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May 15, 2014 1:54 pm

Israel’s Bennett Pushes Plan to Exercise Israeli Sovereignty, Devolve More Autonomy to PA in ‘Post-Oslo’ Era (VIDEO)

avatar by Joshua Levitt

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Israeli Economy Minister Naftali Bennett's plan for a new approach in the "post-Oslo" era. Photo: Screenshot.

A screenshot of Israeli Economy Minister Naftali Bennett's video presentation of a plan for a new approach in the "post-Oslo" era. Photo: Screenshot.

Israeli Economy Minister Naftali Bennett on Thursday said he was responding to calls by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for “alternative solutions”  in this “post-Oslo” era, after the collapse of U.S.-brokered peace talks with the Palestinian Authority two weeks ago, by pushing a plan he first unveiled in 2012.

On Facebook, Bennett said that in the absence of a peace agreement, Israel should be pro-active in separating the three areas of the West Bank, known as A, B and C, as described in the Oslo II Accord.

The plan Bennett pushed on Thursday would exercise greater Israeli sovereignty over the regions of Judea and Samaria, as the West Bank is known in Israel, now dubbed Area C, where some 400,000 Jews live in what the international community calls “the settlements,” while devolving full autonomy to the PA to manage Area B, home to 440 small Arab villages.

Area A, which includes the main Arab population centers of Ramallah, Bethlehem, Jericho, Nablus, Jenin, Tulkarem, Qalqilya, and most of Hebron, is already under full PA control.

On Facebook, Bennett said, “Oslo is over, now what? Today it was published that in the light of the end of the Oslo era, Prime Minister Netanyahu is looking for alternative solutions.”

“In the coming days I intend to present to the Prime Minister a practical plan for applying Israeli sovereignty over Area C, home to 400,000 Israelis, with an increased autonomy for the Arabs in the PA area,” Bennett said. “They will manage their lives, and we will manage our own lives. This is the right way.”

Bennett said, “Ministers Gilad Erdan and Yisrael Katz and Speaker Edelstein all recently announced they believe we should apply Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria. Sovereignty will be applied gradually and carefully.”

“After decades of being on the defensive, it is time for Israel to be the one to initiate,” he said. “It is time we do what is good for Israel.”

Bennett posted a video of his presentation online. He titled the plan, ‘A Practical Program for Managing the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.’ He described it as a “stability initiative” and a “partial annexation plan,” with a tagline of “Doing What’s Good for Israel.”

Various plans, developed by Israeli leaders or through international negotiations to reach a peace accord, have proposed land swaps, population transfers and other complexities to make the populations more contiguous. Bennett’s plan focuses on the three sections in their entirety, with the PA controlling Area A and Area B and Israel annexing Area C.

While Area C contains more land than Area B, in terms of total acres, most of it remains uninhabited and undeveloped because its rocky terrain is unfavorable for agriculture. In terms of Israeli security, many of Area C’s “settlements” grew out of its military outposts, established atop hills, versus in valleys, after Israel rebuffed Jordan’s invasion in the 1967 war. Israeli military strategists realized that holding the high country was preferable to the valleys because an invading army would be exposed as it approached, eliminating Israel’s risk for a sneak attack. Area C also includes military forces in the Jordan River Valley, protecting the country from invasion via Jordan.

Bennett’s plan answers the accusation of “occupation” by formally annexing Area C into Israel and devolving full autonomy to the PA to manage Area A and Area B, which contain 97 per cent of their population. Additional highways would be built to connect Area A and Area B that would allow full PA control.

The “loose end” is the 50,000 Arabs living in villages in Area C that would become officially part of Israel. They would be offered full Israeli citizenship, equivalent to the 20% of the Israeli population today who are Arab Muslims and Christians, or from other minority faiths and ethnic groups.

Watch Bennett’s presentation of his plan below.

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  • KENNETH C WILLIAMS

    NICE TRY BENNETT,HERE IS A BETTER ONE.TAKE BACK GAZA&THE WEST BANK!!! THEN WE ARE GOOD 🙂

  • Again with more conceding and enabling. Would it be
    too much to talk to Jordan’s King? Aren’t the
    Palestinians originally auspices of Jordan? He should
    come in and help his brethren.

    • Ron Blower

      (hahahahhohoheeheehaha….)STOP IT, Ms.Soss: At my age, You’ll do me a mischief.

  • Martin Bookspan

    Does Netanyahu have the moral spine and courage to embrace Bennett’s heroic stance and proceed accordingly? We shall see…….

  • Emmett

    Hard to believe Bennett is no more than an opportunist that cares about nobody but himself. He is still part of the same govt that ethnically cleanses Jews from the heartland of Israel. And he remains silent.

  • zeynep

    This plan is sound and refreshingly simple. But the best part of it for me is to see it coming from within the Jewish Israel itself. The problem is ours and should only be dealt with using our mental, emotional and spiritual resources. Bennett sounds authentic and sincere. Israel should replace Netanyahu before its too late. Bennett, judging from his approach to solve the problem of securing the Homeland, looks like he is a viable candidate (although I have to admit that I don’t know much about his positions to other issues related to Israel).

  • Bart A, Charta

    Any post-“peace talks” planning should begin by imposing Jewish sovereignty over the entire Temple Mount area. It seems the Arabs have forgotten who are the “owners” and who are the “tenants at sufferance”. And so, it seems has the Government of Israel.

    Cut the cojones off the Waqf, stop all Arab “development” on the Mount that the Israeli Antiquities Authority has not seen, much less approved, severely limit Arab access to the Temple Mount and swing a few police batons at Arab skulls who foment trouble and worse. It’s time to take back what is ours and let our enemies know their days of “free rein” are over.

    • Padraich

      Well said Bart. Action is needed urgently. And Naftali is the man to do it !

  • Sonia Willats

    Hear, hear. As per Naphtali Bennett, Caroline Glick and informed commentators above. Israel will have to lay out full reasoning i.e. applying sovreignity over the 21% left to the Jews after 79% allocated to the Arabs as Transjordan.
    This partition plan was meant to avoid conflict in the first place.

    There will be an international backlash, to be sure. But it is clearly the right way forward.

  • Gerd Kaluski

    Efram’s idea makes sense. It is time that the Israelis open the entire Temple Mount to all people, including all citizens of Israel. . The way it is now makes no sense at all.. Israel should take over complete responsibility of the Temple Mount. I also agree with Efram’s idea over the future of area C with Israel annexing that Territory. After all the Jewish population vastly outnumbers the Arabs in that territory. Areas A and B has a majority Arab population. One must remember that topography of Area C provides Israel security against surprise attacks from Jordan.

  • SHmuel HaLevi

    Mr. Bennett’s views are far better than the Oslo aggregate’s action plans. Yet. Short of a people’s action to remove the state’s controlling cadres embedded in there for many decades, nothing doing.
    Political echelons: Putrid to the core and infested by self serving renegades, saboteurs, criminals…
    JUDICIAL: The present self selected system must be deep six’d. A freely elected Judiciary must replace the present cesspool.
    MILITARY-POLICE: The Israeli military and paramilitary are on their every day actions, dedicated to attack… Jews. Both the command structures and personnel must be replaced with vetted by a people elected commission.

    More…

    • Bishara Elias

      Mr. Bennett plan is some what one sided and does not take into account any peace with the Palestinias . Since this is Arab land to start with, why not consult the Arabs on this.
      This one sided decisions are not acceptable. It will not bring peace or coexistence with your neighbors.

      • Jake

        Whoa…hold the phone! “Arab land to *start* with”, I think even most Arabs would disagree with that. It was Jewish land looong before Arabs arrived. If anything, Arabs deserve autonomy and perhaps full integration into Israel, no way do they deserve sovereignty on land that does not belong to them.

      • Salomon Mizrahi

        Mr. Elias, I am sure Palestinian-Arabs will never sign any peace agreement with Israel, whatever Israel proposes…
        I recognize that you do not agree and even condemn the construction of houses in the West Bank, nevertheless, under the international rules and treaties this is not illegal, because those lands had no legitimate owners after the crash of the Ottoman Empire…
        Public Ottoman lands in the West Bank are disputted lands…

  • Alison Isadora Frutkin

    Naftali Rocks. I put my money and my life on him. First bureaucrat I trust. He’s well beyond words and “blah blah blah” political correctness. We need a warrior for our Land. The land of Hashem. Naftali is that warrior in our age. Make it happen Big Guy! Kol HaKavod. Yasher Koach!

  • The obsolete Oslo II Accord should be replaced with a modified Bennett Plan. Israel should unilaterally annex Area C. Areas A and B should gradually revert to Israeli sovereignty due to ongoing terrorist activities and incitement against Israel. And the AIW (Apartheid Islamic Waqf) should be replaced with Israeli security forces, who would ensure stability and equal access to the Temple Mount, and all holy sites.

  • zvi gross

    Israeli leadership of all stripes, petrified of their own shadow, no guts to defend Jewish rights and history-look at who is controlling and owning the temple mount!!!Not the rightful owners-the Jewish people but a Muslim riffraff!!!Shame!!!!

  • Efram

    The plan looks good to me. The Palestinians can accept citizenship, or move to areas A or B. Any cooperation between Israel and areas A&B will be predicated on peaceful relations, and this includes any payments to the PA.

    What needs to come first, is settling the abominable situation at The Temple Mount. Israel needs to either work out a deal with the overseers, or assert full sovereignty. One way or another, the limits to Jewish access to the site, as well as restrictions on their actions, such as prayer, need to be ended for good and all. Israeli police need to protect Jews there, not persecute them.

  • Jake

    Its a good plan, but missing one crucial point. If such a plan is implemented, it must be accompanied by an official statement explaining that Israel is willing to annex the entire West Bank, including Area A & B, but the PA doesn’t want that and Israel isn’t willing to start a war as a means to that end. Of course Israel doesn’t want to actually do it, but making the offer (sure to be rejected by the PLO) will shift the blame back to the PA, where it belongs.

    • Herb Grossman

      It would be foolish for Israel to offer to annex Areas A and B because the Arabs might jump at that offer for a one-state solution in which they would constitute about half of the population and make life untenable for the Jews. Bennett’s plan is the best possible for Israel’s security and demographics, and Israel should adopt it in conjunction with officially adopting the reasoning of the Levy Commission report, which documents Israel’s legal right to the land, and which has been sitting on Netanyahu’s desk, ignored by him.

      • Jake

        Incorrect. If Israel annexes the entire West Bank there will still be a 2:1 Jewish majority. Its not ideal, but its not an existential threat either, especially if Israel enacts electoral reforms that would require parties to win 51% of the vote in order to lead the country. Gaza, of course, would never be annexed. Egypt should annex Gaza in any peace agreement.

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