Former Yesha Council Director Naftali Bennett has presented a new initiative meant to conquer the prolonged stalemate plaguing the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
Bennett explained Thursday that he met with dozens of military, political and defense experts prior to formulating what has been dubbed the "mollification plan," adding that it is meant to serve as a "band-aid" of sorts – a way for Israel to maintain peace and order in the West Bank, while it both deals with international pressure and protect its "critical principles."
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The first thing the plan aims to tackle is Israeli sovereignty. The Oslo Accords divided the West Bank into three areas of control: Area A, under full Palestinian control; Area B, under joint Israeli-Palestinian security control and Area C – under full Israeli security control.
Bennett suggests imposing full Israeli sovereignty over Area C, which constitutes 62% of the territory, unilaterally.
"Israel should take an independent initiative and cement its vital interest – securing Jerusalem and the greater Tel Aviv area, as well as sovereignty over Israeli heritage sites," he explained.
Redistribution? (Photo: Lowshot)
Bennett was not oblivious to the status quo upset that may follow such a move: "The world will not recognize our sovereignty there anymore than it recognizes it when it comes to the Western Wall and the Golan Heights… never mind – they will get used to it."
Next, he addressed the full naturalization of some 50,000 Palestinians who reside in the area that would be annexed.
"This will pull the rug from under any 'apartheid' argument," he said. "There are 350,000 Israelis living in Area C and only 50,000 Arabs. They will become full-fledged Israeli citizen and according to this plan no one – neither a Jew nor an Arab – would be driven out of his home."
The plan also covers transportation routes' continuity, which he admits will require "a one-time investment of hundreds of millions of dollars."
Bennett, however, is vehemently against the right of return, despite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's consent, in principle, to allow refugees to return to the future Palestinian state.
Bennett's plan further states that annulling the right of return is pivotal to the plan's success, as well as for the creation of a "security umbrella" across the entire West Bank.
The IDF must maintain full control over the West Bank, he said, adding that "if the IDF pulls out, Hamas will come in. That's what happened in Gaza and that's what happened with Hezbollah in southern Lebanon."
The plan also suggests cementing a full disconnect between Gaza Strip and the West Bank, "So as to prevent Gaza's problems from trickling into the quiet Judea and Samaria."
He further suggested that Egypt gradually annex the Strip: "We mustn’t assume responsibility for Gaza. We forcibly evicted 8,000 Israelis from their homes in Gush Katif, we pull out – to the very last inch, and all we got in return was a Hamas state. It's time for Egypt to shoulder the burden."
Bennett said that politicians and defense officials who reviewed the plan had high praise for it. "Now we just have to see what parts of it will be realized."
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