Quiet negotiations develop possible Mideast peace plan

Reply Mon 3 Nov, 2003 01:51 am
Former president Jimmy Carter chairs the non-governmental Carter Center in Atlanta, which advances peace and health worldwide.


We'll see where this one goes.
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Reply Mon 3 Nov, 2003 07:13 am
Ad hoc groups can hold discussions and lay out plans however,they will be just a cry in the wilderness. The only meaningful discussions and plans are those discussed and agreed upon by the parties in control.
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Reply Mon 3 Nov, 2003 10:12 am
Peace in the Middle East
Here is an article outlining a possible solution:

Nov. 2, 2003
Recognizing consensus

I, too, was a settler once.

The name of my "settlement" was Hagiva Hatzarfatit, which many readers will recognize as the French Hill neighborhood of northeast Jerusalem. The original name given the area by officialdom was Givat Shapira, after an NRP leader and minister of interior. But mercifully, few people actually use that tag except government mapmakers. I can hear many readers protesting: "What sort of a settlement" is that? French Hill is no settlement, it is an integral part of Jerusalem."

Which is precisely the point I want to make. French Hill was part of a ring of new neighborhoods built in the wake of the 1967 Six Day War on the mountain ridges surrounding Jerusalem. It is from these hills that the Jordanians had bombarded the Israeli part of the divided city on June 5. Together with Ramot, Ramat Eshkol, Givat Hamivtar, Neveh Ya'acov, the connecting areas to the besieged Mount Scopus enclave, Armon Hanatziv (East Talpiot), and Gilo, French Hill was distinctly on the Jordanian side of the Green Line which divided the city between 1948 and 1967.

Later, Pisgat Ze'ev, and more recently, Ramat Shlomo and Har Homa were added to this ring. In addition to being on the other side of the Green Line, the reason French Hill and many of the other ring neighborhoods qualified as settlements is that most Israelis at the time were scared to death to move into them. That fear significantly lowered the prices of the large and beautifully planned (though abominably constructed) apartments built there. This, in turn, made it possible for Israelis like me to buy there.

My protesting readers are right in a way. None of these neighborhoods have been considered settlements for a long time; not even by Palestinians. Why so? Because they were always deep in the Israeli consensus, and because such a large number of Israelis actually went to live there and invested their lives and their own money in them. One third to one half of Jerusalem's Jewish population lives in these neighborhoods, more than the entire Jewish population in all of the settlements in the territories.

No one would dare even whisper that any of these neighborhoods be given up. THE VISION of a Greater Israel – in which all the areas captured as a result of the war the Arabs initiated in 1967 would be annexed – was never within the Israeli consensus. The Labor government's consensus-oriented Allon Plan conceived of settling in, and annexing, only those parts of the territories deemed essential to Israel's security. The rest were to be used as eventual bargaining chips.

Consensus was never part of the motivation of the messianic Gush Emunim, which wanted to annex all the territories. Recently, talk of giving up settlements has been renewed following the killings by a Palestinian gunman of three Israeli soldiers in Netzarim, an isolated settlement in the Gaza Strip.

Moreover, the exact route of the massive security barrier snaking through the West Bank has also sparked thoughts about the eventual fate of those settlements on the wrong side of it.

A recent Jerusalem conference at the Israel Democracy Institute, in which some settler leaders participated, raised the real possibility that there might be settlers who would oppose with arms any attempt by the government and the IDF to remove them. This is a daunting possibility that should be taken into account, but should not be permitted to determine the nature of the decision on what is best for Israel.

I, like most Israelis, believe that eventually many settlements – but certainly not all – will have to be vacated. Annexation of all the territories has never been in the cards. The absence of a consensus means that most Israelis will come to actively oppose the further sacrifice of soldiers in defense of indefensible – and militarily purposeless – outposts. To prevent the possibility of a civil war over the issue, the evacuation of any settlement should be made conditional on a Palestinian quid pro quo – either agreed or imposed.

For example, it is in Israel's interest to cut our losses and evacuate Netzarim, Kfar Darom and other isolated settlements in the Gaza Strip. But at the same time it is essential that we push the Palestinian population out of a several-kilometer-deep swath of Rafah and raze it. This would destroy the arms smuggling tunnels from Egypt and make it impossible to re-dig them.

Such a trade-off should make a traumatic evacuation more palatable. Even more daunting is the unavoidable possibility that a large town like Ariel may eventually have to be given up. But, if so, it should only be in exchange for the evacuation of the Palestinian town of Kalkilya, which continues to constitute a terrorist threat to the heavily populated central Sharon.

We are at present engaged in a mutual war of attrition between our opposing civilian populations. Any progress will have to be based on mutually painful concessions.

The writer is a retired lecturer in political science and a veteran journalist.
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Reply Mon 3 Nov, 2003 11:10 am
Welcome to a2k.
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Reply Tue 4 Nov, 2003 12:37 am

Palestine/Israel: a state for all its citizens

Peace in Palestine through territorial partition is a doomed fantasy and the time has come to discard it. While it may once have worked on paper, in practice the Israeli state has succeeded, through the relentless colonization of the Occupied Territories and lately its grotesque separation barrier, in its long-standing goal of rendering any workable partition impossible.
While Israel was conceived as a state for Jews, Edward Said explained in 1999, the "effort to separate (Israelis and Palestinians) has occurred simultaneously and paradoxically with the effort to take more and more land, which has in turn meant that Israel has acquired more and more Palestinians." The result is that Israel can in the long run only remain a "Jewish state" through apartheid or, as some Israeli Cabinet ministers demand, ethnic cleansing.
Armed Palestinian resistance has rendered the colonization effort extremely costly to Israel, but has been unable to stop or reverse it. The "road map" was the final test of whether a two-state solution could be realized through peaceful means. The refusal of the US to exert any pressure on Israel, despite an unprecedented 51-day cease-fire by all Palestinian factions, leaves no doubt that a US administration, no matter how determined its rhetoric, cannot in good faith work toward such a solution. There is no other coalition of countries that is ready, willing and able to act as a counterweight to the US.
Recognizing years ago the implications of the intertwined population and complex geography that Israeli colonization has created, Said wrote that "the question is not how to devise means for persisting in trying to separate," Israelis and Palestinians, "but to see whether it is possible for them to live together as fairly and peacefully as possible." Said believed that the way to achieve this is in a single state.
While Said's logic and vision were irresistible, the strongest counterargument was the pragmatic one: that something like peace could be most quickly achieved through ending the occupation and establishing a state for Palestinians in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza. Moreover, an international consensus and framework of international law contemplating this outcome had been painstakingly built over three decades. To discard it, many Palestinians feared, would have been to take a leap into the unknown.
But it is inescapable now that what already exists is in effect one state: Israel, in which half the population ­ the Palestinians ­ have second-class rights or no rights at all, not even citizenship.
The insistence on partition, not on one state, is increasingly a delusional deviation from this reality. I want to be clear that my belief that the two-state solution is unachievable derives not from an analysis that the status quo of settlement and occupation is irreversible, since anything built by humans can conceivably be dismantled by them, but that the political dynamic that has created the present situation is irreversible within the current framework.
The only way to rob the Israeli colonization project of its raison d'etre is not to continue to throw ourselves into the path of a superior force, or to continue to plead with the United States, but to render the motive of territorial conquest irrelevant. In one state, all people will be able to live wherever they want, provided they obtain their homes legally on the same basis as everyone else, not through force and land theft. In other words, we have to break the link between sovereignty, ethnicity and geography within Palestine.
It is the moment, therefore, for us to declare the era of partition over and commit to a moral, just and realisable vision in which Israelis and Palestinians build a future as partners in a single state which guarantees freedom, equality and cultural self-determination to all its citizens. Refusing to make this choice now means effectively agreeing to the endless bloodshed and extremism offered by Israel's political-military establishment and Hamas.
The path to one state contains obstacles, the greatest being Jewish Israelis' desire to maintain the power and privileges they enjoy today. But whatever resources they possess, ideological opponents of one state will suffer from an insurmountable weakness: They will be arguing against the most basic and deep-rooted principles of democracy ­ "one person, one vote" and equality before the law.
It will take enormous efforts to convince a majority of Israelis that the security and legitimacy they will never achieve through conquest and repression can be achieved by merging their political future with that of the Palestinians. I am convinced, however, that for most Israelis, resistance to this concept will not stem from an ideological commitment to a status quo in which they are privileged and others oppressed, but will arise from simple fear of discarding today's certainties, no matter how dismal. To get them to do so, they must be presented with a convincing alternative. Even without such a campaign, several prominent Israelis have recently declared their support for one state. This is a hopeful development.
We should be under no illusion that seeking a one-state solution is a short-cut to peace. On the contrary, we need to prepare for years of sustained political struggle. But at least this path offers an alternative to violence combined with the prospect that real peace can be achieved. Persisting along the present path offers hope of neither.
Although the goal of a single, democratic and secular state was long the central platform of the Palestinian national movement, until it was abandoned in the late 1980s, Palestinian leaders made no serious effort to convince Israelis, or for that matter ordinary Palestinians, that they were not simply proposing to replace Israeli with Palestinian domination.
The burden to persuade Israelis lies largely with Palestinians, who while demanding equal rights and an end to the Jewish Israeli monopoly on power, must hold out a future in which the two communities express their identities as equals rooted by right and history in the same land.
This is undoubtedly an unfair burden, but it is a fact that oppressed groups must often show their oppressors a way out of the tunnel they have dug. This was true in South Africa, where even in the darkest days of apartheid, the African National Congress under Nelson Mandela offered white South Africans a future of reconciliation, not revenge. As in South Africa, a truth and reconciliation process can help both peoples overcome the pain of the past even as they build a just future together.
Israeli and Palestinian supporters of a one-state solution must build a new movement. This partnership must work to translate the vast international sympathy for the Palestinian cause into active support for the transformation ­ with international assistance and guarantees ­ of Israel and the Occupied Territories into a democracy for all its inhabitants. It must be a movement that builds political and moral power through non-violent resistance and civil disobedience, and mobilizes the widest possible base. Only through such a movement, I am convinced, shall we create peace in our lifetimes.

Chicago-based Palestinian-Jordanian political analyst Ali Abunimah, co-founder of the Electronic Intifada, writes a regular commentary for THE DAILY STAR

Or, if not one state, then a confederation of states niether one bigoted, nor chauvanistic, nor exclusivistic, but of, by and for the people of the lands referrenced by UN res. 181.
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