Israeli PM Netanyahu recently dropped a bombshell during an interview on Channel 12 television. First he said, that if he leads the next government, he will work with “all the right-wing parties.” Then, when asked, why he hadn’t yet annexed two large areas near Jerusalem, Gush Etzion and Ma’aleh Adumim, Netanyahu replied, “We are on the way. We are in discussions.” Those aren’t the bombshells.
“I obtained President Trump’s declaration on the Golan Heights, which says that it is our territory forever,” Netanyahu said. He continued, “I persuaded him to recognize Jerusalem. I will not divide Jerusalem, I will not uproot a single settlement and I will make sure we control all the territory west of the Jordan.”
But control does not necessarily mean sovereignty...
Then he dropped the bomb, “Yes, I’ll apply sovereignty. I don’t separate the large [settlement] blocs from the isolated points [settlements in Judea and Samaria].”
But he’s only talking about parts of Area C...
Yochai Damari, head of the Mount Hebron Regional Council, stated that he “welcomed the prime minister’s clear statement.”
I’m not so sure how clear it is…
Damari called on Netanyahu “to act towards the application of sovereignty as a first step with the establishment of the new government, and to stand firm against the pressures of the Americans and others with the publication of Trump’s Deal of the Century.” Referring to Trump’s pending peace plan, which is expected to be published after the elections, Damari said, “This is the time to commit with actions to our sovereignty in Judea and Samaria.”
Explaining why he was against a Palestinian state and for annexation, “If we learned anything,” Netanyahu said, referring to Israel’s 2005 withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, after which it was taken over by Hamas in 2007, “it is that if you abandon territory, extremist radical Islam and Iran step in, and I am not about to hand over the heart of Israel.”
Later, in an interview with Arutz Sheva, PM Netanyahu stated, “I prefer to do it with American support. I spoke about it with the relevant authorities and it takes time to coordinate. I am not talking about the entire area, but first of all about the settlements. Not just the blocs, but the blocs and the isolated settlements, I do not [intend to] abandon them or transfer them to Palestinian rule, which would destroy them.”
When asked about whether he agreed to the establishment of a Palestinian state, Netanyahu said, “There will be no Palestinian state, not as people talk about it. It will not be because I am making sure of it. I am not uprooting settlements, rather applying sovereignty to them. I am maintaining a united Jerusalem and I am maintaining our control on the entire area west of the Jordan River to prevent another Gaza. This is my policy. I told that to the Americans, President Trump and President Obama. Vice President Biden told me that this is not a state. I told him to call it whatever he wanted. He said it was not sovereignty. I said that that’s what I'm willing to do, that's all.”
Netanyahu said he planned on carrying out the annexation gradually and with American agreement. “I brought President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem, the transfer of the embassy and the recognition in the Golan Heights, which is very important to what I plan in Judea and Samaria.”
Netanyahu then met with the heads of local councils in Judea and Samaria. He promised them, that immediately after the elections, he would apply sovereignty over the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. Yossi Dagan, head of the Shomron Regional Council, asked the prime minister whether sovereignty would also be applied in the communities located outside the so-called “settlement blocs,” and Netanyahu promised that this would indeed be the case.
Netanyahu’s recent change of heart, supporting sovereignty, still is muddled thinking...
It follows a growing list of Israeli public figures who support Ribonut (The Sovereignty Movement), that’s been spearheaded by Nadia Matar and Yehudit Katzover, from “Women in Green.” Yet these public figures haven’t provided many details on exactly how they will carry it out, actual policies.
The New Right’s Platform simply states, “The Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people and opposes the establishment of a Palestinian state.”
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked told Israel Hayom, in mid February, “We [her and Bennett, the New Right] are in favor of applying Israeli law to Area C, where 100,000 Palestinians live. They will be able to choose to become citizens or residents, whichever they prefer.”
When asked whether 400,000 residents of Jerusalem’s Arab neighborhoods would also receive full Israeli citizenship and the right to vote in Israel’s elections, Shaked said, “Jerusalem’s residents choose to receive residency, not citizenship. But, if we apply Israeli law to Area C, I’ll live peacefully with the fact that we gave 400-500,000 Palestinians, Israeli citizenship, and allowed them to vote in the Knesset’s elections. I’m not worried. Their birthrate is identical to our birthrate.”
More muddled thinking…
Moshe Feiglin’s Zehut Party is a little better, but not much. While advocating the annexation of Areas A, B, and C, all Judea and Samaria, and offering monetary incentives to encourage the emigration of the Arabs from there; he then muddles the message by saying, that Zehut will allow armed terrorists to leave the country with their weapons, honorably...?
In offering permanent resident status to the Arabs of Judea and Samaria, he states, “After a period of time to be determined according to security needs...”
Very unclear timeline, sounds too short...
Regarding full Israeli citizenship status, the Zehut Platform mentions the need to perform military or national service, and then states, “Of course, those who collaborated with Israel in the past will receive a faster and shorter process.”
There’s no De-Palistinazification Program discussed, nor Israeli control of infrastructure; no discussion of changes to the educational system, and it allows the Arabs in Judea and Samaria to immediately “choose their own municipal leadership and pay municipal taxes.”
It gives too much freedom to a recent enemy population…
The Union of Right-Wing Parties’ Platform states simply, “We regard the territories of Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip as an inseparable part of the Land of Israel and the State of Israel, and we will act with all our might to apply Israeli sovereignty and law to the Land of Israel. We aspire to the resettlement of Gush Katif and northern Samaria,” with no details.
In 2017, Betzalel Smotrich wrote about his “One Hope Plan,” where he talked about economic incentive to encourage Arab emigration from Judea and Samaria and then said, “The Arabs of Judea and Samaria will conduct their daily lives on their own terms via regional municipal administrations lacking national characteristics. Like other local authorities these will hold their own elections, and will maintain regular economic and municipal relations between themselves and authorities of the State of Israel. In time, and contingent on loyalty to the state and its institutions, and on military or national service, models of residency and even citizenship will become available.”
Again the timeline is fuzzy, and no talk of infrastructure control, or De-Palistinazification. And, what’s this about military service for a recent enemy population…?
Both Feiglin/Zehut and Smotrich, address the possible “Apartheid” accusation. But, since they don’t discuss serious policies, about improving the life of the Arabs in Judea and Samaria (what I call “Sovereignty with Responsibility”), nor clear timelines for status issues, their answers to the “Apartheid” accusation are weak, in my opinion.
By contrast, The Yesha Council, the umbrella organization of municipal councils of Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria, does have a master plan, called “Hazon Ha-Million” (the Vision of One Million), to double the Jewish population of Judea and Samaria, which currently numbers 450,000, to one million, within the next ten years.
“If you look at all of the investments in infrastructure in the past 10 years, there was relatively little in Judea and Samaria,” says Hananel Dorani, chairman of the council, who also serves as head of the local council of Kedumim. “Today, we are busy making master plans for electricity, transportation, water, alternative energy, industry, the economy, and the environment. If there will be four-lane highways here, it will give greater momentum to further settlement.”
They emphasize that their plan addresses the “Apartheid” issue. Planned improvements to the infrastructure will benefit the entire population, both Jewish and Arab. CEO Yigal Dilmoni explained, “We are certain that we will be here and that we will stay forever, and we know that Arabs will be here as well. So, when I worry about the construction of a new road, so that there will not be accidents, it is not a road that will be for just for me, but rather, it will be for the Arabs in the area as well. When we add improvements in infrastructure of water and electricity, it is the same infrastructure that will be supplied to the Arab villages who live in the area. My worries and concerns for the future of the area are for the entire region. The Arabs will benefit from improvements to the roads, water, and electricity, and will enhance their well-being. When that happens, the area will be calmer.”
Although Zehut, Union of Right-Wing Parties, the New Right, and Likud all support settlement in theory, the Nahala Movement, a settlement group, is doing something about it. They are promoting an Israeli settlement plan introduced under the government of late Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir in the early 1980s. The main objective is to settle 2 million Jews in Judea and Samaria. Nahala activists have been demanding the next government work toward the settlement of all of Judea and Samaria, and to abandon the idea of a two-state solution.
They have been collecting signatures on a petition that reads, “I hereby commit to be loyal to the land of Israel, not to cede one inch of our inheritance from our forefathers. I hereby commit to act to realize the settlement plan, for the settlement of 2 million Jews in Judea and Samaria, in accordance with Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir's plan, as well as to encourage and lead the redemption of all the lands throughout Judea and Samaria. I commit to act to cancel the declaration of two states for two peoples and replace it with the stately declaration: The Land of Israel: One country for one people.”
Likud members who have signed this declaration include Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, Tourism Minister Yariv Levin, Environmental Protection and Jerusalem Affairs Minister Ze’ev Elkin, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, Culture Minister Miri Regev, Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi, Communication Minister Ayoub Kara, Immigration and Absorption Minister Yoav Gallant, Social Equality Minister Gila Gamliel and Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis. Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and Education Minister Naftali Bennett, both of the New Right party, also signed the petition.
So, on one hand exercising sovereignty means massive Jewish re-settlement of Judea and Samaria and encouraging Arab emigration from there, total control over the infrastructure, and lives of the former PA Arabs who stay; and on the other hand, responsibility to help improve the lives of those Arabs who choose to stay and live peacefully with Jews.
According to a mid-February poll conducted by Commanders for Israel’s Security, which opposes annexation, they found that 60 percent of those surveyed were against annexation, while 24 percent supported it, and 16 percent were undecided. If those numbers are anywhere near accurate, then just putting the annexation issue onto the agenda isn’t enough. To win over a majority of Israelis, annexation plans must be presented in more detail than is currently being discussed. They need to be made more realistic, and address the numerous issues involved in applying Israeli sovereignty to Judea and Samaria.
Now let's look at some:
Policy Prescriptions for Extending Israeli Sovereignty to Judea and Samaria
1. Nullify the Oslo Accords and pass a bill in the Knesset to apply Israeli law over Judea and Samaria, for the establishment of Jewish Political Sovereignty to areas A, B, and C, i.e. Annexation.
2. Establish total military control over all of Judea and Samaria, including the Arab cities, towns and villages, and de-militarize the Arab population.
3. Develop a Jewish Re-settlement Program to encourage Israelis and Jews from the diaspora, to re-populate the Biblical Heartland of Israel, rebuilding cities, towns, and villages, that were wiped out during nearly 2,000 years of foreign occupation.
4. Forcibly dismantle the Palestinian Authority.
5. Arrest and try the PA leadership and Palestinazi terrorists and activists (or eliminate them if arrest is impossible), for their encouragement and support of terrorism, i.e. crimes against the Jewish people, like what was done with Eichmann, and as should have been done to Arafat.
6. Introduce throughout the Arab sector in Judea and Samaria (the former PA), a comprehensive De-Palestinazification Program similar to what America introduced into Germany after their defeat in World War II.
7. Establish an Emigration Authority and the Monetary Encouragement Act to help encourage and fund the migration of Arabs from Judea and Samaria who choose to leave to another country.
8. For those Arabs who chose to stay, and take the citizenship path, a New Citizenship Council will be established. The council will have the authority to deny citizenship to those Arabs who break the law, which of course will included any form of resistance to Israeli Sovereignty. Deportation without compensation will be the lightest penalty; more grievous violations will receive the death penalty.
9. With Sovereignty comes responsibility, so Israel will establish a network of Israeli Police Stations throughout the Arab sector in Judea and Samaria, just as in the Jewish sector. The purpose, to keep law and order, and provide security to those Arabs who choose to live peacefully under Israeli rule, i.e. protect them from bullying and terror, from “Palestinazi Activists” who haven’t yet been arrested, tried and convicted.
10. With the Dismantling of the Palestinian Authority, Israel as sole Sovereign in the Area, will take control of all public services and municipal administration. Monies shall be invested into improved infrastructure, e.g. roads, electricity, water, and the sewer system.
11. By taking control over the educational system in the Arab sector, Israel can introduce a new pro-Israel, peaceful coexistence curricula, which includes it’s De-Palistinazification Program. Financial encouragement of Israeli Arab educators to work in the Arab sector of Judea and Samaria, should help introduce pro-Israel attitudes and Hebrew into the population.
12. A Healthcare improvement initiative will be started, including the financial encouragement of existing Israeli Arab medical personnel, to work in the Arab sector of Judea and Samaria. More contact between Israeli Arab citizens and the Arab citizens of Judea and Samaria, will help with their integration into Israel, long-term.
13. The new Arab citizens of Judea and Samaria, will be entitled to full civil rights and equality before the law with Jews, including civil and criminal adjudication in the Israeli court system, just as Israeli Arabs. They also will be responsible to pay all taxes, just like other Israelis. They also will be required to do National Service (but not army service), as will Israeli Arabs.
14. Starting in 2048, and upon approval of the New Citizenship Council in coordination with the security services, municipal self-rule will begin to be progressively introduced into the Arab sector of Judea and Samaria, contingent upon their cooperation with Israeli authorities and peaceful, proper and lawful behavior up until then. Cities, towns and villages that qualify, will then be given the opportunity to hold democratic elections and elect their own municipal administrations under the auspices of the of the New Citizenship Council. Those towns would now be allowed to collect their own tax money and fund and administer, their own municipal budgets.
15. But, as a former enemy population, they are are not entitled to national self-determination within the State of Israel, the Nation-State of the Jewish People. Therefore, the Arabs of Judea and Samaria, are not entitled to vote in Knesset elections. Full citizenship, like Israeli Arabs, which includes the right to vote in national elections, will be offered to them in three generations or seventy years whichever is longer, contingent upon their full cooperation with Israeli authorities, good and lawful behavior, and with the approval of the security services and the New Citizenship Council.
I have presented just one possible scenario, policies that still need to be fleshed out with even more detail, of what to do with the Arabs of Judea and Samaria, once Israeli sovereignty has been established there. As the issue is put on the top of the political agenda, any other scenarios being presented to the public, need to be well thought out, and fully discussed, to achieve total success. This is my contribution to that process.
Ariel Natan Pasko, an independent analyst and consultant, has a Master's Degree specializing in International Relations, Political Economy & Policy Analysis. His articles appear regularly on numerous news/views and think-tank websites and in newspapers. His latest articles can also be read on his archive: The Think Tank by Ariel Natan Pasko.
(c) 2019/5779 Pasko