The Israeli right wing is speaking with an ever louder voice about annexing all or part of the West Bank. If Israel annexes all of Judea and Samaria, there will be a demand to give the Palestinians the right to vote in the Knesset. So what will happen to the composition of the Knesset of Israel?
There are obviously many uncertainties in the answer. How many Palestinians will participate? Will the Arab parties have a common list or lose representation by the fact that small parties will not reach the threshold? How many Palestinians will vote for Jewish parties? And will Jews in Israel vote differently if Palestinians in the West Bank get the right to vote in the Knesset?
One of the biggest uncertainties is how many Palestinians live in the West Bank. The Israelis who are eager for annexation believe that there are less than 2 million, maybe even less than 1.5 million. They also believe that few Palestinians will choose to apply for citizenship that will give them the right to vote. The Palestinian Authority’s Central Bureau of Statistics has estimated that 2.9 million Palestinians lived in the West Bank in 2016.
The Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz ‘model is based on the estimated 2.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank and East -Jerusalem.
This is what the Knesset looks like now, after the last election.
If 40 percent of the Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem participated, and 95 percent of them voted for the Arab party, the Israeli right wing would be weakened from 55 to 48 seats. Even with Avigdor Lieberman’s party (Israel Beiteinu) sitting on the sidelines after the last two elections, the right wing could gain a majority. The center-left party Kahol Lavan was able to gain a majority together with the left-wing parties and the Arab parties.
If 60 percent of the Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem participated, Israel’s largest party could become Arab. The Israeli right wing would be weakened from 55 to 45 seats.
The figures show why many Israelis, even on the right wing, are skeptical about annexing the entire West Bank.