FromA two-state solution where Israel and Palestine are two separate and independent states with their own flags appears to be the most fair, logical, and viable solution. Furthermore, the peace process must focus on direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians in order for them to be peaceful partners with the other countries in the Middle East. Unilateral measures for statehood will not work if long-term peace is the goal because they will exacerbate the current divisions and conflicts. Moreover, such measures are unethical because they do not give Israelis and Palestinians an equal chance to set their terms and conditions for the future peace deal. Because both of these peoples are native inhabitants of Palestine, each group must agree about how the land will be divided and how other disputes will be solved. Israel and the Palestinians must find a mutually-satisfying solution in order to ensure peaceful partnership and justice.

We have reason to believe that close economic and political cooperation may gradually develop between Israel and Palestine just as they did between France and Germany. This can happen  when the grudges of the past are put aside and the benefits of peaceful cooperation become clear.

Thinking optimistically and with a long-term perspective, such cooperation could then lead to the establishment of a supranational entity similar to the European Union, which would encompass all of the nations of the Middle East.   This entity would ensure both a lasting and honorable peace  as well as economic and political cooperation.  Jerusalem, whose status we will discuss below in detail, could serve as the capital for such a supranational entity.

The government of Israel has always formally supported a two-state solution through direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians; however, Israel has been allowing Jewish settlements in the West Bank to expand, even as negotiations are taking place. This policy hinders two-state solution and direct negotiations. The expansion of settlements causes the Palestinians to doubt the true motives of the Israeli government. This doubt has often led to a hesitation to negotiate and mistrust on both sides. As a result, it would be best to halt the expansion of settlements as the negotiations are taking place. Doing otherwise will hurt the peace process and possibly make Palestinians unwilling to negotiate in the future.

A joint administration that would decide the placement of Jewish settlers and Palestinian refugees may be the best compromise in order to preserve the Jewish majority in Israel and make sure the Palestinians are getting a fair share of the land. Any Jew that wants to settle in Israel and any Palestinian that wants to settle in the future Palestinian state should be allowed to do so; however, in order to harmonize the Palestinian goal of statehood with the of Israeli Jewry to maintain their independent State of Israel, it will be necessary to limit the number of Jewish settlers in the future Palestinian state and the number of Palestinian refugees allowed to live in Israel.

The government of Israel has always formally supported a two-state solution through direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians; however, Israel has been allowing Jewish settlements in the West Bank to expand, even as negotiations are taking place. This policy hinders two-state solution and direct negotiations. The expansion of settlements causes the Palestinians to doubt the true motives of the Israeli government. This doubt has often led to a hesitation to negotiate and mistrust on both sides. As a result, it would be best to halt the expansion of settlements as the negotiations are taking place. Doing otherwise will hurt the peace process and possibly make Palestinians unwilling to negotiate in the future.

The fact of the matter is that there is enough empty desert space in the Middle East to meet everyone’s needs.  There is no need to fight for this desert space.  The real challenge is to convert more of this desert space into fertile land.  It is by surmounting this challenge that the lives of the peoples of the region can be improved tremendously.  The technology to surmount this challenge is already available.  Israel is its leading practitioner, as it has shown since its foundation.  The establishment of peace and an atmosphere of genuine collaboration would provide the Arab nations of the region the opportunity to benefit fully from Israel’s expertise and technology in desert agriculture.

From: Thoughts on Achieving a Lasting and. Honorable Peace in the Middle East. By Gaffar Yakın, M.D., Jozef Bicerano, Ph.D., and Holly Bicerano.