MK Hotovely
MK Hotovely Israel news photo

Likud MK Tzipi Hotovely said on Monday that in order to maintain a Jewish Israel as well as Judea and Samaria, Israel must grant Israeli citizenship to PA Arabs. She spoke at Panel 3 of the Jerusalem Conference, which was entitled, "The Two State Solution, or Maybe Three, or One?"  Other speakers included:

Yoram Ettinger, former liaison for Congressional Affairs at Israel's Embassy in Washington;

Cabinet Minister Benny Begin;

Itamar Marcus, Founder and Director of Palestinian Media Watch;

Ehud Ya'ari, Senior Commentator on Arab Affairs for Israel's Channel 2 TV;

MK Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Prof. Aryeh Eldad (National Union).

MK Avi Dichter (Kadima), a former Minister of Public Security, was scheduled to speak, but sent word during the session that he would be unable to attend.

Hotovely: Support for Citizenship

The biggest headline of the session was provided by MK Tzipi Hotovely of the Likud, who is known for her nationalist views – yet came out in support of granting Israeli citizenship to the Arabs of Judea and Samaria. She began by agreeing that the idea of a Palestinian state is "dead and buried, a passing illusion. They don’t want a state, as we saw in 2000 and 2008 when they rejected far-reaching Israeli proposals. From the Israeli side, as well, Ehud Barak told me that he has no dispute with Benny Begin about Palestinian intentions – meaning that he, too, knows that they do not accept or suffice with the idea of a state. The same is true around the world..."

"But the bad news," she said, "is what is happening here in Israel. For too many years, we have been passive and just let things go… I respect Benny Begin, but I disagree that we must simply continue not to decide. We must be pro-active in Judea/Samaria as we are in Jerusalem and in the Golan. The international community must not be allowed to be the main player; for too many years we have given the world too much importance; we have to know what we ourselves want." 

"An important question is, What do we do with the Palestinians? They are people, a hostile element - what do we do with them? We must first apply Israeli law to Judea and Samaria – I don't say we must annex it, because it’s already ours – and this will help the 300,000 Jewish residents there; they are the only ones currently living under occupation. But what about the Arabs there? That’s the hard question. But all the alternatives are worse than what I’m about to say: We should consider giving them citizenship – I'm not referring to Gaza – on condition that we legislate a Basic Law that Israel remains a Jewish state. They will then have at most a 30% minority, not to mention that we have to make a national mission of bringing another million Jews on Aliyah from the West..."

Minister Begin said flat-out: "There is no chance for a solution at present; to say otherwise is irresponsible... We saw how Hamas defeated Fatah in Gaza inside the period of a week, among other things by throwing some Fatah men out the windows of a ten-story building… We should for now concentrate on making our relations with the Arabs of the PA as good as possible… Sometimes we have to simply realize that the reality is very difficult and cannot be made better in the foreseeable future. I said as much to US envoy Senator Mitchell several months ago."

MK Hotovely: "What about the Arabs in Yesha? That’s the hard question. But all the alternatives are worse than what I’m about to say: We should consider giving them citizenship."

Commentator Ehud Ya'ari took an extreme approach, beginning by quoting a top aide to both Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas, Dr. Ahmed Khalidi of London. Ya'ari quoted Khalidi, whom he called "the leading intellectual of the Palestinian movement," as having said: "The idea of a Palestinian state in the '67 borders is a punitive construct devised by the Palestinians' worst enemies – the U.S. and Israel – in order to constrain Palestinian aspirations territorially and force them to give up on their moral rights."

"Force the Palestinians to Accept a State"

Ya'ari said that the idea of a Palestinian state within the '67 borders, that is, in Judea and Samaria, has lost its appeal in the Palestinian public. "It has lost its oomph. Every Palestinian I speak to agrees with me – but Jews, mostly from the left, have difficulty with this... The problem is that they are collapsing into our unwilling arms; what’s happening is 'reverse annexation.' In effect, it's the Palestinian who have decided to annex us, and not the opposite. This is not a declared goal, but it is happening every day. And the question is if we accept it - or whether our real interest lies in stopping this process. My opinion is that we have only a limited time, 2-3 years at the most, to try to bring about a situation in which a Palestinian state is formed against their own will, to force them to accept sovereignty - because if not it will be too late."

Yoram Ettinger expressed surprise at Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for having rushed to announce support for a Palestinian state: "We just heard that the popular Senator Bayh announced that he is not running for office again; it shows that no Democratic Senate seat is safe – and so why did Netanyahu run to Bar Ilan University to announce his consent to two states just because a weak president who had been in office for only a few months waved an index finger at him?"

Itamar Marcus of PMW presented a slide-show of samples from the Palestinian Authortiy media educating its children and public to hatred of Israel: "We speak of two states, but the Palestinians educate their children to a world without Israel. In just one of dozens of examples, here is a children's show on TV - which is controlled by Abbas’ office – in which children are asked, 'Which is Palestine’s most important port – Jaffa, Akko, or Haifa [which are all Israeli cities since 1948]? They simply build for their children a new world without Israel, in which Palestine has totally replaced Israel... They call the Galilee 'the northern settlements," and Sderot is similarly a 'settlement.' ... There is a new weekly program called 'Returning' - referring to Jerusalem, Lod, Jaffa, etc. There are many more examples..." 

Marcus noted that a recent poll of Palestinian Authority youth between the ages of 18-24 shows that a full 91.7% of them say Israel has no right to exist. "There is great support for terrorists and murderers: Camps, tournaments and more are named for Dalal Mughrabi – including a birthday celebration for her under the auspices of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas – who committed the worst terror attack in Israeli history, the Coastal Road attack that left 37 dead... How can we sign an agreement with the PA leaders, if this is what their young think?"

MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union), said: "I am in favor of the end of occupation and I support two states for two peoples. We must end the occupation – I am referring of course to the Moslem conquest of the Land of Israel that began in the 7th century. And we must have two states – meaning Jordan as the Palestinian country; the Arabs of Judea and Samaria can have resident status there, but will be citizens of Jordan and vote for the Jordanian parliament."

"As a doctor, I know that preventative medicine is better than treating a sickness, so my goal is to prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state... Ya'ari said that we should force them to accept their own state. I never heard of such a thing happening anywhere in the world - forcing a people to have a state..."