Who are the investors in peace? This is perhaps the only place to start. Just as it is not all Israelis, it is certainly not all Palestinians. Can there be critical mass from each to create inertia to find a solution? Let’s pray that there is…
I am thinking of the model of the country called the United Kingdom. Four primary nations make up this entity: England, Scotland, Wales and, Northern Ireland. Could this make sense for a “United Israel”? Made up of three entities: Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank. Clearly the names of each entity should be left to their citizenry. I envision as in the United Kingdom, each having their own assembly with perhaps the two Palestinian entities having limited seating in the Israeli Knesset and perhaps vice versa. Israel having responsibility for all security and military issues, central funding initially for public works, social services, education, and transportation. The separate assemblies would be required to be democratic and eventually responsible for taxation, public works, and education. Borders can eventually become porous allowing for the possibility of who owns what to become less important as long as everyone has access. It’s exciting to think of the possibilities of where this could lead!
Personally, I don’t like a two-state solution any better than a one-state solution. One creates continued division and the other a dangerous, untrusting melting pot where neighbors will not likely find justification for friendship.
The sixty-four-thousand-dollar question is how does one arrive at such an idyllic solution given the environment that we are in today? Under the circumstances, it can’t be Israel dictating the terms any more than it can be Palestinians. The first step is for a coalition of willing Arab countries, perhaps, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordon, hold a conference of willing Palestinians who wish to seek peace. This group must be supported by the coalition with guarantees of safety, financial incentives, and a platform for sharing ideas. Second, this Palestinian contingent, must recognize Israel’s right to exist and denounce all terrorist activities and organizations. This is a must or the whole idea is a non-starter. Third, representatives from each the West Bank and Gaza must determine if they want to be separate entities or one nation within the United Israel. With each forward moving step towards accepting this framework, rewards must be in place to continue incentivizing the parties to want to find and help each other create solutions. The coalition, in conjunction with the important western countries, must be there to support Israel and provide confidence that this carrot also includes a stick.
If each entity can respect each other and each other’s rights, with the understanding that accepting the new United Israel is greater than the sum of the parts, there can be hope for children to grow up in peace and have a better life than earlier generations. The concept is not an easy one. There will be many players, many actors, many influencers, and many saboteurs. There must be a willingness and incentives to find peace. There must be trust that everyone is seeking a better life without having to take someone else’s life in order to get ahead.
This is certainly not the path to peace. But it certainly is a path. The
status quo guarantees that neither entity will be successful in knowing peace.