Several top members of the ruling Likud Party are openly calling on Israel to annex Area C, the bulk of the West Bank, seeing it as a way to get a handle on international criticism of the expansion of settlements.
Public Diplomacy Minister Yuli Edelstein insisted that the lack of full annexation “strengthens the international community’s demand for a withdrawal to the pre-1967 line.”
This doesn’t appear to have been thought out too deeply, as Israel has already annexed occupied East Jerusalem, and since the international community doesn’t recognize this claim the expansions there are still criticized.
Rather the bulk of the argument seems to be the political hay to be made of doing so as a chance to court the ever-rightward Israeli voting mass. Pro-settler hawk Moshe Feiglin sought to take at even a step further in this direction, seeing it as a move to expel all Arabs from the West Bank.
“We can give every family in Judea and Samaria $500,000 to encourage them to emigrate. This is the perfect solution,” Feiglin noted. Exactly how broad a “family” is defined is unclear, but with 2.6 million Arabs to buy out, this would be a significant investment.
Tzipi Livni, whose new party is showing gains in recent polls, slammed the idea, saying Likud had “removed their masks” and shown that they are extreme right wing.
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