Minister Wants To Annex Half Of West Bank and Kick
Out The Palestinians
By William Booth
June 09, 2016
JERUSALEM — A
top Israeli minister said he wants the government to
take complete control of more than half of the West
Bank and remove the Palestinian residents of the
traveling with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on
a state visit to Russia on Tuesday, Agriculture
Minister Uri Ariel
told the Times of Israel that the world should
forget about a Palestinian state.
“We have to
aspire to the annexation of Area C; these are areas
where there are no Arabs at all,” Ariel said. “We
would remove a few thousand, who do not constitute a
significant numerical factor.”
to the Oslo Accords, the West Bank is divided into
three areas. Area C comprises more than 60 percent
of the West Bank and is under complete Israeli
military control, both for security and civil
of the Palestinian population in Area C are a
subject of mystery and debate.
Nations agency that provides aid to Palestinians
reported that there were 297,500
Palestinians in Area C in 2014.
human rights group, Bimkom, estimates that 150,000
to 180,000 Palestinians live there.
military division that controls Area C gives an
estimate of 50,000 Palestinians.
Area C —
which covers about 1,300 square miles spread
throughout the West Bank — is where the Jewish
settlements are located. More than 350,000 Israelis
live on 125 settlements and about 100 outposts. The
international community calls the settlements
illegal; the United States views them as
illegitimate and obstacles to peace; the Israeli
government disputes this characterization.
Ariel is a
longtime advocate for the settler movement and lives
in a settlement, Kfar Adumim, east of Jerusalem.
of Israel did not reveal Ariel’s thinking on the
method of transfer of Palestinians from Area C.
“Ariel did not specify how those Palestinians would
be removed, or where they would be relocated,” the
media outlet reported.
This is not
the first time that Ariel has advocated annexing
Area C. He has done so repeatedly. In January, Ariel
said it was time to take full possession of the
asks about Areas A and B, then their time will come.
When, we will see,”
Ariel said. “For now, let’s agree on Area C.
There is more than 60 percent of the territory, with
50,000 Arabs. They do not pose a problem to the
state of Israel.”
Ariel is a
leader of the hard-right faction in the Jewish Home
party, which is a member of the government. Other
Jewish Home leaders, such as Education Minister
Naftali Bennett, also have urged
annexing Area C but have not advocated the mass
transfer of Palestinians out of the area.
on the annexation plan, the Palestinians would be
offered Israeli citizenship or residency or be made
the responsibility of Jordan, Bennett has said.
not lone voices. Israel’s ambassador to the United
Nations, Danny Danon, supports annexation. Justice
Minister Ayelet Shaked wants to apply Israeli law to
Area C, a step toward annexation.
comments come as Netanyahu, the leader of the
governing coalition, has been stressing that he
supports a two-state solution to the
Palestinians blasted Ariel’s comments.
Dajani, a spokesman in the office of the Palestinian
Authority prime minister, called the proposal
"incitement" as well as “demeaning, racist and