Recently, Israeli PM Netanyahu held a press conference to make a statement about the Trump Administration’s “Deal of the Century.” Netanyahu said, “We are on the eve of the elections. President Trump said he will present his Deal of the Century a few days after the election and it is just around the corner. This presents us with a great challenge, and a great opportunity to apply Israeli sovereignty to Judea and Samaria and other areas.”
He announced, that after the elections, he would apply Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea area. Nothing really new there, except he’s already back peddling from what he said earlier.
Back in April, Netanyahu said during an interview, “I obtained President Trump’s declaration on the Golan Heights, which says that it is our territory forever.” 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. Yes, I’ll apply sovereignty. I don’t separate the large [settlement] blocs from the isolated points [settlements in Judea and Samaria].”
Later, in an interview with Arutz Sheva, 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.”
Like his more recent announcement about the Jordan Valley, Netanyahu was only talking about parts of Area C...
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.”
Even if he keeps his word, control does not necessarily mean sovereignty...
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’s recent change of heart, supporting elements of sovereignty, is still muddled thinking...
He follows a growing list of Israeli public figures, who have expressed support for Ribonut (The Sovereignty Movement), that’s been spearheaded by Nadia Matar and Yehudit Katzover of “Women in Green.” Yet these pubic figures haven’t provided many details on exactly how they will carry out annexation, actual policies.
Woman in Green has promoted a plan called Tama 100, but it fails to discuss economic incentives to Arab emigration from Judea and Samaria, or reform of the Arab educational system, a “De-Palistinazification Program” for example. Nor does it discuss a path toward full integration of those Arabs left in Judea and Samaria, into the State of Israel. In fact, in their March issue of “Sovereignty: A Political Journal,” it says clearly about the Tama 100 plan, “Arab settlement blocs remain outside this track – there is no change in the status of the Arabs.”
This is a sure prescription for accusations of Apartheid, and for failure.
By contrast, former Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, of the Yamina (rightward) list, told Israel Hayom, in mid February, “We [her and Bennett] 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…
In 2017, Betzalel Smotrich of the Yamina (rightward) list, wrote about his “One Hope Plan.” There he talked about economic incentives 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.”
Yet, there’s no talk of Israeli control over 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. The timeline is fuzzy, and there is no talk of a De-Palistinazification Program.
And, what’s this about military service for a recent enemy population…?
Smotrich addressed the possible “Apartheid” accusation, by saying they’ll hold their own elections. But, since he didn’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, his answers to the “Apartheid” accusation are weak, in my opinion.
The Yesha Council, the umbrella organization of municipal councils of Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria, has a master plan they’ve been promoting, called “Hazon Ha-Million” (the Vision of One Million), to double the Jewish population of Judea and Samaria, which currently numbers about 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. “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 both Jews and Arabs. 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.”
Dilmoni continued, “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 Likud, Yamina, and others on the right, 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.”
They have received support from Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, Environmental Protection and Jerusalem Affairs Minister Ze’ev Elkin, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, Culture Minister Miri Regev, and several other ministers. Former Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and former Education Minister Naftali Bennett, both of the Yamina list, also have signed the petition.
Exercising sovereignty means massive Jewish re-settlement of Judea and Samaria and encouraging Arab emigration from there. It means total control over the infrastructure, and the lives of the former PA Arabs who stay. And, it also means 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% of those surveyed were against annexation, while 24% supported it, and 16% were undecided.
In late March, a survey by the Geocartographia Institute, found that 73% of Israelis oppose withdrawal from Judea and Samaria and the division of Jerusalem in order to establish a Palestinian state. Of those who oppose a Palestinian state, 85% support one of three proposals, application of sovereignty over Jewish settlements only (45%); application of sovereignty over all of Area C (18.7%); or application of sovereignty over all of Judea and Samaria and granting residency status to the Arabs, such as in East Jerusalem (21.3%).
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 Ideas 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 and security 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-Palistinazification 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 the bullying and terror of “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, the sewer system, etc.
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 2049 (thirty years from the time these policies are introduced), 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 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 (from the time these policies are introduced), 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 here 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, all scenarios being presented to the public, need to be well thought out, explained in detail and fully discussed, to achieve public support and total success.
This generation’s major challenge is, how the Jewish people will achieve full integration of Judea and Samaria (the Biblical Heartland), into the modern State of Israel.
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