New plan advocates land swap between Israel, PA
According to Kadima MK’s ‘Hong Kong’ initiative, three Arab Israeli villages in triangle area will be transferred to Palestinian control, Israel will annex largest settlement blocks; ‘plan aimed at maintaining existence of strong Jewish majority within Israel's final borders, he says’
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert might have shelved his realignment plan, but one of the plan's initiators has different ideas.
Kadima MK Otinel Schneller's new realignment plan advocates a land swap between Israel and the Palestinian Authority whereby the three Arab Israeli villages in the triangle area will be transferred to Palestinian control in return for the annexation of the three largest settlement blocks of Ariel, Gush Etzion and Modi'in.
Under the new plan the Arab citizens of the three villages will be able to keep their Israeli nationality but will become part of a future Palestinian state.
These citizens will require special permits to work in Israel and will not be able to relocate to other parts of the country.
The plan, which has been named Hong Kong as it was inspired by Britain's gradual transferal of Hong Kong to China, will take up 30 years to implement.
Schneller said he was opposed to revoking the citizenship of the Arab Israeli citizens whose towns will be transferred to the Palestinian Authority. Under his plan they will be carry on benefiting from the health and national insurance services.
In addition, the government will funnel funds to boost the local economy.
'Some Arab leaders welcomed the plan'
Schneller says the aim of his plan is to maintain the existence of a strong Jewish majority within Israel's final borders.
"I want a true demographic line. If for 20 years we give the triangle area economic incentives, the Arabs will have the motivation to become economic and national leaders of the Palestinian people," he told Ynet.
"Many Palestinian organizations have said that the Arab Israelis prefer not to be citizens of the Jewish State. I am not suggesting we do this process speedily but in slow and organized manner," he added.
"As a result, Arab Israelis in these areas will have the motivation to develop. Such a process will lead to a severance of relations out of will and not out of a struggle or anger.
"Every newborn will get a special ID and then will have a Palestinian ID. It has to be clear: We will not ask them to move. We will only move the border,” the Kadima MK said.
Schneller said he co-opted his plan from Britain, which allowed Hong Kong residents to keep their British nationality during the transferal of the territory to China but forbade them to move to or work in England.
"We need to tell the Palestinian Israelis that they are Palestinians, and the triangle and Wadi Ara will become prosperous, as Hong Kong became the economic center of China because it received economic incentives," he said.
He said that Israel should make sure that the plan was not imposed on the Arab populace otherwise it will fail.
Some Arab leaders have welcomed the plan in private talks, Schneller said, adding that he has not discussed the plan with Olmert.