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Monday, August 07, 2006

Peace Plans for Israel and Palestine


Historical Background

Numerous final status and peace plans have been advanced to settle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They are all based on variants of a few ideas that have a venerable history. The plans must address the following issues:

Sovereignty - Each people wants the right to self determination, but some plans deny self determination to one people or the other.

Borders - If there are two states, the land must be apportioned between them and some people will probably need to move. Palestinians demand that all Israeli settlers would leave any separate Palestinian state.

Immigration - Israel has a law of return that allows Jews from all over the world to immigrate to Israel and be granted citizenship automatically. Israel actively seeks Jewish immigration. Palestinian refugees who fled Israeli in 1948 and 1967 want the right to return to their homes in Israel (Right of Return), and Palestinians historically have tried to limit Jewish immigration to Israel and abolish the Law of Return. Many Palestinian refugee families have kept keys to their homes in what is now Israel, even though the homes themselves no longer exist. Return of Palestinian refugees and their descendants, including all those who claim the status of Palestinian refugees, would establish an Arab majority in Israel and would therefore mean the end of Israel as a Jewish state.

Resources - If the states are divided, scarce common resources must be apportioned between them.

Historic Peace Plans

One Jewish State - The Zionists envisioned a single Jewish state that would encompass all of the land from beyond the Jordan river to the sea, as well as Gaza and parts of what is now Lebanon. The single Jewish state plan was abandoned by most Zionists when it became apparent that the Jews could not be a decisive majority in all of Palestine. Today, settlers and right wing Zionists propose various single state solutions that all seek to maintain a Jewish majority in the land, either by expelling Palestinians or by denying or abridging their political rights.

One Arab State - Arab states and Palestinian leaders called for a single Palestinian Arab state in Palestine. This "plan" has been put forward from time to time with different variants. All of them would put an end to Zionism and would not allow free Jewish immigration to Israel. After WW II The Palestinian leader Haj Amin el Husseini, told the British that the Jewish problem in Palestine should be solved in the same was as it had been "solved" by Hitler in Europe (by murdering the Jews). In 1967, on the eve of the 6-day war, Ahmed Shokhairy, then head of the PLO, spoke at UN, giving the Palestinian one-state solution. He explained that "if it will be our privilege to strike the first blow," the PLO would exile from Israel all Zionists who arrived after 1917 and create a "secular democratic state. This secular democratic state became the program of the Palestine Liberation Organization and of the Fateh which sought to "liberate" Palestine from the Zionists by armed struggle. The Hamas and Islamic Jihad prefer an Islamic state, in which Jews and other religious minorities can remain as dhimmis (second class citizens).

Binational State - This idea was advanced by Dr. Yehuda Magnes, President of the Hebrew University and the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber. This state would have Jewish and Arab cantons, similar to the Swiss German and French Cantons. The idea was presented to the Anglo-American commission in 1946, was favored by the Mapam party and by the USSR. However, the idea lost support after the Arab states and Palestinian leadership totally rejected it. The binational state has a few modern proponents, including Meron Benvenisti, Noam Chomsky and Edward Said.

Two State Partition Solution - The British first partitioned Palestine in 1922, cutting off Transjordan from the Palestine mandate of the League of nations, along with the announcement by Winston Churchill that the Mandate called for a Jewish home in Palestine, but not necessarily in all of Palestine. The Peel and Woodhead commissions of 1937 and 1938 recommended a further partition, into a tiny Jewish state and much larger Arab state. The Arabs rejected this solution and the British abandoned it. The UN called for the establishment of two states in UN General Assembly Resolution 181, which became the basis for the establishment of Israel. The Arab countries opposed Resolution 181, and were also not enthusiastic about creating a Palestinian state, preferring to divide the territory of Palestine between them.

Alon Plan - Israeli general and political leader Yigal Alon formulated this plan for partition of the West Bank with part of the land to be returned to Jordan as a solution for the Israeli Palestinian conflict.

Autonomy - Israel PM Menachem Begin proposed that Israel would give autonomy to Palestinians, in the framework of the Israeli - Egyptian peace treaty. The "autonomy" would allow Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza to run their internal affairs, but would give them no rights at all over the land, and no representation as a sovereign state. They could have Jordanian or Egyptian citizenship. A plan consistent with autonomy was submitted by the Israeli government in 1989.

The Barak Offer, Taba talks and Clinton Compromise - During 2000 and early 2001, Israelis and Palestinians negotiated unsuccessfully regarding a final status solution. Though the overall result was a failure, there were many points of agreement. The nature of the settlement and the proposed maps are detailed here and here.

Recent Peace Plans, Final Status Plans and Peace Initiatives

Introduction - Not every plan for a settlement is a peace plan. Some of the recent proposals are expressly designed to subjugate one side or the other and cannot be considered "peace plans." Some of the initiatives are intended to be the basis for a peace plan or a method of arriving at a peace plan, but aren't complete solutions and don't pretend to be. See How many states? and The Emperor's New Peace Plan and "The Two State Solution" for some background. An explanation of most of the different proposals follows.

The Quartet Road map - The Road Map , now endorsed by the UN, is not a final status plan, but a series of steps designed to calm the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, create a provisional Palestinian state and allow for negotiations of a final status agreement. The "road map" calls for a three-phased implementation of U.S. President George W. Bush's June 24, 2002 speech : that would make possible Israel and Palestinians "living side by side in peace and security." However, the roadmap does not specify the final borders of Palestine and Israel or any other other details of the solution.

Arab Peace Initiative The Saudi-initiated plan for a comprehensive peace calls for settlement of the Palestine-Israel conflict and other outstanding disputes, followed by termination of the state of war that has existed between Israel and all Arab countries and recognition of Israel. As part of the Palestinian settlement, the plan calls more or less explicitly for return of the Palestinian refugees to Israel.

Third Party Peace Initiatives:

Geneva Accord - The "Geneva Accord" is a a proposed final status agreement between Israelis and Palestinians s initiated by former justice minister Yossi Beilin and former Palestinian minister of information Yasser Abed Rabbo. Talks on the agreement took place over the past year and were funded, in part, by the Swiss government. Israelis who signed the agreement included Labor MKs Amram Mitzna, Avraham Burg, Yuli Tamir and MK Haim Oron (Meretz), former MK Nehama Ronen; General Giora Inbar, Former Chief of Staff Amnon Lipkin-Shahak and authors Amos Oz and David Grossman.

The agreement provides in great detail for an independent and demilitarized Palestine living alongside Israel. Borders between the states would be based on the 1967 lines with slight modifications, giving Israel the Gush Etzion settlements, Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, the Jewish quarter of the Old City and the settlement of Ma'aleh Edumim. An international religious authority would control central holy sites, with the Temple Mount officially under Palestinian sovereignty and the Western Wall and Jewish Quarter of the Old City under Israeli sovereignty. Israel would decide how many Palestinian refugees would be admitted to Israel. Other refugees would get compensation from international funds and would be accepted either into Palestine the countries in which they are currently residing or other countries.

According to a public opinion poll jointly sponsored by the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University in Houston and the International Crisis Group in Washington, DC , 53.3 percent of Israelis polled said they would support such a proposal while 43.9 percent said they would oppose it. On the Palestinian side, 55.6 percent expressed support. Other polls gave the proposals about 30 percent support in Israel, but it is not clear that respondents understood the plan.

The complete text of the accord is here. Unofficial maps of the accord are here. The Geneva accord is similar to earlier plans put forward by Gush Shalom and Peace Now.

Ayalon-Nusseibeh Plan (Peoples' Voice) - The Peoples' Voice initiative was launched in June by former Shin Bet head Ami Ayalon and Sari Nusseibeh, the former PLO representative in Jerusalem. The initiative is based on a six-point Statement of Principles, calling for a demilitarized Palestinian state; an open Jerusalem; compensation for Palestinian refugees and explicitly relinquishing the Palestinian claim for the right of Palestinian Refugees to return to Israel ("Right of Return"). . More information is at the Peoples' Voice website.

One Voice - One Voice is a grassroots peace initiative that seeks to find common ground between the "silent majority" of Israelis and Palestinians. One Voice has about 100,000 signatures on a petition empowering a panel of experts to propose a solution, and will soon present a detailed set of principles, or "pillars" on which people will be able to vote through the Web using facilities to be donated, as well as through other means. statement of principles, and is working on a says it has managed to "achieve consensus on 20 Pillars that may form the basis for Palestinian-Israeli conflict resolution." The "pillars," which are still confidential, "are the beginning of a process to achieve historic grassroots consensus for conflict resolution," according to the One Voice website. More information can be found on the One Voice website

Plans of Israeli Political Factions

Ya'ad Plan - Ya'ad is a new political party formed of Meretz and Yossi Beilin's Shahar movement, that will adopt the Geneva Accord as its plan for a solution of the conflict.

Israel Communist Party - Calls for evacuation of the Occupied territories to the June 4, 1967 lines, and right of return for Palestinian refugees.

Shinui Party peace plan - The center Shinui Party's peace plan calls for Israel to renew the peace process with the Abu Ala government with the intention of reaching an arrangement in accordance with the "road map." The Shinui plan calls for the declaration of an unlimited cease-fire, with the Palestinian Authority making every effort to end terror, Israel will stop all targeted killing, except against terrorists who continue to initiate and carry out acts of terror. If the cease-fire holds, Israel would replace the settlers in the Gaza Netzarim settlement with soldiers, and eventually evacuate them.

Labor Party peace platform - The opposition Labor Party's plan is based on a return to the June 4, 1967 borders "with slight revisions due to security reasons and around blocs of Jewish settlements." Similar to the Geneva Accord, condemned by Labor politicians, Jerusalem would be divided into Israeli and Palestinian capitals, and partitioned according into Jewish and Arab parts based on current population. Palestinians would give up right of return. All "illegal" outposts are to be dismantled immediately according to the Labor plan.

The Sharon and Olmert Plans - Israeli PM Ariel Sharon and Deputy PM Ehud Olmert, former mayor of Jerusalem, have laid out broad hints about a plan or plans for unilateral steps that would be taken soon if no agreement with Palestinians is possible and there was no progress in implementing the road map. These plans would almost certainly include evacuation of the small Israeli settlements in Gaza including Netzarim and scattered settlements in the West Bank. The plan area that would be defended by Israel would probably correspond with the current fence

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