Fair Policy, Fair Discussion

December 23, 2009

Likud MK discusses West Bank annexation– and citizenship for WB Pales

Filed under: Israeli politics,One-state discussion — Helena Cobban @ 4:50 pm

Further to the discussion of the one-state outcome… I just learned that on Sunday (Dec. 20) one of Likud’s young and more hawkish parliamentarians, Tzipi Hotovely, told an Israeli security conference,

It’s time to lift the question mark over Judea and Samaria [the West Bank] and view the people living there as citizens with an equal status. Thinking ahead, strategically, we should consider granting gradual citizenship to Palestinians based on loyalty tests.

This is a fascinating development that needs a lot more analysis than I have time for here.

HT to Noam Sheizaf for that news snippet. His piece is also cross-posted on his own blog, where one of the commenters writes– I think correctly– that former Likud foreign minister Moshe Arens talked about this publicly at one time.

Of course, Likud hardliners have their own reasons for not wanting to see any final national border separating the west bank from 1948 Israel.  And of course, Hotovely would feel that for her own supporters she has to be very clear indeed about stating the requirement for a “loyalty test.”

Under those circumstances, the number of the West Bank’s 2.3 million Palestinians who would apply for Israeli citizenship, were it to be offered, could be expected to be almost nil.  Just like the number of East Jerusalem Palestinians who have taken up the offer of Israeli citizenship that’s been open to them for 42 years now.

For all these Palestinians, applying for Israeli citizenship implies a recognition of the legitimacy of Israel’s rule over the land.

Note, too, that Hotovely was very clearly talking about annexation only of the West Bank, and not including Gaza in either her territorial ambitions or her citizenship proposal.  So of course, this proposal is, once again, an example of Israel’s long-pursued strategy of “slicing and dicing” the Palestinians under their control.

But still, notwithstanding all these caveats, the fact that this apparently up-and-coming young Likud politician talked openly about this subject is, I think, very noteworthy.


1 Comment »

  1. It would be feasible to simply add the near-Green-Line settlements and the West Bank villages divided by the Green Line, like Baka al-Gharbiya and Baka al-Sharkiya, to Israel, with their eastern municipal or communal boundaries becoming the new line. It depends whether one sees improvement in local communications as more important than whether Israel gets rewarded for 1967. One of the other elements is that the Triangle was peaceful and with a stable population for a while before its handover to Israel, and Israel undertook (at least internally) to maintain those conditions, so this was seen as a move at the expense of Jordan, not of the local Palestinians. I don’t think that Palestinians would accept citizenship-by-annexation-to-Israel at the expense of the PA, unless it affected people with an ambiguous relationship with the PA, as some inhabitants of Rajjar have with Lebanon. It could happen if the West Bank becomes ruled by a Hamas which duplicates the worst excesses of the Iranian revolution, and Israel becomes a refuge, or if Palestinians married to Israelis demand it for their extended families or clans, and it might include the Samaritans, Druze, or others with an identity independent of a (conflict viewed as) Muslim/Jewish one, those populations being divided between the two states. I suspect Hotovely was thinking in terms of people happening to come with land, as in the Triangle, and Palestinians considering it are thinking in terms of family reunification, people coming without land, if at all. She is thinking like a state, they are thinking like citizens.

    Comment by Eurosabra — December 24, 2009 @ 2:01 pm | Reply

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