It is time for Jews and Arabs to accept the fact that neither side is going to leave Palestine, no matter how much blood is spilled. It would therefore be incumbent on each side to accept conditions that will require real sacrifice to obtain peace. To wit:
1) Israel must allow Palestine to develop its own independent government with a real foreign policy and an armed force.
This might sound like a recipe for disaster. However it accomplishes two things, a balance of power between the two sides and a greater sense of legitimacy on the part of the Palestinians. Neither side could win a war fought in its own back yard, as the current intifada proves. It also encourages Palestinians to trust and participate in the new government.
2) Rights of return must be limited to the time of the Oslo accords and violations regarding settlements established in areas prohibited by the accords. All Israeli citizen living within such settlements must either abandon them or accept a Palestinian government.
This of course legalizes most of Israel and those areas not already ceded to Palestine, whether the product of takeover during war or not. It provides the security most Israelis demand. Although bitter for the Arabs to accept, anything more would cause social disruption on a scale which would only encourage more violence by, not just Zionist extremists, but the Israeli middle-class itself. This compromise is no less disconcerting to Palestinians as the previous concession mentioned would be to Israel.
3) Jerusalem must be declared an “open city” by the Security Council whose governmental administration be delegated to the United Nations. All claims to any land or site whatsoever within Jerusalem proper by political entities, whether Palestinian or Israeli, must be renounced or abandoned. All troops, public agencies, government lands, buildings, infrastructures, security apparatus and supports of any kind must be either withdrawn or surrendered to the United Nations. The Mayor and City Council of Jerusalem may be elected by the citizens of Jerusalem, but shall serve at the pleasure of the Security Council. All holy sites shall be maintained by the current sects that established them, but responsibility for security and access will become the duty of the United Nations. Open access will be guaranteed to all sites for anyone regardless of creed, nationality, race, religion or sex.
Talk about hit the fan. That’s right, move everybody out except the people who really live there. If this basic, simple premise for an open city in Jerusalem overseen by the United Nations could be accepted by both sides, it would bring peace overnight.
4) All persons or organizations who advocate, engage in, support or publicly sympathize with any form of violence in opposition to this agreement will be declared illegal and subject to arrest, detention, trial, punishment and/or deportation.
This agreement cannot work unless those who cannot give up their 1000-year hatred are held to the highest degree of accountability a justice system can administer. It must be made clear to them that all parties involved support it, including the governments of the Middle East, Europe, the United States, Asia and the people of the world. To not go along with this at the expense of world peace is nothing less than criminal. Each side has been wounded so gravely, it is now time for it to stop.
5) The United States, in conjunction with the governments of the permanent members of the Security Council, form and maintain within Jerusalem a police force and/or militia of sufficient force and strength to maintain and administer this agreement. No member of the force may be Jewish or Arabic, unless those persons serve at the pleasure of the Jerusalem City Council.
You have to have back-up, otherwise the agreement will fall apart. The region is simply too fragile to trust policing the City to anyone other than a multinational force capable of enforcing a peace. And since charges of bias and racism will inevitably raise their heads, the force should be as ethnically diverse as possible. If the concern revolves around too many American and European troops in Jerusalem, the Security could recruit and integrate a more diverse force from either Africa, Asia or Latin America. Finally. because tensions are so high, no Jew or Arab should be allowed on the force, unless supervised by the current City Council.
So what’s the real chance a proposal like this would work, let alone be accepted? Probably zilch. After all, who has to accept anything when you can just go get a gun and shoot anybody who doesn’t agree with you. And unfortunately this is the way it has been in Palestine for over 70 (yes 70, look it up) years now. But it must become the duty of the chief negotiator, whoever it is, Kofi Annan, Vladimir Putkin, Bill Clinton, George Bush Jr. or the Man in the Moon, to push this agreement. To accept anything less only invites disaster. This agreement requires great sacrifice and acceptance from all parties involved. If each side can see the other is hurting due to their sacrifice, it has the greatest chance to succeed. By advocating such stringent guidelines it is also possible the negotiators might find a common ground they never knew existed before, if for no other reason than to avoid such draconian measures (in each of their views, I’m sure) from becoming the only alternative.