Hotovely Presents: The Gradual Plan – ‘Annexation – Naturalization’
Women in Green
What is a step by step approach to turning the vision of Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria into a feasible idea? The Deputy Minister of Transportation has an orderly plan and she is convinced that if they just take the trouble to market it well, it will turn out to be much more feasible
than the ‘Two-State’ vision.
When Deputy Minister of Transportation, MK Tzipi Hotovely is asked what the Right should present as a political goal and an alternative to the ‘Two-State’ plan she answers simply, “The goal is for Judea and Samaria to be under Israeli sovereignty. It is ours and it was acquired legally in a bloody, defensive war. We must now implement the vision of the Greater Land of Israel and begin to apply sovereignty in all of the territory. This is the vision reflecting belief in the holy precept that the Land of Israel is ours and we have no right to revoke this precept. It is fidelity to the ideology of the Right and the religious public, which believes that this is our land.”
Although the vision mentioned in the title is a simple concept, Hotovely is well aware of the difficulties that stand in the way of implementing this vision, and the first of them, “the hot potato that everyone has been passing from hand to hand until now” as she defines it, is: what will happen with the Arab population in the territories of Judea and Samaria the day after application of Israeli sovereignty?
The deputy minister envisions a solution to the matter in gradual phases. “I start with the assumption that this is a hostile population whose abiding dream is not to be part of the Jewish Zionist state. Therefore we must address several matters simultaneously.”
The first matter Hotovely addresses is Jewish immigration to Israel (aliyah). “We need to strengthen the Jewish population demographically. When Ben Gurion established the Jewish state, there were six hundred thousand Jews along with four hundred and fifty thousand Arabs. These are frightening numbers for a small country without strong defenses. The state could have been destroyed within a short time by Arab procreation and nevertheless Ben Gurion did not
hesitate; he established the State and opened its doors to the ingathering of the exiles, seeing the 12 million Jews of the Diaspora as a target. If this is what Ben Gurion did when we were a weak country, then when the country is secure and economically strong, a country that is good to live in, should we be ashamed to speak of gathering in the exiles? If, of the nine million Jews in the world, we bring one million, we have already provided a significant demographic answer.”
Sovereignty over Area C and the Issue of Citizenship
Hotovely urges a prudent approach to the issue of granting citizenship. “I do not think that it is necessary to give automatic citizenship,” she says and clarifies: “We must begin a gradual process of 25 years under the heading of ‘annexation-naturalization’. Unfortunately, I must now use the ABC letters used in the Oslo documents. As we know, Area C includes the entire Jewish population and along with it a small number of about one hundred thousand Arabs.
This is a number that the State of Israel can manage. I’m not satisfied with just this, and I have no intention to give up ninety percent of the territory or to establish a hostile entity in the remaining area, like the one in Gaza, and this is in addition to my ideological objection to such a concession.”
“That group of one hundred thousand will be a sort of test case for the future,” she adds and clarifies: “Laws will be passed to define the State of Israel as a state for the Jewish people, the Law of Return will be anchored as a Basic Law and within the framework of the Jewish laws of the state, it will be stated that all who request equal rights in the State of Israel will have obligations such as taxes and National Service. The Arab population today is free of these obligations and this population will be tested anew within the framework of new obligations. I do not believe in declarations of
loyalty but in the test of actions. Whoever does not take part in National Service and bear part of the economic burden does not deserve to have certain rights. We must abolish the thought that since they are native-born, we cannot apply the naturalization laws to them. We must bear in mind that this is a hostile entity and it is impossible to turn them into citizens overnight. There is an intermediate phase of residency that can serve as a sort of candidacy period for citizenship. The drastic step of immediate citizenship for a million and a half Palestinians would be irresponsible and to think of doing such a thing is not serious.”
Hotovely believes that a phased process such as this, beginning in Area C, would be a significant statement to the world that “the ‘Two-State’ story is over. We cannot continue on this pointless course that leads nowhere.”
“Which is Preferable – the Gaza Model or the Sakhnin Model?”
Hotovely is also aware of the difficulty of “selling” the strategy she describes to the Israeli public, who, according to her, want to see the Arabs on the other side of the fence – mixing the populations worries and concerns both the Left and the Right. “I ask a simple question. What is better for you, the Gaza model or the Sakhnin model?
Sakhnin is indeed not an exemplary model of citizenship but, given the problems the State of Israel has in controlling the Arab population, applying Western thought patterns and developing an understanding that it pays to live with us allows for a vision of future coexistence. This is in addition to an intelligence point of view.”
Marketing Hotovely’s vision will not be easy within Israel or abroad. She knows this but nevertheless declares, surprisingly, that selling the idea abroad will be easier than doing it internally. “I get on with the world easily because this plan is a democratic plan, a plan that says that after you have tried to establish a Palestinian state, (and the leadership in Israel was ready for almost anything including dividing her capital), at the end of the day, you have not succeeded.
The other side does not want to end the conflict and there are great disparities between the two sides. And there is not one Palestinian leader who would agree to any one of the principles to which every Israeli leader has committed himself – regarding Jerusalem, refugees and areas for blocs of Jewish communities. No Arab leader would agree to Jewish blocs of communities. They will not concede Ariel and Ma’ale Adumim. They will not give up Jerusalem or the right of return. You have been trying since ’47 and you have not succeeded. If you try something six times with six different plans, leading to a partitioning of the Land, you must draw the right conclusions. If you feel sorry for the Palestinians, let them be citizens with equal rights in a democratic state.”
Hotovely denies what is described as the right of Palestinians to self-define. She notes that “they belong to the greater Arab nation and if there is any place where there is a concentration of ethnic Palestinian population, it is the present Kingdom of Jordan and therefore, I do not feel guilty at all for not allowing them to establish another Arab state”.
“This is a democratic suggestion that does not depend on external factors. We suggest to the Palestinians that if they don’t want citizenship, it’s alright, but Palestinian refusal must result in an Israeli counter-reaction.”
“Freedom of Expression Must be Subject to Red Lines. We Must Determine Who Will Represent the Arab Public”
As mentioned, Hotovely believes that persuading Israelis will be more difficult than influencing international opinion. “The Israeli public has a problem because it foresees Arab representatives in Knesset as subversives, as potential Hanin Zoabis. The State of Israel must have red lines on this issue, even with all its aspiration for freedom of expression. The Basic Law of the Knesset does not permit Balad (an Israeli Arab political party), which collaborates with terrorists and spies, to express its contempt. Yet this occurs anyway because Bagatz (the High Court of Justice) ratifies the presence of these people in our parliament, time after time. We must change the rules of the game and define who is permitted to represent the Arab population. We must not accept a reality in which those who hold hands with Hamas and Hizb’Allah can sit in the Knesset.”
When she is asked about the chances for her plan to be accepted within our political reality, Hotovely is convinced the chances are good. “The vision of two states began in the lunatic fringe of the Left with Uri Avnery and Luba Eliav, who managed to sell a plan that was originally attacked by Golda Meir, Yigal Allon and the VIPs of Mapai (the left-wing pre-cursor to the modern day Labor Party), all of whom thought that a Palestinian state would be a terrible thing, and now this plan has become mainstream as a result of brainwashing to the point that even within the Likud, they speak of it as if it were Jabotinsky’s vision. If a plan based on a false premise was able to
win such acceptance, a true plan should be accepted much more easily.”
Towards the end of her address, Deputy Minister Hotovely gives credit for the plan that she presents to Uri Elitsur, who has been promoting this basic outline recently. “We must restore our confidence that if the Holy One, Blessed Be He, gave us parts of this Land, he also gave us the strength to be its sovereigns,” and with this she seals her words.