Gush Shalom, an Israeli Peace Group, has come up with a sane rational solution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. This is what a final peace agreement will probably look like. The only objection is why Israel needs to occupy the West Bank and Gaza and East Jerusalem for another year. When the Israelis are serious about peace, they will clear out in a matter of weeks. The Palestinians need their freedom, now. And the Israelis need to abandon their real estate fantasies, now. Thirty Four years of occupation is enough, already. The Palestinians have already expressed a willingness to give up 78% of their ancestral homes to allow the Israelis to create a Jewish supremacist state. This major concession was made in the interest of peace and to give future generations of Israelis an opportunity to redeem themselves from the horrible racist legacy of their founding fathers. No one expects Israelis to change their chauvinist colors over-night. It took a bit of work to reach this level of Israeli tribal arrogance and it will take them time to create a more rational national character that can answer for the many brutal transgressions against the native people of Palestine. In the meantime, end this horrible occupation now, hand the war criminal generals over to the Hague and give up those real estate fantasies.
The peace agreement offered by Gush Shalom conforms not only to international law and UN resolutions; but to common sense. Most Palestinians are desperate for an end to this humiliating and murderous occupation. It was not easy for them to reach a national consensus to give up the major part, and the best part, of their homeland. If Israelis were not constantly incited by their leaders and their media to back the radical rejectionist of the settler movement. If Israelis would stop rallying behind every war criminal that decides to run for high office. If they would worry about their reputation in the Middle East as much as they concern themselves with their public relations image in the United States and Europe. If Israelis would get over their delusion that a Sharon or a Barak can make the Palestinians vanish. If they would stop for a moment and take a head count and realize that there are three times as many Palestinians in Palestine as the pre-expulsion number in 1948. Only in 2001, there is no place to exile them to. If they would get over their nasty national dogma of Euro-centric Yiddish supremacy. That is all it will take for a solution.
It has long been evident to Palestinians that there is no use appealing to an Israeli sense of justice. These bone deep bigots have been raised by their elders to treat the natives of the Holy Land with criminal disdain. But there has always been the hope that an appeal to Israeli intelligence might prove productive. If that too proves to be a fruitless enterprise; then the Palestinians should call for the abolition of the Palestinian Authority and all the agreements that legitimize the Yiddish supremacist state. Next step is to revert to the call for full citizenship rights in a Federal state that would put an immediate end to the monopoly of state power by the slight Jewish majority. And if the Israelis don’t like either of those two deals, the Palestinians should contemplate ways to offer them less.
We live in a promising age. Justice will most likely prevail and the Palestinians can be confident that in a world where international law and human rights are gaining momentum, they too shall enjoy the political bounties of a new era.
This is an age where war criminals like Sharon will need to have the means to hire good Jewish Belgian lawyers. Would be Israeli ambassadors, like Gillon, are being screened by host governments for their previous participation in torture and other crimes. The Israeli propaganda machine’s lock on the media is slowly eroding, thanks to the technological marvels of the internet. There will be no burying of the historical record. And guess what? A lot of folks don’t like the fact that, for so many years, they were taken for fools by the New York Times and other ethnic newspapers working in the service of a racist state.
As for the Palestinians. With every generation they get a little tougher. They will not wait around indefinitely for an indifferent America to deliver. They will not suffer quietly. The sooner the Israelis come to terms with these realities, the easier it will be all around.
So, here is what Peace will look like.
Between the State of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, the Representative of the Palestinian People.
Whereas both parties wish to end the historical conflict between them, establish peace and bring about a historical conciliation between the two nations,
And whereas both parties wish to base the peace on the principles of self-determination, mutual respect, justice and equality,
And whereas both parties acknowledge the principle of “two states for two nations”,
And whereas both parties accept UN resolutions 242, 338 and 194 as the basis for a solution and regard the implementation of the agreement below as the full realization of these resolutions,
It is agreed by both parties:
Section 1: The End of the Occupation.
Within one year, the Israeli occupation, in all its manifestations and functions, in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, including Arab East Jerusalem, will come to an end.
Section 2: The State of Palestine.
Within one year, the independent and sovereign State of Palestine will be established on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, including Arab East Jerusalem, the part of the Dead Sea that borders the Palestinian shore and the territorial waters of the Gaza Strip.
Section 3: Borders
The border between the State of Israel and the State of Palestine will be the cease-fire lines as they existed on June 4th 1967 (hereinafter: the Green Line), unless stipulated otherwise in this agreement.
The State of Palestine will have full sovereign control of all its border crossings on land, sea and air.
Both parties wish that the border between them should be open, with unrestricted passage of people and goods, within the framework of the economic and border-passing arrangements to be agreed upon by the parties.
Section 4: Jerusalem.
Both parties acknowledge the uniqueness of the City of Jerusalem and declare their intention to preserve it as a single urban unit, open to all.
The Arab neighborhoods of the city, according to the map attached, will be an integral part of the State of Palestine and will serve as its capital. These areas of the city will be connected to each other and to the State of Palestine as a single, continuous, territorial entity.
The Jewish neighborhoods of the city, according to the map attached, will be an integral part of the State of Israel and will serve as its capital. These areas of the city will be connected to each other and to the State of Israel as a single, continuous, territorial entity.
The Jewish quarter of the Old City will be part of the State of Israel and will be attached to its territory. The Muslim, Christian and Armenian quarters of the Old City will be part of the State of Palestine.
There will be no barriers or obstacles preventing unrestricted passage between the two parts of the City. Both parties will establish border checkpoints, if they so decide, at the entrances/exits of the City.
The municipality of the Palestinian Jerusalem and the municipality of the Israeli Jerusalem will establish a joint council, based on the principle of equality, to manage the shared municipal services. The council will be headed by the chairman of the council and his/her deputy, one of whom will be Israeli and the other Palestinian. They will rotate their positions after two years. The first assignment will be determined by lot.
Section 5: Holy Sites.
Both parties acknowledge the uniqueness of the Holy Sites and their importance to the believers of the three monotheistic religions.
The area of the Haram al-Sharif (Temple Mount) will be part of the State of Palestine.
The Western Wall (the part also called “the Wailing Wall”) will be part of the State of Israel.
All archeological or other excavations in the area of the Haram al-Sharif (the Temple Mount), the Western Wall or in their immediate vicinity shall be undertaken by mutual consent.
Section 6: Exchange of Territory.
Exchange of territories can be effected by agreement between both parties.
Section 7: Extra-territorial Roads.
A highway will be constructed between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and it will belong to the State of Palestine. The highway will not be connected to the Israeli road network at any point and will pass either above or below it.
Section 8: Security.
Both parties have the right to national and personal security.
Both parties renounce the use of force and the threat of force against each other.
Both parties undertake to combat terrorism and terrorist initiatives organized in one state against the other, its residents and institutions.
Both parties undertake to prevent the entry of any foreign military force into their territories. Any contravention of this section by either state will grant the other state the right to take any measures required for self-defense.
The State of Palestine undertakes to refrain from arming itself with heavy offensive weapons for 25 years. This obligation will become void if peace treaties are signed between Israel and the Arab states.
Both parties will come to an agreement regarding the usage of each other’s air space.
Section 9: The Settlements.
Residents of the settlements located in territory that is to become part of the State of Palestine will be evacuated from the territory before the end of the Israeli occupation.
The settlements will be transferred intact to the Palestinian authorities, without any damage inflicted on buildings or other immovable property. The property evacuated by the settlers will be considered part of Israel’s contribution to the rehabilitation of the Palestinian refugees (as specified heretofore in section 11.)
Section 10: Water.
The water resources of the entire land between the river Jordan and the Mediterranean belong to both parties.
A Supreme Israeli-Palestinian Committee will be appointed and will be responsible for water resources and distribution. Water will be allocated justly and equally, on the basis of the numerical proportion of residents in both states.
Both parties will cooperate in projects for the development of additional water resources, such as desalination of seawater.
Section 11: Refugees.
Both parties agree that the human tragedy of the Palestinians must be resolved by a moral, just, practicable and agreed-upon solution that takes into consideration the character and essential needs of the two states.
Israel acknowledges its central responsibility for the creation of this tragedy during the course of the wars of 1948 and 1967. Both parties will establish a “truth commission” of historians – Israeli, Palestinian and international – that will examine the precise causes that lead to the creation of the problem in all its aspects, and will issue an objective, conclusive report within three years. This report will be incorporated into the schoolbooks of both states.
Israel acknowledges the principle of the Right of Return as a basic human right.
According to this right, every refugee will be accorded the choice between compensation and permanent settlement in another country, return to the State of Palestine or return to Israeli territory, according to the following principles:
(1) In order to heal the historical wound and as an act of justice, Israel will allow the return into its territory of a certain number of refugees, which will be decided by agreement. The returnees will be allowed back under a reasonable annual quota within a time limit not exceeding 10 years.
(2) A generous level of compensation will be determined for each refugee for property that remained in Israel, loss of opportunities, etc. The compensation will be paid by an international fund. Israel will contribute an appropriate portion to this fund, taking into account the value of Palestinian property that remained in Israel.
(3) Israel will use its influence with the international fund so that the Palestinian state will be enabled to absorb refugees who chose to return to it, as well as refugees currently residing in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, by providing suitable housing and employment opportunities.
Section 12: Implementation of UN Resolutions.
Upon full implementation of sections 1 to 9, both parties will present a formal joint statement to the UN Security Council, declaring that both parties consider resolutions 242 and 338 fully realized. Upon full implementation of section 11, both parties will present a declaration to the UN that resolution 194 has been realized.
Section 13: Differences of Opinion.
An agreed-upon international committee will monitor the implementation of this agreement and act as arbitrator in the case of differences of opinion.
Section 14: End of the Conflict.
Full implementation of this agreement will constitute the end of the conflict between Israel and Palestine.
Mr. Ahmed Amr is Editor of NileMedia.com in Seattle and a regular contributor to Media Monitors Network (MMN). Gush Shalom is a non-partisan and extra-parliamentary grass roots movement, whose aim is to influence public opinion. Gush Shalom is composed of Jews and Arabs, Independents as well as members of political parties and other organizations.