There is a raging debate with respect to the "Day After" plan for Gaza and the 'West Bank' (Judea and Samaria) . What will be the status of Gaza and 'West Bank' after Israel accomplishes its mission in Gaza?
President Biden and Secretary of State Blinken have adamantly supported the creation of a Palestinian state as a critical element of the “Day After” Plan. They believe that the fundamental rights of the Palestinian Arabs can only be realized with the creation of a Palestinian state encompassing Gaza and the 'West Bank' (Judea & Samaria) and that a two-state solution is critical for future peace in Israel.
In this plan, we articulate that, to the contrary, the violent story of Gaza under Hamas since 2007 will be greatly exaggerated if Israel withdraws from Judea & Samaria (“J&S”) and facilitates the creation of a sovereign Palestinian Arab state. In the absence of Israeli presence, J&S will become a haven for terrorism and will lead to a spectacular increase of violence and conflict. Israel's withdrawal from Gaza led to an existential threat to Israel and such a withdrawal from the J&S will likely only further heighten the risks to Israel and the region.
In this proposal, we outline an alternative plan that best balances the security of the region and the rights of the Palestinian Arabs. The rights of Palestinian Arabs to live peacefully and to prosper and the security of Israelis and Palestinian Arabs can best be realized when Hamas, Fatah, and the Palestinian Authority are removed. Israel must declare sovereignty and provide full civil and religious rights for all residents. Today, Israeli Arabs are the beneficiary of living in a democratic society with full civil and religious rights. This plan, through a carefully implemented application process, seeks to provide the Palestinian Arabs of Gaza and the J&S, with the same Blue Israel ID cards that east Jerusalem Arabs hold.
When Israel declares sovereignty and Hamas and the Palestinian Authority are stripped of power, Arab countries who have been targets of the Moslem Brotherhood and are repelled by the corrupt Hamas and PA leadership, will join the Abraham Accords to create a new and prosperous Middle East.
2. Palestinian Arab Governance Has Failed
President Biden and his representatives have insisted on a two-state solution as critical for future peace in Israel. Secretary of State Blinken has proclaimed, “Normalization… needs to involve a two-state solution.” In fact, numerous attempts to resolve the Israel/Arab conflict with two-state solutions all failed. In fact, Palestinian Arab governance has failed.
Support for the two-state solution has undergone a fundamental shift as many acknowledge that Palestinian Arab governance leads to instability and violence. Even before October 7, President Isaac Herzog, who originally supported the Gaza withdrawal, said,
“It was the right thing to do, but without a doubt, from a security perspective, the disengagement was a mistake. We failed in our assessment that post-withdrawal Gaza would become the Hong Kong of the Middle East. Instead, it has become one big rocket base.” Little did he know or acknowledge the extent of the military threat or the size of the metro tunnel complex.
Israel withdrew from Gaza in August 2005. Four months later Hamas won legislative elections in the Palestinian Arab territories promising that ongoing terrorism would eventually drive the Jews out of J&S and eventually into the sea. By June 2007, Hamas violently took over Gaza and the rest is history that cannot be allowed to repeat. The gruesome terrorist events of October 7, make it eminently clear that creation of a Palestinian Arab State or even relinquishing control over J&S and again withdrawing from Gaza will have tragic consequences. The failure of the PA to monitor or control terrorist activity in the 'West Bank' is evidenced by terrorist enclaves and huge arms caches discovered daily by the IDF in PA controlled Jenin and Tul Karm and Hebron and Shechem.
Many alternatives to the two-state solution have been proposed. The proposals range from maintaining the status quo, federation, cantons, sovereignty over Area C and/or the Jordan valley, creation of a bi-national state, to declaration of Jewish sovereignty.
Here, we propose that Israel must declare sovereignty west of the Jordan River. It is the shortest path to ending the Israel/Arab conflict.
3. Declarations of sovereignty
Israel must act decisively and declare sovereignty after its military objectives in Gaza are accomplished. In 1967, Israel military rule in J&S might have been the only alternative. Israel had to deal with the three Arab “No’s of Khartoum”. No peace with Israel, No recognition of Israel, and No negotiations with Israel. At that time, Israel’s population of barely 2.2 million Jews had not reached a critical mass and annexation was not feasible.
But today the facts on the ground have dramatically changed. Israel’s Jewish population exceeds 7.5 million and its Arab Moslem population is less than 1.8 million. The ongoing 56-year-old military occupation over J&S cannot be justified in any political, diplomatic, military, economic, academic or street forum.
Israel has previously declared sovereignty over at least four areas. Israel accepted the limited borders of the UN partition plan of 1947 and declared sovereignty on May 14, 1948. After the successful 1948-49 War of Independence, Israel formally declared sovereignty over the expanded territory. After the 1967 six-day war Israel expanded the boundaries of its small capital, Jerusalem, and formally declared sovereignty. Citizenship was offered to the 85,000 Arabs residents. About 5,000 accepted in spite of the threats of the Hashemite monarch. The balance became holders of Blue Israel ID cards with full civil and religious rights other than voting for Knesset Members.
After the Oslo Accords (1993-1995) increasing numbers of Jerusalem Arabs applied for full Israel citizenship. Today, about 285,000 of Jerusalem Arabs (many of whom immigrated from the PA) are holders of Blue Israel ID cards. By every poll and study, they unanimously prefer to live in Israel rather than under the despotic PA rule.
In 1981, Israel applied Israel law to the Golan Heights and offered citizenship to the Druze population. Between 1981 and 2022, nearly 5,500 out of 20,000 residents applied for and received full Israel citizenship. The balance hold Blue Israel ID cards.
In 2019, the U.S. recognized the Golan Heights as part of Israel and increasing numbers of Druze serve in the Israeli military, are delighted not to live under Syrian rule, and are now applying for Israeli citizenship.
Israel must declare sovereignty and begin a strictly monitored application process enabling 'West Bank' and Gaza Palestinians to obtain the rights and responsibilities comparable to Jerusalem Arab Blue ID holders.
4. Planning for Palestinian Arab Integration into Israel
Assertion of Jewish sovereignty over J&S has been delayed in large measure by issues surrounding the status of the 1.7 million Arab residents. The Palestinian Authority falsely inflates that number to more than 3 million residents as do several Israel demographers (Sergio Dela Pergola and Arnon Sofer) who rely exclusively on PA claims. Our work found in The Million Person Gap (BEGIN-SADAT CENTER FOR STRATEGIC STUDIES) exposed the fallacious numbers in the PA claim. Similarly, prior to October 7, there were a maximum of 1.7 million Gaza Arabs rather than the inflated 2.3 claimed by Hamas and the PA.
Under this plan, J&S Arab residents and the remaining Gaza residents should have the opportunity to apply for and receive a Blue Israel ID card similar to the status of 95% of Jerusalem Arabs. They will be entitled to all the benefits and rights available to Israel citizens including full civil and religious rights. They will manage their municipal affairs, and democratically elect local leadership responsible for education, security, religious and other activities subject to the laws of the State of Israel, but not have the right to vote in national elections, akin to the status of the Jerusalem Arabs. Arabs who do not wish to apply or do not qualify for Blue Israel ID cards will nonetheless have civil and religious rights and be required to obey Israel law or to seek alternatives elsewhere.
The world of Islam is in the midst of a violent storm. Hopefully, a 21st–century reformation is in the offing. Judaism and Christianity have previously undergone reformations. But without a total cessation of the widespread global conflicts of Islam, Israel cannot be expected to allow a new Muslim minority influenced by violent anti-democratic forces to participate in life and death national decisions.
As long as part of the Muslim world and some of Israel’s neighbors such as Hezbollah and Iran seek Israel’s destruction, Israel cannot be suicidal and risk giving Knesset voting rights to people who, in part, may share that agenda. Furthermore, one cannot allow those, who might seek the end of Israel as a Jewish state to have legislative authority.
Israel will implement programs similar to those outlined in the Abraham Accords (2020) and the Puerto Rico Incentives Code to promote economic development. These accords will be implemented with incentives to attract investment and to promote conditions for prosperity and job creation in J&S. Capital investment by foreign investors will have privileged status and be incented to encourage manufacturing, agriculture, aerospace, biosciences, and renewable energy. New businesses will receive stimuli such as technology parks, education grants, health care and other substantial benefits. These programs will stimulate the economy of J&S and improve the living conditions of the residents.
5. Gaza Arabs
In order to consider various options for the future status of the Gaza Arabs it is important to know how many and who they are. The maximum number is 1.7 derived from a starting point year end 2004 of 1.093 million. From that point we calculate based on various sources the average emigration from Gaza of 15,000 per year (mostly young adults), average annual births of 45,000 and deaths of 8,000. That results in approximately 1.5 million. And to be conservative let’s use 1.7 million.
This compares to recent PA claim of 2.3 million and the UNRWA claim of 2.1 million of which 1.7 are descendants of the 1948-49 original refugees.
UNRWA claims 1.466 million are registered Gaza recipients of UNRWA aid. Most Gaza Arabs celebrated the Hamas October 7 barbarism and support the resistance to Israel’s military efforts. Will the Gaza Arabs, many of whom are branded by UNRWA as refugees from the 1947-48 Israel War of Independence, seek refuge in more peaceful Moslem countries? Underwriting the relocation of Gazan Arabs who seek a better future elsewhere may be a superior humanitarian solution to forcing them to return to what they claim was an open-air prison in Gaza.
Today 75 years after the “Nakba”, UNRWA, which perpetuated "refugee" status for generations, is being accused of being Hamas' accomplice in violence and many countries have ceased funding it.
Will countries in Asia, Africa or North and South America offer them refuge in return for substantial monetary compensation? Will Israel provide economic assistance to Gaza Arabs who seek peaceful lives removed from the Arab hoodlum overlords? Normalizing the remaining Gazan population will be a more challenging task than bringing the Arabs of J&S into Israel’s democracy.
The Gaza War must end with the declaration of civil rule over a significantly reduced Gaza population. The withdrawal from Gaza was a clear-cut test of withdrawal. Submission to violence and allowing terrorists to declare victory was a total failure.
Israel withdrew from Gaza in August 2005. Four months later Hamas won legislative elections in the Palestinian Arab territories promising that ongoing terrorism would eventually drive the Jews out of J&S and eventually into the sea. By June 2007, Hamas violently took over Gaza and the rest is history that cannot be repeated.
6. Security Concerns Following Integration
After annexation will the new Arab Muslim residents of Israel become similar to the peaceful and successful Arab citizens of Israel?
In spite of hearing a barrage of two-state pledges, the vast majority of Arabs living in Israel, do not engage in terrorism. They are loyal citizens and participate in Israel’s success. They enjoy and appreciate the benefits of living in a democratic Jewish State. None move out of Israel to live under the autocratic Palestinian Authority. Conversely, Arabs living under the corrupt Palestine Authority seek employment in Israel and will enjoy tremendous economic benefits from their newfound rights in the democratic Jewish State. After Israel declares sovereignty, the vast majority will celebrate the opportunity to become Israel citizens with Blue Israel ID cards. They will contribute to the growth and prosperity of Israel.
Of course, criminal behavior will not immediately end. But all will be subject to Israeli civil law. Every city and country in the world acts to control and suppress criminal behavior. That is the function of police to curb and limit criminality. For example, NY City has 45,0000 armed police and others who strive to curb criminals and violence.
Importantly, the integration of J&S and Gaza Arabs into Israel will enable better surveillance and prevention of the types of large-scale military attacks perpetrated on October 7.
7. World reaction
How would the international community from the UN to Europe to the USA, react when Israel declares sovereignty? How would the Arab and Moslem world react? How would many sectors of the Jewish population of Israel react?
While no solution is perfect, this plan by ending its occupation and providing for the residents of J&S and Gaza with equal civil and religious rights per Israel’s Declaration of Independence, will be a major step forward. Israel’s enemies may continue to brand Israel as an apartheid state claiming that its Muslim minority are second-class citizens, but it will be hard to ignore facts that Israel’s new Arab population will be on their way to achieving the success of Israel’s existing Arab population who are represented in all walks of Israeli life — as MKs, government ministers, judges, professors and senior business and community leaders.
8. Expanded Abraham Accords
Once Israel declares Sovereignty, 100+ years of Arab terrorism will have been defeated. Many of Israel’s neighbors including Saudi Arabia and Egypt will celebrate Israel’s victory and the expanded Abraham Accords will provide a new face to the Middle East.
If Israel continues to pursue the policies of the last 25 years and expects to rely on the PA or its successor it will find itself sooner or later back in the October 6 situation.
Today there is a clear-cut opportunity to Declare Sovereignty or Annexation and finally end the 100+ year conflict. Secretary Blinken recently advised, "Creating a pathway to a Palestinian state is the best way to stabilize the wider region and isolate Iran and its proxies.” That pathway is a well-defined recipe for a regional disaster and spectacular success for Israel’s arch enemy, Iran. This is the time to pursue Sovereignty and rights for all the Palestinians West of the Jordan River under Israeli sovereignty and this is the only feasible long-term path to achieve lasting peace.
Dr. Michael Wise is a founder and investor in numerous technology companies. He is a graduate of YU and holds a PhD in Theoretical Physics from Brandeis U., is the co-author of Israel demography study (BESA).and has published numerous articles about Israel sovereignty and demographics in Judea and Samaria. [email protected]