The Federation Plan
The Federation Plan: The Founding Document
The Federation Plan presents a new approach to the Jewish-Arab/Palestinian conflict. The plan calls for a transformation of Israel’s system of governance into a federal government, such as is found in the USA, Canada, Switzerland and 25 others countries. This will be a progressive regional system whereby the State of Israel is divided into cantons (empowered provinces), which enjoy a great degree of independence in managing their affairs. The Federation Movement calls for the Palestinian Authority to be disbanded (by agreement), for Israeli law to be applied, by agreement, to all parts of Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley, with all Jewish residents of the West Bank remaining in place. As part of this process, all Palestinian residents of the West Bank who so desire will receive full Israeli citizenship (as enjoyed by Israeli Arabs). The Israeli Federation will not include the Gaza Strip. Demographically, Jews will comprise about two thirds of the citizens of the Federation, while about a third will be Palestinians.
Goals of the Movement
- Reach political understandings with representative of the Palestinians, Arab nations, Europe, and the USA, over a solution which allows for the application of Israeli sovereignty over all land west of the Jordan River (with the exception of Gaza), full citizenship for West Bank Palestinians, and a federal government in the extended State of Israel.
- Preserve the West Bank settlements with their residents in place, as part of a new arrangement that will resolve international objections to the settlements.
- Dissolution by agreement of the Palestinian Authority. The Authority will be replaced by regional governments as part of the canton plan.
- Application of Israeli law in the West Bank.
- Grant Israeli citizenship to Palestinian residents of the West Bank as part of the application of Israeli sovereignty.
- Enact a constitution (or set of foundational laws), which will ensure the rights of all citizens and transform the government of Israel into a federal government based on regional governance, similar to the system found in some of the world’s most advanced and wealthy countries.
- Initiate a broad economic process, which will include the rehabilitation of refugee camps in the West Bank and Jerusalem, and the integration of Palestinians into the Israeli economy. This move will attract foreign investments, and raise living standards and quality of life for all residents of the entire country, Jews and Arabs alike.
- Transform completely land management in Israel, in a way that will alleviate the housing shortage throughout the country.
In line with the federation plan, the country will be divided into 30 cantons: autonomous regions which will govern themselves. The central government of Israel will be responsible for foreign affairs, security and macro-economic management; the cantons will govern themselves in the areas of education, planning and development, civil laws, and daily administration. Each canton will have its own government and local legislature.
The Knesset will be expanded and reorganized to be composed of two legislative assemblies: the national assembly (or the Knesset as it is today) and a new assembly comprised of representatives of the cantons. The Palestinian Authority will be dissolved, and Palestinian politicians will assimilate into in the cantons’ internal politics, as well as Israeli national politics, including being elected to the legislative assemblies and various canton institutions, with the same rights as Israeli Arabs.
Implementation of the federation plan will dramatically improve security in Israel. The IDF will remain the sole security force between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River; Israel will for the first time have permanent and recognized international borders; political, economic, and security cooperation with Jordan and the Arab world will improve; settlements will remain in place as a result of international support for the process as a whole; Palestinian residents of the West Bank will be become citizens with equal rights, will enjoy access to medical and welfare services and integrate into the Israeli economy. This will significantly reduce Palestinian motivations to carry out terrorist attacks, to a level similar to Israeli Arabs.
The purpose of the cantons, aside from the economic goals and democratization, is to support the stability of the new political order. The diverse populations of the greater Israel will be able to exercise their unique ethnic/religious/cultural nature under the framework of regional governance (within the limits of the federation’s constitution). All citizens will be able to change residences between cantons as they see fit
Borders between cantons will be drawn so as to prioritize the linking of similar/identical populations. For example, cantons in Arab areas will be able to manage their education and culture autonomously, as will cantons with Jewish majorities. Local authorities which are unhappy with their initial placement, may request reallocation to a canton more fitting its character. It will also be possible, for example, for a local authority that is physically located within one canton to belong administratively to another canton it is not territorially linked to. Thus, for example, it will be possible to create a Druze canton or a Bedouin canton.
The cantons’ high level of administrative autonomy will enable each canton to manage life in accordance with that canton’s population profile, the only limitation being the constitutional obligation to maintain the civil rights of all the citizens of the federation.
The federation plan will improve Israel’s economy: it will foil plans for international boycotts, improve foreign relations, open up new markets and integrate the Arabs of the West Bank into the economy, while avoiding the high costs of withdrawing from the West Bank settlements. The economic integration of Palestinians combined with economic growth will create a broad Arab middle class, which will facilitate the overall integration of Arabs in the State of Israel and help reduce violence, hatred and terrorism. Arab and Muslim markets around the world will open up to Israeli exports.
The Situation Today
The implementation of the federation plan entails formalizing the status quo. The State of Israel, together with the West Bank, but excluding Gaza, are already in practice one federal bi-national state: The IDF and other Israeli security forces control the West Bank; The Israeli Shekel is the coin used in the Palestinian Authority; 85% of the West Bank’s agricultural and industrial products is sold in Israel; 300 thousand out of 800 thousand Palestinians who work are employed in Israel and in Jewish settlements; approximately half of the Palestinian Authority’s budget is funded by taxes levied on Palestinian workers in Israel; about 300 thousand Palestinians in East Jerusalem hold Israeli residency cards, which allow them to work and move through all of Israel freely; more than 400 thousand Israeli Jews live in approximately 160 settlements throughout the West Bank.
However, this state of affairs is unstable and controversial. The entire country suffers from terrorism and instability, has no secure internationally recognized borders, and consequently pays high security and economic costs. The Palestinian Authority is on the verge of collapse and is unable to provide adequate services to its citizens, and moreover, is unable to prevent terrorism. The Hamas and other extreme Islamic terrorist organizations take advantage of the PA’s weakness to undermine it. Jewish residents of the West Bank are imprisoned in their settlements, unable to move freely through the space within which they live, and are under daily threats of terrorist attacks. Arab citizens of the State of Israel encounter challenges to their full integration, including discrimination in many areas. Palestinian residents of the West Bank are trapped in a confined space and are unable to integrate with the rest of the country. Moreover, they lack basic civil rights.
Many towns and villages, particularly refugee camps in the West Bank and unrecognized Bedouin settlements in the Negev, exist as temporary settlements whose residents are afflicted with extreme poverty and lack basic essential services. This permanent-temporary status makes systematic planning and construction impossible. As a consequence, all residents of the country, Jews and Arabs alike, endure a severe shortage of housing, with no real alternatives in sight.
The solution offered by the traditional Left to all these problems – the division into two states – is expensive and dangerous. Such a solution would entail the removal of more than 100 thousand Jewish settlers from their homes, would be extremely costly and would further exacerbate housing shortages within the Green Line. Furthermore, it could potentially cause severe national trauma and even civil war. The other option, of leaving Jewish settlers as citizens of a Palestinian state, is also dangerous and unlikely to be possible. There is a high chance that the Palestinian state established in the West Bank following such an arrangement would be a poor and dysfunctional state, and could easily devolve into a terrorist state that would attack and endanger Israel.
The separation wall between Israel and the West Bank, which exists today and is expected to continue to separate the two states following such an arrangement, is unable to prevent terrorism. Terrorists infiltrate Israel from the West Bank despite its existence. Even worse, the wall inflames and exacerbates hatred, because it isolates the Palestinians and cuts them off from economic opportunities and relatives in Israel. Hatred empowers terrorism. Thus, separation will lead to the opposite of neighborly relations, and poor neighborly relations encourage terrorism.
Plans for the Future
The federation movement calls for the implementation of the only realistic solution possible at this point – application of Israeli law in the West Bank, granting of full civil rights to the Arabs of the West Bank and the enactment of a federal system of governance throughout the country. This program will solve existing problems without the enormous risks entailed in the two state solution. Most residents of the federal state will be Jewish; Arabs on either side of the Green Line will enjoy equal rights, advancement and economic growth; the IDF will remain in the West Bank; and Jewish residents of the West Bank be able to remain in their homes, without the threat of international sanctions or eviction.
Implementation of the federation plan will entail a relatively brief period of adjustment before bringing about a dramatic improvement in the economy. West Bank Palestinians will be able to work in agriculture, industry and construction, thereby alleviating the need to import foreign workers. The local market will expand and enjoy increasing international trade with Arab states and the rest of the world. Quiet on the security front will allow for the renovation of refugee camps and additional infrastructure in the West Bank, attracting local and international firms, and driving economic growth.
Poverty and economic disparities are not the only cause of national conflicts, but they are a key force in exacerbating them. Economic growth, reducing socio-economic disparities between Jews and Arabs, and addressing the problem of housing shortages are fundamental prerequisites to the conflict’s resolution. To that end, it is imperative to implement a market economy and a welfare policy which invests in everyone equitably. Such a policy can only be implemented through a regional federal government throughout the entire country, the promotion of regional social programs under a national plan, and the prioritization of weaker regions and populations segments.
There are today 27 federal states around the world. Most of these are developed modern states, and many are among the wealthiest nations in the world. They include Switzerland, the USA, Australia, Germany, Canada, Belgium, and others. Some of these countries experienced in their past profound and violent conflicts between the nationalities and ethnic groups that populate them, as well as other severe problems, which were resolved by implementing a federal system. The federal system of governance made it possible to transition to stability, prosperity and growth. Three of the most populous countries in the world – India, Brazil, and the USA – are federations, meaning that, in practice, over a third of the world’s population lives in federal states.
Leaders of the Zionist movement and founders of the State of Israel, such as David Ben-Gurion, Ze'ev Jabotinsky, and Chaim Weizmann, debated in earnest the possibility of establishing a Jewish-Arab federation based on the Swiss and Belgian models in the period between the Balfour Declaration and the UN Partition Plan. Even UN Resolution 181 of November 1947, which called for the partition of Palestine into Jewish and Arab states, calls for an “economic union” between the two states, suggesting a confederation similar to the European Union (which might not be a federation, but is similar to in terms of its principles governance). UN Resolution 181 is supported by the Israeli Declaration of Independence, which determines that the State of Israel shall work towards the economic unity of the Land of Israel in its entirety.
It is important to emphasize that the transformed federal state will continue to exist as the State of Israel. Its military force will be the IDF, its parliament shall be the Knesset, and its flag and national anthem will be the flag and anthem of Israel. It will remain open to Jewish immigration in accordance with the “Law of Return.” Jews will comprise about two thirds of the population. Both Jews and Arabs will live in each of the cantons and both Hebrew and Arabic will continue to be the official national languages.
The most important transformation will be the political arrangement, which will deliver stability. The Arab residents of the country will enjoy full civil rights and regional self-governance, which will allow them to govern their own affairs. Arabs will be able to express their culture and identity within cantons that have a majority of Arab residents. Each canton will also have its own regional police force, which will help settle local disputes and jointly battle crime and terrorism.
Even more: the prosperity, civil rights and rights of movement gained by Arabs, combined with the local autonomy allowing each canton to manage its own affairs, will potentially bring a greater number of Arabs to identify with the state and become part of its culture and society, rather than remain apart.
One of the prerequisites for the settlement of conflicts is a stable, functioning government that is attentive to its citizens and communities. The existing governments in Israel and the Palestinian Authority are no such thing. The government in Israel is overly centralized and cut off from individuals and communities; there is no constitution nor are there permanent borders. The Palestinian Authority is barely functional, while the military government in the West Bank enacts a policy perceived by the local populace as repressive. All these signal impermanence, confusion, weakness and callousness. Repressive governments, as well as weak impermanent ones, encourage violence and terror: The government in Israel is perceived as both. A stable federal government within permanent and secure borders will enable various communities, population segments and minority groups to live side by side, while expressing their culture, and will also assist in reducing terrorism more than any fence or wall. Arabs in Israel will develop their special ties to the Arab world alongside the special relationship Jews in Israel have with the Jewish diaspora.
The federation plan is expected to enjoy widespread support. The settler population in the West Bank and right-wing voters will view it as a realistic annexation plan which transforms the West Bank into part of the State of Israel without risking regional war. The plan will also enjoy support from the left, since it promises equal rights to all residents and presents a realistic political solution to the conflict. The wider Jewish public will support the plan since it promises security and economic growth. A large portion of the Arab population, both in Israel and in the West Bank, will support the plan since it promises economic growth, civil rights, social and medical services, freedom of movement and self-governance.
The democracies of the world, and particularly the USA and members of the European Union, will follow with interest the development and implementation of this plan promising a realistic solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. To these countries, the successful implementation of the federation plan will ensure that Israel continues to play a central role in the West’s economic and political interests in the Middle East. The integration of millions of Arabs in a progressive federal democracy with strong ties to the USA will serve as a positive example to Arab states in the region.
The federation plan is also crucial because its alternatives are all extremely problematic. Discontent and protest against the collapsing Palestinian Authority by West Bank Palestinians is gradually becoming a violent struggle; at the same time, protest by Israeli Arabs might eventually escalate into a violent struggle against the state. Such a development, in the midst of the terrorism and civil wars engulfing the Middle East, poses a great risk to Israel. The existing alternative – a division into two states – is just as dangerous, since a Palestinian state might easily fall into the hands of Jihadist terrorist organizations. In any case, a political accord to divide the country is at this stage not realistically feasible.
The only solution is a real policy change with a new mode of thinking, which will enable all residents of the country to express their cultural identity through regional governance under one federated state. The federal government will foster a community spirit and neighborly relations, good governance, independence and freedom of expression for its various communities, while maintaining security and the power and control of the IDF. No less important, it will strive to reduce socio-economic disparities, to extend welfare to all, and to promote shared economic growth. This comprehensive perspective views minimizing disparities and ensuring a high level of income to all residents of the Land of Israel as the key to fostering coexistence and neighborliness between Jews and Arabs. This policy will strengthen Israel’s relations with its neighbors and the Muslim and Arab world in general, and assist in deepening regional cooperation in economic development, environmental policies and the war on terror.
Federation Plan Details
• Application of Israeli law to the West Bank
• Arrival at a broad international consensus to leave the settlements in place
• Granting of Israeli citizenship and rights to Palestinian residents of the West Bank who are interested
• Formulation of a single common constitution, accepted by the majority of Israel’s residents and the Arabs of the West Bank
• Formulation of a common vision for the federal state
• Establishment of a federal regional government, and the division of the country into 30 cantons, about 20 of which will have a Jewish majority and ten with an Arab majorities (one of which will have a Druze majority).
• Establishment of an additional house of representatives: the Council of Cantons.
• Cultivate reciprocal and collaborative relations between Jewish cantons and Arab and Palestinian cantons.
• Economic and social rehabilitation of refugee camps in the West Bank and Jerusalem, as well as Bedouin settlements in the Negev
• International recognition and support for the application of Israeli law in the West Bank, the granting of citizenship to West Bank Palestinians, and Israel’s transformation into a federal state
• Promotion of joint economic development projects with neighboring countries, primarily Jordan and Egypt
• Segregation of the Gaza strip as an independent entity
• The Jewish population will maintain its unique relationship with the Jewish diaspora, while the Arab population will develop similar reciprocal relations with the Arab and Muslim worlds. The Druze will enhance their special relationship with the Druze population in Syria and Lebanon.
Economic Vision: Creating an advanced economic community within the whole Land of Israel
A federal system encompassing the West Bank and East Jerusalem will manage the Palestinian economy more efficiently and will be able to solve at least some of the serious social and economic problems plaguing Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
The present situation, where Israeli Arabs experience lower income levels and suffer from high rates of poverty and unemployment, supports the growing influence of Hamas, the Islamic Jihad and IS among the Arab and Palestinian population – with all that this implies for the security and strength of Israel, its image and identity, and its quality and standard of living. A different reality, one in which socio-economic equality is enhanced, with a high standard of living, high rates of participation in the labor force, and high levels of education among Arabs, will help them integrate into Israeli society and the Western world in all senses.
In other words, the greatest test and challenge of Israel’s national and socio-economic strategy should be the maximum reduction of disparities in income per capita between Jews and Arabs between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River and ensuring a high level of income in all parts of the country, for all sectors of the population.
In other words, the greatest challenge for Israel’s national and socio-economic strategy must be minimizing as much as possible the gap in per capita income between Jews and Arabs everywhere between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River, and ensuring high levels of income per capita for all residents and all population segments.
This entails a comprehensive reworking of national land management. The federal government of Israel will transform its policies regarding state lands. State land in all parts of the country will be declared a national resource and social product that cannot be commercialized.
• State lands will be diverted first and foremost to housing construction through all tracks and in all regions.
• Cantons will manage state land and will be responsible for planning, development, construction and leasing of the lands.
• Cantons in the western and central part of the country will lease land for construction at nominal fees.
• Cantons in the north, south and east will lease state lands at nominal fees for self-construction of housing for IDF and other military personnel, as well as those who have completed either military or national service, including national service in reconstructing Palestinian refugee camps.
• The Israel Land Authority will become an authority charged with supervising state lands and preventing illegal construction on state and private lands. It will have no role in planning, marketing or allocating state lands for any kind of use.
• The Ministry of Housing and Construction will be dissolved. All responsibility for housing and construction will be transferred to the relevant authorities established in individual cantons, which will be responsible for local planning and construction.
• This change in land management policy will lead to a dramatic reduction of housing costs. This will be a result both of lowering the cost of land leased for construction and of the immense increase in state lands released for individual home building in the Negev, Galilee, Judea, Samaria, Jordan Valley and Greater Jerusalem.
• The anticipated reduction of housing costs and the possibility of leasing a plot of land for self-construction in these areas at nominal costs, will make building or buying a home affordable to any citizen in the north south and east of Israel.
• The lowering of housing prices in the north, south and east will bring about a reduction in demands for housing in the center, and this combined with the decrease in the cost of land will also lead to significantly lower housing costs in the center of Israel.
Rehabilitation for Palestinians in the West Bank and Jerusalem
At present the annual budget of the Palestinian Authority is about 15 billion NIS. Of this, about six billion NIS, or 40%, are derived from taxes levied on Palestinians working in Israel and West Bank settlements, as well as from custom taxes levied on Palestinian products sold in Israel. A further four billion NIS, roughly a quarter of the PA’s budget, are from foreign aid/donations. Despite this, the PA finds itself in a permanent deficit of billions and struggles to function and pay its employees’ salaries.
Implementation of Israeli law and the federal system of governance in the West Bank, which will include cantons with Palestinian majorities governing their internal affairs as integral parts of the Israeli economy, will enable the Palestinians to manage these budgets more efficiently and solve at least some of the accute social and economic problems that plague them.
Establishing an Israeli Agency for Refugee Rehabilitation
As an alternative to the “Right of Return” demanded by the Palestinians, which will not be realized under the federation plan, the government of Israel will establish an agency to rehabilitate Palestinian refugees.
The Israeli agency for the rehabilitation of refugees will employ a professional headquarters managing an array of thousands of national service volunteers serving in Palestinian refugee camps in Israel and additional countries. Service in the Israeli agency for refugee rehabilitation will be recognized as a form of national service (substituting military service). Residents and citizens of other countries, primarily Arabs, may also volunteer to work at the refugee rehabilitation agency.
Funding for the Israeli refugee rehabilitation agency will come from the Israeli state budget, as well as from donations by Jewish organizations abroad, business entities, and national and international entities. At its establishment, the agency’s budget will be 2-3 billion NIS coming from the state budget. Additional funding will come from UNRWA, the UN agency presently supporting Palestinian refugees. Once the agency is established, Israel will invite additional countries and international organizations to participate in the rehabilitation. The agency’s activities will focus on the transformation of refugee camps into permanent settlements with high standards and quality of living.
The agency will promote construction within refugee camps and refugee rehabilitation outside of the camps; it will maintain electrical and water infrastructures in the refugee camps, operate medical centers, teacher and other professional training, business training and entrepreneurial assistance centers, community centers, sports and leisure facilities, garbage treatment and recycling facilities, urban agriculture, hiking and cycling paths, infrastructure development, road paving, and more.
The mission to rehabilitate Palestinian refugee camps in the West Bank will be carried out in accordance with local developments formulated in the West Bank in consultation with local public figures and economic leaders. This rehabilitation initiative can serve in due time as a model for the rehabilitation of refugee camps in Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon and additional Arab countries as well.
Developing the Economy and Society of East Jerusalem
The Greater Jerusalem canton, with the assistance of the federal government, will promote the following goals:
- Establish reciprocal economic, social and cultural relations between the Jewish and Arab populations of greater Jerusalem and strengthening inter-relations between the Arab and Jewish parts of Jerusalem.
- Increase the per capita income of Arabs in greater Jerusalem to $40,000
- Raise the rate of Arabs possessing advanced degrees in greater Jerusalem to over 25%
- Raise rates of participation in the work force for Jerusalem Arabs to 75% and higher
- Encourage the growth of an broad middle class in the Arab neighborhoods and villages of greater Jerusalem
- Expand the industrial park in Atarot and create new industrial and commercial parks in Abu Dis, Beit Hanina, AlZaim, Isawiya and Shuafat
- Encourage the construction of hotels in the Arab villages and neighborhoods of greater Jerusalem
- Encourage the construction of shopping malls and markets in Sur Bahr, Abu Dis, Shuafat, Al Azaria, Jabel Mukaber, Beit Hanina, and other neighborhoods.
- Encourage Israeli, Arab and international banks to open branches in Arab neighborhoods and villages
- Formulate and advance plans for the construction of 25,000 quality housing units in Arab parts of greater Jerusalem.
- Promote the establishment of an Arab language university with over 10,000 students in Isawiya or Shuafat, in addition to Al-Quds University in Abu Dis, as well as a university medical center, a science park and science programs for youths.
- Establish a network of Arabic language professional training schools in all the Arab neighborhoods and villages in greater Jerusalem.
- Develop and promote educational programs teaching coexistence and tolerance at Jewish and Arab schools at all ages, and expunge educational programs teaching hatred and inciting against Jews, Arabs, or the state of Israel from all schools in greater Jerusalem.
- Establish a network of emergency medicine centers in Arab neighborhoods and villages
- Integrate the Arab educational system of greater Jerusalem into the Israeli and Jerusalem education system.
List of the 30 Cantons
North (7 cantons)
• Upper Galilee (capital: Safed)
• Central and Western Galilee (Karmiel)
• Kinneret and Valleys (Afula)
• Haifa and suburbs (Haifa)
• Carmel and/or Meron (Yarka/Isfia)
• Lower Galilee (Nazareth)
• Wadi Ara (Umm al-Fahm)
West (6 cantons)
• Northern Coastal Plains (Hadera)
• The Sharon (Netanya)
• Western Dan Region (Tel Aviv)
• Eastern Dan Region (Petah Tikva)
• Southern Coastal Plains (Ashdod)
• Triangle (Tulkarm)
East (11 cantons)
• Greater Jerusalem (Jerusalem)
• Modiin and hills (Modiin)
• Southern Samaria (Ariel)
• Jericho Valley (Maale Efraim)
• Valley of Elah (Bet Shemesh)
• Lachish (Kiryat Gat)
• Central Samaria (Nablus)
• Northern Samaria (Jenin)
• Ramallah and Benyamin (Ramallah)
• Bethlehem (Bethlehem)
• Hebron Hills (Hebron)
South (6 cantons)
• Northern Negev (Beer-Sheva)
• Southern Dead Sea region (Dimona)
• Negev Highlands (Yeruham)
• Eilat and Arava (Eilat)
• Ashkelon and Western Negev (Ashkelon)
• Bedouin region (Segev Shalom)
Every citizen of Israel will be able to vote for and be elected to the various representative assemblies of the cantons. Each resident of a canton, even if not an Israeli citizen, will have a residence certificate in that canton and will be entitled to vote in elections for that canton’s elected authorities.
Citizens and residents may run for office in the cantons and the Knesset, unless they are active members of an organization or entity which works against the existence, security or strength of the State of Israel. For example, the Hamas movement will not be able to participate in canton elections and operate within the Israeli political system as long as its ideology negates the existence of the state and the fundamental principles of democracy.
- Each canton will be led by a council of 51-101 elected representatives of the residents of the canton
- Representatives from each one of the settlements belonging to the council will serve on the canton’s representative council
- Each canton will be headed by a chairperson elected by the members of the canton’s representative council
- The canton’s chairperson, together with six members of the representative council chosen by the council to head the canton’s local authorities, will comprise the canton management, according to the following list:
Canton authority for budget, administration and civil affairs
Canton authority for internal security and policing
Canton authority for medicine, science, higher education and professional training
Canton authority for economy and employment (industry, agriculture, trade, tourism and business)
Canton authority for land management, green construction and renewable energy
Canton authority for education, youth, culture and sports
Canton authorities will initiate and formulate plans for empowerment and enhancement of the society and economy of the settlements incorporated in the canton, and will promote those plans after they are discussed and approved in the canton’s representative council.
Establishment of a Regional Government Council: The Council of Cantons
Two legislative assemblies will operate of the Knesset, similar to the federal systems of government in the USA, Switzerland and other federal democracies. The Knesset will be expanded to include an additional national elected assembly; the regional government council (or council of cantons).
The Council of Cantons will be comprised of 60 elected representatives, two from each of the 30 cantons, regardless of the population size of the canton. The representatives will be chosen in direct individual elections within each canton. There will thus be a total of 180 Knesset members, 120 in the existing legislative assembly and 60 in the Council of Cantons, who will enjoy equal status to existing members of Knesset.
The Council of Cantons will be responsible for all issues pertaining to the functioning of the canton system as a democratic regional level of governance, with authority over planning, execution and budget issues under its purview.
The Council of Cantons will formulate and promote joint social, economic, energy, environmental, educational and higher education plans and programs for the various cantons, encompassing both Jewish and Arab cantons.
The Council of Canton will work as a plenary assembly, as well as through council committees. The Council of Cantons, its committees, and local canton authorities will work in concert with the Knesset and its own committees, as well as with the national government and its ministries.
Decisions on matters of national interest and legislative proposals which include amendments to the Declaration of Independence or the future constitution of the federal state of Israel, to foundational laws, or national symbols will require a special majority of 75% in the combined Knesset; both in the legislative assembly of 120 members and the council of cantons, as well as a majority vote in the representative councils of at least 16 cantons.
Formulation and Approval of the State Budget
The state budget will be approved annually through first, second and third votes in a joint session of the “extended Knesset,” that is the 180 members of the legislative assembly and the council of cantons. A review of the state budget details will take place prior to the second and third votes in joint sessions of the finance committees of both assemblies.
15%-20% of the national budget will be disbursed to the cantons. This will be supplemented by each canton’s local sources of income, such as tariffs, local taxes, and the like.
The Segregation of the Gaza strip as a City-state
The Hamas regime in Gaza today is fundamentalist terrorist government, neither legal nor democratic, and therefore cannot be part of the new political arrangements. The Gaza strip will be segregated and declared an independent political entity, a sort of “city-state.”
If the regime controlling Gaza, the Hamas or any other government, successfully reaches a stable ceasefire with Israel, the state of Israel together with the international community will assist Gaza in rebuilding and managing a stable economy that prevents unemployment and despair.
The Federal State of Israel: 10 million residents in one country
The federal state of Israel, spanning from the Jordan River to the Sea and excluding Gaza, will encompass an area of 28,000 sq. km.
The population residing within this territory at present amounts to 10-11 million. Of these 6.2 million (or 59%) are Jewish; about 35,000 (3%) are “religionless” (relatives of Jews who came to Israel under the Law of Return); about 130,000 are Druze; and roughly 30,000 are Armenian, Circassian, Samaritan, and members of other non-Arab groups. All these together amount today to about 6.7 million.
About 1.3 of Israel’s present day citizens are Muslim and Christian Arabs. An additional 300,000 Christian and Muslim Arabs reside in East Jerusalem and have permanent residence status.
There are statistical disagreements over the actual number of Arabs residing in the West Bank as citizens of the Palestinian Authority. There has been no census of the population under the PA for many years, and data is based on estimates and calculations. Data from the Begin-Sadat Research Center, which we believe to be most reliable, indicates that about 1.75 million Palestinians reside in the West Bank (excluding East Jerusalem). PA data places the number of at 2.5 million, but we believe this data is biased upward.
According to our estimates, the present Christian and Muslim Arab population of the future federal state of Israel totals roughly 3.5 million. By this estimate, the total number of people who live in what will be federal Israel is about 10 million, including about 6.5 million Jews and relatives of Jews, or about 65% of the population, and 3.3 or 3.4 Christian and Muslim Arabs, about a third of the population.
If the Palestinian Authority estimates are the correct figures, the federal State of Israel would include about 4.1 million Christian and Muslim Arabs. Following the PA estimates, the area encompassed by the federal state of Israel contains about 10.5 million people. Jews and relatives of Jews, in this estimate, would comprise 62% of the population, while Muslim and Christian Arabs would total 37%.