Israeli-Palestinian peace is achievable

Jerusalem Post

This agreement is possible. The concessions within are not losses but gains and both sides will be able to stand tall and declare peace and victory.

Many of those who claim that a comprehensive Israeli-Palestinian peace treaty  putting an end to the conflict is not possible are the very people who do not  want it to happen. This includes those who say it’s too late, there are too many  Israelis living beyond the green line, or too many new settlement houses have  been built, and those who say there is no Palestinian partner.

Until now  there has been no partner for peace because the negotiations, even after 20  years of negotiating have not yet produced an agreement that is acceptable to  both parties and ends the claims on all of the eight core issues of the  conflict. But agreement is conceivable and after each side makes the concessions  which must be made they will be able to stand up proudly before their people and  declare “we got the best agreement possible and it is a victory for us!” Here it  is in short: 1. Palestinian statehood – this is already a fait accompli, clearly  in the interests of both sides – the territorial expression of our national  identity sealed by agreement, recognized by the international community,  accepted by the United Nations and fulfilling the principle laid down in UN  Resolution 181 from November 29, 1947 – the formal birth certificate of the two  states – the establishment of two states – one Jewish and one Arab on the land  known as Palestine/Israel.

2. The delineation of borders between the two  states – not based on the map of 1947 but on the armistice agreement of 1949,  the border line between the two states will divide the land with Palestine on 22  percent and Israel on 78%. The line will allow Israel to annex about 4% of the  West Bank enabling about 80% of the Israeli citizens in settlement blocs to  remain where there are.

Palestinians will get in exchange equal territory  from inside of Israel proper. They will be able to use those areas as  development zones and as compensation for land taken by Israeli  settlements.

3. Jerusalem – Israel will have full sovereignty over all of  the parts of Jerusalem where Israelis live. Jewish Jerusalem will be united and  recognized by the whole world as Israel’s capital. Palestine will have full  sovereignty over all of the parts of Jerusalem where Palestinians live.  Palestinian Jerusalem will be united and recognized by the whole word as  Palestine’s capital.

Jerusalem will be like Siamese twins – connected at  the most sensitive points and therefore will remain an open city with free  movement throughout.

Both parts of Jerusalem will share many aspects of  infrastructure and most importantly, both sides will be responsible to work  together to provide real security throughout the city. The Old City and holy  places will either work on the same demographic principles or will be managed by  agreement by others on behalf of both peoples. The Temple Mount/Haram al Sharif  compound will see the transformation of current realities into agreements with  the Muslim authorities in control on top of the Mount over the mosques there and  Jewish authorities in control of the Western Wall.

This arrangement can  hold at least until the Messiah comes, who can make changes then if the reality  allows for it. Hundreds of millions of Muslim pilgrims will be allowed to come  to complete their Haj pilgrimage which brings them to Mecca and Medina and  concludes in Al-Quds, Jerusalem.

4. Refugees – All Palestinians, always,  wherever they are will be able to become citizens of their independent sovereign  state.

Lands added to Palestine within the territorial swaps can be used  for resettlement purposes enabling Palestine to say that there is a partial  return to lands from before 1948.

Israel, Palestine and the international  community all have an interest to give refugees a new beginning and therefore an  international donor effort will be made with generous Israeli participation that  will grant all refugees in need a chance for decent modern housing, education  and work. New cities like Modi’in can be constructed in the West Bank.  Palestinians with land deeds and businesses that were lost will be able to apply  for compensation for their losses to an international commission and Israel will  also generously participate in this fund.

An agreed-to symbolic number of  Palestinians will be able to apply for return to Israel proper (somewhere around  50,000 people) noting that they will be then living in the State of Israel,  under Israeli laws and sovereignty. Israel can call this a humanitarian gesture  of family reunification and Palestine can call it the implementation of the  right of return. Palestinian refugees will also have the possibility to apply  for citizenship in other countries that may offer such a possibility always  holding onto to the option of becoming a citizen of Palestine also and holding  dual citizenship.

5. The physical crossing between West Bank and Gaza – a  stretch of about 40 kilometers going through the sovereign State of Israel. The  best option, I believe, is the rail link offering services to carry passengers,  cars and cargo with one stop in Gaza and one in the West Bank. Other  possibilities include a bridge, road, tunnel, sunken road or combinations of the  above. I propose beginning to build it now, as soon as possible from the West  Bank towards Gaza and ending one kilometer short of Gaza. Gaza will be part of  the full agreement, but it will only be implemented when the regime in Gaza  agrees to all of the terms of the agreement.

6. Economic relations – I  believe the best option for Palestine will be an improved customs union which  ends all of the leakages in the Paris protocol and enables Palestine to collect  their own customs because their state will have clear and defined  borders.

If they would like a different trade regime they should be able  to propose whatever they want because the economic consequences for Israel are  inconsequential.

Israel should do everything possible to allow for a  prosperous Palestine.

7. Water – with double the amount of water  available today because of desalination and reuse of waste water there is no  real water conflict any more. Palestine will have to have an equitable share of  all of the water available in the territory between the Jordan and the Sea and  water has a wonderful characteristic enabling this – it moves. The two states  will probably arrive at a reallocation agreement, but I would propose, in the  interest of real peace, a joint management model which states that all of the  water is a shared resource, not only the water underneath the West Bank. Gaza  will need a desalination plant of its own and should already be working on that  today.

8. Security arrangements – without security there is no agreement  on any of the above. Security arrangements need to provide real security for  both peoples. Primary security responsibility is in the hands of each side  within its own territory. Security cooperation between the two must be robust. A  multi-national force (similar to Sinai) led by the US or by NATO with Israeli  and Palestinian participation will hold longterm responsibilities along the  Jordan. International monitors will be on the ground to ensure full compliance  of security arrangements.

More – there will be a Jewish minority in  Palestine. The rights of the Jews in Palestine will be linked to the rights of  the Arabs citizens of Israel. The borders between the two states should be as  open as possible. Cooperation between the two states should be the goal of both  sides in every field possible.

An agreement is meant to enable a new  relationship taking both sides beyond conflict toward truly peaceful  relations.

Our physical space is so small; we are both required to  cooperate on all aspects concerning the environment and on many other issues  that are cross-boundary concerns.

The agreement must build bridges of  cooperation and not walls of separation.

Implementation of the agreement  will be incremental, over time based on performance and upholding obligations  within the agreements. A third party monitor/judge (likely the US) will be  necessary for this purpose.

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