Thursday, November 29, 2007

If I were the Platonic philosopher-king at Annapolis

Here’s my solution to the Palestine-Israel section, in several points.

First, a sidebar. Let’s not forget that Jordan, for 19 years, and not Israel, was the first occupier of the West Bank. Problem is, Jordan didn’t want actual Palestinian people after 1948 a whole lot more than Israel did after 1967; it too wanted land first, people second. Anyway, keep that fact of Jordanian occupation tabbed away in a corner of your mind, as it will tie in with one of my talking points.

That said, let’s get down to brass tacks.

A Palestine-Israel peace treaty would be crafted, which would explicitly include all the following to be done:

1. Eliminate the Gaza Strip; it would be a legitimate way of meeting Israeli security concerns. Arab residents would be given five years to decide whether to move to the West Bank, rather, the newly-created country of Palestine, with Israeli compensation, or stay. Obviously, the former Gaza Strip would become part of Israel.

2. Most of the West Bank would be made into the nation of Palestine. Israelis would be given five years to move out freely, without visa restrictions, etc. Where possible and achievable, direct land swaps between Israeli families now in the West Bank and Palestinian families now in Gaza might be done. Palestinian Arabs who wished to remain part of Israel would have that same five-year chance of moving; those who did would be guaranteed a path to Israeli citizenship should they so desire.

3. While most of the West Bank would become Palestine, some adjustment of the border for the best defensive line per geographic and other considerations, especially in the southwest corner of the West Bank, would be done.

4. Re the “right of return,” Palestinian families who lost land in 1947 would be compensated by a pool derived from the following resources: Israel, the United Nations, and all Arab countries who attacked Israel at the time of its birth. (That’s why I said remember Jordanian occupation of the West Bank.) At least half of the cost would fall on the aggressor Arab nations. A U.N. tribunal of representatives of nations who have not participated in the peace process or armed nations involved in Middle East wars would be convened to assess land values of former Palestinian holdings. The physical right of return would be considered to be waived as part of the Israel-Palestine peace treaty; Palestinian refugees could either accept the monetary compensation or reject it, but the physical right of return would be waived no matter what.

5. With minor modifications, Jerusalem would go back to its pre-1967 boundaries. I believe internationalization is impractical.

6. All of the Arab aggressors of 1947 and beyond (see point four) would also be required to be signatories to the treaty, which would include their express recognition of Israel and its right to exist.

7. Regarding nuclear issues, Israel would be required to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which would be a de facto admission of its having nuclear weapons.