On the Agenda: Annex Area C, Says Jewish Home's Bennett
Jewish Home chairman Naftali Bennett says he will propose to the Knesset that Israel annex Area C and offer citizenship to some 50,000 Arabs.
The area is under the complete control of Israel's government under the Oslo Accords document signed by both Israel and the Palestinian Authority in the early 1990s. All the Israelis in Judea and Samaria live in Area C and only 4% of the Palestinian Arabs live in that zone, with the rest in Areas A and B. The three zones were defined in the Oslo II Interim Agreement of 1995.
Bennett says he is under no illusions that the Arab residents of the zone desire to be Israeli citizens. But the newly-installed party head, an immigrant from the United States, says it's the best alternative.
A former head of the Yesha Council and a resident of the Judean community of Neve Daniel, Bennett has advocated for annexation of Area C for a long time, making it part of his party's platform. He pointed out that there are more than 300,000 Jews and only 55,000 Arabs currently living in the zone, which comprises a bit more than 60 percent of the total area of Judea and Samaria.
"They probably will refuse to be citizens, and will opt for permanent residency,” Bennett told Arutz Sheva on Wednesday, suggesting Arab residents of Area C might consider the same status held currently by some Arab residents of Jerusalem. "My annexation agenda is the only viable response to the terrible “Two State Solution” as it will prevent the PA Arabs from establishing an army, or absorbing Jordanian and Syrian refugees,” he added.
PLO/PA Chairman and Fatah head Mahmoud Abbas called on the U.N. Wednesday to force Israel to welcome into Judea and Samaria Syrian refugees who decades earlier fled the Jewish State, along with tens of thousands of their descendants, to shelter in Judea (Yehuda) and Samaria (Shomron). Abbas has previously stated that he believes that millions of “Palestinian refugees” – a term the PA uses for all descendants of Arabs who fled Israel prior to its statehood as well as after, regardless of their birthplace or citizenship and their being third generation "refugees" – have a “right of return” to Israel if they choose.
For Naphtali Bennett's article explaining the idea and including a map, posted on Arutz Sheva in March, click here.