How’s Congressman Ted Deutch  on Israel?

Congressman Ted Deutch is a true friend of Israel, but his words on the idea of a Palestinian Arab state in Judea and Samaria attest to a lack of knowledge on the ground.

Professor Elisha Haas

OpEds Cong/ Ted Deutch
Cong/ Ted Deutch
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Congressman Ted Deutch (Dem.- Fl.) should be praised for condemning anti-Israel UN Security Council Resolution 2334, in 2017, which then President Obama failed to veto  It takes courage to condemn  a UN resolution promoted by a President from your own party. Deutch should also be praised for courageously supporting recognition of Jerusalem - by a President  from the opposite side of the aisle. 

But  Congressman Deutch has also publicly said that he is “greatly concerned by the possibility of Israel taking unilateral steps to annex the West Bank”. The Congressman should not have publicly criticized Israel, even if he  disagrees.  Tiny Israel gets more than enough criticism, especially on territorial issues crucial to her existence.

Worse, Congressman Deutch has demanded that Israel preserve “the eventual possibility of a two-state solution” because “Two states ... is the best option“.  This hurts Israel. Congressman Deutch does hold that “Israel’s ability to guard itself from threats is non-negotiable”. But Congressman Deutch does not know whether the two-state outcome does or does not allow Israel to guard itself from threats. Congressman Deutch does not appear to have extensive military experience, either field-wise or technology-wise.

Congressman Deutch has said, “We hope ... to achieve ... a democratic, de-militarized Palestinian state.”     This precisely explains the dangerous false reasoning behind Congressman Deutch’s pressuring Israel to take a very wrong turn. The belief in a “de-militarized” Palestinian state is false – like believing in a “flying elephant”. A flying elephant is a false belief because elephants do not fly -- and whatever does fly, is not an elephant. Similarly, any entity recognized as a “state” (exactly what Congressman Deutch is insisting on) has an inherent right to become as heavily militarized as it wants. This is so even if the state initially swears, signs, affirms and testifies, that it will remain de-militarized.    

Worse, such a state, once established, once militarized, cannot be dismantled – ever. Procedures exist for dissolving a marriage (divorce i.e.). None exist for dissolving a state. Thus,  Congressman Deutch, by using the word “state”, is condemning Israel to a future of being militarily dominated by a hostile army, seconds away from its entire population. No state can survive if its population and all its resources are seconds away from an army bent on its destruction.  Especially since Congressman Deutch is touted as a passionate supporter of Israel, he must be brought to understand that his recommendations of a two-state “solution” would, if accepted, be the death of Israel.

Even full de-militarization would not prevent a “Palestinian” state from indulging in terrorism – since terrorism is conveniently categorized as non-military.  To that, add the naivete of  expecting a new Arab state to magically become a peaceful democracy, when not a single existing Arab state is so.  Even if the Congressman truly thinks instilling democracy in a  new Arab state might work, why not be prudent  and, first, achieve that goal for the many Arab states surrounding tiny Israel, which already exist.

Why rush to promote another failed non-democracy on miniscule Israel’s doorstep?  Similarly, even if de-militarization were theoretically possible (even if elephants could be made to fly) -- can Congressman Deutch point, in practice, to a single relevant precedent of longstanding de-militarization? No. Note the Gaza precedent, although Gaza is not even a de-jure state, it just behaves like a de-facto state since Israel left. Egypt? The Begin-Sadat de-militarization clauses, too, have long proved illusory;  the state of Egypt deploys its threats without Israel’s permission.

Friends of Israel must bring all this to Congressman Deutch’s attention. Many of his fellow legislators are just as lacking in information if not more so, but that is a poor excuse.

Prof. Elisha Haas, chairman of the Israeli Biophysics Society, is also former chairman of Professors for a Strong Israel and was among the founders of The Third Way, a centrist Israeli political party. He fought in Judea-Samaria in the Six-Day War and in the Golan Heights in the Yom Kippur War.