by Martin Sherman
1st part of 2
To solve a problem means mapping the features of the solution to the essential facts and features of the problem. The Jerusalem Summit has been constructing a plan for restructuring how we view the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and using this paradigm as a basis for intelligent action. This takes into consideration historic truths and the inescapable fact that the tiny area that is Israel (inclusive of "West Bank" and Gaza) constitutes 1 tenth of 1 percent of the land mass of the surrounding Arab states and can not support two states, especially given that either Israel or the projected Palestinian state would need to be split in two to maintain the other's integrity.
We have now come to the end of the first stage of our proposal. Part I is a synopsis of our plan; part II is a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) -- and our responses to the many queries we've received.
1. The conventional-wisdom paradigm for the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has failed woefully, bringing nothing but misery and despair to both sides -- but particularly to the Palestinians as individual human beings.
2. This conventional paradigm has attempted to solve the conflict by means of a Political Approach involving the establishment of a self governing Palestinian entity on territories in Judea Samaria and
3. Dispassionate assessment of the history of the conflict and its current development will strongly suggest that persisting with attempts to attain a political solution on the basis the conventional paradigm are at best futile -- and at worse harmful. Accordingly, alternative modes of resolution must be pursued.
1. Analysis of Palestinian deeds and declarations over the years make it difficult to avoid the conclusion that they are in effect both unwilling and incapable of achieving and maintaining statehood.
(a) Palestinian Unwillingness: This is reflected in the fact that the Palestinians have rejected every single viable proposal which would have afforded them a state -- from the 1947 partition plan to the 2000 Barak proposals.
(b) Palestinian Incapability: The Palestinian national movement has enjoyed conditions far more favorable than almost any other national independence movement since WW-II -- widespread international endorsement of their cause, unmitigated support of a superpower in the decades of the Cold War, highly sympathetic coverage by the major media organizations, and over a decade of Israeli administrations who have acknowledged (and at times even identified with) the Palestinians declared national aspiration. In spite of this, the achievements of Palestinian national movement have been more miserable than almost any other national independence movement -- bringing nothing but privation and penury to its people.
2. It is thus far easier to understand Palestinian conduct if one assumes that it is driven less by lack of Palestinian self determination and more by the very the existence of Jewish self determination; less by the aspiration to establish a Palestinian state and more by the aspiration to dismantle a Jewish state.
3. The latter, and seemingly more plausible, explanation of Palestinian behavior -- i.e. rejection of Jewish self determination and the dismantling of the Jewish nation state -- reflects an agenda totally unacceptable by any international standards and thus must be branded as devoid of any legitimacy.
4. Accordingly if the accepted version of the Palestinian narrative -- i.e. a desire for Palestinian self determination and the aspiration for Palestinian statehood -- cannot be reconciled with the history of Palestinian behavior, this narrative also must be branded as devoid of any legitimacy.
5. This issue of legitimacy of narrative is crucial. Indeed the very fuel of the Political Paradigm involving the establishment of a Palestinian state is the perception -- or rather the misperception -- of the presently prevailing Palestinian narrative as legitimate.
1. The establishment of a
2. However, removing the issue of a Palestinian state from the international agenda will not eliminate the humanitarian predicament of Palestinians residing in Israeli-administered areas.
3. This is clearly an issue that must be addressed and resolved. But it must be addressed not in political terms but in humanitarian ones.
4. Thus, to successfully resolve the Palestinian problem, the Political Paradigm must be replaced by a Humanitarian Paradigm. This, however can only be done if the current Palestinian narrative, which fuels the Political Paradigm, is de-legitimized.
5. Thus, the de-legitimization of the Palestinian narrative becomes a vital prerequisite to any comprehensive resolution of the Palestinian issue.
1. A comprehensive Humanitarian Approach to the Palestinian issue would entail three major elements:
(a) The dissolution of UNRWA -- which will end the discriminatory treatment of the Palestinians with regard to their status as refugees;
(b) The termination of ethnic discrimination against Palestinians , living in the Arab world -- which will end the discriminatory treatment of the Palestinians with regard to their status as residents;
(c) Generous relocation grants to Palestinians living in Israeli administered territories on an individual basis and not via any official Palestinian organization.
2. UNRWA is an organization that perpetuates the Palestinian refugee problem. It is an anomalous organization which exists solely to deal with Palestinian refugees, while all the other refugees on the face of the globe are dealt with by the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).
3. The organizations not only deal differently with the refugees under their auspices, they each have different definitions for classifying an individual as a "refugee".
4. This difference in definition has far-ranging consequences. For in contrast to the UNHCR definition, which results in a decline in the number of refugees in the number of refugees over time, the UNRWA definition leads to an inflation of the number.
5. In fact, if the UNHCR's otherwise universal definition were applied to the Palestinian case, the number of refugees would decline from 4-5 million to 200-300,000 i.e. by over 90%!!
6. It thus appears that UNWRA is perpetuating the very problem it was designed to eliminate.
7. Accordingly, the dissolution of UNRWA is an essential prerequisite for any comprehensive, durable settlement of the Palestinian issue.
8. With the dissolution of UNWRA, the remaining, and drastically reduced, number of Palestinian refugees, should be placed under the auspices of UNHCR -- in accordance with the accepted practice for all other refugee groups on the face of the globe.
9. Those Palestinians no longer classed as refugees under the new arrangements, must be offered all the privileges afforded all other peoples resident in their current countries of domicile in the Arab world -- including the right to acquire citizenship.
10. In order to do this, a vigorous diplomatic and media campaign must be mounted to induce Arab governments to end their harsh discriminatory behavior towards the millions of Palestinians domiciled in their countries and absorb them into their societies as fully fledged citizens. After all, even the Palestinians assert (in the opening paragraph of their National Covenant) that they are "part of the Arab Nation".
11. As for the Palestinians resident in Israeli administered territory, there is only one reasonable and feasible alternative that will facilitate:
(a) extricating them from their dire humanitarian plight;
(b) free them from the yoke of generations of misrule by their leadership;
(c) ensure the survival of
12. This is a generous relocation and resettlement package to allow them to build a new life for themselves and their families in countries preferably, but not necessarily exclusively, with similar religious and socio-cultural conditions.
13. In order to minimize the ability of organized Palestinian interest groups to impede the success of such an effort, the offer of financial inducement to emigrate must be "atomized" -- i.e. made to individual Palestinian breadwinners on a one-to one personal level and not on a communal level via some formal Palestinian entity.
14. A survey conducted among the Palestinians in Nov. 2004 indicates that only about 15% of the Palestinian population resident in Israeli administered areas would reject such an offer outright. By contrast, over 70% would accept some form of material compensation as an inducement to emigrate permanently from the areas currently under Israeli administration (see http://www.jerusalemsummit.org/eng/news.php?news=102)
15. The economic cost of such a policy of generously financed humanitarian relocation and resettlement would be eminently affordable and would compare favorably with almost all other settlement proposals on the table today. Indeed, its total cost would be around 50% of the present total
16. Indeed, given
17. Of course, if the
18. Quite the opposite, the Palestinians arriving in their new countries of domicile will not be impoverished refugees but reasonably affluent émigrés. The funds that they would be bringing with them would provide a considerable boost for the economies of these nations -- most of which would be developing countries with a pressing need for such a substantial influx of funds.
The proposed initiative constitutes a "win-win" proposal which will:
Alleviate, and even eliminate, the humanitarian plight of individual Palestinians
Ensure the continued security and survival of
Provide a Significant Boost to the Economies of the Developing World
Transform poverty stricken refugees into affluent émigrés
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