By Lee Kainoelani
By Lee Kainoelani
Rabat – A prominent Israeli minister said he wants the Israeli government to take complete control of more than half of the West Bank and remove the Palestinian residents from the territory, according to The Washington Post.
Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel told the Times of Israel that the world “should forget about a Palestinian state,” during a state visit to Russia on Tuesday, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“We have to aspire to the annexation of Area C; these are areas where there are no Arabs at all,” Ariel said, according to The Washington Post. “We would remove a few thousand, who do not constitute a significant numerical factor.”
According to the Oslo Accords, the West Bank is divided into three areas. Area C where more than 60 percent of the West Bank is under complete Israeli military control. Estimates of the Palestinian population in this area remains a mystery.
The United Nations agency that provides aid to Palestinians, reported that in 2014, there were 297,500 Palestinians in Area C.
Bimkom, an Israeli human rights group, estimated that Area C is comprised of 150,000 to 180,000 Palestinians, while the Israeli military division that controls the area claims that 50,000 Palestinians to live in Area C.
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 settlement illegal. The United States views the settlement as illegitimate and obstacles to peace.
Ariel, a longtime advocate for the settler movement, and an individual who lives in the settlement, has continuously advocated annexing Area C. In January, Ariel said it was time to take full possession of the land, according to The Washington Post.
“If someone 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.”
The Times of Israel did not reveal Ariel’s thoughts on the method of transfer of Palestinians from Area C.
Ariel is a leader of thefar-right faction in the Jewish Home Party, which is a member of the government.
Other Jewish Home Leaders, such as Education Minister Naftali Bennet, have also urged annexing Area C, but has not advocated the mass transfer of Palestinians out of the area.
Depending on the annexation plan, Palestinians will be offered Israeli citizenship or residency, or be made the responsibility of Jordan, said Bennet, according to The Washington Post.
Others are urging for the annexation, such as Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, who wants to apply the Israeli law to Area C, as a step toward annexation.
According to The Washington Post, Jamal Dajani, spokesman in the office of the Palestinian Authority prime minister, called the proposal “incitement” as well as ‘demeaning, racist and dehumanizing.”