Two Knesset members are set to formally propose the annexation of Jewish blocs in Judea and Samaria today (Monday) in the Israeli parliament.
The bills will reportedly be submitted Monday by Likud MK Yariv Levin and Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) MK Orit Strook.
Bayit Yehudi party chairman Naftali Bennett has already gone on record saying he supports annexation of Jewish blocs in Judea and Samaria. He said in a statement last Friday, “We are pushing to apply Israeli law unilaterally over Gush Etzion, Ariel, the Jordan Valley, Ma’aleh Adumim, Ofra, Alfei Menashe, the Ben Gurion envelope, Samaria, Judea and the rest of the Jewish settlement enterprise. It is time to do what is best for Israel.”
Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz meanwhile said that he plans to present a bill to expand the Jerusalem municipal boundaries to include surrounding Jewish suburbs in “Area C” under the Oslo Accords.
Specifically, Katz wants to absorb the communities into a “greater metro Jerusalem” region similar to the Los Angeles or New York city models. Under the Katz bill, the city of Jerusalem would grow to include the Gush Etzion bloc and Beitar Illit to the south, and Givat Ze’ev and Ma’aleh Adumim to the northeast. The move would add more than 150,000 residents to the capital’s growing population.
Last Thursday, Justice Minister and former Israeli chief negotiator Tzipi Livni, head of the Hatnua party, slammed Bennett’s unilateral annexation plan. She threatened to leave the coalition over it, claiming it would lead to “the end of Zionism.”
But there is a growing movement to support the idea and it may finally outshout her.
The united capital itself has never been recognized by international leaders — though the millions of tourists who come to Israel each year to visit the holy city don’t seem to be bothered much by that. More than 60 percent of those who visit the country, in fact, are Christians, according to the latest statistics, underlining the freedom of worship guaranteed to all faiths since Israel reunited the city after the 1967 Six Day War.
But since the Jewish State is anyway roundly condemned for what it does — despite the defense of its citizens or benefit to visitors — it appears Israeli lawmakers have realized annexation is not optional and the sooner to get it over with, the better.
In fact, the idea gained a great deal of traction after the collapse of talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority last month – and the PA’s instant embrace of the Hamas terror organization. Although Hamas has ruled Gaza with an iron grip since 2007, the Iranian-backed group has also long since slowly infiltrated the PA-controlled areas of Judea and Samaria. Hamas is now set to present a strong challenge to Ramallah-based PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in his Samaria capital come the next election — and PA Arabs may soon find themselves ruled by Hamas regardless of where they live, with a side order of the Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad terrorists helping out for good measure.
The current situation presents a deep and pervasive security threat to Israeli citizens throughout Judea and Samaria in their current situation, without the protection of a national status. It also presents a dangerous threat to Israeli citizens living within the 1949 Armistice Line, the area of Israel that existed prior to the 1967 Six Day War, many of whom travel daily on roads in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria to reach work places.
The Arab population in Area C — which probably has also been infiltrated — totals approximately 300,000 residents, including 74,000 in Jerusalem – some of whom also carry blue Israeli identity cards. That population has the right to vote in two elections; those of Israel and the Palestinian Authority. United Nations officials estimate that some 67,000 Arabs also live in the Area C section of the Hevron area as well.
About the Author: Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.
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