Jewish Home Party leader and Israeli economic minister Naftali Bennett has excited some ire over a recent editorial he published in the Wall Street Journal
In short, his proposal, which he calls the ‘Stability Plan’ contains these main elements:
1) Complete self-government for Palestinians living in Area A and B, with Israel getting rid of all checkpoints and the dismantling of Israel’s security barrier.
2)Encouragement by Israel to get multinational corporations to invest in Palestinian areas by offering economic incentives such as insurance guarantees and tax breaks, as well as streamlining the export process for Palestinian manufacturers. Bennett calls for Israel, known as the “Startup Nation,” to build a “Startup Region.”
3) The part of Judaea and Samaria known as Area C, where the overwhelming majority of the Population are Israeli Jews would be annexed by Israel, with the Arabs living in Area C to be given full citizenship.
Essentially, Bennett’s ‘Stability Plan’ is a mixture of Israeli PM Netanyahu’s often stated ideas on jump starting the Palestinian economy combined with a restatement of Caroline Glick’s ‘One State solution’, with which I have my own reservations.
Taken at face value, Bennett’s proposal isn’t entirely wacky, merely very unrealistic. Oddly enough, he tells us why in the beginning part of the article, which deals with the merger of Fatah and the genocidal Hamas:
Hamas is a terrorist organization dedicated to Israel’s destruction. The group has killed hundreds of Israelis in suicide bombings and missile attacks. That is the organization’s very mission: The Hamas charter calls for perpetual jihad against the Jewish State while forever rejecting peace negotiations or compromise. Israel will not negotiate with a Palestinian government that includes Hamas.
Not just against Israel, by the way, but Jews world wide. And Hamas is already strategizing about creating a new front for launching terrorist attacks against Israel from the much closer platform of the Arab occupied areas of Judaea and Samaria. Not, perhaps, a good time to be talking about tearing down Israel’s highly successful security barrier!
Bennett also ignores that the Palestinian Authority has already pretty much rejected any idea of creating a ‘start-up’ region and real any economic cooperation. The PA already does its best to prevent Palestinian shops from carrying Israeli-produced goods and frequently confiscates them.
And if, as Bennett says, an Israeli government isn’t going to negotiate with a Palestinian government that includes Hamas ( assuming Hamas would ever negotiate anything with a country who’s existence it soesn’t recognize), how exactly are all of these deals on trade and investment supposed to be worked out? Not to mention the illogic of strengthening the economy of someone who’s an avowed enemy.
Another huge problem with both Glick (and Bennett’s) scenario is the idea that Israel will swallow a poison pill consisting of Arabs living in Area C, a majority of whom have been radicalized and indoctrinated for two generations that violent terrorism is a great thing and killing Jews is a holy act. Making these people full citizens merely creates a larger,more indigestible Umm al-Fahm.
The very term ‘Stability Plan’ denotes the idea that rather then solving this impasse, it will just be allowed to continue. The Hamas/Fatah government isn’t going to allow that to happen, and neither will the EU, the UN and quite possibly the Obama Administration.
One thing Bennett gets entirely right is the fact that the current status quo in Judaea and Samaria is unsustainable. The Arabs whom identify themselves as Palestinians don’t want an actual two state solution, and thanks to the Oslo Accords and the Wye Agreement, the areas under Arab sovereignty and Jewish sovereignty are so tangled and confused as to make any solution along those lines entirely unworkable.
A real solution is fairly simple, in my view. And it’s based upon realizing that this is not about creating any kind of ‘partnership’ between Israel and people sworn to its destruction, but a divorce.
The Palestinian Authority has already declared that it’s no longer bound by Oslo or the Road Map, and Hamas and Islamic Jihad never were. So there is certainly no reason for Israel to be bound by agreements that are essentially no longer in force.
Some maps were meant to be redrawn.
I have seen the same solution to all this for almost fifteen years now. Israel needs to unilaterally delineate its borders, annex those areas and move any Jews on the Arab side to the Israeli side and move any Arab non-citizens to the Palestinian side, including almost a quarter million Arabs whom identify themselves as Palestinians in the Jerusalem area alone. The new map would be redrawn with the idea of contiguous borders, with outlying Arab cantons like Qalkilya, Bethlehem, and parts of Tulkarem, Jenin, Hebron and Tubas being annexed to the Israeli area for the sake on that contiguity which would almost certainly also consist of Area C and the Jordan Valley.
The Israeli government should make clear to whomever ruled ‘Palestine’ that while Israel was prepared for peaceful relations, any terrorism or violent attacks on Israeli territory would not only result in disproportionate retaliation but the annexation by Israel of more Arab territory.
Any agreements between Israel and the new Arab state would be determined from scratch. No more free electricity, water or other amenities unless new agreements were made.
The advantages to this are self-evident. Because the Clinton Administration and the Rabin government allowed Arafat to take over the Arab areas of Gaza, Judaea and Samaria, ‘Palestine’ was and is never going to be a democratic state living in peace next to Israel for a long time, if ever. The fact that the Palestinians would never accept it is moot, because they don’t accept Israel period. But they would have the Jew free reichlet Abbas and Hamas have always wanted to determine their own destiny, and Israel’s possession of the Jordan Valley and control of the airspace would eliminate most of the shipments of heavy weapons and insure a mostly demilitarized ‘Palestine’.
Such a solution would also likely minimize the diplomatic feedback. Oh, it would certainly occur (after all, in much of the EU and UN anything short of a successful jihad against Israel is going to provoke that) but by and large the world is tired of Palestine, and the EU in particular have much more pressing problems to deal with.H having a ‘Palestine’ to point to point to would eventually make a lot of the international reaction fade away.after a short period of intense reaction to the level of say, Jammu and Kashmir.
This, by the way, is the way is how every single refugee crisis in history has been successfully solved, and exactly why the refugee crisis resulting from the 1948 attack against Israel has not been. As desirable as a one state solution might seem, I think that all things considered, this works a lot better.
Rob Miller writes for JOSHUAPUNDIT and the Times of Israel.
Rob, an interesting article. Re “The Israeli government should make clear to whomever ruled ‘Palestine’ that while Israel was prepared for peaceful relations, any terrorism or violent attacks on Israeli territory would not only result in disproportionate retaliation but the annexation by Israel of more Arab territory.”
I think this is one of the main problems – that Israel is so constrained by the UN, various NGOs and the international that she dare not take even minor retaliatory steps against genocidal killers, lest she earn the opprobrium of the UN etc. Her enemies are taking full advantage of this, knowing that whatever atrocities they commit, the world will be on their side and Israel will be painted as the aggressor.