Gershon Baskin
Political and social entrepreneur activist in Israel and Palestine

The Day After Step-by-Step

The following are some ideas and proposals on how to deal with the day after the war starting now. There is no time to waste. Much of this should have been thought about and planned already. I am sure that there are many people with different and additional ideas. I have shared some of these ideas with important Israelis and Palestinians. I have also spoken about them with diplomats of several friendly countries. This is meant to be “food for thought” and not a full comprehensive plan.

• The United States and the other OECD countries should immediately recognize the State of Palestine and allow it to become a full member state of the United Nations. The State of Palestine and the State of Israel will no later than two years from now begin to negotiate final borders between them in negotiations that will take place in a regional framework. The recognition of the State of Palestine now is a mandatory step in order to defeat the idea of Hamas and other radical groups – “making Palestine real for Palestinians”. Making Palestine real does not end the Israeli occupation immediately but it gives Palestinians a reason to live for Palestine instead of dying for Palestine. There is no two states solution without the full recognition of the State of Palestine. It is time for the OECD countries led by the United States to stop talking about a two states solution and to begin to make it happen. The issue of Palestinian statehood must be removed from Israel’s veto in negotiations. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict now endangers the security of the region, world trade and possible much wider conflicts. This is a conflict which cannot be wished away or managed. The process of resolving it based on two-states needs to begin now.

• The Palestinian Authority will be recognized as the Government of the State of Palestine. Reforms of the government will take place including the preparation of new constitution laws which will be ratified following elections in Palestine with a newly democratically elected Parliament. Elections will be held after a period of calm has been established for at least six months. The constitution laws will include the legal separation of authorities between the branches of government, the independence of the Judiciary, and the conversion of the Presidency into a ceremonial position. The transfer of power from the Presidency will go to the elected Parliament and government which will have to win a vote of confidence.

• The Palestinian election law will prohibit the participation of political parties which support an armed struggle.

• A Temporary Palestinian Administrative Authority (TPAA) will be established for Gaza under the Palestinian Authority. The temporary administration will have a mandate for no more than two years. The Administration will be headed by someone who has the public support of both the West Bank and Gaza. (It could be someone such as Dr. Nasser el Qidwa who can gain the support of exiled and jailed Palestinian leaders who have strong followings in both the West Bank and Gaza). The Temporary Palestinian Administrative Authority will be constituted with a majority of people from Gaza but will also include Palestinians from the West Bank and East Jerusalem. They will be technocrats and professionals who are not affiliated with any Palestinian faction.

• The war will end in Gaza and Israel will withdraw to the international border.

• The Temporary Palestinian Administrative Authority will invite a multi-national Arab led force including Palestinian Authority troops to come to Gaza for a limited mandate of two years with the task of ensuring calm, as well as decommissioning all weapons which are not in the sole control of the Palestinian security force. The force will also be mandated with the dismantlement of the entire underground network of tunnels and bunkers. Decommissioned weapons will be destroyed by the force. Israel will not re-enter Gaza or launch any military strikes against the entire Gaza Strip. There will be a high-level coordinating mechanism between the multi-national force and the Israeli army for the purpose of providing intelligence information from Israel to the force commanders. The multi-national force will be expected to take immediately action based on Israeli intelligence information regarding threats to Israel. The rules of engagement will be prescribed in the official mandate of the force.

• Hamas leaders – political and military – who have survived with war will be offered the opportunity to exit the Gaza Strip to any country not adjacent to Israel. Egypt will facilitate their movement outside of Gaza. Those deciding to stay in Gaza will not hold any leadership positions in the TPAA and they will not engage in any militant activities.

• UNRWA in the West Bank and Gaza will be dissolved because there are no Palestinian refugees in the State of Palestine. The Government of the State of Palestine will take over all of the responsibilities of UNRWA in the West Bank and Gaza. The rights and claims of Palestinians refugees will be dealt with in the future negotiations between the State of Palestine and the State of Israel in the international-regional framework.

• It is recommended that Israel enter into a serious dialogue with Marwan Barghouthi with the aim of securing his release in order to enable him to participate in Palestinian elections, on the condition that he agrees to abandon the armed struggle.

• The Palestinian Authority with the Temporary Palestinian Administrative Authority in Gaza will work with the international community in drawing up plans for the reconstruction of Gaza, infrastructure, housing, and all facilities. The TPAA will also invite the international community to provide funding for the reconstruction of Gaza which will be allocated to an international fund supervised by a mechanism created by the international community with Palestinian participation but not Palestinian control. It is strongly recommended that the reconstruction of Gaza be led in a joint management body of the United States and China.

• Negotiations between the State of Palestine and the State of Israel will begin in the framework of an international conference led by the regional countries of: Israel, Palestine, Egypt, Jordan, UAE, Bahrain, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia. Other countries will be invited to participate of course including the United States and other OECD countries. Those additional countries will be invited to participate in multi-lateral undertakings dealing with infrastructure, finance, climate change, water, environment, and security. As part of the negotiating process, a multi-national peacekeeping force will be established with a mandate of no less than ten years which will include Palestinian and Israeli forces and will be stationed along the Jordan River on the Palestinian and Israeli sides of the border and along the Gaza-Egypt border within Gaza. There is a possibility for the force to also be stationed on both sides of the Israeli-Gaza border. Other than security arrangements, the negotiations in this framework will focus on the borders between the two states, border management, the future of Jerusalem, the issue of rights and claims of refugees, water and natural resources, and the link between the two territories of the State of Palestine – the West Bank and Gaza. The negotiations will be conducted with a reasonable time frame. Assuming that an agreement can be reached, it will be confirmed as a UN Security Council Resolution which will affirm that the State of Palestine is the homeland of the Palestinian people and the State of Israel is the homeland of the Jewish people. Both states will undertake all provisions to ensure the full equality and democracy for all citizens in both states including minorities.

About the Author
The writer is the Middle East Director of ICO - International Communities Organization - a UK based NGO working in Conflict zones with failed peace processes. Baskin is a political and social entrepreneur who has dedicated his life to peace between Israel and her neighbors. He is also a founding member of “Kol Ezraheiha - Kol Muwanteneiha” (All of the Citizens) political party in Israel.
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