Hasan Yahya, Michigan, USA
According to [EPA] A new Israeli (non-governmental) proposal allows Israel to annex Jewish settlements in the West Bank in exchange for equal amounts of territory. What’s new in this proposal, if it dances around on illegal grounds. The plan, drafted in part by ex-military and intelligence officials, includes land swaps and no right of return.
A group of about 40 people prominent Israelis, worked on the project, including former high-ranking military and intelligence officials, has unveiled an “Israeli peace initiative” which it hopes will prod their government towards a deal with the Palestinian Authority – but few of the group’s proposals are new, and several have been rejected in the past by Israeli and Palestinian leaders. “The key principle of all regional peace agreements shall be Israeli withdrawals, guaranteed security, normal relations, and an end to all conflicts,” the proposal states. .(English.aljazeera.net/news/)
The plan, calls for Israel to withdraw to 1967 borders, with a series of swaps allowing it to annex major Jewish settlements in the West Bank. It would not provide a right of return for Palestinian refugees, though they would receive financial compensation; and it calls for normalized relations between Israel and Arab states.
Under the new proposal, Israel would be allowed to permanently annex parts of the West Bank, in exchange for equal amounts of Israeli territory ceded to the Palestinian state. The plan would allow Israel to swap up to seven per cent of the West Bank’s area, less than the 10.6 per cent that former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in 2008.
For Palestinians, a State means a sustainable way of economic, social, and political aspects of life of the people. Exchanging land by land is misdemeanant to the rights of Palestinians who still believe that the Land of Palestine is theirs. No one hungry person may accept 20% of the loaf he was once owned. This historical fact , shows that Jews in Palestine despite the steady arrival in Palestine of Jewish colonists after 1882 until the few weeks preceding the establishment of Israel in 1948 was there ever Jewish population other than a huge Arab majority. For example, the Jewish population in 1931 was only 174,606 against a total of 1,033,314.” Edward Said, “The Question of Palestine.”. Converting this to percentage, it comes to 16.89%.
Early Jews settlers were more wise than today’s Israelis, for example, “An article by Yitzhak Epstein, published in Hashiloah in 1907…called for a new Zionist policy towards the Arabs after 30 years of settlement activity…Like Ahad-Ha’am in 1891, Epstein claims that no good land is vacant, so Jewish settlement meant Arab dispossession…Epstein’s solution to the problem, so that a new “Jewish question” may be avoided, is the creation of a bi-national, non-exclusive program of settlement and development. Purchasing land should not involve the dispossession of poor sharecroppers. It should mean creating a joint farming community, where the Arabs will enjoy modern technology. Schools, hospitals and libraries should be non-exclusivist and education bilingual…The vision of non-exclusivist, peaceful cooperation to replace the practice of dispossession found few takers. Epstein was maligned and scorned for his faintheartedness.” Israeli author, Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi, “Original Sins.”(Ifamericansknew.org)
While J Street, the US-based pro-Israel lobby, was quick to praise the plan as a “bold move.” unfortunately, AIPAC, at Washington is not helping in that regard. It insists on disunity between Palestinians is hurting both Israeli and Palestinian sides. In it latest strategy, AIPAC’s all over Capitol Hill, unlike J. Street, has begun a lobbying campaign stressing the “no partner” line. Which as a result encouraging efforts widening the gap between Palestinian factions, Such a strategy was made to convince the US congress that there simply are no Palestinians fit to negotiate with Israel.
The proposal may be expected to be in the agenda when Netanyahu visit to Washington next Spring, for a series of meetings and public appearances. The release comes a day after US president Barack Obama met in Washington with Israeli president Shimon Peres. “With the winds of change blowing through the Arab world, it’s more urgent than ever that we try to seize the opportunity to create a peaceful solution between the Palestinians and the Israelis,” Obama said.
The new proposal did not mention any cooperating communities, or modern technological schools to promote positive attitude necessary for cultural normalization.
What is needed is an exchanged positive attitude toward each other, Palestinians and Israelis, rather than exchanging land. While land remains necessary for people to reside on, the spirit of tolerance and positive attitudes are more needed.
What Palestinians want is to regain dignity and pride as Palestinians, Israel never accepted the rights for Palestinians, or showing sympathy with suffering Palestinians through the years. Initiatives of positive attitude is releasing the 11,000 prisoners from Israeli jails and returning the illegally confiscated land. The most important, however, is helping out, making the State of Palestine liable and sustainable, through land, air, and sea. (Gaza and the West Bank together constitute 22 per cent of historic Palestine. In fact, the West Bank is landlocked with Gaza’s Mediterranean port being the Palestinians’ only outlet to the world. Without Gaza, the West Bank is not a country but a walled-in ghetto.
About the issue remaining of refugees of 1948. It may be difficult, but both refugees of 1948 or 1967, should have the right to return to the newly established State of Palestine. This issue was included in the Arab peace initiative which calls for a “just solution” to the refugee problem, based on United Nations resolution 194, which enshrines a Palestinian right of return. This issue can be solved, by establishing fund to compensate sufferings and properties of 1948 refugees as well as 1967.
In conclusion, no proposal, in my opinion, for peace would be acceptable without connected (1967 borders), Gaza Strip with the West Bank (Bridges or underground tunnel) , a port on the red Sea with access to the Port of Eilat, and compensation for the refugees from 1948 and 1967. In addition to releasing Palestinian prisoners as a good well gesture. As far as these conditions not fulfilled, The Israeli proposal remains short to satisfy common wish of both Israelis and Palestinians inspiration to live in peace. (1052 words) www.askdryahya.com