It’s time to re-think the Israeli Palestinian conflict

Israelis and Palestinians must live together and in peace in a democratic equal and open society with mutual respect, freedom of expression and freedom of religion. The historic connection of both people to the land of Israel and Palestine is an integral part of their identity and must be respected.

The Two-State Solution is not viable. It has been tried numerous times resulting in substantial violence and less peace between Israelis and Palestinians, while failing to reach its intended goal. The One-State Solution is also not viable since it requires the Israelis and the Palestinians to dismantle their respective governments, an unlikely event, in light of the strong nationalist sentiments by both the Israeli and Palestinian people and the deep suspicion and animosity between their governments.

The only peaceful path to peace is to create a mutual democratic government for the people of Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. This government should be independent and separate from the Israeli and Palestinian governments. It would not be hostile to those governments but rather work with them to facilitate peace and prosperity. A common government supported by a fair constitution representing Israelis and Palestinians as equals is likely to reach necessary compromises to help address the legitimate needs of Israelis and Palestinians. Fourteen million people live together in the same area. Nine million are Israelis and five million are Palestinians. Each side is represented by a separate government but there is no government that represents all of them. A common secular government with legislative, executive and judicial branches would not only introduce true democracy to the region but has the potential to become an anchor of stability.

It is possible to write a fair constitution that would require a consensus and protects both sides. In fact, such constitutions are common in almost all federal governments around the world.

It is also possible to create an election for such a common government. Today’s technology makes it possible to conduct an election using the internet, cell phones, mail service and computers. Estonia with a population of more than nine million, exclusively conducts is elections over the internet.

Creating a common government would not run afoul of the Israeli or Palestinian law because they

have no laws forbidding such a government and neither government would likely object given their long-standing failure to bring peace to their own people.

A common government could be created by Palestinian and Israeli people who support peaceful coexistence and mutual cooperation and who realize that their governments have failed and are unlikely to give them peace. It would derive its legitimacy from an election that would include both Israelis and Palestinians. In order to function It would not be able to favor one side over the other since it would require the agreement of both. It would be devoted exclusively to peace and prosperity of the Israeli and Palestinian people together. It would have a global view of the region and would apply its entire energy to advancing the interest of both sides.

It would be required to pass legislation acceptable to both Side:

Requiring the educational system of both sides to teach tolerance and understanding to both Israelis and Palestinians. Creating join security force (Israelis and Palestinian together) to replace the Israeli military forces in managing checkpoints and creating easier access to holy sites sacred to all religions. Create joint economic zones, joint airports and seaports railways and highways. Negotiate peace between Israel, Hamas, Hezbollah and Lebanon, Syria and Iran. Remove the occupation over the West Bank and Gaza by utilizing joint security forces to guarantee the security requirements of both sides. Negotiate a permanent solution to the issue of the Palestinian refugees perhaps in the form of a combination of a limited right of return and financial compensation. In short, extricate the people of Israel and Palestine from what appears to be an intractable situation and declare the conflict over.

About the Author
Josef Avesar is founder of the Israeli Palestinian Confederation, which advocates for a mutual third government for Israelis and Palestinians. An American-Israeli of Iraqi background, he practices law in the U.S., but travels frequently to Israel and Palestine.
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