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November 1, 2018 12:31 am

Will Donald Trump’s Mideast Plan Lead to ‘Peace and Prosperity’?

avatar by Michael L. Wise

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US President Donald Trump with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem, May 23, 2017. Photo: Shealah Craighead/White House.

The Trump administration is searching for the “deal of the century” to secure “peace and prosperity” for Jews and Arabs in Israel, the Palestinian territories, and Judea and Samaria (the “West Bank”).

But the two-state solution is not the answer. For those who believe that it is, their conclusions are based on false demographic information and unfounded forecasts. The creation of a Palestinian state in Israel’s backyard would lead to the opposite of peace: a terrorist, jihadist, Gaza-like state supported by Israel’s enemies that would undermine peace on both sides of the Green Line.

Today, Israel and the West Bank are 67 percent Jewish, and less than 30 percent Arab. And Jewish fertility rates exceed those of non-Jews. Thus, the demographic predictions about Israel’s demise if there isn’t a two-state solution don’t appear to be accurate.

Political scientists and sociologists claim that a 20 percent to 33 percent minority changes the character of a state. These “scientific” conclusions, however, are based on non-Jewish societies. Can these theories explain Jewish survival in the 2,000-year Diaspora? That survival is a remarkable exception. For 2,500 years, Jewish minorities of one to five percent survived and prospered. Now imagine a 67 percent Jewish country, with a strong Jewish presence in all arenas from arts and sciences to politics, religion, medicine, and law. Will that society lose its Jewish character?

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Furthermore, concerns about a large minority community are not well conceived. Events surrounding the “Arab Spring” have made it clear to Arabs living in Israel and the West Bank that a blue Israel identity card is a treasured asset. Few Israeli Arabs seek refuge under the Palestinian Authority, or have fled to Gaza or Syria. The Arab population of the West Bank will applaud the opportunity to further participate in Israeli society, and become part of a thriving and just country.

Israel’s Declaration of Independence guarantees the rights of minorities. But those minorities must also uphold the law of the land — and reject violence. Palestinian Arabs have been told by their leaders for more than 25 years that there will be an Arab state in Israel’s backyard. That is a guaranteed formula to encourage Arab hostility. Once that proposition is laid to rest, the benefits of becoming part of Israel’s success will be clear for the vast majority of the Arab population.

And how should Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria be implemented? Different paths to this have been proposed, including immediate or phased annexation. Israel’s new residents might become permanent residents, or possibly receive renewed Jordanian citizenship.

The Trump administration knows that many Palestinians — including many in the Palestinian Authority — seek the ultimate destruction of the Jewish state, not peace and prosperity. Until their attitude changes, declaring sovereignty in Judea and Samaria can be the “deal of the century” that leads to peace.

Dr. Michael L. Wise, a physicist, is a founding member of the American Israel Demographic Research Group.

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