This One-State Plan is the way to go.
In 2003 I had some input in a One State Plan being prepared by Mike Wise and others. Here is the part dealing with annexation and citizenship. Much has happenned since that time all of which argues strongly in favour of such a plan.
1) Our demographics keeps improving,Caroline Glick, Yoram Ettinger, Naftali Bennett, Arieh Eldad, Nadia Matar and many others are backing it.
2) The deligitimation and delegitimation keeps getting worse and
3) the neighborhood is getting more dangerous.
Annexation will provide a clear and well-defined status for West Bank Arabs. At the time of Annexation, the PA will no longer have a reason to exist and it and all terrorist infrastructures will be outlawed and dismantled. The PA and other terrorist organizations will be subject to Israel law and be dealt with in the same manner that all countries deal with internal subversive, treasonous and criminal organizations. Israel would no longer police the West Bank as an “occupation force”. It is important to understand that after Annexation, Israel will have significantly greater flexibility in dealing with issues and problems on the West Bank. Those problems will all be viewed as internal problems of the State of Israel and not problems subject to constant international scrutiny by those who view the West Bank as “occupied” territory.
For many historical and other reasons, Gaza is explicitly excluded from Annexation and Israel should immediately withdraw from Gaza in an orderly manner. The Gaza border would continue to be well defined and well protected. Possible alternatives for Gaza include a status as an international free-trade zone and/or, annexation by Egypt, creation of an independent and expanded entity with the cooperation of Egypt and the addition of part of the Sinai, or ultimately becoming an added region of Israel.
A group of experts will analyze issues relating to Gaza separately.
It is essential that the process and strategy of offering Israeli citizenship to West Bank Arabs must be very carefully planned, including its timing, demographic, geographic, historical and social factors. Citizenship will include all the benefits currently available to the citizens of Israel including: health care, education, welfare, economic incentives, employment, social safety nets, voting rights and others. The responsibilities of citizenship will include a public oath of loyalty to the State of Israel. The procedures and the details of the citizenship offer will be determined as an internal matter by the State of Israel. Each country determines its own citizenship rules and there are many models ranging from extremes like Switzerland where citizenship is often not granted for several generations, and the extremely restrictive standards set by Islamic States to the more liberal standards applied by other countries. Since the process will be phased in over time, the possibility to adjust the procedures appropriately will be available as circumstances require.
The key element is clear. The question of how to deal with the West Bank population will be converted to an internal Israeli matter and not the subject of global concern of “do-gooders” protecting an “occupied” population. From a humanitarian perspective, social services available to the West Bank population will meet the highest global standards.
West Bank Arabs who do not wish to accept Israeli citizenship will have the following choices:
- 1. Swear a public oath of loyalty to the State of Israel and remain as non-citizen residents with limited rights.
2. Those who do not commit to abide by the laws of Israel, must leave for Gaza, Jordan or to other Arab countries.
900,000 Jews left those countries since 1948 (often with only the shirts on their backs). Israel cannot and should not tolerate persons who will not commit to abide by its laws.
As the irreversible nature of Annexation is made clear to West Bank residents, persons with vested interests in land, businesses, homes and families will probably seek Israeli citizenship instead of facing the consequences of lesser rights or expulsion. Those with little or no vested interest will have to make a decision to accept the above choices or the following option. The active participation of Israel and other countries to provide a one-time subsidy of $5,000 per person who decides to live elsewhere will be made available. This sum is well within the budgets currently available for short term solutions or “fixes” currently being pursued. For example, the anti-terrorist barrier at a estimated cost of $1.5 billion equals the cost of payments to 300,000 men, women and children. A “refugee” family of ten would receive $50,000. A possibly irresistable offer! This offer is only sensible as part of the broader framework proposed herin.
It is reasonable to presume that given the choice of Israeli citizenship, many West Bank Arabs will choose life, peace and the pursuit of happiness that citizenship provides. In the current environment, with no alternatives other than those offered by brutal and violent organizations including the PA, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Fatah, Tanzim etc., it is not surprising that West Bank Arabs appear to support violence and terror.
THE BENEFITS of ANNEXATION
An important collateral benefit to Annexation will be a reversal of the trend of many Israeli Arabs who are beginning to display serious signs of disloyalty. It is not surprising that Israeli Arabs faced with the apparent inevitability of a terrorist Palestinian state have severe concerns that they will ultimately be branded as traitors or collaborators with the hated Zionist enemy. Those concerns weigh heavily on them and strongly influence how they conduct themselves as Israeli citizens. Similarly, after it became clear that there was a probability that the status of Jerusalem was subject to negotiation, the attitude and conduct of its Arab population underwent a dramatic change. That change was created by the serious concern about the ultimate status of Jerusalem?s Arab population and how a future terrorist state would reward their cooperation with the Zionists.
If properly planned, a consequence of Annexation, similar to the consequences of every aliyah in Israeli history, is that an expanded Israeli population will spur economic growth. In addition to the historical expansion factors associated with immigration, it is reasonable that partnerships with Arab citizens will eventually help Israel become a major economic and political player in the Middle East. Every wave of immigration to Israel caused internal concern. However, eventually, all immigrant groups contributed in various ways to Israel?s strength and success.
OBJECTIONS & CONCERNS
1. Demographic: Arab fertility rates are high and some predict that in the near future there will a Jewish minority west of the Jordan River.
2. Political: Israel?s political parties are concerned that they each will lose its power base.
3. Global reaction: The world will object to Israel solving its problems unilaterally. The idea of a Palestinian state, envisioned by the authors of the Road Map, implacable foes as well as friends of Israel, and those who have not given up on the Oslo Accords, has not been abandoned.
4. Jewish State: How can Israel preserve itself as a Jewish State? (slight variant of objection 1)
The details of Annexation and implementation of the citizenship plan must be carefully designed to assuage these and other concerns. Issues to consider include:
- i. The rights to Israeli citizenship, including voting, would be phased-in up to a period of 15 to 20 years.
ii. Citizenship rights would be phased-in with appropriate guidelines and qualifications including age, place of birth, place of birth of parents or grandparents, education, employment, criminal record, health record, village or city of residency and other metrics or standards.
iii. Citizenship and its attendant rights and privileges must be implemented with financial and operational cooperation of international organizations.
There are currently about 5.5 million non-Arabs in Israel, 1.1 million Israeli Arabs, and a maximum of 2.1 million Arabs on the West Bank. If two-thirds (2/3) of the West Bank Arabs become eligible for the new citizenship status and one-third (1/3) opt for residency status, there would initially be a maximum of 2.5 million Arab citizens out of a total population of 8.7 million. (Note that the citizenship will not be granted overnight and will be closely monitored over time). Jews have prospered over the centuries under much more difficult numerical relationships in environments that they did NOT control. These numbers are based on the best current estimates and do not include future fertility, morbidity or emigration/immigration factors.
Historically, fertility has been almost impossible to predict, especially in the current volatile local and global environment. Indeed, in the last 5 years, two of the most startling declines in fertility have occurred in Egypt and Iran. As modernization and westernization is introduced into the West Bank, fertility will plummet. Other significant factors and unanticipated events will inevitably impact the relative growth of populations in a rapidly changing world.
Since the establishment of the State of Israel 1948 and before, all demographic calculations and forecasts of the disappearance of Israel or of the impossibility of a Jewish majority in a Jewish homeland have been mistaken. Immigration of Jews from Arab lands and Russia, and other unexpected demographic factors were not foreseen. There is no reason to rely on unreliable fertility forecasts as the prime factor to reject a sane solution to the current intolerable situation. If Annexation is not pursued, the combination of an external and internal enemy population reproducing for the sole purpose of destroying the State of Israel is not difficult to foresee. After Annexation, as an internal matter, government policies and incentives can be employed to encourage normal fertility.
In October 2003, Mahathir Mohamad, the Prime Minister of Malaysia demonstrated a very profound understanding of demographics. He claimed that “Jews rule the world by proxy” and “get others to fight and die for them.” He also said that Jews “invented socialism, communism, human rights and democracy” to avoid persecution and gain control of the most powerful countries. Mahathir said, “1.3 billion Muslims cannot be defeated by a few million Jews…because we are discouraged from learning of science and mathematics as giving us no merit for the afterlife, today we have no capacity to produce our own weapons for our defense. We have to buy our weapons from our detractors and enemies.” The Prime Minister understands that raw numbers of people is only one element in analyzing populations and societal trends.
Demographics is a very complex issue and its meaningful study does not lie solely in counting people. One of the more unbalanced demographic situations in the Middle East exists in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. More that 75% of its population claims to be “Palestinian”. No one knows if or when the ruling minority will be overthrown and when Jordan will be established as a Palestinian State occupying the East Bank of the Jordan River. However, it is not unreasonable to presume that after Annexation, Palestinians will understand that if there is to be a Palestinian State it will be on the East Bank and not the West Bank of the Jordan River. The impact of a Jordan/Palestinian State on the entire question of citizenship and demographics will be very significant. It would be irresponsible for Israel to make any agreements in today’s environment that would impact the possibility of a genuine two-state solution: a Jewish State on the West Bank and a Moslem State on the East Bank.
Nonetheless, the question of one man one vote must be addressed. After all, Israel is and will remain a bonafide member of the world’s representative democratic states, irrespective of the ultimate composition of Israel’s citizenship population. The following discussion addresses an answer to the question: How can Israel remain both a democracy and a Jewish State?
ONE or TWO CHAMBER KNESSET?
The United States has the world’s longest lasting and vibrant representative democratic forms of government that protects the inalienable rights of individuals and minorities. The approval of both houses of Congress, the House of Representatives and the Senate is required for all legislation and expenditures. Each of the 50 states elects two members to the Senate and a number of House Representatives based of its population. For example, the states of Rhode Island with one sixtieth the population of the state of California and the state of California, both send two Senators to Washington. Additionally, the President of the US is elected by the electoral college. As we all remember, Gore received almost a million more votes than President Bush, but was finally defeated.
Most functions of government are the responsibility of local and state governments. Broader responsibilities including defense, international dealings etc. are handled by the central government in Washington. Disputes between states are resolved by the Supreme Court. Each city, county and state has a lightly armed police force to preserve law and order.
Israel should create a similar governing structure. An upper and lower House of the Knesset, each consisting of 60 members, should be created. Israel should be divided into 15 districts, three of which should contain predominately Moslem populations. Each district would send 4 MKs to the upper house of the Knesset and based on population considerations an appropriate number of MKs to the lower house of Knesset. The Prime Minister should be elected by the majority of the MKs.
Another option is that the Knesset remain with one House but that its MKs be elected as described above. For example, let us consider a situation where Israel?s voter population becomes 60% Moslem and 40% Jews and all voters vote strictly based on the religion of the candidates. The regions would elect 48 Jewish and 12 Moslem MKs. The proportional elections would elect 36 Moslem and 24 Jewish MKs. Net results: 72 Jewish and 48 Moslem MKs. it is far from clear that all issues before the Knesset would be decided on purely Jew vs. Moslem grounds. Other ideological aspects would often be asserted.
With respect to day-to-day matters, the local councils or boards would have full responsibility, all within the national framework. For example, educational standards would be centrally legislated but would be locally administered.
The above structure, for the very long term will preserve the Jewish nature of Israel, provide full rights and local governance for non-Jewish populations and allow everyone to become a productive member of society.
THE JEWISH STATE
The Law of Return to the Jewish State will remain unchanged and available only to Jews. Arabs are or should be welcome and free to live in any of 22 Arab countries, just as Jews are welcome and free to live in one small Jewish country. As determined by an appropriate panel, other defining characteristics of a Jewish State would be made the subject of irrevocable structural laws of the State of Israel prior to Annexation.
Israel should be spending resources on developing and rebuilding the West Bank social infrastructure, instead of building fences and amassing weapons. Nations with a vested interest in a peaceful resolution to the current conflict will be invited to participate in the development of a prosperous and advanced West Bank society that will engage in science, trade, and commerce and become a source and spur to regional prosperity.
The opportunity to remove the terrorist leadership and to simultaneously offer a normalized environment for West Bank Arabs is available. If Israel does not act now and proceeds to facilitate an interim two-state solution, there is little doubt that it will have to fight a major war with the new terrorist state and its treaty partners. After the next war, Annexation will appear even more attractive, but why not act now and avoid the suffering and the tragedies of another war? Israel must move forward now with Annexation, a fair and just solution, before it loses another opportunity.