A sign in the West Bank banning Israeli entry to a Palestinian controlled area..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israel needs to control Judea and Samaria.
It needs to be able to defend itself from the threats of Palestinian terrorism and external forces alike.
Equally important, renouncing its rights to Judea and Samaria would mean denying Jewish history and heritage, and so emptying the Jewish state of meaning.
Israel cannot do that.
For more than 25 years, due to successive Israeli governments’ preference for the ideal over the good, Israeli leaders have pursued chimerical peace processes with the PLO and doomed confederations with Jordan instead of considering the viability and the desirability of applying Israeli law to Judea and Samaria, and incorporating the areas and their Palestinian residents into Israel.
Applying Israeli law to the areas would end the authoritarian repression that the Palestinians suffer under the rule of the Palestinian Authority. As permanent residents of Israel, with the option of applying for Israeli citizenship, the Palestinians would find themselves living in a liberal democracy where their individual rights are protected.
Contingent on security concerns – applied on an individual rather than on a communal basis – Palestinians will have the right to travel and live anywhere they wish within Israeli territory. Similarly, Israeli Jews will also be allowed to live anywhere they wish. All prohibitions on property and land sales to Jews will be abrogated.
From the outset, as permanent residents of Israel, Palestinians will have the right to elect their local governments.
Those that receive Israeli citizenship in accordance with Israel’s Citizenship Law will also be allowed to vote in national elections for the Knesset. The Israeli education system will be open to them. The Israeli economy will be open to them.
To be sure, there are many serious concerns about such a plan.
From an Israeli perspective, the principal concern remains the same as it was in 1967: the fear that the sudden influx of a large, unassimilated Arab population will destabilize the country and endanger the Jewish character of the state.
This issue will be discussed in depth in Chapter 8.
From an American perspective, the incorporation of Judea and Samaria into Israel will require Washington to acknowledge that the two-state paradigm has been a disastrous failure, and to cease its funding of the Palestinian Authority and its armed forces. Chapter 18 will consider the ramifications of this acknowledgment for US interests.
Finally, the application of Israeli law to the areas will block the possibility of a confederation between Israel, Jordan and the Palestinians. But that prospect has been impossible since 1967.
In essence, then, the main thing that the Israeli one-state plan – that is, the application of Israeli law over Judea and Samaria – requires of both Israel and its closest ally is that they embrace reality, with all its opportunities and threats, and stop chasing fantasies of perfect resolutions.
The mechanics of the policy are fairly straightforward. Israel will apply its laws to Judea and Samaria and govern the areas as normal parts of Israel. The military government will be dissolved, as it was in the Golan Heights in 1981, when Israel applied Israeli law to that area.
The Palestinian Authority will be dissolved. Its security forces will be disbanded and disarmed, and the Israeli military and police will assume full security responsibility for the whole of the country. Israel will place reasonable limits on eligibility for citizenship. For instance, past or current membership in terrorist organizations, and past or current incitement to violence against Israel, should disqualify an individual from acquiring citizenship.
The PLO will no longer be the representative of the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria. Like their fellow Israeli Arabs and Jews, if they apply for and receive citizenship, the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria will be duly represented by legislators in the Knesset whom they elect. And all of them will be represented in their local governments by officials they will elect.
As I will discuss in detail in the coming chapters, implementing Israeli law in Judea and Samaria will doubtlessly cause a host of difficulties for Israel – not least, that such a move will burden its welfare services.
However, this policy has one key advantage that the two-state policy and the confederation-with-Jordan policy lack: it is a viable, realistic option, not a pipe dream. It also has an advantage over the option of prolonging the current dual governance by the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli military government: it is fair, liberal, and democratic.
Reprinted from pages 119-121 of the book The Israeli Solution: A One-State Plan for Peace in the Middle East. Copyright 2014 by Caroline B. Glick. Published by Crown Forum, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House LLC, a Penguin Random House Company.