Saturday, January 19, 2008

A NEW PARADIGM FOR THE ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN CONFLICT: FROM THE POLITICAL TO THE HUMANITARIAN


 

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.

PART I. THE SYNOPSIS

A. Assessment

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 Gaza which have been under Israeli control since 1967 i.e. on the basis of a "Land for Peace" approach.

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.
 

B. Analysis

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.
 

C. Conclusion

1. The establishment of a Palestinian State must removed from the international agenda.

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.
 

D. Proposal

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 Israel as the nation-state of the Jews.

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 US outlay on the War in Iraq!!

16. Indeed, given Israel's present level of GDP, it is an initiative that it could well undertake on its own over the next decade to a decade and a half. It should be realized that this is the period that has elapsed since the initiation of the Oslo process -- which has brought nothing but failure and tragedy at the cost of billions of dollars and thousands of lives.

17. Of course, if the US, the EU and other developed nations were to contribute to this effort, it could be implemented in a far shorter space of time and with almost no burden on the world economy.

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.
 

E. Summary

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 Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish people

Provide a Significant Boost to the Economies of the Developing World

Transform poverty stricken refugees into affluent émigrés
 

Martin Sherman

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

 

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sounds like an excellent proposal, and for once, a proposal that makes logical sense. Of course, the Arabs don't operate on logic but on emotions, as has been evidenced by their actions over the past 60 years. They will reject it outright because they would rather see Palestinians continue to suffer and struggle and arm because having been defeated so many times militarily by Israel they know the Pal "resistance movement" is the only chance the Arab states have of destroying Israel. The Arabs won't let that go without a fight. I applaud this effort to lay out the plan in logical terms and truly practical measures to relieve Pal refugees while insisting on security for Israel, but I believe this will fall upon deaf ears. Force will probably be necessary. The "armed wings" of the Pal Terrorist organizations will not lie down without a fight and allow their people to exit suffering and enter affluence in an Arab country. They don't care about these people either. Only about killing Jews, political power, and taking over Israel.

Rachel said...

Thank you, this was a very good article. I've linked to your blog from mine.

http://theantisemitismwatch.blogspot.com/

Mark said...

I have to agree with the first poster. I have been following the intefada closely since 2000 and I have a good grasp of the history of the conflict as it was long before that. As usual, a little thing called Hamas will ruin any chances of this working, in their current form. I really feel like the only way it could work, is for your effort to coincide with a severe beating of Hamas et al by Israel during the same time period. Palestinians need a better choice than Hamas; Hamas seemed like a better choice than Fatah if we look back to their last 'election'. That turned out to be wrong. In a nutshell, Hamas has to be squarely defeated, not just injured, for this to have any chance of working. And in order for this to happen, Israel needs leaders with backbones, which they don't have right now.

Vini said...

I recommend you send this propossal to every MK and/or senior government official in Israel and the US

Anonymous said...

Good proposal, Palestinians must be given right of a home, not right of return, however there are deeper considerations blocking an overall peace. Permanent members of the UN security council have a policy called increased security, where they used to have a policy called MAD. Sorry I cannot be clearer, but the bottom line is that if US and EU actions in Iraq and Afghanistan and Russia's actions in Chechnya were put to a song, the refrain would be 'oops we just bombed another wedding party'. The only sure path to a deeper peace, and a peace in which permanent members of the security council are not 'forced against their will' towards increased security, is for all of us to engage these members in going towards a deeper healing of the wounds of the cold war.

Anonymous said...

Good proposal but Palestinians can, do and should have a state - in Jordan, where 70% of the land of Palestine lies anyway

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