Monday, November 7, 2011
Monday, October 17, 2011
The people of Gaza might want to seriously consider an unusual solution to their future. They should think long and hard about becoming the 82nd province of Turkey. Seriously.
Gaza and the West bank as a completely united and totally sovereign advanced nation? Not in my lifetime.
Becoming part of Egypt is also a non starter. Egypts future is in doubt.
Now consider joining Turkey. For Turkey to be invited to establish and then accept such a permanant economic and military presence in the southeast Mediterranean is jut a no brainer. Turkey belongs to NATO so any move on that part would be hard pressed to be countered by the US or the EU. Turkey would be more than capable of establishing a full economic, political and military complex based upon complete sovereinty in Gaza. Cultural differences? Go around them. Israel counter the idea? The solution solves just too many issues.
And nothing diverts attention away from eliminating Israel like Gaza being caught up in creating its own economic miracle. No other non violent solution would give the people of Gaza a sense a resolution with dignity like rapid unparalled dynamic success.
Ironically for the Palestinians of the West Bank and diaspora worldwide, a greatly enhanced Turkic Gaza would be their one true and only long term champion for long term sovereignty and dignified success as well. Embrace it.
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Monday, July 25, 2011
Israeli settlers on the West Bank
It is conceivable that some Jewish settlers could remain in a Palestinian state
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
This entire mess was started by foreign powers promising the same things to many different people with an "ends justifies the means" mentality. That duplicite mentality has never left the prolonged tragedy that is the Israeli Palestinian conflict from either side or from any outside power offering to help.
Is it really the short distances involved or the weapons of the moment or is it the water underneath? Is it really the memories of lost land decades or centuries ago or is it the embarrassment of having to tell your fellow citizens that you have used huge portions of your own populations to cling to power and that their living in fantasies of what should be are duplicity of the highest order?
The world conspires by the allusion that peace between Israel and Palestinians is but a short checklist of easily solved problems by pragmatic leadership but the idea of the Jordanians and Palestinians finding common cause and direction is a fantasy beyond consideration. Perceptions.
I would like to add a few of my own that I think are perhaps never considered but would do much to promote peace in the region.
The first and most important is the reach of Israel all the way to the Gulf of Aqaba. It physically and mentally divides the Arab and Muslim world. There is no land route for a society that was founded on and thrived financially, intellectually and spiritually by the free movement of an entire society across vast distances. As Israel speaks of the Israel of old, the historic foundations of the Arab world of old are perhaps forgotten.
It is my belief that any peace negotiations between Israel and the Arab world might really start with a decision to make the exchange of any peace with the agreement to transfer sovereignty to all of the Negev south of the 30th parallel to Jordan.
Such a corridor would be a vast financial and mental boost not only to Jordan but to the entire Arab World. This in turn would perhaps make the re unification of a joint Jordanian/Palestinian homeland solution more in the realm of possibility. The promise of this international corridor would be a major incentive for all the Arab powers to rethink what they are willing to give and what needs to be done to solve the entire Palestinian peoples forced dislocation for the past six decades. Again perceptions. This is really the "corridor" in the modern age that is not indefensible.
Perhaps the long discussed Med/Red/Dead Sea water diversion project should go forward. But instead of raising the Dead Sea to recent levels perhaps the idea of raising it to approximately -1000 feet or -305 meters should be considered. It would involve the movement of a short distance of industrial, agricultural and residential areas but not a huge amount of population. It would however create a most effective major physical and mental boundary of the eastern West Bank for a vast majority of its distance. Jericho would become a seaside community.
Finally the perception of the West Bank/Jerusalem being one unified problem to be decided as such. Perhaps it should be considered as Jerusalem, al-Quds, Samaria and Judea (the western 2/3 rds). Perhaps they should be considered as the four distinct and separate areas that they are. Perhaps the proposal that the Palestinians of the West Bank might consider sovereignty of two and Israel of two. Totally of the Palestinians choice. The other two areas would become part of Sovereign Israel forever and the other two with basically 1967 borders would become part of a completely sovereign and united Jordan/Palestinian homeland. Respective Jewish, Muslim and other religious citizens of the affected areas would be allowed to choose the citizenship of their choice but would be allow to remain with full and equal protection and rights within their chosen area of residence.
If the Palestinians choose al-Quds and Western Judea a corridor of some width would be created to join this area to Gaza. Amman would be the administrative capital and al-Quds the judicial capital of a combined nation or federation of Jordanians and Palestinians.
Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Lebanon would donate portions of their countries to the new Jordanian/Palestinian homeland to also help with settlement. A regional water compact is for another time and discussion but is of vital importance to long term stability in the entire region as well.
Finally. The newly discovered gas fields offshore of Palestine and Israel would be used 50/50 to fund both the Jewish and Palestinians and their dependents displaced since 1947. It would also fund education on each side as to the "honest" history of their counterparts over the past centuries.
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Here is what a peace plan must involve for it to have any chance of swaying hearts and minds on all sides:
1. The peace treaty will recognize the State of Israel and the State of Palestine and defines Palestine’s borders to include almost all of pre-1967 West Bank and Gaza, with small exchanges of land mutually agreed upon and roughly equivalent in value and historic and/or military significance to each side. The peace plan will also entail a corresponding treaty between Israel and all Arab states—including recognition of Israel and promising full diplomatic and economic cooperation among these parties—and accepting all the terms of this agreement as specified herein And it should include a twenty-to-thirty-year plan for moving toward a Middle Eastern common market and the eventual establishment of a political union along the lines of the European Union. This might also include eventually building a federation between Israel and Palestine, or Israel, Palestine, and Jordan.
2. Jerusalem will be the capital of both Israel and Palestine and will be governed for all civic issues by an elected council in West Jerusalem and a separate elected council in East Jerusalem. The Old City will become an international city whose sovereignty will be implemented by an international council that guarantees equal access to all holy sites—a council whose taxes will be shared equally by the city councils of East and West Jerusalem.
3. Immediate and unconditional freedom will be accorded all prisoners in Israel and Palestine whose arrests have been connected in some way with the Occupation and/or resistance to the Occupation.
4. An international force will be established to separate and protect each side from the extremists of the other side who will inevitably seek to disrupt the peace agreement. And a joint peace police—composed of an equal number of Palestinians and Israelis, at both personnel and command levels—will be created to work with the international force to combat violence and to implement point number six below.
5. Reparations will be offered by the international community for Palestinian refugees and their descendents at a sufficient level within a ten-year period to bring Palestinians to an economic well-being equivalent to that enjoyed by those with a median Israeli-level income. The same level of reparations will also be made available to all Jews who fled Arab lands between 1948 and 1977. An international fund should be set up immediately to hold in escrow the monies needed to ensure that these reparations are in place once the peace plan is agreed upon.
6. A truth and reconciliation process will be created, modeled on the South African version but shaped to the specificity of these two cultures. Plus: an international peace committee will be appointed by representatives of the three major religious communities of the area to develop and implement teaching of a) nonviolence and nonviolent communication, b) empathy and forgiveness, and c) a sympathetic point of view of the history of the “other side.” The adoption of this curriculum should be mandatory in every grade from sixth grade through high school. The committee should moreover be empowered to ensure the elimination of all teaching of hatred against the other side or teaching against the implementation of this treaty in any public, private, or religious educational institutions, media, or public meetings, along lines pioneered by the U.S. in Japan and Germany after the Second World War.
7. Palestine will agree to allow all Jews living in the West Bank to remain there as law-abiding citizens of the new Palestinian state, so long as they give up their Israeli citizenship and abide by decisions of the Palestinian courts. A fund should be created to a) help West Bank settlers move back to Israel if they wish to remain Israeli citizens and b) help Palestinians move from the lands of their dispersion to Palestine if they wish to be citizens of the new Palestinian state. In exchange for Palestine agreeing to allow Israelis to stay in the West Bank as citizens of the Palestinian state, Israel will agree to let 20,000 Palestinian refugees return each year for the next thirty years to the pre-1967 borders of Israel and provide them with housing. (This number—20,000—is small enough to not change the demographic balance, yet large enough to show that Israel cares about Palestinian refugees and recognizes that they have been wronged.) Each state must acknowledge the right of the other to give preferential treatment in immigration to members of its leading ethnic group (Jews in Israel, Palestinians in Palestine).
8. Full and equal rights will be afforded to all minority communities living within each of the two states. All forms of religious coercion or religious control over the state or over personal lives or personal “status” issues like birth, marriage, divorce, and death will be eliminated. Each state, however, will have the right to give priority in immigration and immigration housing (but not in any subsequent benefits) to its own leading ethnic community (Jews in Israel, Arabs in Palestine).
9. The leaders of all relevant parties will agree to talk in a language of peace and openhearted reconciliation, and to publicly reject the notion that the other side cannot be trusted.
Though inequalities of power may create circumstances in which a less generous agreement is eventually reached, unless it contains the elements specified here, and unless it is based on a new spirit of open-heartedness and generosity, it cannot work for any length of time. All the rest is just jockeying for temporary advantage and political popularity, not for an actual end to the Israel/Palestine conflict.
–Rabbi Michael Lerner is editor of Tikkun Magazine www.tikkun.org, chair of the interfaith Network of Spiritual Progressives www.spiritualprogressives, and author of the forthcoming in December book Embacing Israel/Palestine. copyright RabbiLerner 2011. You have permission to use it for non-profit purposes but only if you reproduce it in totality and don’t quote out of context.