The Rights of Jewish Settlers
It is a common misperception that the building of settlements in Judea and Samaria (“West Bank”) is an impediment to peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
In truth, the primary obstacle to peace is the Palestinian refusal to recognize Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state and the unwillingness to allow a Jewish minority in a Palestinian state.
Conversely, under international law, Israel is not obliged to accept or support the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state on the west side of the Jordan River.
The legal status of the West Bank
Following the Turkish and Arab defeat in the First World War, Britain was given the job of administering parts of the defunct Ottoman Empire. In 1920, the San Remo Conference of the Allied Powers assigned to Britain a mandate to establish a Jewish national home on territory covering what would become Israel, Jordan and part of the Golan Heights.
In early 1921, Britain made a distinction between Palestine as a national home for the Jewish people, and Transjordan as a home for the Arabs.
The Mandate of Palestine was confirmed by the League of Nations in 1922. It formalised the creation of two British protectorates, i.e. (1) Palestine for the Jews under British rule and (2) Transjordan, to be governed semi-autonomously from Britain under the rule of the Hashemite family. (In June 1922, a joint resolution of both Houses of Congress of the United States unanimously endorsed the "Mandate for Palestine".)
The Mandate for Palestine incorporated the 1917 Balfour Declaration, which endorsed the “establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.” The Mandate legalized the immigration of Jews to Palestine and encouraged close settlement of the land.
At outbreak of the Second World War, the Mandate was still in force. Two years after the war, the British handed the Mandate to the UN, which recommended (rather than enforced) the partition of Palestine between Jews and Arabs. The Jews accepted the partition but the Arab states rejected it and declared war on the Jewish homeland. In May 1948, in the middle of the war, Israel declared independence.
Although Israel defeated its Arab attackers, Egypt and Jordan still managed to take over some of the unclaimed Mandate land, i.e. Gaza and the newly-named West Bank respectively. Israel also increased its share of the land. (Had Israel captured the West Bank and Gaza in 1948-9, then accusations of occupation would probably be non-existent.) At the insistence of the Arabs, the 1949 armistice line was “not to be construed in any sense as a political or territorial boundary.”
In 1967, Israel won control of the West Bank after a war of self-defence. To speak of Israeli occupation implies that Israel fought an aggressive war in order capture the West Bank, which certainly was not the case.
Following the war, Israel annexed east Jerusalem, which was home to the iconic Western Wall. However, it did not annex either the West Bank or Gaza. UN Security Council Resolution 242 recommended Israeli withdrawal from territories in return for the right “to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force.” Resolution 242 did not mention the Palestinians, although it did refer to “a just settlement of the refugee problem” in acknowledgment that both sides had their share of refugees. Unfortunately, the Arab states once again rejected the UN’s proposal. At a conference in Khartoum the Arabs refused to negotiate or make peace with Israel. In fact, they refused to recognise Israel at all.
It is also worth pointing out that the second article of the Fourth Geneva Convention is not applicable to the West Bank (and Gaza) because it pertains only to cases of occupation of a sovereign entity. The West Bank has never been the legal territory of any sovereign entity. Or to put it in plain English, territories are only "occupied" if they are captured in war from an established and recognized sovereign. Jordan was never an established or recognized sovereign of the West Bank.
Following the Arab invasion of Israel in 1973, UN Security Council Resolution 338 reiterated Resolution 242 and declared that “immediately and concurrently with the ceasefire, negotiations start between the parties...aimed at establishing a just and durable peace in the Middle East.”
Egypt and Israel made peace in 1979. Egypt regained the Sinai Peninsula and an international border was fixed between the two countries. Israel and Jordan made peace in 1994.
The Oslo Accords of 1993 incorporate Resolutions 242 and 338 and thereby provide the basis for Palestinian negotiations with Israel. However, neither resolution mandates the establishment of a separate Arab state. Nonetheless, it was mutually agreed in 1995 to divide the West Bank into regions – A, B and C. The overwhelming majority of Palestinians live in Palestinian-governed areas, A and B. All the Jewish settlements are in Area C.
Israel’s faith in the accords was undermined by the fact that terrorist attacks against Israel intensified. Moreover, several Palestinian organisations, including Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, objected to the accords because their charters did not recognise Israel.
Legal status of the settlements
Legally, the West Bank is unclaimed Mandate land and should be referred to as “disputed” territory. Claims that Israel is an occupying power is not only nonsensical in a legal sense, but fails to recognise that Israel gained the West Bank as a result of a defensive war in 1967.
So if the West Bank is “disputed” territory, does this mean the Jewish settlements are legal or illegal?
Contrary to popular belief, the settlements are entirely legal as long as they are in the parameters of the 1922 Mandate, which has never been superseded in law, not even by the 1947 partition plan.
Had Jews started building settlements in Lebanon following the First Lebanon War, then their actions would be illegal under international law.
Israel’s capture of the West Bank in 1967 merely restores the territory to its legal status under the Mandate of 1922. This is the same mandate which encouraged Jewish settlement in all of Palestine.
Even if it could be proved that Israel is an occupant, many of the Jewish settlements are still permitted under international law. Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Protocol does not prohibit Israeli civilians from acting on their own initiative by purchasing land in the West Bank and settling there among the Palestinian Arabs. In fact, many of the Jewish settlers are in the West Bank in spite of the Israeli government. (Settlements that are judged to be harmful to Palestinian interests are regularly dismantled by the Israeli authorities.) Moreover, the settlements that have been approved by the government are there for security reasons. For example, building up the areas around east Jerusalem reduces the risk of the capital falling to an Arab army invading from the east. Again, this is permissible under the Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Protocol.
The fact that the Palestinians and the Arab states collaborated with Hitler before and during Second World War, and then proceeded to invade Israel on three occasions between 1948 and 1973, seriously undermines any moral claim to establish a state on the West Bank. Even today, most Arabs still refuse to recognize Israel’s right to exist. Professor Julius Stone, a leading authority on the Law of Nations, has stated that because of the attacks against Israel in 1948, 1967 and 1973, as well as other belligerent acts, Arab states have “flouted their basic obligations as United Nations members.”
There are also historical and moral reasons why the Jewish settlements are legitimate. The West Bank, traditionally known as Judea and Samaria, is historically and religiously Jewish. It is home to several sacred sites and two of Judaism’s holiest cities (east Jerusalem and Hebron). Jerusalem was under Islamic control for centuries, but on no occasion did any Muslim entity declare it as their capital. During the Jordan occupation, not a single foreign Arab leader came to pray in the al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount. In contrast, only the Jews have ever thought of Jerusalem as a capital. Prior to the State of Israel, the only time Jerusalem was the capital of a nation was when it was the first city of Judea.
Moreover, non-Jewish powers cannot be trusted to protect Jews or Jewish sites. Until 1948, Jews had lived in Judea and Samaria for hundreds of years. During the Jordanian occupation, the Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives was desecrated and synagogues destroyed. In addition, Jews were forbidden from praying at their holiest place – the Western Wall.
And let’s not forget that Hebron was ethnically cleansed of Jews by the Palestinian Arabs in 1929. Following the 1967 war, many Jews were eager to commemorate the massacre by returning to Judaism’s second-holiest city, which is also home to the Tomb of the Patriarchs.
An impediment to peace?
The dismantling of Jewish homes and the withdrawal of Israelis from Gaza in 2005 should have led to a cold peace. Instead, the Palestinians elected Hamas, which resulted in an upswing in terrorism.
Between 1948 and 1967, there was not a single settlement in Gaza or the West Bank. But the Arab states refused to make peace with Israel. Nor did the Arab states attempt to establish a Palestinian state on the West Bank and in Gaza between 1948 and 1967. In fact, the Palestinian Arabs themselves barely considered establishing a state for themselves.
In short, a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has never been about the settlements. The obsession with the settlements is the main weapon in the armoury of the anti-Israel brigade. Turning the spotlight on Jewish houses in the West Bank is an effective way of portraying Israel as an occupier. Furthermore, it adds to the consensus that Israel is solely to blame for the stalemate and exonerates the Palestinians of any responsibility.
Of course, it is a reasonable assumption that the settlements will play a part in final negotiations. And if a two-state solution is reached, it must be possible to allow a Jewish minority to remain in a Palestinian state, in the same way that one in five Israelis are Arabs. After all, many of the Jews in the West Bank were born there. The Palestinian call to remove all Jews from the West Bank is racist and illegal.
Jordan is Palestine
Palestine is Jordan
Despite having control of Gaza and parts of the West Bank, the Palestinian Arabs seem unable to govern themselves, preferring instead to demonise Israel. But demonising the enemy is not the same as nation-building. With each passing year, they lose more and more ground (literally) and yet seem incapable – or unwilling – to stop the rot.
The notion of a distinctive Palestinian people has gained a lot of traction since the 1960s. The PLO has readily admitted that Palestinian nationalism is a faux ethnicity designed to juxtapose and undermine Jewish claims to the land of Israel. In an interview with a Dutch newspaper in 1977, PLO executive committee member Zahir Muhsein said: "The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity.” This is why some people refer to the Palestinian Arabs as "Pseudostinians."
It is well documented that many of the Palestinian Arabs who fled in 1947 and 1948 were recent economic migrants to the Holy Land. Even the UN, which is no friend of Israel, has acknowledged that many had only lived in Israel/Palestine for two years prior to Jewish independence.
The Palestinians declared independence in 1988, and in 2011 formally submitted a request to join the United Nations as a full member state. Following the 1993 Oslo accords, the Palestinians were given full control over 55% of the West Bank population and administrative control over a further 41% of the population. Israel disengaged from Gaza in 2005 but still supplies electricity to the enclave and provides massive amounts of aid to the Gazans. The Israeli position is that Gaza is no longer occupied because the Jewish state does not exercise effective control or authority over any land or institutions in the Gaza Strip. However, because of Hamas’ refusal to make peace with the Jewish state and the repeated rocket attacks against Israeli civilians, Israel controls Gaza Strip's airspace and territorial waters. In effect, Gaza is a failed state and should be annexed by Egypt.
The situation in the West Bank – or Judea and Samaria – is more complicated. There has been no sovereign power over the territory since the days of the British mandate. The legal status of the West Bank has been in limbo since the Arabs rejected the 1947 partition plan. In 1948, the Jordanians invaded the territory and dispossessed the Jewish communities and destroyed their holy sites. Jews were forbidden to worship at the Western Wall until Israel’s victory in the 1967 war. Instead of formally annexing the territory in 1967, the Israelis left the final settlement of the land undecided. The West Bank is technically unclaimed land and should be referred to as “disputed” territory and not “occupied” territory. The Balfour Declaration intended for the Jewish people settle what is now Israel, the West Bank and Jordan. The appeasement of the Arabs led to the creation of Transjordan (modern-day Jordan). The land on the west side of the Jordan River was further divided in the hope of creating two states – one for Jews, the other for Arabs.
If the Arabs had accepted the UN partition plan of 1947, the Palestinian Arabs would have had as their homeland the West Bank and parts of current-day Israel. Instead they appealed to Arab armies to invade tiny Israel. And had Yasser Arafat accepted the Camp David agreement of 2000 they would have had nearly the entire West Bank, plus East Jerusalem as their capital. Instead they resorted to terror tactics. Eight years later, the Israelis presented a comprehensive plan to annex the major Israeli settlements and give equivalent Israeli territory to the Palestinians. The Palestinians would have been given 97% of the West Bank and been given East Jerusalem. Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas turned it down. The Palestinians are, in the words of Milton, “with blindness internal struck”.
Instead of agreeing to any of these proposals, the Palestinian leaders have carried out - or sponsored - terror attacks against Israeli civilians. They have repeatedly called for the destruction of the Jewish state and have manipulated Western guilt over the Holocaust by casting themselves as the ‘new Jews’ who deserve sympathy and foreign aid. Palestinian textbooks espouse anti-Semitism and claim that the only ancient inhabitants of Israel were Arabs. Hamas, which rules Gaza, acts as a proxy for Iran and is responsible for rocket attacks in southern Israel.
If this is how the Palestinians behave now, what would they be like if they had all the trappings of a state, including an army and secret service? Many Israelis fear that a Palestinian state on the West Bank would be a launching pad for the destruction of Israel and would serve as a base for terror groups. Israel would no longer have control of the Jordan valley, which serves as a natural defensive border against hostile Arab regimes. Moreover, a Palestinian state would leave Israel with a ‘narrow waist’ of only nine or ten miles, which means the Jewish state could easily be cut in two by Arab armies. The Palestinian leadership has also said it would implement a policy to make the West Bank Judenrein(Jew free).
All this presents a dilemma for Israel and its supporters. On the one hand, we assert the belief that Palestinian rejectionism is to blame for the ongoing crisis. On the other, we understand the dangers of a Palestinian state on the West Bank.
There are three main reasons why the two-state concept should be dropped
1. The Palestinian Authority, operating under the absurd belief that the State of Israel will soon be dismantled, has so far rejected every offer of an independent homeland.
2. A Palestinian state on the West Bank would constitute a very real threat to Israel’s security.
3. The Jewish people have always had a strong emotional, spiritual and physical connection to Judea and Samaria. A Palestinian state would be Judenrein.
So what is the solution?
The claim by the Palestinians to be a nation without a land is a sham. The Palestinian Arabs were given their own state in the early 1920s. The name of that state? Transjordan, i.e. modern-day Jordan.
A quick history lesson
· Until 1917, the Ottoman Empire occupied vast swathes of the Middle East. After losing in World War 1, the Ottomans relinquished their 500-year control to the Allies, who decided to divide the empire into countries. British foreign minister, Lord Balfour, recognised the Jewish people’s historical right to their homeland. In 1917, a small area, about 0.5% of the Middle East, was designated for this purpose. The original plan was for the Jews to settle both sides of the river Jordan.
· The UK received a mandate from the League of Nations to establish a Jewish homeland, but in 1923 the British partitioned the land to appease the Arabs. The east side of the Jordan River became Transjordan.
· The Palestine Liberation Organization has declared Jordan a part of Palestine. When the Palestine National Council met in early 1971, they asserted: "What links Jordan to Palestine is a national bond and a national unity formed, since time immemorial, by history and culture. The establishment of one political entity in Transjordan and another in Palestine is illegal." In 1965, the king of Jordan said, “Palestine has become Jordan, and Jordan Palestine."
· Around 70% of the population in Jordan is Palestinian.
· The Palestinian Arabs living in the West Bank are not ethnically or culturally different from the Palestinian Arabs living in Jordan.
· According to Jordanian writer Mudar Zahran, “despite decades of official imposition of a Bedouin image on the country, and even Bedouin accents on state television, the Palestinian identity is still the most dominant—to the point where the Jordanian capital, Amman, is the largest and most populated, Palestinian city anywhere. Palestinians view it as a symbol of their economic success and ability to excel.”
What is particularly strange about the situation in Jordan is that the Palestinian majority is discriminated against by the ruling Hashemite dynasty, which favours the Bedouin minority. The US and Europe have been silent about this because it does not want the Western friendly Hashemites removed from power. Jordanian writer Mudar Zahran believes it is “historically perplexing” that the West is loath to ask the Hashemites to leave a country “to which they are alien”.
Removing the Hashemites and developing democratic institutions in Jordan would greatly benefit the Palestinian majority. Once the groundwork for democracy is laid down, the Palestinian majority would, by right, have the greatest say in how the country is governed. No longer would be they be discriminated against by the Bedouin minority.
Developing Jordan as the Palestinian state par excellence would allow Israel to unilaterally annex the Judea and Samaria (thereby retaining control of the strategically important Jordan Valley), and give the Palestinian Arabs the option of either swearing an oath of allegiance to the Jewish state or giving them Jordanian citizenship. Those Palestinians that wish to leave the West Bank would be free to move to the original Palestinian state – Jordan.
The ‘Jordan-is-Palestine’ solution to the Israeli-Palestinian crisis is unlikely to happen any time soon. Israel is in a state of inertia regarding Judea and Samaria, and the Hashemites are bound to resist a political solution which involves their removal.
But the two-state solution is obviously dead. Even many Palestinian Arabs have come to the same conclusion. Even if a Palestinian state was established on the West Bank, it would effectively mean they have four states: the West Bank, Jordan, Gaza and Israel, which is home to more than 1.5 million Arabs.
This is plainly unfair to the Israelis who are begrudged even one state. Establishing another Palestinian state on West Bank would leave Israel virtually indefensible. Moreover, a Palestinian state on the west side of the Jordan would result in the ethnic cleansing of the Jews already living there.
The only solution, then, is for Israel, the US and Europe to press for a Palestinian state on the east bank of the Jordan River. The Palestinian myth of a 'right to return' to Eretz Israel needs to be debunked in the process. Refugees would have to accept Jordan as their country. This would ensure (a) Israel’s security, (b) enable the Palestinians to integrate among their fellow Arabs and (c) provide the Palestinians with an economic, political and cultural base.
Western Palestine = Israel
Eastern Palestine = Jordan
State of Judea?
Israel’s defence minister recently revealed that he favours a unilateral withdrawal of Israeli troops from the West Bank. It is unlikely to happen in the near future, but if and when it does happen, what will happen to the Jewish settlements?
A withdrawal of troops would probably result in the forced evacuation of some settlements, especially if they are nowhere near the Green Line.
The Israeli government will be reluctant to leave any settlers in the West Bank if they are not protected by troops. But following the unpleasant Gaza disengagement in 2005, any attempt to dismantle or abandon the settlements is likely to stimulate a wave of violence.
But if the settlers were to remain in the West Bank, how would they fare under a Palestinian government? PA president Mahmoud Abbas has already said that not a single Israeli (i.e. Jew) would be allowed to live in an independent Palestine.
The creation of a Judean state
Another alternative to either Israeli or Palestinian rule in the West Bank is the creation of an independent State of Judea.
In January 1989, several hundred activists announced their intention to create an halachic State of Judea if Israel withdrew. The most prominent activist was Michael Ben-Horin, a member of the New York-based Kach movement, headed by Rabbi Mei Kahane.
Ben-Horin, declared: “We will not allow the heart to be torn from the body of the Land of Israel.” Judea and Samaria, he said, “will always remain Jewish,” before adding: “No Israeli state will ever be permitted to expel Jews from their homes or their land.”
Above: two competing designs for a State of Judea flag
The idea of a Judean state was revived following the unilateral disengagement from Gaza in 2005, which resulted in the forcible withdrawal of Jewish settlers.
And in 2007, Rabbi Shalom Dov Wolpo called on his supporters to make preparations to secede from the State of Israel in the event of Israeli withdrawal. Speaking to the Jerusalem Post, Rabbi Wolpo said: "Why should we wait until soldiers come to people's homes.”
Of course, the threat to create a State of Judea may just be a way of frightening the Israeli government into annexing the West Bank and creating a unified country. But there is evidence that some settlers believe the State of Judea is already a political reality.
In 2011, Israel Today reported that some of the younger settlers do not see themselves as Israeli. An unnamed source told the magazine: "More and more [settlers] understand that they are here despite the Israeli establishment, and they see more and more differences between themselves and the Israelis."
The Palestinians, too, see the creation of a Judean state as a burgeoning reality. Earlier this year, PLO Secretary-General Yasser Abed Rabbo opined that Israel is seeking to create a "settler state" in Judea and Samaria.
He claimed that Israel was continuing to build in settlements "so that it could establish a state for settlers, and not for Palestinians, in the West Bank and Jerusalem."
Is an independent State of Judea viable?
For a start, separating Israel and Judea would enable secular Jews to enjoy life in Israel, while those who want to live according to halachic law would have the option of moving to Judea.
Indeed, the two states would provide very different types of experience. According to a 2008 survey by Ariel University Center, 92.3 per cent of Jewish settlers are satisfied with their lives, compared with 83 per cent in the State of Israel. The standard of living and quality of life was also reported to be better in the settlements.
The survey also revealed that the income of a family living in the settlements is about 10 per cent higher than the national average. At the time of the study, unemployment was less of an issue in Judea than it was in Israel.
On the downside, the crime rate in Judea was 22 per cent higher than in Israel proper. This may be explained by hostilities between Jews and Arabs.
Establishing a viable Jewish state in Judea and Samaria has precedent. Ancient Israel comprised two kingdoms, also called Israel and Judea.
Most religious Jews will agree that Judea is the biblical and spiritual heartland of Eretz Israel. Hebron, home to the Cave of the Patriarchs, is the second holiest Jewish city. It would be a travesty if there was a repeat of the ethnic cleansing that took place in 1929. Rachel’s Tomb on the outskirts of Bethlehem is the third most important Jewish holy site. Jericho, the place of the Israelites' return from slavery in Egypt, is also a crucial location and is home to some historic synagogues.
To give up Hebron, Bethlehem, Jericho and the Jordan Valley would be an absurd act of cultural suicide. If the State of Israel is not prepared to annex the West Bank, then perhaps the settlers should declare independence.
Under Jordanian rule, the Arabs went to great efforts to erase Jewish history. Despite the fact that Jews had lived in Judea and Samaria for centuries, Jordan pursued a Judenrein policy by changing the name of the territory from Judea and Samaria to the “West Bank.” After 1948, Jews were not allowed to pray at the Western Wall. The Jewish graveyard on the Mount of Olives was desecrated and all but one of the thirty five synagogues in the Old City were destroyed.
It is clear that abandoning Judea and Samaria to the Arabs is not an option.
But would a Judean state be able to live alongside an Israeli state? After all, the Hebrew scriptures are full of stories about the love-hate relationship between the two kingdoms. To prevent a repeat of biblical hostilities, some kind of Davidic federation would have to be established to loosely unite the two nations. After all, both Israel and Judea would have the same enemies and would need to cooperate in terms of security. Trade and labour agreements would have to be worked out, too.
There is one major flaw in the concept of a Judean state and that is the Jewish settlers form a minority. There are two million Palestinian Arabs in the West Bank (about 80 per cent of the population). Only half a million Jewish live in the West Bank, nearly half of whom live in East Jerusalem. Although East Jerusalem forms an important of the Judean geography, it is unlikely that the State of Israel would relinquish the East Jerusalem settlements, as this would divide the city.
As things stand, much of the area of the West Bank closest to Jerusalem has already been incorporated into the Jerusalem District and is under Israeli civilian rule. It is excluded from the administrative structure that is the Judea and Samaria Area.
By subtracting East Jerusalem from the equation, there would be a mere 300,000 Jews left to face the wrath of two million Palestinian Arabs. But the numbers could be even worse if Israel withdraws from the West Bank but annexes small amounts of territory around the Green Line. This would dramatically reduce the number of disenfranchised settlers to around 80,000.
Would the State of Israel leave the Judeans and the Palestinians to fight a civil war, or would it provide arms and/or troops to the settlers? Would neighbouring Arab states come to the assistance of the Palestinians? One thing’s for sure, even if the settlers did win a civil war, they would receive no international recognition, possibly not even from Israel itself. And how would 80,00 (or 300,000) Jews rule over two million Palestinians? You would end up with a South African scenario and accusations of apartheid would be substantial.
So, are there other options?
It is possible that PA president Abbas changes his mind and agrees to a single binational state in which Palestinians and Israelis share full political rights. At the very least, settlers might be able stay on the West Bank at the discretion of the Palestinian government but without any citizenship rights.
One possibility that might work is the establishment of “parallel states,” within the West Bank in which Arabs and Jews share the territory but owe their allegiance to separate parliaments. But it is unlikely the Palestinians would agree to a further division of territory.
The truth is, the creation of a Judean or Palestinian state next to Israel is not realistic or feasible. The only credible option is for Israel to annex the West Bank and recognise Jordan as the de facto Palestinian state.
Jordan is Palestine
The main obstacle to solving the Israeli-Arab conflict is the persistent claim that the Palestinians are a nation without a land. The Palestinian Arabs were actually given their own state decades ago. In 1922, Transjordan (Jordan) was carved out of land earmarked for the Jewish state.
Above: division of Eretz Israel in 1922
Israel, the US and the EU must press for the recognition of Jordan as the Palestinian state. After all, Jordan’s population is already 70 per cent Palestinian. Removing the ruling Hashemite dynasty and developing democratic institutions in Jordan would greatly benefit the majority. Once the groundwork for democracy is laid down, the Palestinians would, by right, have the greatest say in how the country is governed. No longer would be they be discriminated against by the Bedouin minority.
Once this has been achieved, Israel can formally annex the West Bank and give the Palestinian Arabs living there the option of either swearing an oath of allegiance to the Jewish state or giving them Jordanian citizenship. Those Palestinians that wish to leave the West Bank would be free to move to Jordan. Those who want to stay in their homes on the West Bank but nevertheless wish to hold Jordanian citizenship should be allowed to do so. Once Israel is in full control of the West Bank, non-Jewish immigration must be halted in order to prevent the return of Arabs who claim refugee status.
Developing democratic institutions in Jordan and uniting the land of Israel under Jerusalem would not only ensure Israel’s security and demographic advantage, it would enable the Palestinians to establish sovereignty in the heart of the Middle East and put an end to this decades-old conflict over the status of the so-called occupied territories.