Posts Tagged ‘peace talks’

Peace Talks

Before the Peace Talks
Palestinians need to understand that they cannot demand a nation that goes back to a pre-Israel concept.  Israel is here.  Permanently.  Forever.  Done.  In the same breath, Israel cannot expect the Palestinians to kowtow and just graciously accept the “leftovers” of the land they and their ancestors have inhabited for millennia.

There was a war in 1967 and the Arabs lost.  This must play a part in the negotiations.  It needs to be acknowledged that Israel does not have to negotiate any changes to the status quo.  It needs to be clear from the Palestinian leadership down through to the smallest Palestinian child, that Israel is a legitimate and welcome nation.  And it must be presented from the Israeli Prime Minister down through all the ranks of Israeli citizen that the Palestinians were on the land before 1948 and therefore have a right to it now.

I think that a single-state solution would be an easier and faster enterprise than the two-state solution but I will discuss my thoughts on both.

Single-State Solution
There are many positive outcomes to a single-state solution, but there are also negatives involved with this plan.

Israel and the West Bank* could become one secular, democratic nation.  This nation should be called Judea and Samaria because then either the Israelis or the West Bank Palestinians will feel they have won or lost.  The nation’s borders would go from the Mediterranean Sea in the east, the Jordan River in the west, the Negev desert and Sinai Peninsula in the south, and the Golan Heights/mountains to the north.  Palestinians and Israelis alike would gain citizenship (ie: passports, IDs, and travel documents) from Judea and Samaria.  Palestinians would gain the right of return they were promised back in 1948 and Israelis would gain the “Promised land.”  Palestinians would gain access to sites they have been banned from for a generation and Israelis would gain the safety they feel they haven’t yet accomplished.  Both people groups would have all the rights and responsibilities under this new nation and its government – including (but not limited to) voting, driver’s license, jury duty, running for elected offices, military service, and free enterprise.

As for the things they would lose.  Israelis would lose a distinctly Jewish state.  Palestinians would lose a distinctly Islamic state.  Both would lose the death and fighting that has plagued them for so long.  Both would lose a small piece of their identity – but they would gain a new identity in the new nation of Judea and Samaria.

Two-State Solution
There are many more difficulties to surpass with a two-state solution than the above proposal of a single-state, but they are not insurmountable.

For the Palestinians: they will have to give up their right of return.  This is the first thing that must happen.  They will have to concede the idea of returning to the villages and land of their ancestors.  They may still not be able to easily travel in and out of Israel.  They will also have to give up Jerusalem.

For the Israelis: they will have to give up their dream of controlling all of biblical Judea and Samaria.  This means giving up their settlements in the green zone and the West Bank.  They will have to give up the idea of total domination in the area.  They would have to go back to the pre-1967 borders.  They will also have to give up Jerusalem.

What would happen: Israel would remain a democratic, Jewish state with distinct borders.  Palestine would become a democratic state with distinct borders.  These boarders would return land won during the Six-Day War to the West Bank Palestinians.  The wall would come down and the West Bank would regain land they held after 1948 and the creation of Israel.  All West Bank settlements would have two options.  Option 1: become citizens of Palestine; giving up their Israeli citizenship and willingly aligning themselves with the rights and goals of a new nation or, Option 2: move back within the borders of Israel.  All Arabs/Palestinians living in Israel would also have two options.  Option 1: become citizens of Israel; giving up their claim to Palestine and willingly aligning themselves with the rights and goals of a nation or, Option 2: move within the borders of Palestine.

Both nations would not be able to deny citizenship to anyone who could prove their identity, their residency within that nation’s borders, and prove a proficiency in that nation’s official language.  Citizenship would include all the rights and responsibilities of democratic nations; including, but not limited to, voting, land ownership, constitutional rights, jury duty, running for elected office, driver’s license, ID, passport, military service, and free enterprise.

Jerusalem: would become international territory with its own flag as well as its own place and voting rights within the UN.  It would not belong to either Israel or Palestine.  It would be run by a committee made up of the Grand Mufti, Chief Rabbinate, Greek Orthodox Patriarch, Latin Catholic Patriarch, Armenian Patriarch, and two secular appointed leaders (one from Israel and one from Palestine).  These leaders would run Jerusalem from the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.  They would have an elected committee of fourteen (five from Israel, five from Palestine, and four from Jerusalem) who work with them as representatives for the people.  The committee would be elected for three-year terms and could be reelected no more than five times.  Every two years, at least three members would come up for reelection.

Residents of Jerusalem would be given international identification and paperwork.  They would have a separate Jerusalem passport and would not claim Israel or Palestine as their home country but would have all the rights and responsibilities of a citizen of an international territory (ie: see the rights and responsibilities above).

*My Peace Talks purposely leave out the Gaza Strip.  I think that Gaza is a separate entity from the West Bank (for good or ill) and should be treated as such.  It has its own leadership and that leadership needs to head into their own peace talks with Israel.

Thoughts on Gaza
I think Israel uses Gaza as a way to say “See, we NEED our walls and electric fences … they all hate us.”

The number one, most important thing that needs to be addressed for Gaza is the legitimacy of Israel.  They need to stop trying to destroy their neighbor and accept them.  They also need to stop trying to use force to gain an “upper hand.”  This change will never come if they continue to move toward violence.  Once these two stipulations have been negotiated I believe that things for Gaza would greatly and rapidly improve.

Gaza doesn’t have to worry about settlements or Israelis on their land.  They have to worry about having land and the Israeli blockades that have been put into place.  I truly think that once Gaza accepts Israel and ceases the violence Israel will lighten their hold on the area.  Trade will resume and blockades will diminish – if not disappear completely.

After a trust has been built, I think the electric fence surrounding Gaza as well as the IDF soldiers will be removed.  As for land issues, I think Gaza would have an easier time working with Egypt.  The Gazans may be able to claim part or all of the Sinai Peninsula.  With more land they would be able to move millions of people out of the refugee camps and the cramped quarters in which they are currently living.  After that, a government could be put in place – whether elected or appointed – and Gaza could become an independent nation.

Honestly, I think becoming an independent nation will be more difficult than negotiating lasting peace with Israel.  I do not think democracy would suit Gaza well but could see a parliamentary monarchy put into place within its government.  Hamas would need to cease to be a political entity and could possibly become the military unit of Gaza.

Again, the citizens of Gaza would gain land, rights, passports, travel opportunities, and responsibilities within their new nation.  And Israel would gain more safety and another ally.

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