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      Op-Ed: Roadmap for Dummies

      Published: Monday, June 02, 2003 6:37 PM
      Ariel Sharon?s instantaneous acceptance of the Roadmap triggered vivid flashbacks of this humiliation. We have lived two thousand years with perpetual, incessant, and often horrific anti-Semitism. It is na?ve to expect the Jew, who was hated for two thousand years, to now be loved just by agreeing to a Roadmap.


      Every Jew has their private story of anti-Semitic humiliation. Mine was in a summer-school course at the local public high school. I needed the course in order to graduate a year early. On the first day of school, two gargantuan bullies asked me if I brought my lunch. I innocently showed them that I had. One grabbed it, took a bite of the sandwich and spit it out. They then demanded my carfare money. As I had no way to get home, I pleaded with them to let me keep it. One spit in my face and, as I wiped the phlegm from my eyes and face, they took my carfare money. They then sneered: "Dumb Jew." That left me more violated than the spoiled lunch or stolen money.

      Ariel Sharon?s instantaneous acceptance of the Roadmap triggered vivid flashbacks of this humiliation. We have lived two thousand years with perpetual, incessant, and often horrific anti-Semitism. It is na?ve to expect the Jew, who was hated for two thousand years, to now be loved just by agreeing to a Roadmap.

      Sharon?s intention to remove ?illegal? outposts and his determination to remove established settlements is nauseating. The blatant anti-Semitism in the ?NO JEWS ALLOWED? policy of the bullies? Roadmap is even more sickening. Hundreds of Jewish families have bought land in the West Bank, but are prohibited to step foot on their own land only because they are Jews. An Israeli Arab may move onto a farm he purchased in the West Bank. An American citizen that is of the Moslem or Christian faiths may move into the West Bank. Only Jews are barred.

      This insidious Roadmap to Peace is not only morally wrong, but useless and counterproductive. Israel should not be required to make "painful" compromises for peace. Making one "painful compromise" after another, rather than bringing peace, only reinforces the disgraceful persona of the cursed wandering Jew and invites attack.

      We don?t need a Roadmap; there is a more parsimonious resolution to the Palestinian issue.

      Virtual Citizenship
      Arabs are the only citizens of Israel that are not required to serve in the army or even perform community service in lieu of army service. While Jewish boys are required to be at risk and sacrifice the best three years of their lives in full time army service, the Israeli government, in a reverse discrimination policy, provides university education to Arab adolescents. Israeli Arabs derive all the benefits of citizenship without assuming the obligations of citizenship.

      Jews should have this same option. Many Jews hesitate to make aliya as they are not prepared to forfeit their children?s adolescence. That should be an individual decision. When their child reaches the age of maturity, they should be permitted to decide for themselves whether or not they want to be full citizens and serve in the army.

      It is impossible for Jews to move to Israel and remain non-citizen residents, as a professional license to be a physician, lawyer, social worker, nurse, etc. cannot be processed unless the individual makes aliya. Without making aliya, a Jew cannot become a member of certain Jewish settlements. Even after making aliya, a Jew who defers military service may not work. That means that a Jew who wants to live in Israel without obligating their children to serve in the Israeli army cannot obtain professional licenses, cannot work, and cannot become members of Jewish settlements in Yehuda and Shomron.

      It is time to establish two classes of citizens. Full citizenship with the right to vote for those that are eligible to serve in the IDF, and virtual citizenship for those that are exempt from army service. These virtual citizens could buy houses, get professional licenses, and work even in professions, but would not have the right to vote in national elections, would not get higher education scholarships, and would not receive Bituach Leumi (National Insurance) assistance based on the number of children in the family. The Law of Return can be simply revised to automatically grant virtual citizenship to anyone who is a Jew and who wishes to be exempt from army service.

      In order to provide closure and an end to the illusion that any form of Palestinian state is viable, abolish the Palestinian Authority and grant virtual Israeli citizenship to the one million Israeli Arabs, three million Palestinians, one million Palestinian refugees, and the thirteen million Jews worldwide. The Israeli Arab, Palestinian Arab and Jewish virtual citizens will vote only in local elections in the areas in which they reside.

      The virtual citizens will not be a drain on the taxpayers? pocket. Just as Jewish virtual citizens do not serve in the army, pay for their own health insurance, pay for their elementary and high school education, and do not receive Bituach Leumi child allowance, the Moslem virtual citizens likewise receive the benefit of exemption from the army, at the cost of self-sufficiency.

      In contrast, those that bear the burden of full citizenship receive the benefits of full citizenship. Druze and Bedouins that serve in the army retain their full citizenship, continue to serve in the army and continue to vote in national elections.

      Buffer Zones
      Until virtual citizenship is implemented, the violence can be instantly stopped without a Roadmap or interim state, merely by providing sufficient physical distance between populations, so that they are each out of range of sniper or homicide bomb attacks. Simply creating buffer zones around Jewish and Arab towns and villages, along major roads and along the Green Line ends all possibility of attack.

      Currently, the Palestinian Authority governs 99% of the Palestinian population. This 99% of the population lives on 42% of the approximately one and a half million acres that comprise the West Bank and Gaza. It is that one percent of the Arab population that is peppered in Area C that is critical to the successful resolution to the disputed 58% of the land mass. A large part was Jordanian government land and is now either officially a nature reserve or Jewish National Fund land. The small portion that is privately held by Palestinians is what prevents Israeli annexation of this 58% of the West Bank and Gaza.

      Purchasing Palestinians? land and homes in Area C, thereby creating buffer zones that are easy to patrol by passive electronic equipment, would substantially reduce Israel?s vulnerability to attack. The overwhelming majority of these scattered peoples are squatters that have no lawful right to this land and houses. These squatters would, for a small sum, abandon ownership or sell to Jewish Agencies, such as the Jewish National Fund, or to investors, or to organizations that have been redeeming the land. The government should also encourage residents of scattered villages in Area B to move, if not out of the country, then into the more settled areas in Area A. Only when Palestinians are confined to Area A, can security forces create buffer zones and effectively protect the Israeli citizen from harm.

      Rather than an interim Palestinian state by 2005, liquidate the terrorist Palestinian Authority, and in its stead, elect new local governments that provide civil services and enforce local ordinances. The so-called Palestinians can begin to lead productive, useful lives and enjoy prosperity derived from mutual cooperation, rather than the current destructive, empty and useless lifestyle that breeds a culture idealizing suicide bombing.

      Economic Interdependence
      Both citizens and virtual citizens benefit from stimulating the growth of the West Bank settlements and encouraging creation of many new West Bank communities and commercial and industrial zones, which will provide jobs and services. As with the Jews and Arabs in the Galilee, who have amicable working relationships, only by fostering interdependence will both populations find cooperation to be more in their mutual self-interest than fanatical confrontation.

      Despite the symbiotic relationship, security arrangements will require separation until the level of hostility is significantly reduced. We have to live with the continued reality that there are, and will continue to be, enemies from within and from without. Our primary obligation to ourselves and to our children is survival. In order to provide closure and an end to the illusion that any form of Palestinian state is viable, we can simply grant virtual citizenship to the one million Israeli Arabs, three million Palestinians and the thirteen million Jews worldwide and establish buffer zones.

      Instead, Sharon, looking haggard and confused, consults his Roadmap for Dummies.

      And I am haunted by the high school bully sneering, ?Dumb Jew.?
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      Shmuel Neumann, Ph.D., is actively involved in creating communities for English-speaking olim, and in an emigration program for Palestinians. He currently resides in the Shomron.