Doc Ngu
Writer. Thinker. Dreamer. Poet. Entrepreneur. Technologist.

Do Israelis Want to Buy the West Bank?

West Bank - Agricultural Lands
West Bank - Agricultural Land

My first blog in the Times of Israel introduced “The Plan That Can Stop The War And Resolve The Conflict“. The War is the Israeli-Hamas War in Gaza, and the Conflict is the Israeli-Palestinian eight-decade-long hostility in the West Bank. The Plan is the PEIS Plan: it charts a path not taken of a novel three-state solution.

The PEIS Plan proposes that Egyptians sell the insurgent-infected part of the Sinai Peninsula to the Palestinians and use the proceeds for its stalled economy. The Palestinians sell the West Bank to Israel and use the remittance to pay the Egyptians and build a New Palestinian state that combines its Sinai purchase with the Gaza Strip for a new country that is 50% bigger than Greater Israel, six times larger than the landlocked West Bank, contiguous from the Mediterranean Sea on the North to the Gulf of Aqaba on the South, free-standing with an unrestricted air space, and with ample room to welcome home the returning diaspora. The Israelis buy the West Bank from the Palestinians and finally fulfill their immemorial yearning for the “Land of Israel” with Judea and Samaria under full international recognition. The Plan then envisions a new Middle East where neighbors live in peace and compete for prosperity. The book about the Plan coins the term “EPIc” for the three sovereign countries, Egypt, Palestine, and Israel, that will transform this war-torn region into an economic powerhouse serving not only their domestic aspirations but also the vast European and Arab markets, and then beyond.

All the comments on the blog were negative, similar to the ones from followers of pro-Israel hashtags on X/Twitter. The recurring theme is that the Plan is too idealistic at best and unrealistic at worst – unrealistic because Palestinians do not want to make a land deal for nationhood; they only want to kill Jews. The critics may have a point here. The PEIS Plan does not delve into the rooted animosity between the Israelis and the Palestinians, nor does it attempt to sort out the complex millennial history of Jews and Arabs to see who’s right or wrong. It is just a couple of land transaction deals involving two sets of three parties; since those three parties are currently at odds with one another for one reason or another, calling the Plan idealistic and unrealistic is not off the mark.

How does one ideally realize an idealistic and unrealistic Plan? The answer is, of course, one party at a time. The focus of this article is on the Israelis: Will they consider the PEIS Plan, regardless of what the Egyptians and Palestinians do, think, or want? Those concerns are critical for an actual deal to be made, but they are secondary to the primary question: Do Israelis want to buy the West Bank?

There is a preceding question: Do Israelis want the West Bank? In 1967, after the Six-Day War, Israel conquered both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. In 2005, Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza but stayed in the West Bank. Since then, Jewish colony settlers and outpost squatters have expanded the Israeli footprint in the area Israel refers to as Judea and Samaria. Recently, under the ultra-rightist government, Israel has rejected any two-state solution since any piece of land under the recognized sovereignty of a Palestinian state would be forever prevented from being integrated into Israel. So, the answer to the first question is an unequivocal yes.

The follow-up question is naturally: How do Israelis want to own the West Bank? There are only two ways to own land: conquering it or buying it. Take the example of the nation-building of the United States. It successfully used both ways: It used force against the native Americans and Mexicans, and it bought Louisiana (1803, from France), Florida (1819, from Spain), and Alaska (1867, from Russia). The state of Israel was built only through force. The use of force was successful in creating the current state of Israel but has not been as successful in the West Bank. There is continuous violence from the Jewish settlers against the native Palestinians and from the disadvantaged Palestinians against the better-armed Israeli security forces and Jewish settlers. The violence has been for eight decades and will continue forever due to a problem that the use of force cannot solve. Its use was successful in creating Israel proper because of the voluntary flight of the Palestinians during the Six-Day War and involuntary expulsion afterward. Its use was also successful against the native Americans because of extermination (via forced marches, hunger, and sickness), and there was ample room in the U.S. for the reservations. This is not so for the West Bank. The area is relatively small, but the show-stopper is the sheer number of the West Bank Palestinians and their fecundity. Learning from the 1967 disastrous exodus, the Palestinians will not voluntarily move out of the West Bank; they cannot be expulsed either because no country will take them. The West Bank is annexable but cannot be annexed because of this Palestinian population. The demographics are inexorable: in a few short years, this fertile population will surpass the Jewish population with its low birth rate. This reality prevents any single-state solution.

If the force option does not work for the West Bank, will Israel consider the purchase option? This would be unprecedented since, from Israeli independence to now, no Arab countries were willing to sell lands to Israel, and it is preposterous to think that the Palestinians will be more accommodating regarding the West Bank. It is also preposterous for the Israelis to think for the Palestinians. Let them be aware of the PEIS Plan, evaluate it, and decide for themselves. The focus of this article is the Israelis’ thinking – which is the only thing Israelis can fully control. Are the Israelis willing to purchase the West Bank and resolve their “Palestinian issue”?

The above question begets a leading question: How does purchasing the West Bank resolve the Palestinian issue? The biblical Exodus had the Israelites going into the Sinai desert to seek religious and economic freedom denied in enslaving Egypt. Leaving one’s birthplace for a land of opportunities is part of human nature. In the U.S., “Go West, young man” built California. A “Go West” call would entice Palestinians from the West Bank to move westward into New Palestine in the Sinai – an ample country to be built almost from the ground up for the 21st century. The potential of New Palestine for the Palestinians is beyond the scope of this article and can be found in the PEIS book. For Israel, the availability of New Palestine will defuse the demographic time bomb in the West Bank. As Palestinians sell their homes and businesses to fund their emigration to New Palestine for better opportunities, new Israeli communities will move in, and along with the existing Jewish settlers, they will gradually transform the West Bank into Judea and Samaria.

The above sentence brings up a new question: Will Israelis accept New Palestinians within Greater Israel? The PEIS Plan posits that the Palestinians sell all the lands under the West Bank and the related municipal infrastructure, but not the private properties on top of the lands. If Israelis want specific private properties, they must purchase them under mutual agreement and with market pricing. Upon the signing of the PEIS Plan, all West Bank Palestinians will automatically become citizens of the New Palestine state. They can choose to emigrate to New Palestine to build a new life or to remain in the West Bank as long as they wish. There will be no forced expulsion. The New Palestinians in Greater Israel will be granted a special status of “native residents”. Native residency is between permanent residency and citizenship. A native resident has all the local rights of a citizen (such as voting and running for local offices, and serving in the police force) but not the national rights (such as voting in national elections or joining the IDF). Will Israel be willing to add to its Basic Laws a native residency clause to give full legal protection to the New Palestinians in Greater Israel? A well-known fact is that the Israeli economy depends on Palestinian workers, as proven during the times of Intifadas and other troubles; with its low birthrate and a country expanded territorially and economically, Israel may end up having to incentivize the New Palestinians to remain. To any domestic Palestinian troublemakers, Israel will have a new option besides imprisonment: deportation to New Palestine next door.

One line of thought popular within certain Israeli circles is that Palestinians are only interested in killing Jews; letting them have a country in the form of New Palestine will give them the perfect sanctuary to prepare for that ultimate attack that pushes all the Jews back into the sea. This might be so. However, history says otherwise. After the 1941 Pearl Harbor sneak attack, there was nothing Americans wanted more than kill all those perfidious Japs; now, look at the friendship between the U.S. and Japan. Future generations of Israelis living in peace with their New Palestinian neighbors for decades may find no better friends in the region. In the short term, New Palestinians will be too busy building their new nation to seek trouble with Israel. They have no reason to. Most conflicts between countries are about territorial claims. Under the PEIS Plan, New Palestine will be about 50% bigger than Greater Israel, and there is no need for Palestinians to seek more land; even the Jerusalem intractable issue will have been resolved with a New Palestinian sovereign enclave within this capital city of Israel.

Many online critics of the PEIS Plan said the Plan totally misses the mark; the Conflict is not about territory, and no land deal will satisfy the Palestinian ingrained psyche of just wanting to kill Jews. This might be so. Let them come, and the IDF would like nothing better. Before the early 1990s, Palestinian terrorists killed Jews all over the world, and the Mossad had to run around the same world to venge and prevent. After the 1993 Oslo Accords, the Palestinian terrorists were bottled up in Gaza and the West Bank, and it was easier for the Israeli security forces to control them domestically. The terrorists then blended with the civilians, and sorting which is which is a thankless task for any armed forces – witnessed the worldwide condemnation of the IDF for its Gaza campaigns to root out Hamas. If the New Palestinians voted in a terrorist administration that would like nothing better than to destroy Israel and kill all the Jews, let it initiate a war, and you would see the biggest grins on the faces of Israeli generals. There is nothing the IDF does better than a conventional war between countries; enemies in uniform coming across the border will be easier to shoot at, and there will be plenty of military and infrastructure assets in New Palestine that the IDF can give a whack, without resorting to targeting the troublesome residential areas.

How about the grey area scenario? New Palestine will keep formal diplomatic relations with Israel and deny it harbors terrorists that continuously conduct incursions into Israel. These incursions will not be easy. Since 2013, Israel has built the 245 km (152 mi) Sha’on Hahol “sand clock” barrier between itself and the Egyptian Sinai – which will also be the western border between Israel and New Palestine. Then there is the barrier between Israel and Gaza – with Gaza to be part of New Palestine. The October 2023 Hamas attack showed that no physical barrier is impregnable, but with lessons learned, the existing barriers will keep the bad New Palestinians at bay.

The PEIS Book paints a different vision for the borders – a romantic embodiment of peace with the 60 km (37 mi) long Gaza border transformed into a shared marathon race course with Israeli and Palestinian memorials along the way, and the Sinai barrier rebuilt as a North-South highway from Eilat to Gaza City, co-owned by both countries. Which version of the future will it be? It is up to the Israelis and Palestinians to decide.

If Israel is all right with the idea of a New Palestine state on its side, the next question is naturally how to pay for it. Financially, the Palestinians could only sell the West Bank if they collected enough to buy the part of Sinai that Egypt would be willing to sell. In other words, Israel will be on the hook to pay for the whole deal.

How much will it be? The PEIS Plan does not say: this number, to be referred to as the “PEIS number”, has to be negotiated between the three parties: the Egyptians, the Palestinians, and the Israelis. No matter how one cuts it, it will be substantial. The PEIS book has a chapter on how overseas Jewish communities and notables, worldwide organizations, and even ordinary peace-loving individuals can contribute to funding the PEIS number. The main contingents remain the state of Israel and the people of Israel. So the question is – can Israel afford the PEIS number?

It is like buying a house. Under the PEIS Plan, Israel will deposit a sizable “down payment” to secure the worldwide undisputable recognition of the West Bank’s Area C currently under its administration. Then, on an agreed schedule, it will send smaller “mortgage payments” to the Palestinians to progressively take over the administratively shared Area B and, finally, the Palestinian-administered Area A. The Palestinians will use the Israeli remittances to similarly pay the Egyptians for the purchase of their part of the Sinai. After a negotiated number of years, both purchases will be paid off; Greater Israel will be fully recognized internationally with Judea and Samaria, and New Palestine will be the forever “titled” homeland of the Palestinians.

Where can Israel find the funds for the sizable “down payment”? There is a second and probably more important question: Will Israel want to make this sizable “down payment”? It will be at least in the high tens of  billion USD – a huge sum for a small country like Israel. For a perspective, the current Gaza War is estimated to cost Israel 50 billion USD and counting. If a small country like Israel can find this huge sum to fund a war, it can likely find a similar huge sum to fund a peace. The PEIS book lists the sources. As for the second question, consider that since the 1993 Oslo Accords, innumerable Palestinian uprisings have cost Israel half a billion here, ten of billions there, and this will continue into the foreseeable future. And this cost does not count the lost lives, which has no price tag. On the other hand, the down payment, while huge, is a single event. Weighing the continuous cost of present and future wars and conflicts due to Israel’s never-ending “illegal” occupation of the West Bank with the one-time cost of peace that results in Greater Israel with an internationally recognized Judea and Samaria, the choice may seem clear to some readers. However, it is up to the Israelis to decide whether to continue the hole or go for the whole.

How about the scheduled “mortgage payments”? There is something called the peace dividend. Every year, Israel’s defense budget is about 20 billion USD. This budget is justified because Israel is surrounded by hostile neighbors. The neighbors are hostile because of the so-called Palestinian issue. Let’s play this scenario in reverse. The Palestinian issue has been settled with a country of their own; with less a reason for hostilities, the neighbors are more interested in making economic deals with Israel than waging uneconomic wars; surrounded by non-hostile neighbors, Israel will not need to spend that much on defense; the saving from the defense outlay will then contribute to the mortgage payments. The PEIS book envisions an even bigger peace dividend. Instead of being an expense, the PEIS number should be considered an investment. The economic expansion will not be limited to the EPIc states; it will extend to the whole Middle East, starting with the Abraham Accords states. (The PEIS Book describes how Israel can make peace with Syria and Lebanon using the PEIS Plan template and also finds reasons for rapprochement between itself and Iran.) The increased tax revenues from this economic expansion will help fund the mortgage payments.

The PEIS Plan was published before the October 2023 Hamas attack; it is still applicable for this War. The Israeli administration may or may not believe in the PEIS Plan becoming a reality; it should make use of the Plan anyway and be the first party of the War to plant a flag on the shiny hilltop of peace. This will change the international narrative regarding Israel. The Israeli administration will declare a new peace initiative that is more visionary than anything ever presented. It will be willing to fund the creation of a New Palestine state that is even bigger than itself to the tune of many billions; it will announce its agreement to a permanent ceasefire in Gaza, and something much more far-reaching: a full withdrawal and a forever non-intervention in Gaza; it will remove not only Israeli control but also any presence at the Rafah border crossing, and transform the other checkpoints along the Israeli-Gaza border into regular border crossings between countries with normalized relationship; it will let humanitarian aid coming to Gaza by road, sea and air without interference; it will release all Palestinian prisoners including political prisoners. Israel can afford to make such statements because, under the PEIS Plan, a New Palestine state will be created from the combination of part of Sinai and the Gaza Strip. The Rafah crossing will be inside this state, automatically abolishing Israeli control and presence; the entire Gaza Strip will be inside this state, automatically requiring Israeli withdrawal and non-intervention; New Palestine will be a sovereign state with full control of its road crossings, sea access, and air space; New Palestine will be of all Palestinians, thus the need to release all Palestinian prisoners; and there will be a New Palestinian administration composed of Palestinian politicians and activists, from the West Bank, Gaza, and diaspora, to be formed by the Palestinians themselves.

With the above statements, Israel will have agreed to all the terms Hamas has demanded for the release of the hostages taken from the October attack. The pressure from Arab countries and Gazans tired of the War will push Hamas to adhere to its own terms, although Hamas may prefer to extend the deaths and destructions to make Israel look bad on the world stage. Once the hostages and bodies of the dead have been returned, Israel will let Hamas be an internal issue for the New Palestinians. It is up to the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank and third-party or non-affiliated Palestinian activists to embrace or shun Hamas. In the “embrace” case, Hamas will have dropped its kill-the-Jews militancy and become a purely political party – similarly to the Irish Republican Army (IRA), which ended its 28-year terrorism in Northern Ireland and now is active through Sinn Fein, its political wing; Israel will treat Hamas as any political entity in New Palestine, and the Gaza Strip as any New Palestinian territory. In the “shun” case, New Palestine will be developed in the Sinai part only with Israeli and worldwide assistance; Hamas and the Gaza Strip will continue to be isolated; Gazans, mired in destitution and envied the New Palestinian prosperity next door, will one day raise against Hamas with assistance from the New Palestinians (and even from Israelis). Without the widespread support of Gazans, it will be the end of Hamas. In either case, Hamas will stop being a deadly threat to Israel.

The original question of this article is, “Do Israelis want to buy the West Bank?” The question now is, “Does the Israeli government want to adopt the PEIS Plan?” If it accepts the PEIS Plan’s premises, it does not matter if this idealistic Plan can be realized or not. In either case, Israel will come out ahead.

If all three parties, Israelis, Egyptians, and Palestinians, are on board for negotiation resulting in the creation of the New Palestine state, Israel will come out ahead: it will have the hostages returned; it will see something it never knows since its 1949 independence: peace with all its neighbors; it will realize its yearning for Greater Israel with internationally recognized Judea and Samaria; it will become an economic powerhouse with trades throughout the Middle East; it may even solve some domestic issues such as the mobilization of the ultra-orthodox which it will drop since Israel will have less need in increasing the size of its armed forces in the times of peace. The Israeli prime minister, who had no clear answer when asked who would administer Gaza after the War, can now confidently say – the “New Palestinians”.

If only the Israelis were on board, with the Egyptians not selling an inch of the Sinai and the Palestinians more interested in “killing the Jews” than settling for a land deal, then Israel would still come out ahead: it would continue the War, but now under the banner of peace. Israel will change its worldwide image, casting itself as the ready champion of peace and a grudging party of War while the other side is the belligerent one. It will let international and popular pressures convince the recalcitrant administrations while it continues to squeeze Hamas in Gaza.

Now, back to the question: “Does the Israeli government want to adopt the PEIS Plan?” The answer may as well be no. It would be a shame for an oppressed people who yearned for a homeland for millennia to deny the same opportunity to another oppressed people; however, it is the prerogative of the Israeli government to say no if it thinks that is the better answer for the future of Israel. The status quo of War and Conflict continues, but there will be a new TINA effect.

After eight decades of variations of the one-state and two-state solutions, nothing has worked, and no variations of the same solutions will likely work in the next decades. The PEIS Plan is a novel, never-attempted three-state solution; it is being proposed because There Is No Alternative that has not been explored. It is idealistic and perhaps unrealistic, but until one steps on the path, how does anyone know where the journey will lead? As the one who will pay, Israel has the first say.

What will the Israeli people and government say?


The featured image is courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

About the Author
Doc Ngu writes about novel solutions to the world's intractable issues in the Frog-In-The-Well book series. His new book, "A Frog-In-The-Well Solution - The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: How the PEIS Plan will resolve this conflict once and for all", is available in major online bookstores and various formats ( Upcoming books will be about the Russo-Ukrainian conflict and the Korean Peninsula conflict (
Related Topics
Related Posts