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The idea of Israel annexing the West Bank was tentatively endorsed by Israeli President Reuven Rivlin who insisted that if this occurred, Palestinians living in the West Bank must be given Israeli citizenship. US President Donald Trump signaled that he is willing to accept a one-state solution, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s lack of response to Trump indicates that he is not opposed to it either.

Based on the Jewish Virtual Library, in Israel, as of January 2017, “The Jewish population makes up 6,450,000 (74.8%); 1,796,000 (20.8%) are Arabs; and, those identified as ‘others’ (non-Arab Christians, Baha’i, etc) make up 4.4% of the population (384,000 people)”. Based on the Jerusalem Post, “Current estimates of the West Bank population, according to Israeli, Palestinian and US numbers, put the number of Palestinians at anywhere between 2.7 and 2.9 million.”

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If Israel annexes the West Bank, the Jewish majority in Israel would be reduced immediately from 75% to between 56% and 57%, and the Arab minority in Israel would double from 21% to between 40% and 41%.

While Jews would retain a clear majority immediately after annexation, the Arabs’ influence on government would increase dramatically. Arab parties have been kept out of every governing coalition in Israel’s history, but the continuation of that practice would be almost impossible when Arabs represent 40% to 41% of the population. It would require that all Jewish parties, from left to right, always agree to work together after every election; sooner or later, that Jewish-only coalition would break up.

As Arab parties negotiate to be included in governing coalitions, some of their priorities would become government policy. Arab policies that are outright anti-Zionist would be rejected at first, but other priorities would have to be accepted.

One of the first priorities to be demanded by Arab parties is likely to be the immigration into Israel of relatives of Israeli Arab citizens, including some Palestinian refugees residing in Arab countries and some Palestinians residing in Gaza. This would have the effect of further increasing the size of the Arab minority, which would lead to even more Arab clout in the government.

Other Arab demands would have to be met, including immigration of more Palestinian refugees into Israel and the annexation of Gaza. Eventually, Arab parties would be able to govern with little or no Jewish representation. As Arabs control the Israeli government, they would eliminate laws that discriminate against them, including the unlimited Jewish right of return, perhaps even replacing it with an unlimited Palestinian “right of return”.

There is not much that is uncertain in this common-sense scenario resulting from annexation of the West bank, other than how long it would take to unravel. The end result is that Israel, which would likely be renamed Palestine, would no longer be a Jewish state by any definition of the term.

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Fred Maroun is a Canadian of Arab origin who lived in Lebanon until 1984, including during 10 years of civil war. Fred supports Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state, and he supports a liberal and democratic Middle East where all religions and nationalities, including Palestinians, can co-exist in peace with each other and with Israel, and where human rights are respected.
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