The conflict between Hamas and Israel vividly demonstrates the need for a confederation between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples. As it now stands, Israel and Hamas do not recognize each other and do not talk to each other. They can only hold discussions through an intermediary, in this case Egypt, which is an interested third party, but whose interests are its own.
When Israel and Hamas do manage to talk though the intermediary, they find that they have no tools to solve their differences: Hamas wants open borders, a deep-water port in the Mediterranean, and an airport so Gaza can grow and prosper. Israel says it is willing to allow some goods into Gaza—only by land and only after the goods are inspected for weapons that could be used against Israelis—but that an airport and seaport are out of question. Hamas answers that Gaza’s population of more than 1.8 million people are being strangled economically and that Israel goes so far as to prevent importation of such basic necessities as food and medicine.
Both sides present compelling arguments. The problem is that neither can come up with a plan that would satisfy both their declared interests. Israel cannot offer an alternative that will satisfy Gaza’s need for access to the outside world for its physical and economic survival. Hamas cannot offer an alternative that assures Gaza’s access to imports by sea and air without risking the importation of weapons to be used against Israel.
A confederation could solve this dilemma. The Israeli Palestinian Confederation would be a third, independent government with interests aligned with those of both Israelis and Palestinians. It would have its own police force, independent of Hamas and the government of Israel. The IPC police force would include Israeli and Palestinian citizens working together under the combined command of an Israeli and Palestinian president and vice president. It would include an equal number of Israeli and Palestinian police officers whose oath of loyalty would be to the Israeli Palestinian Confederation. Its aim would not be to deliver victory to either side but rather to facilitate peace for both Israelis and Palestinians.
In the current situation, the IPC police force could, with the agreement of Hamas and Israel, act as a third party to monitor the safe ingress and egress of ships and planes, passengers and goods, to and from Gaza, while preventing the importation of weapons into Gaza. The IPC could monitor the legitimate destination and proper use of such goods as cement and metal to ensure they are not used for aggression. As an independent entity, the IPC police force could answer Israel’s need for security and Gaza’s need for economic growth.
Leaving Israel and Hamas to act on their own without a reliable, effective third party who can deal with their concerns only means we’ll see more casualties and more destruction. These two entities, Israel and Hamas, have proven few things: that they are unable to deal with each other civilly; that they are unable to make peace; that they are willing to play Russian roulette with their citizens; and that they have no tools beyond violence to force the other into an agreement.
How much more suffering must Israelis and Palestinians endure before they consider an alternative path toward peace?Israel will not be able to keep Gazans in a stranglehold forever. Hamas will ultimately have to allow its citizens the freedom to prosper. For Israelis who truly want to live in peace with their Palestinian neighbors but are concerned about security, and for Palestinians who truly want to live in peace with their Israeli neighbors but want economic and personal freedom, the IPC provides a historic opportunity for a practical and viable solution.
For a free copy of the book Peace: A Case for an Israeli Palestinian Confederation (which explains in detail how the IPC will work), send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
To watch a video illustration of the IPC concept, click here.
To read the IPC Constitution, click here.