Monday, November 05, 2007

Bold Moves Towards Peace?

Slowly, but hopefully surely, momentum in the Israel-Palestine crisis seems to be tipping towards peace. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has apparently made a peace deal the raison d'etre of her tenure, stating that she's hopeful a deal can be struck by the end of Bush's administration -- a timetable to which both Israeli and Palestinian officials have committed themselves -- and asking Israel to make "bold moves" towards peace. Just today, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has committed his security forces to the stabilization of Nablus, and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert expressed his strongest support yet for the impending peace conference.

So, what's the way forward from here? What are the "bold moves" that the actors can take to advance the peace process? Some suggestions:

For the Israelis:
  1. Cease all settlement activity immediately and indefinitely.
  2. Lift all internal roadblocks or impediments to movement.
  3. Re-open access points to Gaza and the West Bank.
  4. Release to the West Bank-based government all tax revenues being held.
  5. Pledge that , barring Palestinian escalation, incursions and collective punishments will not be used in response to rocket attacks from Gaza.

For the Palestinians:
  1. Pledge, in secret if need be, that the "right to return" is negotiable and can be symbolically fulfilled by economic restitution.
  2. Reaffirm willingness to negotiate the final borders of a Palestinian state to include pre-1967 Israeli territory in exchange for land along the Green Line.
  3. Pledge to crack down on all militias and to formally consolidate power in the hands of the government.
For the US:
  1. Create a peacekeeping force from NATO countries to patrol the Gaza-Israel border. The force must possess sufficient capability and political will to track and intercept infiltrators, rocket launches, and other threats.
  2. Pledge to provide the funding to symbolically fulfill the Palestinian right to return.
  3. Arrange prepared funding packages for both sides upon acceptance and performance of agreements. Attach negative incentives for failure to reach deals.
These steps would certainly constitute "bold moves." Many have been tabled until "final status" talks, but doing so all but ensures that that time will never come. It is incumbent on all parties to make bold moves, even ones that can be interpreted as concession, in order to advance the peace process. The time has come for Israel to end its occupation of the Palestinians, for the Palestinians to end their campaign of terror against Israel. The time has come for Israel to re-affirm its democratic traditions and for the Palestinians to realize their national aspirations. The time has come.


Shane said...

So let me get this straight...

Israel must make the bold move of funding and facilitating Palestinian terrorists and endure rocket attacks without retaliating.

America is going to bribe Palestinians not to murder Israelis, and convince countries to defend the Jewish state?

Palestinians must accept bribes so they can pretend they're giving in on the right of return, take back land they lost trying to annihilate the Jewish state and then crack down on themselves after generations of indoctrinating their people that they have a duty to murder Jews?

Explain to me something - when have the Palestinians ever earned the trust of the Jews or the international community? You talk as if the Palestinians have upheld any part of the bargains they've made with Israel before - they got what they wanted without acquiescing - why would they abide by any agreements now?

Reading this piece is like reading a missive from the State department...historically schizophrenic and willing to put the lives of innocents on the line for the promises of a people who have never proven themselves worthy of trust. Don't you find that strange?

Anonymous said...


So long as the Palestinians are not being held to any actions, but merely pledges, there will never be progress . Words are nice but actions speak louder.

GrEaT sAtAn'S gIrLfRiEnD said...

The offered Peace Plan is interesting. There are serious concerns that need to be addressed: Example? Secret Pledges - totally unacceptable. Perhaps Jordan and Egypt may have something to offer in this regard as both have officially recog'd Israel.

Should this be the 1st step with Palestine? Step 2 would be to officially drop the right of return. The counters to these points can be easily rendered inert.

Anonymous said...

Seth, are you going to blog about the drama going down in Pakistan?