The people’s plan for permanent peace in Palestine

Of all the words in the Hebrew language, “shalom” is the most frequently used. Yet we hear nothing from the Hebrew-speakers of any plan for permanent peace in Palestine. Currently, it’s the English- and Arabic-speakers who monopolize this conversation. They’re pursuing the diplomats’ peace, and, as you would expect, they’re focusing on precisely those problems that will sink their plan before it’s launched. What boundaries will define the Palestinian state? Who will rule it? What will become of the West Bank, Gaza, Jerusalem, and the displaced peoples? What security guarantees will protect Israel and the new Palestinian state from terrorists? These are the questions implied by the English and Arabic words. The English “peace” is achieved by cessation of hostility, the Arabic “salaam” by submission to God. Neither is synonymous with shalom, which is the contentment that comes from being grateful for one’s lot in life (Micha 4: 3-4 & Isaiah 2:4).

Shalom is the people’s peace. It comes from having all necessities met and appreciating that no one needs much more than that. The human necessities were encompassed by the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) that were promised to all people unanimously by the United Nations General Assembly in 2000: Adequate nutrition and income, primary education, female empowerment, child health care, maternal health care, prevention or cure of infectious disease, protection of the global ecosystem, and a global collaborative for fair economic development. These MDG were to be achieved by 2015, but none have yet to be achieved. Hence the lack of peace in the world. Diplomats can write all the treaties they want, but when even one child is hungry, when even one mom is scared or sad or sick with worry, there can be no peace worthy of the word shalom.

Jews have been crying “shalom” since the end of the Bar Kokhba revolt (135CE), and now, at last, the world is listening, as the path to world peace runs through Israel. We must not fail this moment or our history. Let the diplomats strut and fret their roles upon the stage. Let them write their treaties full of sound and fury. In the end, they’ll signify nothing. And if that’s all that happens, this war will be the prelude for the next one. It is rather for us, the Jewish people, to make now the shalom that our ancestors prayed for, the shalom that lasts.

Permanent peace isn’t made of treaties, but of good fences (Robert Frost, Mending Wall). Let’s make a good one now by anchoring both ends at the Israeli border south of Ashkelon. Push the middle slowly and progressively into Gaza. Push in small steps to somewhere south of Khan Younis. At each step, clear the area north of the fence of all people and weapons. Then let unarmed, peace-loving Gazans enter the safe area through airport-quality security. Let them occupy temporary housing. Hire them to begin construction of what will become the well-planned permanent City of Gaza. Guard the fence to prevent unauthorized persons or material from entering the safe area. Guard the coast to prevent threats from the sea.

Build a second fence at some distance south of the first one. Maintain a safe “No-Man’s Land” between the fences. Keep Gazans who cannot commit to peace south of this second fence. But continually encourage them to reconsider. Allow those who do commit to peace to apply for entry into the safe, permanent City of Gaza. Petition the United States, or the UN, or NATO, or hire a private security agency, to manage the transition from frontier to permanent city and to provide military and police protection until Palestinians can form their own government and assume management and security for the City of Gaza.

Ensure shalom by achieving all MDG within the City of Gaza, and, in addition, catalyze development in accord with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Consider the following:

  1. An international soccer league where Israelis and Palestinians play on the same team
  2. A Jewish, Christian, Islamic collaborative to study the origin and evolution of the Abrahamic religions
  3. A National Park encompassing Gaza’s world-class wadi
  4. A National Park and Museum of the Negev
  5. A National Seashore
  6. Solar energy farms and solar desalination plants
  7. A symphony orchestra and chorus composed of Israeli and Palestinian musicians
  8. A University of Gaza focusing on desert ecology and culture
  9. Charitable outreach to Africa
  10. An Israeli-Palestinian Peace Corps

Peace is not made of treaties, but of good fences, and good will. Israelis needn’t wait for either. They can begin building both today by petitioning for the fence that will empower care for, and friendship with, Palestinians. And once that friendship blossoms, the diplomats’ peace will follow as a corollary. Shalom Aleichem.

About the Author
Doug Dix, Ph.D., is Emeritus Professor at the University of Hartford and Secretary/Treasurer of MOMS: The Fund for Mothers with Young Children. He's been married to Rosenbloom Cohen for 53 years and is father of seven, and grandfather of thirteen children. He teaches that the family that matters is the ONE we all belong to and offers a blueprint for building that family. This blueprint is based on the Golden Rule, Tikkun Olam, and rejuvenated, evidence-based, Judaism. For 3,000 years, Judaism was the glue that held Jews together and empowered them to survive in the face of fiercest oppression. Now this most ancient religion is endangered, not by enemies, but by Jewish affluence. Israel ranks now among the richest and least religious nations of the world. It's lost its purpose, i.e., to be a blessing to all and a light to the nations (Gen, 22:18, Isaiah 42:6). I will blog to restore this holy mission to Judaism and Judaism to Israel by repairing the world. See "The Health and Wealth of Nations" in current issue of Advance Research Journal of Medical and Clinical Science at link in "How Do You Know" above.
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