I live in Dallas, Texas, and in my backyard behind my pool I have many Crepe Myrtle Trees leaning over the deck of my pool. They have beautiful, fuchsia-colored flowers that grow profusely during the Texas summer. Not much else can flower at this time of year; so, these flowers stand alone, facing down the 100-degree heat.

This morning before 7 a.m., I swam my usual 30 minutes of “freestyle.” I call it “freestyle” only because my stroke is actually free of style. Before I swam, however, I took the opportunity to sweep up the deck of the pool.

Each month, I’m faced with a different plague around my pool. This month and probably the next, it will be The Crepe Myrtle Plague. My pool has a unique propensity to attract whatever leaf, acorn, or, now, flower petal that is anywhere remotely close to it. My pool skimmers, as a consequence, are overburdened, and my Polaris Pool Sweep is useless.  In fact, I spend much more time untangling it than it does cleaning my pool.

Earlier this year, I decided preemptively to address the problem by trimming the trees. I was moderately vigorous and trimmed only the branches that were actually hanging over the deck or over the pool. Initially, this seemed to be effective, but that was until July arrived when the Crepe Myrtles came into full bloom.

This past weekend I decided to be even more vigorous.  To my wife’s dismay, I climbed a ladder to attack the higher branches that came even remotely close to my deck.  In the morning, however, my pool had plenty of unwanted fuchsia flowers floating around.

I returned from work this afternoon and noticed a dark cloud begin to approach from the west. The wind picked up considerably. Within a few minutes, my pool was half covered with blossoms. I immediately jumped into the fray and twenty minutes later my pool was Myrtle-petal free. After all, my pool cleaning service arrives tomorrow, and I don’t want them to denigrate me for being a neglectful owner.

Now I’m contemplating my options, which seem limited; I considered cutting down the whole lot of Crepe Myrtles, but the flowers are so beautiful, it just doesn’t seem right. My goal would be to save them, and at the same time save my mind.

All this got me thinking about the Palestinian issue. My wife and I, two of my five children, and eight of my thirteen grandchildren spent about three weeks in June, in Israel. We did all the usual things, but we also travelled to Shiloh in Samaria, Hebron in Judea, and The Golan Heights as far north as Nimrod’s Castle near Syria.

From my admittedly limited observations driving around Judea and Samaria, I noticed that the Palestinian residents travel unencumbered over modern Israeli highways in quite new looking cars, many of which were Mercedes Benz. I was also surprised by the large size of many of their homes and the apparent prosperity of their cities. I got a fair look at the so called “occupied territory,” where, frankly speaking, it was often hard to figure out who was occupied and who was the occupier. I knew, however, that many of the Palestinians were discontent with their situation.

Palestinian Apartheid

The Palestinians are taught a self-serving narrative about their alleged national claim to the land, and they are taught hate. Their greatest aspiration is not so much to build a national homeland but, for those who are so inclined or inspired, to commit Jihad (holy war).

Some have tried to denigrate Israel by likening it to apartheid South Africa. Nothing I saw in Israel proper or in Judea and Samaria (sometimes referred to incorrectly as The West Bank) suggested this, except in what has been designated as Area A. Area A is land (since the Oslo Accords, 1993) which is under the complete control of the Palestinian Authority.

Signposts there read “Israelis are prohibited from entering this area.” I suppose if the Palestinians ever got their own state, it would be entirely Judenrein (Jew-free), as are most Arab and many non-Arab Muslim countries. That would, therefore, be a real demonstration of apartheid.

The Golan Heights did not have an equivalent problem because after The Six Day War the Syrian Arabs who had been living there all left. There were a number of reasons why this occurred but, as a consequence, many of them who left paid the price by being caught up in the Syrian Civil War.

The Arabs who stayed behind in The Golan Heights are all Druze and they wound up much better off than the Muslim Arabs who left.  The Druze are Arabic-speaking people who have a semi-secretive religion. Their prophet is not Mohamed, but rather Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law from Midian. Although the Druze share a common language with the Muslim Arabs, they dislike them intensely. Today, many of the Druze are college educated and have pursued professional careers. They are fiercely loyal to Israel and many serve and, in some cases, command aspects of the Israel Defense Force.

This is quite instructive.  The Druze who once lived in the Syrian-controlled Golan Heights are now more than happy to live in an Israeli-controlled Golan. In other words, a non-Jewish people, depending on their persuasion, can be more than satisfied to accept a new reality. This is not the case with the Muslim Arabs who live in Judea and Samaria, and I don’t think their attitudes are ever likely to change.

Israel left Gaza; this did not bring peace. Instead it brought an endless barrage of missiles, terror tunnels, and incendiary balloons, and kites. Withdrawal from southern Lebanon did not bring about peace but rather, thanks to Iran, more than 100,000 missiles pointed at Israel.

On closer inspection, bathers are all Arabs.
Apartheid? I don’t think so!

History has shown us how many other countries over millennia have handled a disgruntled population who lost a war, especially one that was brought about by themselves. Their solution was Population Transfer. After the Second World War, there were 11,870,000 ethnic Germans who were relocated, by hook or by crook from: Poland, 6 million, Czechoslovakia, 2.7 million, Yugoslavia, 210,000, Hungary, 150,000, and Romania, 90,000 etc. These deported Germans were not kept in refugee camps, but were quickly absorbed into Germany. They were therefore not kept in a state of discontent, which would have been a breeding ground for future conflict. 

Israel had the chance in 1967 to force the vanquished Palestinians living in Judea and Samaria to relocate to Jordan which was already practically a Palestinian state. This was not attempted perhaps because of Jewish “ruchmoonis” (mercy). Israel hoped that by behaving in precisely the opposite way the Arabs would have behaved had the tables been turned, it would be rewarded by having these Muslims become peaceful and law-abiding residents.

Population Transfer did not take place and, consequently, Israel has to contend with two million Muslim Arabs. This number does not take into account the other one and a half million Arabs who are Israeli citizens living in Israel proper.

The leadership of the Palestinians will never seriously consider any kind of peace agreement with Israel. This has been demonstrated twice before (Israeli Prime Minister Barak’s offer at Camp David to Arafat in 2000, and an even sweeter deal offered by Israeli Prime Minister Olmert).

If the Palestinian leadership did accept a deal it would obviate its raison d’etre, which is the destruction of Israel. Even more importantly, it would remove the leadership’s personal cash flow, that is its ability to skim money not just off the top, from naïve donors such as the European Union, but also off the bottom, from its people.

I suppose there are plenty of Palestinians who want peace but, until they can find leadership that will reverse its priorities, no degree of compromise by the Israelis will result in a lasting peace.

Peace is not just the absence of war, but rather a state of acceptance, where there is an appreciation of differences and an attitude of cooperation.  If true peace was to occur it would cause a chain reaction of prosperity throughout the Middle East.

Tomorrow I will wake up and, no doubt, find my pool invaded by Crepe Myrtle petals. I’m aware that some people have suggested the solution to my problem would be to simply move my pool but I’m a practical man, and a student of history; therefore, unless my Crepe Myrtles change their ways, I intend to transplant them to somewhere else in my backyard, far away from my pool, so they can thrive, and I can spend more time working on my freestyle.

Addendum:

Population Transfer has been used throughout history as a way to deal with a disgruntled population whose cause had been lost in war.

When one thinks of the idea of relocating the Arabs who reside in Judea and Samaria (the so-called West Bank) to other points east, one thinks about Rabbi Meir Kahane whose secretary was Baruch Marzel. He turned out to be our personal tour guide in Hebron. (Incidentally, my wife and I had a chance to hear Rabbi Kahane when he spoke secretly in Dallas in 1969). Kahane and Marzel certainly were not the only ones with the idea of Population Transfer.

On 6/20/2001, a secret State Department document (brought to my attention by Dr. Ken Price) was declassified. That document was a letter written two days after the end of The Six Day War, from Ambassador Robert McClintock to McGeorge Bundy, the National Security Advisor to LBJ. It can be found in the archives of The LBJ Library, Austin Texas.

Mclintock believed that his plan was very simple.  He wrote the following: “Fill up a fleet of tailgate trucks with small bags each containing $5,000 in gold coins. On each truck a loudspeaker would announce that five thousand dollars was awaiting the head of each refugee family who was willing to renounce his pretensions to return to Palestine and to use this money to begin to settle himself and his family on new lands elsewhere in the Arab world. The Syrian and Iraqi Governments could (with a little American pressure) make available the wide expanse of undeveloped but rich agricultural land which lies between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers (Mesopotamia).

The cost would be no more than an aircraft carrier.  60,000 refugees (with about five dependents each) will likely take the offer for a cost of sixty million dollars and another 150 million dollars will be the cost of helping build an infrastructure in Mesopotamia. The Israelis (probably using our money) should foot the bill. Certainly, the sight of cash-in-hand plus the prospect of a permanent home should have a powerful influence on people who very probably will have become refugees twice in one lifetime.”

The letter was signed:

Faithfully yours, Robert McClintock June 12, 1967

McClintock believed that if his plan had been adopted, there would be no Palestinian refugees and no Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Dr. David Feinstein from Toronto, Canada emigrated to Dallas in 1978 with his wife, Reesa. He is a Clinical Professor of Medicine at Southwestern Medical School and is in the private practice of endocrinology. They have five married children and thirteen grandchildren who attend Akiba and Yavneh Academies. Dr. Feinstein is author of two books, Speechless Never Again, and The Source of Wit and Wisdom. David and Reesa have travelled the world extensively, including annual trips to Israel.