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Settler MK Uri Ariel calls for one state

Knesset member joins other rightwing leaders in call for annexing West Bank, one state solution.

One of the well known figures in the settler movement, Knesset Member Uri Ariel from the radical rightwing National Union Party, is publicly calling for a one-state solution as an alternative to the construction of a Palestinian state, the independent news site Srugim reported.

Ariel is calling on Israel to annex the West Bank immediately and give all Palestinians living there the status of residents in Israel, similar to those of Palestinians in East Jerusalem, which was annexed to Israel in 1967. According to the plan, Gaza will not be made part of Israel.

Residents have access to social security, health insurance and they can vote in municipal elections. They don’t have the right to vote in national elections or be elected to the Knesset, and they cannot purchase homes on state land. All residents will be able to become Israeli citizens after five years, subject to a test in Hebrew and a loyalty oath.

As part of this move, Ariel would like to introduce a regional election system instead of the direct national elections which are held in Israel now.

According to the report in Srugim, a news site with a national-religious line, Ariel presented his ideas at a panel on “alternatives to Palestinian State” held in Jerusalem last week.

Ariel’s ideas are in line with similar thoughts expressed by rightwing hawks recently, among them Moshe Arens, Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, former chief of staff for PM Netanyahu Uri Elizur and Likud MK Tzipi Hotovely. All of them spoke on record in favor of a one-state solution in a feature piece I did for Haaretz a couple of years ago.


From a progressive perspective, it’s easy to point out the holes in the Right’s idea of a single-state solution. First and foremost, the right-wing politicians speak of a Jewish state, which will keep the (Jewish) law of return and reject the (Palestinian) right of return. They all include the West Bank and leave Gaza out of the plan, and none of them show any inclination to introduce a truly multi-cultural system, even in the level of language and state symbols. These are all non-starters for Palestinians. But let’s be honest – the “solution” or “concessions” adopted right now by the Israeli consensus and by Israel’s leaders are even further away from what Palestinians would want to have.

Statement by Ariel:

It is important that those Arabs of Judea and Samaria that join the State of Israel will enjoy proper services. Proper education, welfare, infrastructure and employment…

If we look past the labels of left and right, what represents a more democratic and just approach – the statement above or the language of separation? This is a debate worth having now.

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    1. Jazzy

      This sounds like Bibi’s “economic peace.” Really, what’s the difference?

      Reply to Comment
    2. aristeides

      The real issue is – “they cannot purchase homes on state land” Which is, of course, really Palestinian land, all left in the hands of the settlers. Cute.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Jazzy

      Want to have a debate now? Here’s my opinion: Ariel’s proposal is exactly the kind of apartheid state that BDS opposes, but, strategically, Noam Sheizaf thinks its a good strategy to splice and dice this proposal to look good, because any progress Israel makes towards annexing the West Bank makes it easier for BDS to argue that the two-state solution ‘is dead’. That is, Noam is trying to be clever but he’s not actually being that clever. Since Israelis and American Jews are capable of seeing more than 1 week into the future, they’re not going take the bait. Taking the one not-pro-apartheid quote out of context (highlighted in pretty blue!), doesn’t do much to rehabilitate this stillborn idea.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Piotr Berman

      “exactly the kind of apartheid”

      Let us face it, Jazzy: Ariel is in the Knesset, and neither you or Noam are. Apartheid is very, very popular in Israel and honest 2-staters are hated traitors.

      Dishonest 2-staters want to negotiate forever to avoid “apartheid” label. This way one can benefit from apartheid and avoid bad consequences.

      Ariel is perhaps on the fringe, but one cannot dismiss Danny Dannon or Reuben Rivlin as easily. And national consensus on settlements (one inch back every few years or so, one mile forward every week). Of course, what “proper services” mean we see in Jerusalem. Proper standard for Palestinians is in favelas of Rio de Janeiro. For Herrenvolk, a bit better.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Richard Witty

      In a civil single state, the whole of the West Bank would be Judaized, legally.

      In any democratic state worth its name, land is titled, and with the provision of equal rights, the sale of land would necessarily be color blind, money talks.

      There will be a strong Arab world money impact on a single state as well, buying land, increasing prices, pushing people off the land.

      The two-state approach optimizes the ability of the Palestinian community to keep it traditional, rather than transform commercially.

      Reply to Comment
    6. directrob

      @richard, are you threatening the Palestinians with a single state? A state with equal rights for all?

      Reply to Comment
    7. Kolumn9

      Very cute.

      The basic idea is that the Palestinians are not going to accept Israeli citizenship if it requires a Hebrew test and a loyalty oath. As such they would be relegated to a permanent unrepresented underclass. This is not a sustainable situation, even if just taking into account the likely actions of future left-wing Israeli governments 20 years down the line that would remove the conditions on citizenship.

      This is a stupid plan and leaves Israel fundamentally worse off than the status quo, a unilateral disengagement, a peace treaty or the recognition of a Palestinian state within areas A&B.

      In other words, this is probably the worst possible outcome for Israel. Uri Ariel seemingly has no foresight.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Wayne Burke

      One Shekel One Vote!

      Have businesses run the country as a corporation with a cap of 3% of voting power for any individual business, based on domestic output.

      Israel would be Jewish forever, and Arabs prosperous.

      Reply to Comment
    9. Piotr Berman


      output is a dubious measure, perhaps each citizen could get say, 10,000 NIS worth of voting power which could be augmented with special “poll tax”.

      “Poll tax” would be applicable to each office separately, say for mayor, municipal council, Knesset and a special office called “King of Israel”. You could become a King for 5 years by winning a simple majority of votes. Imagine Sheldon Adelson voting billion shekels for himself only to loose to someone who voted billion plus 1! Of course, one would need to work out details. Perhaps the winner cannot take the office until his/her “boosted votes” clear. Should borrowing be allowed? Could Saudis or Iranians back their favorites? I guess it would be in the interest of Israeli taxpayers to have as many votes subsidized by foreigners as possible.

      Some details would need to be worked out. I would advise the poker rule, that each voter who did not decline yet has the right to increase his/her vote. Imagine citizens casting 50 billions of ordinary votes, American boosted candidate with another 50 billion, Hamas candidate with Gulf boost of 55 billion, Balad candidate tops with 60 billion payable by Bank of Beijing (she is rumored to benefit from deposits from Iran, Google adds 15 billion to American candidate, Hamas drops, Balad matches with the help of Baidu and add a billion …

      This could have higher rating than World Series.

      Reply to Comment
    10. Richard Witty

      I’m stating the obvious, that if land sales are legally color-blind, that money will determine who owns land.

      Jewish Israelis will consider historically significant and strategically significant land desirable.

      The choice to pursue a single state, will not end up with a Palestinian ownership of most of the land.

      It depends on what is desired. If self-governance and contiguous Palestinian cultural presence, then the two-state approach is the only feasible one.

      The single state is also the end of the Palestinian coherent culture on the land, as well as the end of Israel, and that could end up temporary.

      An actual Palestinian state comprises some permanence to Palestinian presence and culture. A single state removes it.

      Reply to Comment
    11. Richard Witty

      The alternative to the Jewish and/or commercial dominance prospect, if a single state is still desired, is the path of persuasion.

      If a significant minority of both communities prefer an integrated single state, and a significant super-majority consent to it, then that is chosen and the social weight of election and commerce will support a new cultural entity, a new Zion.

      Reply to Comment
    12. Aaron the Fascist Troll

      For once I agree with Richard Witty. A single state, whether the right’s version or the left’s, means the Judaization of Judea and Samaria.
      I half-seriously suggested the thesis of this article in a comment to one of the author’s other posts on the subject. I asked, “Since Jews, like Arabs, will have the right to live anywhere they desire [in the egalitarian single state] west of the Jordan River, what’s wrong with laying down those foundations now, provided it doesn’t involve the theft of private property, driving out existing residents, etc.?” One of the commenters rightly criticized me for being too cute by half.
      Of course, I didn’t seriously endorse that idea. Noam asks now, “If we look past the labels of left and right, what represents a more democratic and just approach – the statement above [by Ariel] or the language of separation?” Answer: the language of separation. Without a doubt.

      Reply to Comment
    13. aristeides

      The kicker is “egalitarian.” And not “involving the theft of private property, driving out existing residents, etc.” Because that’s what Judaization is all about. Not the right of Jews to live in the “Land of Israel” but the right of Jews to drive out the Palestinians and take their land. It’s all about living in a house you don’t have to pay for because you took it from someone else. Only a freier pays for a house.

      Reply to Comment
    14. Aaron the Fascist Troll

      Aristeides, by “Judaization,” I meant Jews moving into an area and thereby changing its character. That happens all the time, usually without any land theft and without forcibly driving out previous residents. Look at how certain parts of New York City were Judaized a century ago. Manhattan and other areas were Judaized legally and legitimately.
      The same would happen to many parts of Judea and Samaria if Jews were allowed to live anywhere they legitimately purchased property and if owners were allowed to sell to Jews. And if the kind of civil rights laws that +972 likes were enforced, the kind that would forbid Arab property owners from discriminating against Jewish buyers, then Judaization would go all that much more intensely. Think about it: it would be illegal for an Arab in Hebron to discriminate against a Jew who wanted to buy his property. The Judaization of Judea and Samaria would not be pleasant, any more than it was in Manhattan, but in a single, civil rights-respecting state, any effective resistance to it would be illegal.

      Reply to Comment
    15. directrob

      The European court of human rights can give binding rulings. Not much more is needed than giving Israeli and refugees the right to bring their cases to the ECHR and to force the IDF and Police to proportionally enlist “”Arabs”” for all ranks and functions. The ECHR will quickly repair all laws in conflict with human rights and international law.

      Reply to Comment
    16. aristeides

      Aaron – my use of “Judaization” was different, but your argument is sound. Of course the law would also have to forbid refusal to sell to Arabs anywhere in Israel. That would fuel another profound change, as the Palestinians who sold would have to move somewhere else.

      Reply to Comment
    17. aristeides

      Directrob – “force the IDF”? How? If there’s one thing we see today, it’s the sheer impossibility of forcing an armed and recalcitrant regime to do anything it doesn’t want to. We can destroy, but forcing is harder.

      If we could force the IDF to enlist Arabs, we could force the settlers out of the WB.

      Reply to Comment
    18. directrob

      Aristeides, I was already afraid that I missed something… I did get that for justice and the rule of law to have a chance the IDF needs to reform and the high court needs to be neutralized.

      Reply to Comment
    19. The issue will be, not to put a gloss on this, but to be prepared to show it up and fight whatever it throws up. Which is much what people are doing in the present, confusing and complicated hybrid situation. The power relationship will hardly change, nor the strategic goal of Zionism to have its cake and eat it. But the shape of the struggle could change dramatically. With the fig-leaf of the border, and the “peace process” gone, it will be possible to unite the opposition across the whole land and end some of the fragmentation of the Palestinians. The road-block of two states talk will finally be removed. The demands will change to much more hard-hitting and universal ones of equal franchise and equal law, civil rights, basic freedoms, and that will be much more appealing, especially abroad.

      As for the loyalty oath, that’s simple: no equality, no loyalty.

      It isn’t a case of allying with the annexers or jumping into bed with them, but of being prepared to adopt new tactics and new demands which have not been possible yet, and of gathering new allies especially among young Israelis, who proved last summer that as long as Palestinian issues are seen as being “abroad” they can be sidelined.

      Annexation will be a paradigm shift and game-changer. It will not be up to us whether it happens or not, so there’s really no point in arguing about it. Those committed to freedom and equality need to re-arm and prepare for a new situation.

      Reply to Comment
    20. Jazzy

      DIRECTROB: Before you place all your eggs in the ECHR basket, maybe actually take a look on admissible cases that deal with say, Kurds in Turkey. Sorry but I think you’ve been saying ‘human rights’ and ‘international law’ so much that you’ve lost track of, or never knew, the content of those things.

      Reply to Comment
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