Israeli Lawmaker: Only Palestinians Who Serve in Army Would Be Able to Vote in Binational State

'The two-state solution is dead,' Miki Zohar, a member of Netanyahu's party says, adding that Palestinians would give up right to vote if it depended on serving in the army.

Likud MK Miki Zohar during an interview with i24 on Sunday, March 5, 2017.
Likud MK Miki Zohar during an interview with i24 on Sunday, March 5, 2017. Screenshot

Israeli lawmaker Miki Zohar (Likud) laid out his vision for Israel's future after annexing the West Bank. In an interview on Sunday, he said that Palestinians would have the full benefits of citizenship except the right to vote, which they would have to earn by fulfilling a term of national service.

"The two-state solution is dead," Zohar, a member of Israel's governing coalition, told news Channel i24News, while insisting that the one-state alternative would be democratic even though Palestinians would not automatically be allowed to vote in elections. "They will get full rights and all the needs to get to prospect and to succeed here in this country."

There would however, be a path for Palestinians to vote for their representatives, said Zohar. "My idea [is] that we can let them vote for the Knesset with only three things that they need to do like every other citizen: One, to go the army or to go to serve the country like everyone here in Israel is obligated to do," Zohar said before being cut off.

"You want 2.5 million Palestinians going and serving in the IDF army?" asked journalist Tami Molad.

"I promise you, they won't serve in the army, they will let go of the option to vote," replied Zohar. "They would prefer not voting and not donating to this country, believe me."

>> Read more: This Arab lawmaker plans on being prime minister in implementation of a one-state solution >>

While the majority of Israeli citizens are currently required by law to spend multiple years undertaking some form of national service, namely in the ranks of the army, a significant portion are exempt from service, including ultra-Orthodox Jews who study at yeshivas. Israeli Arabs, Druze and Bedouin are also exempt from service, though a portion of these populations do volunteer in various capacities, including in the army.

Talk of a one-state solution has been gaining traction among Israeli politicians since the election of U.S. President Donald Trump, who broke with decades of American commitment to a two-state solution during a joint press conference with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in February, when he said he would support whatever solution the Israelis and Palestinians could agree upon.