Abu-Ala: PA Ready to Discuss Bi-National State
Ahmed Qureia (Abu-Ala), a top member of the Palestine Liberation Organization, said Wednesday that the Palestinian Authority was prepared to discuss the possibility of a bi-national state with Israel. While the PA still preferred the “two-state solution,” the establishment of an Arab state on land liberated by Israel in the Six Day War, a bi-national state, in which the PLO would have a constitutional role in government and PA Arabs would become citizens of Israel, was a possibility as well, Qureia said in an interview on Israel Radio.
Speaking on the 19th anniversary of the Oslo Accords, Qureia said that the PA would prefer to follow through on that agreement, but that Israel was “killing Oslo” by continuing to encourage Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria, and construction of the security fence.
Numerous Israeli leaders have proposed various compromise plans to the PA since the signing of the Oslo Accords, with the most generous plan proposed by Defense Minister Ehud Barak, when he was Prime Minister in 1999. In response to that proposal, which would have given the PA control over some 97% of Judea and Samaria, the PLO, led then by Yasser Arafat, launched the second Intifada, dubbed by many on the Israeli right as the “Oslo War.”
Israeli reaction to the idea of a binational state, which has been discussed internally in Israel for years, has been mixed, with many concerned that Israel would lose its Jewish character – and eventually its status as a Jewish state – as Arab populations grow and eventually take over the reigns of government. However, several Israel researchers say that the PA's claims of nearly 4 million residents in territories they control are wildly inflated. A recent study by Israeli demographics expert and analyst Yoram Ettinger shows that the PA's figures were about 40% higher than the actual number of PA residents, and that the Jewish birthrate has been keeping pace with, or even outdoing, the Arab rate.