Bennett calls for a ‘Marshall Plan’ for Judea and Samaria, including a ‘free tourism zone’ between Israel and Palestinian Authority.Speaking at a strategic affairs conference on Tuesday, Education Minister Naftali Bennett presented his vision for the future of Judea and Samaria, advocating partial annexation of the area, along with expanded autonomy for the Palestinian Authority and massive investment over the Green Line.
Bennett addressed a gathering organized by the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), an independent think tank at Tel Aviv University, slamming the two-state solution while presenting details for an alternative arrangement.
?”?First point,” said Bennett, “a Palestine exists,” referring to the Hamas regime in Gaza.
“?Granted, it’s a terror state. It terrorizes its own population and attacks Israeli schools and hospitals using rockets and attack tunnels.”
“?This leads to the second point: Apply Israeli law in Area C, the Israeli controlled areas.”
“We will not annex the land, because one can only annex something foreign. ?This is the Land of Israel, to which Jews have been connected for thousands of years. ?It is where 450,000 Israelis live.”
Area C, which is under full Israeli control, constitutes roughly 60% of Judea and Samaria. All Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria are located in Area C, while only 4-5% of Palestinian Arabs live there. The remaining 95% live in Area A, under autonomous Palestinian Authority control and in Area B, also under PA control except for security because of its geographic proximity to Israeli communities. The three areas were designated in the Oslo Accords.?
?”There are also some 80,000 Arabs living in Area C. They’ll be offered Israeli citizenship or residency; it’ll be up to them.”?
In addition to annexing most of Judea and Samaria, Bennett reiterated his support for expanded autonomy for the Palestinian Authority in those areas not annexed by Israel.
?”My third point: Autonomy on steroids in Areas A and B, the Palestinian controlled areas. ?The rest of Judea and Samaria, will be a Palestinian Autonomy. ?The PA will change: from Palestinian Authority, to Palestinian Autonomy. ?It will be less than a state.”
?”A state manages its taxes, postal service and hospitals. It holds elections, has a flag and provides education. ?The Palestinian Autonomy will do this, and more, but it will not be a state.?
“There are two things it won’t do: ?Firstly, it will not allow millions of descendants of Palestinian immigrants to enter. ?They would end up marching towards Haifa and Tel Aviv. Second, the PA will never have an army.
”?So the Palestinians will not have a state, but they will have a strong autonomy.”
Beyond strengthening the Palestinian Authority, Bennett advocated what he dubbed a “Marshall Plan for Judea and Samaria” referring to the successful United States post WWII plan, named for then US Secretary of State George Marshall, for rebuilding Western Europe’s economy.
“?Developing Judea and Samaria will improve the lives of everyone living there. It will reduce violence and build co-existence,” Bennett said, calling to “drastically increase the amount of entry points from the P.A. to Israel, and the number of work permits for Palestinians.”
Bennett also called for major infrastructure upgrades in the area, including the revamping of Route 60, the primary north-south road in Judea and Samaria. He also advocated creating a “free tourism zone” which would permit travel from Judea and Samaria into pre-1967 Israel without security checkpoints.
“?Turn Route 60 into an actual highway. ?Build a Palestinian land port in Jenin. ?Establish a free tourism zone. ?Imagine Christian pilgrims traveling from Nazareth to Nablus. From there they would go to Jerusalem and Bethlehem – without stopping at checkpoints. ?Imagine the jobs a revamped tourism industry would create. ?These actions and others would give everyone a better life.”