MK Bezalel Smotrich
MK Bezalel Smotrich Aryeh Minkov

Deputy Speaker of the Knesset Bezalel Smotrich offered his alternative to the two-state solution during an interview with the Yisrael HaYom newspaper, arguing that Israel should annex Judea and Samaria and offer Arab residents in the area generous compensation packages to emigrate.

According to Smotrich’s plan, Israel would annex all of Judea and Samaria, including areas A, B, and C.

As for the demographic problem posed by adding those areas to the State of Israel, Smotrich proposes to give Arab residents three options. First, every Arab in the area would offered $100,000 to emigrate to the country of their choice.

For those who wish to remain, they would have the choice of either accepting permanent residency status, as was offered to Jerusalem’s Arab population when eastern portions of the city were annexed in 1967, or living under an autonomy arrangement. Under the latter, local Arabs would continue to manage their own affairs, while the land would be under Israeli sovereignty.

Smotrich emphasizes that his plan to encourage Arab emigration from Judea and Samaria would be completely voluntary.

“This is a comprehensive solution that until now has never been put on the table,” Smotrich said. “It’s important to put an alternative out that will remove the leftwing plan of Palestinian statehood from the agenda, a plan that for all practical purposes has no chance of reaching a [negotiated] agreement. As I see it, the establishment of a Palestinian state would be tantamount to collective suicide for us.”

Smotrich dismissed concerns over international reaction to his proposal. “Even from an international point of view the solution I’m offering is the best. Think outside of the box. Today when the Prime Minister says that there needs to be a Palestinian state, I can’t blame the international community. But when we start talking in terms of justice, ethics, and history and not just security, the world, which is primarily religious, will understand.”

Smotrich's suggestion would go further than a plan already proposed by his party's leader, Naftali Bennett, which calls for Israel to annex Area C, while granting full autonomy to the Palestinian Arabs in Areas A and B.