about the Promised Land and the Chosen People? What will become of all the sacrifices they made – just to be told to leave? They consider Jerusalem to have a spiritual status. The Jews consider Judea and Samaria to be their historic dream. If the Jews leave those places, the Zionist idea will begin to collapse. It will regress of its own accord. Then we will move forward". He suggested, however, also in Arabic, that this view not be made known to the West.
    Mr. Benzimra and I have fashioned a one Jewish state solution that proposes a
    continuing Jewish majority for one Jewish state in cisJordan, as transJordan was traded in 1994 for a Jordanian quiet claim to cisJordan. It would commence with a prompt annexation of Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem, where the Arab claims of population are much overstated.
    Gaza's continuing attacks on Israel are a casus belli that would justify Israel taking over Gaza. As stated above, it could be given Home Rule but no vote in Israeli elections until growth in Jewish population warranted its annexation.
    This, in our opinion, would satisfy the requirement that the civil rights of non-Jews must not be impaired, as the Arabs in Gaza never had rights to vote in elections determining the policy of the Ottoman empire. That met the test of the French "process verbal" appended to the British Mandate for Palestine and the San Remo Agreement of 1920. It would leave one Jewish state with a western valued democracy and borders that are more defensible than those of the two state solution."

    I am also a graduate of UCLA, class of 1954. According to Cinnammon Stillwell of Campus Watch, we are going to have a sequel "Son of Harvard Conference" there soon. I have tried to get a speaker on that panel. Professor Judea Pearl, on the faculty of the Computer Science department at UCLA, says there is not much chance — too much political correctness.

    So I am glad to learn about Mr. Nisan's book and I am ordering a copy today.