What to do with Judea and Samaria?
What to do with Judea and Samaria?Flash 90

Former Yesha Council leader Dani Dayan has proposed a radical alternative peace plan to what he describes as the "illusionary" initiative led by US Secretary of State John Kerry.

Introducing his detailed plan, Dayan, who now serves as the Council's foreign envoy, said that since the collapse of Kerry's ill-fated initiative, even those Israelis and Palestinians who previously believed in the two-state solution paradigm have "despaired" of it, at least within the foreseeable future.

"This 'despair' has led to the realization that for the first time in decades, and certainly since the signing of the Oslo accords, there is no serious plan capable of producing results within a reasonable amount of time on the table," he wrote. "A vacuum of sorts has formed and this vacuum, contrary to the conventional 'right-wing' approach, is now problematic."

So what should fill that vacuum?

According to the veteran Land of Israel activist, the only workable alternative would be one which focuses on the individual rights of Jews and Arabs in Judea and Samaria, in particular improving living standards and cooperation between the sides - what he terms "the human path" - and which accepts that in the absence of a political solution steps should be taken to improve conditions on the ground.

The rights of Palestinian Arabs would be balanced with a "zero tolerance for violence" policy, in which authorities would act swiftly against extremists on either side. However, the emphasis of the plan is on easing living conditions for Palestinian Arabs, as Dayan explains:

"The time has come for Israel and Israelis to let go the trauma of the second Intifada. Israelis cannot go on living under psychological siege while imposing excessively sweeping and burdensome restrictions on the Palestinians despite the heinous acts of terror perpetrated almost a decade ago."

Specific policies called for in the plan include:

  • Removing the security barrier in Judea and Samaria.
  • Freedom of movement and employment for both Jews and Arabs. Specifically, Palestinian Arabs would be given full access to the Israeli job market and freedom of movement throughout Israel, and Jews would be granted full access to areas which they have until now been prevented from entering freely - namely Areas A and B, which include important ancient Jewish cities such as Shechem and most of Hevron.
  • Demilitarizing the Civil Administration which administers Judea and Samaria, and replacing it with a joint Israeli-Palestinian civilian administration.
  • Applying equal legal norms to both Israelis and Palestinian Arabs.
  • Working to strengthen the Palestinian Authority's governance of regions under its control, irregardless of political tensions between the PA and the Government of Israel.
  • "Rehabilitating" Arab refugees by putting an end to the perpetuation of their refugee status by international groups, as well as by improving living conditions.

Full details of the plan can be read here.

Dayan's plan comes amid growing calls - particularly from the Israeli political Right - for an alternative to the so-called "Two-State Solution" which would see the partition of Israel and the establishment of a 23rd Arab state in Judea and Samaria.

On Sunday, Economics Minister and Jewish Home party head Naftali Bennett reiterated his alternative peace plan, which would include Israel annexing Area C (where all Jewish communities are located, along with a tiny percentage of local Arabs) and proving complete self-rule and freedom of movement for Palestinian Arabs in Areas A and B. (A more detailed outline of that plan can be read here.)

But Dayan stresses that - despite his own vocal opposition to calls for an Arab state in Judea and Samaria - his plan should be acceptable even to those who do favor a two-state solution.

"My well-known position that posits that there should be no sovereignty between the Jordan and the Mediterranean other than Israeli sovereignty is not relevant to this plan. In fact, no political “end game” position is relevant.

"The desire and need to dramatically improve the quality of life in Judea and Samaria conflicts with neither the vision of the Greater Land of Israel nor the two-state solution. All the parties can – and in my opinion, must – wholeheartedly support this type of plan.

"Whatever political reality ultimately emerges, better and fairer conditions of day-to-day life in Judea and Samaria are prerequisites no matter how you look at it."