Jonathan Zausmer
Jonathan Zausmer

The Trump Brief: Israel – Palestine for Dummies

It is now apparent that the leader of the free world has the attention span a hormonal juvenile –  on hormones. About 2 minutes. As we now live in the age of ignorance and POTUS, as they term him, is about to launch his one state – two state, (whatever you guys agree on) initiative, I have drawn up a short summary of points that could help bring this about. I’m gonna try to do this in 600 words, which, read very fast, may fit the time frame. Here goes:

  • Forget about the past. These guys (Israelis and Palestinians) hate each other, but need a deal.
  • All the negotiations until now and all the roadmaps and parameters including that of Bush and Clinton outlined a blueprint for peace which included 4 main issues:
    1. Security
    2. Borders
    3. Jerusalem
    4. Refugees

So here is the deal:

  1. For the last 10 years the Palestinian police have been Israel’s security contractor in the West Bank. Israel has the most powerful army in the Middle East. The West Bank needs to become an independent state based on an interim agreement and the occupation regime must end. A safe zone starting on the Jordanian side of the Jordan river will be policed by an international force including Americans, Israelis and Palestinians.
  2. It has been accepted by most of the major Arab states that the large settlement blocs can stay as they are, without forcibly removing people from their homes, however this means that equivalent territory (about 3%) of the total West Bank area must be allocated for Palestine from Israeli territory within the Green line. It can be done. Thus, the borders (not including Jerusalem) will be based on pre-1967 boundaries, ie: the Green Line
  3. Jerusalem is today a divided city anyway. Most the high areas are Jewish Israelis, most the Eastern areas are Palestinian Arabs. So the city will be divided regarding municipal admin, but will work as it does right now under a new agreement whereby Palestinians will participate in municipal self-government. Right now the Israeli municipal regime is doing a hopeless job in the heavily populated Arab areas in the Eastern part of the city. The Old City will be formally divided but in effect will remain the same: Jews will have full access to the Western Wall. Muslim worshipers will have full access to the Temple Mount. A joint mini-government will rule the Old City
  4. Refugees. This is what we call here in Israel a “combina”, Mr. POTUS. Abbas and the Arab League have already accepted a symbolic deal whereby 100,000 Palestinians will return to Israel. Israel is talking about 5,000. Send Jared over. It’s doable right?

Other problems (big-league): Hamas; Democracy for Palestinians; Prisoners. Here goes: Hamas is bending as we speak. A little push and a deal can be made there. Democracy: this connects also to Hamas. The only solution for democratic elections that will work towards peace is to release Marwan Barghouti. Yes he is a terrorist. Yes he has blood on his hands. So was Begin. So was Shamir. Rabin was no saint when it came to Ramla and Lod in ‘48. Barghouti carries an election including Gaza hands down. Close to 70%. If you are allergic to the sight of blood, you can’t do Middle East politics, ok?

Which brings us to prisoners. Both full statehood and full release of prisoners will work in tranches on a success basis. One step goes ok – some prisoners get out. Two steps go well – Some others get out and we start putting this state together. You set a time frame – say eight years and this whole thing materializes. Things go belly up? You did what you can do. No complaints.

OK POTUS? Let’s see what you can do.

About the Author
Originally from South Africa, Jonathan made aliya in the seventies, and lived and worked on a kibbutz for several years. He has a graduate degree in business from Boston University and is a managing partner of an Israeli based business. He was a co-founder of the Forum Tzora peace action group and participates in the Geneva Initiative workshops. He is the author of the book “Valley of Heaven and Earth”.