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Naftali Bennett's Messianic Plan

By Shaul Arieli, Haaretz

via Haaretz (click here for the original article)
Col. (res.) Shaul Arieli is a Geneva Initiative signator and steering committee member. He is an expert on borders and security and was the former head of the Interim Administration under Rabin and Barak governments.

Recent surveys indicate a strengthening of the right-wing and the migration of votes from Likud to the Jewish Home party. This indicates that there are voters between the "national camp" who think that the political policies of Netanyahu are not detached enough from the regional and global reality, and that instead choose a messianic aggressive program such as Bennett’s .

Bennett argues that the plan gives Israel three advantages. Really?

The first advantage, says Bennett, is granting citizenship to 50 thousand Palestinians in Area C, which will legitimize Israel’s international position since it will be reinforced by neutralizing the argument of 'apartheid'. It seems that the global response to acute and sweeping advanced planning for construction in the settlements, in response to the international recognition of Palestine as an observer-state, will somehow disappear. Moreover, Bennett’s claims that the world does not need to recognize Israel’s sovereignty , but “rather the world will get used to it after sometime, " could quite easily perpetuate Israeli position as a " leper " on the international stage.

The second advantage, according to the chairman of the Jewish Home, the annexation will create " a stable reality - lasting decades ahead." How do we reconcile this claim with facts on the ground - not clear. Areas A and B extend no less than 43 Palestinians blocks and 121 Palestinian separated villages. Where will the Palestinians build homes for their children and develop their economy for "decades" and how it will be possible to prevent the Palestinians from moving outside the built-up area of ​​villages in Area B and process their lands in Area C, which was annexed to Israel in the name of calm? If Bennett wants to prevent this by building a fence around them, then this is approximately 1,800 miles, three times the security fence that is current built, which cost so far 11 billion, and if he intends to include soldiers and policemen, then we are talking about a massive recruitment.

The third advantage, and the “strongest” advantage of his plan, says Bennett, “is its practicality”. He offers “full autonomy with transportation contiguity areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority - a one-time investment of hundreds of millions of dollars.” So the banustans, (nickname for territory set aside for black inhabitants under the apartheid regime in South Africa) which the Palestinians will enjoy proportional contiguity within, will force Israel to build 150 bridges/ tunnels, so they do not interfere with the continuity of Israel. We have to put hundreds of checkpoints and roadblocks that have been surrounding the West Bank up until now. And all will be done with billions of dollars in construction and maintenance, for an estimated seven-digit amount.

Moreover, Bennett's reference to the Gaza Strip, which remains generally outside his plan, he claims will eventually "attach itself gradually to Egypt ...", as he puts it, which indicates complete blindness. More than the Gaza Strip will be annexed; this is dragging Egypt and the Arab world to support Hamas and worsening relations with Israel. The ignoring of Gaza makes Hamas necessarily representative of the Palestinian people and refugees, which from them Bennett asks to avoid returning to that "autonomy" in the West Bank.

This messianic program is based entirely on the concept that "a people apart", and that the right of Israel to the whole Land of Israel outweighs any other right. Not only is this approach not feasible in practice, but it will require the most resources of the State of Israel for the settlements.