With the renewed efforts on the Middle East Peace Process, I thought it timely to repost an earlier post on how to tackle the intractable problems of Israel/Palestine:
At risk of the usual cross fire, here is a different approach to the Palestinian/Israeli Conflict that could be started by President Obama or anyone else who actually cares about the fate of the people of Israel and Palestine. If it is to be Obama he would need to address the American electorate and start the process of helping spread understanding what is at stake not only for America’s global interests but also for Israel’s long term interests as well, not to mention the Palestinians. Ideally this would be bi-partisan: any states people out there? (Thanks to Victor for this additional thought in his comment below:)
- Call a conference of the top five business people in Israel and the top five in the West Bank/Gaza based on the size of their company’s revenue, and not their political clout
- Have them use the Mount Fleur process from South Africa to map out the economic consequences of the different scenarios they can see for the future of the region on a 20 years time scale.
- Have them designate one of the scenarios as the one that promises most economic prosperity for the region and develop a more detailed economic plan to implement it.
- Use this output as a backdrop to future planning and negotiation
- Hold a conference of all the players who contribute money or arms to Israel or the Palestinians, and agree a process to enforce any agreement that is made, by appropriate sanctions applied to both sides for either non-implementation or non-agreement.
- Call a conference of the key players in the conflict, including Hamas, West Bank settlers, the whole enchilada and give them 12 months to make a deal suggesting that they concentrate on meeting their long term interests rather than blaming or justifying their positions.
- At the end of twelve months, if no deal were made, the detailed final offer on both sides would be subject to Pendulum Arbitration: the most reasonable deal offered in the view of a panel of international jurists would be implemented exactly as specified, with no compromise.
- There would be huge pressure to either settle or make the final offer reasonable, as an unreasonable offer would implement the other side’s final offer.
- If either side walked away from the process, both sides would be subject to withdrawal of all support from outside, and allowed to negotiate as long as they liked, until they found a deal or collapsed of economic exhaustion.
- One added factor might be: in the event of a solution that removed Israeli settlements from the West Bank, and the settlers violently resisted the process, then a one state solution would be imposed by the enforcers of the agreement and elections held for a Israel/West Bank united government.
- Once an agreement was made, all subsequent aid to the region would be dependent on adherence to the deal and would be used to implement the most favourable economic scenario agreed above.
I would welcome any modification of this approach, replacement of the steps, or even an alternative step by step process to compare it with. Criticisms and questions welcome, but please hopefully in the spirit of strengthening the process rather than a collapsitarian (aka ‘we are all doomed’) take or end days enthusiasm (aka ‘Armageddon here we come’).
Newsweek’s last year’s stab at the content of a solution is at this URL if you want a more conventional approach: