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To Be a Jewish State, Israel Must Withdraw From Palestinian Areas

The argument is frequently made that if Israel wants to be a Jewish state, she will have to withdraw from areas of Palestinian Arab population.  Otherwise, the demographics are such that the Palestinian Arab population will come to outnumber the Jewish population.

There are, however, significant flaws in this reasoning.

First, the demographic figures that have been used are off!  A new study, reported at the prestigious Herzliyah Conference, January 2006, makes this clear.  The number of Palestinian Arabs who will be in Judea-Samaria in coming decades has been grossly overestimated.  According to this study, the Jewish population in Judea-Samaria would increase to 71% from its current 67% by 2025.  Information about the study can be found at

Additionally, the Arab population presents a threat to the Jewish nature of the State of Israel only if the Arabs are all voting citizens.  Those who stayed in Israel in 1948, and their descendants, are citizens. There are , however, ways to accord the Palestinian Arab population of Judea-Samaria dignity and respect without according them full citizenship.  Ample precedents exist internationally for handling the situation this way — with concepts such as “resident alien.”  Not everyone who lives in a country, even for an extended time, is granted citizenship in that country.

Several proposals are under discussion for how the situation might be handled:  For example, areas of autonomy might be created for the Palestinian Arabs — areas where they would run their own schools, promote their own culture, vote in municipal elections.  The Palestinian Arabs would have the benefit of the Israeli health care and pension systems.  Israel would retain ultimate control of the land, however, and the Palestinian Arabs would not be able to vote in Israeli national elections.

Not many people realize that this is precisely the situation that pertains now with Arabs in Jerusalem who carry much-coveted Jerusalem residency cards.

Nor do many remember any longer that when Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin began the Oslo process in the early 90s, this, and not a full Palestinian state, was what was envisioned.

What is hoped is that ultimately the Palestinian Arabs would be franchised via Jordanian citizenship. This is very much within the realm of possibility.  Arabs living in Judea-Samaria had Jordanian citizenship when Jordan occupied that area in 1948.  Jordan not only has a Palestinian Arab majority, it is situated on land that was originally part of the Mandate for a Jewish State.  Jordan IS the Palestinian Arab state.