The Israel Palestinian Confederation (IPC) has cut this Gordian knot by creating mechanism that allows each side to advance what is in its self-interest. It is an independent “government” separate of the existing Israeli and Palestinian governments in which Israelis and Palestinians are given equal power. They both elect local representatives to a legislature and if a supermajority of both Palestinian and Israeli members agrees on proposed legislation, it is enacted. The now-recognized Palestinian and Israeli governments retain a veto over any such legislation.
For the past three years the IPC conducted simulations on Zoom twice a month to “stress test” how such a non-binding confederation could make peace with encouraging results. Participants assumed the roles of Israeli or Palestinian parliament members representing specific areas in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza. Others assumed the roles of Israeli, Palestinian Authority, and Hamas leaders. To pass legislation, 55% of parliament members from each side had to agree. The legislation is submitted to the Israeli and Palestinian governments, giving each of them the power to veto it.
The simulations have demonstrated that many legislative proposals could pass without a veto. For example, laws requiring the school systems to teach tolerance and understanding among Arabs and Jews; to create a joint economic zone between Israel and Gaza; to create a mutual liaison office to improve communication between the Israeli and Palestinian governments; to coordinate measures to combat pandemics and allow for common distribution of vaccines; to create a joint security force to manage checkpoints allowing easier access to holy sites sacred to all religions and to negotiate peace among the immediate participants and then among the wider region.
Our proposal has no downside. It provides a formula for peace based on people, not land, designed to incrementally improve their relationship. The veto gives the Israeli and Palestinian governments a safety net to prevent any legislation that legitimately infringes on their interests.
The IPC has had many notable guests participated in its simulations who praised these concepts and their obvious potential, including Dennis Ross, Peter Beinart, Noam Chomsky, Alan Dershowitz, Cornel West, Gideon Levy, Richard Falk, and many more.
The IPC would be created by a grass roots movements of Palestinians and Israelis. It would derive its legitimacy from elections equally accessible to the fourteen million people now residing in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza. The elections would be conducted using the Internet, cell phones, mail service, and computers.
We believe it’s time for a dramatic change. It’s time for peace.
The above was coauthored by Lawrence Wilkerson and Josef Avesar. Lawrence B. Wilkerson is a retired United States Army Colonel and former Chief of Staff to United States Secretary of State Colin Powell. Josef Avesar is an American Israeli of Iraqi background, the founder of the Israeli-Palestinian Confederation, and a practicing lawyer in the Los Angeles area.