Israel’s 5 Strategy Options Regarding West Bank After Abbas

March 30, 2016

david starIsrael will have five policy options regarding Judea and Samaria when Mahmoud Abbas departs from his post as leader of the Palestinian Authority and none of these options is ideal. This is the conclusion of analysis by Professor Hillel Frisch, professor of political studies and Middle East studies at Bar-Ilan University, and a senior research associate at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies.

Prof. Frisch is trying to craft a coherent Israeli policy toward a post-Abbas Palestinian Authority (PA). The task is challenging as the situation is constantly buffeted by tremors and underground currents. These include a wave of terrorist violence against Israelis, albeit declining; a growing rift within Fatah between Abbas and his detractors that is very much linked to the battle over his succession; and the possibility that linkage between those two developments could degenerate into civil war (another arena in the proxy war waged between Iran and Saudi Arabia and their respective allies).

The five approaches are

  • conflict management option,
  • creative friction,
  • constructive chaos,
  • unilateral withdrawal, and
  • unilateral annexation.

In every case, however, Israel will have to maintain a military presence in Judea and Samaria.

BESA CenterThe article Israel’s Five Policy Options Regarding Judea and Samaria by Prof. Hillel Frisch is BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 336, March 29, 2016 and it can be found as PDF from here ; a resume of it is represented below:

Israel’s 5 Strategy Options Regarding West Bank After Abbas [Source: Prof. Hillel Frisch/BESA Center]

According Prof. Frisch the Conflict Management Option is probably the most feasible, and the unilateral withdrawal option the least and according him the Unilateral withdrawal would in any case probably prove to be domestically impossible. The chaos option is not entirely in Israel’s hands, contingent as it is on developments within the PA.

Unlike in an excellent article by Prof. Frisch I think that unilateral withdrawal is both feasible and doable; its main benefit might be that Israel can deside it individually. Sure this option is promoted by Isaac Herzog, leader of the Zionist Union, but I understand that the proposal has support in addition to center-left also from center and center-right in Israeli’s political sphere. I would like to emphasize also one aspect namely separate truce with Gaza/Hamas and in best case implementation sc Sinai option which could solve refugee question with positive outcome to some of problems in West Bank too.

clinton parameters

The components of Two-State solution have been roughly clear last two decades – see ‘Parameters of the Israel-Palestine Conflict’ above – but the final agreement is still missing. The international pressure might lead to talks or negotiations again, with or without outside facilitators, but probably with the same outcome than earlier. So from my perspective unilateral actions are steps forward and in my opinion also to the right direction.

If peace negotiations don’t start, they fail again or regional solutions can’t be realized this time so from my viewpoint Israel could independently implement what I have called a ‘Cold Peace Solution’, a minimal level of peace relations, where Israel would annex main settlements from West-bank inside the security fence and return to negotiations about other than so solved border issue when both parties feel need to make a long term deal. This solution in my opinion is the best way forward and it even might be possible to implement. If unilateral solutions are made in the framework of constructive unilateralism so this approach might be the right roadmap towards more permanent two-state solution.

Cold-Peace-Solution by Ari Rusila


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Analysis: Resolving The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

November 17, 2015

Israeli-Palestinian conflict maps by Ari RusilaThe Israeli-Palestinian peace process – or lack of that – is now at the  crossroads.  To start or not direct  negotiations, between Israel and Palestinian Authority or at regional level,  with or without preconditions, with or without facilitators, with 2-State
solution as only aim or not, or would unilateral actions be the better option  than keep the status quo.  Is there  Intifada-3  going on or not?   A massive peace effort – the Madrid  Conference and the Oslo Accords – ended the First Intifada; a massive military  campaign –  Operation Defensive Shield –  ended the Second Intifada; how it will end the Intifada-3 if it really  starts?  These are some questions around  the conflict.  With this analysis I try  to clarify main options to solve Israeli-Palestinian conflict in relation to  current situation.

Throughout two decades of the Israeli-Palestinian “peace process,” direct negotiation with aim of ‘Two-State’ solution has been perceived as the only paradigm of international community and it has been the main option for Israeli and Palestinian authorities. To keep negotiations ongoing has came de facto as the goal in itself instead of the means to reach an agreement. The failure to reach an agreement has given excuses to the politicians on both sides, allowing them to blame the other party for failure to progress, and destroying the belief that an agreement is possible in the foreseeable future.

Main options to solve Israeli-Palestinian conflict by Ari Rusila

As possible solutions for Israeli-Palestinian conflict there has been besides 2-State solution also binational ‘One-State’ solution, partial solutions like Sinai an Jordan Options and different variations of ‘Three States’ solutions. One of course easy ‘solution’ is zero-option – ‘frozen conflict’ or ‘status quo’ scenario which can be implemented also through pseudo-talks. Today also unilateral actions – instead vain negotiations – can pave way towards some solutions.

 

One-State Solution

Israeli-Palestinian conflict, one.state solutionOne State scenario means “Isralestine”, a binational state to West from Jordan River or federation/confederation. Omer Bar-Lev – an MK for the Zionist Union – claims that Israel’s approach to security lacks creativity and initiative. He hits the nail on the head by concluding the one-state dilemma as follows:

If Israel wants to be a democratic state, which it does, then it has to either grant them full citizenship rights, which will subsequently destroy Zionism (one state for two nations) or separate from the Palestinians (two states for two nations). In that case, Israel can keep the Zionist spirit. Then, it is for the Palestinians to decide to create their Palestinian State, which is in their interests and they will make their own decisions. (Source: Fathom)

Indeed one-state option in my opinion would destroy Israel as ‘Jewish homeland’ as both democracy and ‘Jewish Israel’ could not survive in this solution. Failure of negotiations or lack of unilateral actions is shaping Israel and West-Bank more and more towards de facto ‘1-State’.

 

Two-State solution

To this day, I cannot understand why the Palestinian leadership did not accept the far-reaching and unprecedented proposal I offered them. My proposal included a solution to all outstanding issues: territorial compromise, security arrangements, Jerusalem and refugees.

( How to Achieve a Lasting Peace: Stop Focusing on the Settlements By Ehud Olmert Israel PM 2006-2009)

A bit provocative 2-state vision

A bit provocative 2-state vision

A couple of decades the international community has preached a doctrine of ‘Two states for two peoples’, without any progress for its implementation. Sure also in my opinion a two-state solution might be possible. The final status agreement – negotiated compromise – has been very close at least since Beilin-Abu Mazen understandings / agreement / plan (1995) where nearly all issues were agreed. The Olmert proposal (2008) was probably the last serious try (both plans can be found from my document library ). These plans have been refined many times and serious work can be seen e.g. in leaked Palestine Papers/PaliLeaks (More in ”Pali-Leaks, land swaps and desperate search of peace).

23boundar_map-popup (2)

The endgame with 2-state solution will probably be according The Clinton Parameters . The key element with 2-State Solutions are negotiated borders based to pre-1967 armistice lines with land swaps;  the state of Palestine as the homeland of the Palestinian people and the state of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people; Palestinian sovereignty over the Temple Mount/Haram, and Israeli sovereignty over the Western Wall and the space sacred to Judaism; Palestine defined as a “demilitarized state”, solving the refugee question by giving limited return to Israel, return to the new State of Palestine or rehabilitation refugees in host country.

 

Sinai Option

Sinai OptionGreenWith “official” 2-State Solution there is other 2-State options such as Gaza and Palestine option (more e.g. in Gaza State Under Construction, West Bank Remains Bystander ). With this version Israel and Hamas could negotiate a deal which could lead to Gaza State while the future of Palestine state in West-Bank would stay unclear. This (part) solution could be stronger by combining it to recently again proposed Sinai option.

According Middle East Monitor (MEMO) report Egypt offers Palestinian Authority’s President Abbas a Palestinian state in Sinai.   Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi offered Palestinian Authority 620 square miles of land adjacent to Gaza in exchange for relinquishing claims to 1967 borders for the purpose of establishing a Palestinian state. PA President Abbas reportedly rejects proposal. Speaking in a meeting of Fatah leaders in Ramallah, Abbas said: “The plan, which was proposed in 1956, included annexing 1,600 square kilometres from the Sinai Peninsula to the Gaza Strip in order to receive Palestinian refugees.” He continued: “The plan is being proposed again, but we refused it.” One idea with offer was to resettle “Palestinian refugees” in the Sinai. At its core, the Egyptian initiatives proposes expanding the Gaza Strip to three – five times its current size (360 km2 ) and settling all the Palestinian refugees – who want to move – in a state to be established there. Under the initiative, this state will be demilitarized.

israel-palestinian-state-mediterranean-red-sea-west-bank-removalThere is also some versions of Sinai option created by outside NGOs such as “The Institute for the Study of Globalization and Covert Politics”, which might have conspiracy theoretical approach on issue.  Anyway ISGP proposes that under United Nations and NATO supervision and with financial support of the world community, humanely transport ALL Palestinians from the West Bank to a newly-created Palestinian state consisting of the south of Israel and preferably a small part of Egypt’s largely uninhabited Sinai Desert. In order to help make Palestine a viable state, extend its borders from Gaza on the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea.

More about ‘Sinai Option’ in my article:  Sinai Option again .

 

Three-State solution

I have long been advocating Three State (return) Option – described also as no-state option – as the most pragmatic solution to Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In this 3-state scenario Amman rules the Cairo West Bank and Cairo runs Gaza. This scenario includes a Jordanian option meaning recognition and development of Jordan as the Palestinian State – Israel, the United States and the international community will recognize the Kingdom of Jordan as the only legitimate representative of the Palestinians. Jordan will once again recognize itself as the Palestinian nation-state.

3-state return option by Ari RusilaFor 19 years, Judea and Samaria were part of Jordan, its population Jordanian citizens, and the geographic juxtaposition between Israel and Jordan should make delineating the border between the two countries in an agreement considerably easier than reaching a deal on a border between Israel and a Palestinian state that might be established in the area. If three state solution will be implemented so Israel would receive security guarantees from Jordan’s monarchy, which made peace with Israel in 1994, rather than from a politically enfeebled Palestinian president as well from Egypt, which has peace deal with Israel since 1978, rather than from outside supervised Hamas.

Related to Egypt this ‘3-State’ solution can include sc ‘Sinai Option’ and it is possible to agree some level autonomy to so formed ‘Great Gaza’.

Three-State [Return] proposal would eliminate the main logistical complication pertaining to the communication between the two parts of the Palestinian state. In addition two separate states for Palestinians would accord more realistically with a key current political reality. The idea of 2-State solution is to create a land corridor between Gaza and the West Bank, with a free flow of people and commerce between the two; however this kind of corridor effectively cuts Israel in half; sure connecting tunnels or bridges could be a solution, but these too are a logistical challenge.

From my point of view this solution is both pragmatic and doable and now more actual than ever as two-state solution is more and more utopia and road map towards it has been death for years. (More in A Jordanian-Palestinian Confederation Is On The Move and The Three-State Option could solve Gaza Conflict )

The three-state solution essentially replicates – with some minor land swaps – the situation that existed between the 1949 Armistice Agreements and the 1967 Six-Day War.

 

Roadmaps to solution

In my opinion there is three main pathways to solution of Israeli-Palestinian conflict and they are following:

  • (Re)starting negotiations,
  • Constructive unilateralism, and
  • Cold Peace

Israeli-Palestinian conflict roadmaps to peace

(Re)starting negotiations

(Re)starting negotiations has two alternatives which are

  1. start negotiations between Israel and Palestine Authority – local approach leading possibly to 2-State solution
  2. restart negotiations between Israel, Egypt and Jordan – regional approach leading to 3-State solution

Both of these alternatives can be implemented directly between shareholders or they can be implemented with help of outside facilitators (USA, Arab League, UN).

I would like to conclude that instead of rigid high-flown statements and dead road maps international community should facilitate the Middle East peace process through following three principles

  • Negotiations will be restored without prior conditions.
  • The talks should be implemented by local stakeholders, not under supervision of outside powers
  • The international community – outside powers – should support any common agreed outcome of talks e.g. with financial aid programs

This approach means that an outcome – which I describe with term ‘quality peace’ – is not possible to achieve imposed from top to field e.g forced by international community or other outsiders; with that kind of approach one can only freeze the conflict not solve it. The only way for ‘quality peace’ is through motivation or at least commitment of individual, clan, community, ethnic groups, wider society or state to resolve conflicts through dialogue by acceptance and at least tolerance of differences. (More in my articles Peacemaking – How about solving Conflicts too? and Quality Peace )

quality peace by Ari Rusila

 

Constructive unilateralism

Already 2012 then Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that Israel should consider imposing the borders of a future Palestinian state, becoming the most senior government official to suggest bypassing a stagnant peace process.

The plan titled “It’s in Our Hands,” by Omer Bar-Lev – an MK for the Zionist Union – calls for Israel to unilaterally define its own borders to ensure its security, would keep control of all of Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley and bequeath about 60 percent of the West Bank to the Palestinians, evacuating 35,000 Jewish settlers — less than 10 percent of the total.

An example from history

An example from history

According BWF  – an Israeli NGO Blue White Future – Israel should prepare for a reality of two states for two people, most notably by declaring that it does not have claims of sovereignty over most of the occupied territories, and by planning and acting accordingly, including preparing for the relocation of settlers residing east of the security fence to Israel proper. BWF proposes that the international community should adopt a paradigm that allows all stakeholders – Israel, Palestinians, the US and the other players – to take independent steps that will advance a reality of two states. (More in Constructive Unilateralism: Leftist Approach to Israel-Palestine Conflict )

A possible Hamas-Israel Deal can pave the way for Cold Peace Solution (More in Hamas and Israel on Verge of the Deal ); the final outcome can be 2- or 3-State solution.

Cold Peace

Israel could also independently implement a ‘Cold Peace Solution’, a minimal level of peace relations, to ensure its character as a Jewish and democratic state, by fixing a border between Israel and a future Palestinian state in the West Bank unilaterally. Creating a reality of two states for two peoples by separation into two nation states so that Israel annexes all Judea and Samaria (West-Bank) inside security fence and draws all outposts inside fence on the route of a permanent border on the basis of agreed-upon land swaps or independently in case negotiations does not take place. In the event that negotiations are not renewed, the temporary border will become permanent. As long as there is no agreement, the IDF and Israel would retain control of the outer borders and surrounding areas of the territories to be evacuated by Israelis who would be resettled within the state’s new borders. With this kind of unilateral “cold peace” solution Palestinians can do whatever they want in remaining territory but however this ‘Cold Peace’ in my opinion might – in the course of years – develop to permanent state of affairs and thus end Israeli-Palestinian conflict. An example could be the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel signed in 1979 which most Egyptians view as a cold peace; retrospectively not so bad deal anyway.

In my opinion the situation now is leading Israel toward a de facto binational future toward one-state solution and this might be the worst option for both sides. If negotiations now fail so I think that unilateral moves might not be so bad idea. If three-state option can not now replace the buried two-state solution so then the way forward for Israel seems to be annex the main settlements to Israel, finalize the security fence and wait if and when the Palestinian side and international facilitator want negotiate about some details based on this reality on the ground.

Cold-Peace-Solution by Ari Rusila


Article Analysis: Resolving The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict first appeared in Conflicts By Ari Rusila

 


Constructive Unilateralism: Leftist Approach to Israel-Palestine Conflict

September 16, 2015
One provocative view to issue

One provocative view to issue by OilEmpire.us

Throughout two decades of the Israeli-Palestinian “peace process,” direct negotiation has been perceived as the only paradigm that can lead to an agreement. But that paradigm has made direct negotiation as the goal in itself instead of the means to reach an agreement. Further, the failure to reach an agreement has given excuses to the rejectionists and extremists on both sides, allowing them to blame the other party for failure to progress, and destroying the belief within the respective societies that an agreement is possible in the foreseeable future.

With this history the only conclusion to solve Israel-Palestine conflict is to find a new approach to the peace process. Recently Israeli Left has done exactly that.

Some background

A couple of decades the international community has preached a doctrine of ‘Two states for two peoples’, without any progress for its implementation. Sure also in my opinion a two-state solution might be possible. The final status agreement has been very close at least since Beilin-Abu Mazen understandings/agreement/plan (1995) where nearly all issues were agreed. The Olmert proposal (2008) was probably the last serious try. (both plans can be found from my document library   ) The parameters of the end-game have been clear the whole time but despite of a number of negotiations the final agreement is missing.

Paramet

 

On 10th Sep. 2015 Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu again told David Cameron that he is ready to return to peace talks with the Palestinians without pre-conditions, during their meeting at 10 Downing Street: “I want to say here in 10 Downing Street, and reaffirm again, that I am ready to resume direct negotiations with the Palestinians with no conditions whatsoever … and I’m willing to do so immediately,” said Netanyahu according BICOM.

b-zn0a5wkae2wn8Same time the actions of European Parliament do not have any sense of reality. EU’s motion of labelling Israeli goods from the disputed territories is giving supporting message to the growing anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish sentiments in Europe, while EU instead should promote cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians. When the whole MENA region risks falling into an abyss of war and genocide EU choose to attack the only stable democracy in the region, namely Israel. And this attack even does not help Palestinians as its effect might be totally opposite. (P.S: more background in “Top Priority of EU Foreign Policy: A New ‘Jude’ Badge” ) Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said that the EU motion [EP 10th Sep. 2015] was “discriminatory with a sharp smell of boycott,” adding that “under the guise of a technical procedure, this is an attempt to force a diplomatic solution instead of encouraging the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table.” EU claims that imaginary Gaza blockade is the reason for slow reconstruction in Gaza strip while the main reason is corruption and misuse of funds. (More e.g. in Instead of Gaza’s Reconstruction Donor Aid Finances Terrorism And Corruption and a wider picture about non-existent skills of Palestinian authority to deliver international donor aid to beneficiaries one can find from my article Palestine – Placebo effect for people and society with 20 bn bucks)

 

Leftist options

With background described above the only conclusion to solve Israel-Palestine conflict is to find a new approach to the peace process. Recently Israeli Left has done exactly that.

Leader of the Israeli opposition – and Labor/Zionist Union – Isaac Herzog has proposed to divide the land between the Israelis and Palestinians. Following a quote from interview of Isaac Herzog in Fathom :

I speak in a very frank and open manner. I believe that Israel must move for peace. We must move towards the division of the land between the Palestinians and us in order to maintain the future of Israel as a Jewish democratic state. I say this very bluntly. For example, on the issue of Jerusalem, I don’t rule out the possibility that as part of a political solution there will be government institutions of the Palestinian state in one of the Arab neighbourhoods of Jerusalem. I don’t think that violates our loyalty, love and affection for Jerusalem. In the eastern Arab neighbourhoods of Jerusalem there reside over 300,000 Palestinians. They are not seen as part of Israel, and rightly so. I think that we need to be innovative and bold and tell the truth to the people. Part of the truth is that in order for Zionism to prevail and to succeed we must make sure that Gush Etzion and Maaleh Adumim will be part of Israel for ever. This needs to be done by way of a swap of land with the Palestinians. If we reach an agreement to separate from the Palestinians, this will be a victory for Zionism.

Already 2012 then Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Wednesday that Israel should consider imposing the borders of a future Palestinian state, becoming the most senior government official to suggest bypassing a stagnant peace process.

More recently Zionist Union MK Hilik Bar, who heads the Knesset Caucus to Resolve the Arab-Israeli Conflict, unveiled a proposed diplomatic framework, which he says would resolve the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Bar’s framework calls on Israel to first recognise a Palestinian state at the United Nations, so long as the Palestinian Authority (PA) agrees not to use such status to undermine bilateral talks and accepts the concept of two nation states. Negotiations would then ensue over borders, Jerusalem, refugees and security arrangements. In addition to direct Israeli-Palestinian talks, Bar envisages that Israel would simultaneously enter into dialogue with other Arab countries and issue a formal response to the Arab Peace Initiative. Lähde: BICOM

These initiatives are however in my opinion too general; fortunately for peace there is now also two options which go further in seeking solution for Israel-Palestine conflict.

 

‘it’s in our hands’

Omer Bar-Lev is an MK for the Zionist Union. He was a commander in one of the IDF’s elite units – Sayeret Matkal – before becoming a high tech entrepreneur and an MK in 2013. In a speech Bar-Lev gave in the Knesset to mark the 37th anniversary of the Entebbe operation, to which he participated, he said that we need a diplomatic Entebbe, meaning that the entire Entebbe operation was built around improvisation and initiative. In that same speech he said to the prime minister:

Take an example from your brother [commander in Entebbe, killed in action there]. The operation in Entebbe was an expression of the Zionist spirit to move forward always, never to be passive and never to be dragged into situations beyond our control; to be bold, innovative and creative. Where is all that now? Even Israel’s approach to security lacks creativity. It lacks initiative. (Source : Al-Monitor )

Smart-Quotes-39823-statusmind.comAccording Omer Bar-Lev the basis of the vision of Zionism is that Israel should be the homeland for the Jewish people. In order for that to be achieved, there has to be a clear Jewish majority in Israel. As long as Israel wants to be part of the enlightened Western world – part of the democratic world – it must give equal rights to all human beings living in the borders of the country. To keep the Zionist vision alive, Bar-Lev proposes that Israel has to separate from the Palestinians as now, Israel is controlling, one way or another, 2.8 million Palestinians in the West Bank who don’t have equal rights and who don’t vote for the Knesset. His conclusion:

If Israel wants to be a democratic state, which it does, then it has to either grant them full citizenship rights, which will subsequently destroy Zionism (one state for two nations) or separate from the Palestinians (two states for two nations). In that case, Israel can keep the Zionist spirit. Then, it is for the Palestinians to decide to create their Palestinian State, which is in their interests and they will make their own decisions.

Bar-Lev calls his program as ‘it’s in our hands.’ According him to achieve separation,

the best way to do it is through an agreement with the Palestinians, for sure. The two sides would agree to make their compromises, sign an agreement, and peace and love will reign forever. However, the probability of both sides, simultaneously, producing leaders who can make that strategic decision, and that strategic compromise, is very low. Israel cannot put its future in the hands of the other side. If we had a partner, then great, we should make an agreement and move forward and sign a two-state solution. However, even if the other side is not prepared to do so, Israel has a lot of steps it can take to begin the separation from the Palestinians. Therefore, I called my initiative – ‘it’s in our hands.’

Omer Bar-Lev represents a three step program to implement the separation:

  • The first step would be to stop building settlements outside the blocs. It is not in Israel’s interest . I’m not sure when the new future will come, either in one year or 10 years, but when it will come, these settlements will not be part of Israel.
  • The second step is to pass a bill in the Knesset to compensate any Israeli settler living outside of the blocs, once he or she decides to resettle in Israel. In order to do so, we have to build the infrastructure within Israel; we have to relocate tens of thousands of settlers and this will take time.
  • A third step is to enlarge the areas of the West Bank where the Palestinians hold full responsibility and formal independence.

(Source: Fathom )

The plan titled “It’s in Our Hands,” by Omer Bar-Lev calls for Israel to unilaterally define its own borders to ensure its security, would keep control of all of Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley and bequeath about 60 percent of the West Bank to the Palestinians, evacuating 35,000 Jewish settlers — less than 10 percent of the total. This plan might be provocative but for me it seems to be realistic tactic towards two-state solution.

 

Constructive unilateralism

According to the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) policy recommendations a couple of years ago, Israel must apply a top-down and bottom-up approach to the conflict, two efforts simultaneously: 1) Continue to pursue negotiations; and 2) Preparation of a viable, national-scale plan to relocate up to 100,000 settlers – currently living outside of the settlement blocks and in areas Israel will eventually withdraw from – within Israel proper in a compassionate, well organized way. (More in INSS publication ‘The Political Process: Plan A, Plan B, and What Lies Between Them’ by Udi Dekel, Anat Kurz, and Gilead Sher )

headerENGAn Israeli NGO Blue White Future,(“BWF”) is a non-partisan political movement founded in 2009 by Admiral (ret.) Ami Ayalon, the former Director of the Israel Security Agency, Colonel (res.) Gilead Sher, a prominent advocate and former senior peace negotiator, Orni Petruschka, a hi-tech entrepreneur and former IAF fighter pilot. Blue White Future seeks to help resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the basis of a “two states for two peoples” solution by facilitating the relocation of settlers so that all Israel’s citizens reside within secure permanent borders that guarantee a Jewish majority. BWF also seeks to advance the processes necessary to meet this goal, through the projects it runs and through its proposed policy plan, and thus provide security and prosperity for generations to come.

According BWF  Israel should prepare for a reality of two states for two people, most notably by declaring that it does not have claims of sovereignty over most of the occupied territories, and by planning and acting accordingly, including preparing for the relocation of settlers residing east of the separation barrier to Israel proper.  Specifically, its policy should include the following components (Source: BWF ):

  • • Israel should consistently strive for a permanent agreement according to the principles of the Clinton parameters and other like-minded proposals, while pursuing an unconditional track, independent of any progress that may take place through negotiations.
  • • Israel should refrain from building new settlements and from expanding existing settlements east of the separation barrier and in Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem. Construction could continue in the settlement blocs and in the Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem.
  • • Israel could consider transferring areas east of the barrier to Palestinian control in a gradual, monitored and supervised manner. [Note that this part requires coordination and therefore is optional].
  • • Israel should enact a law that allows for voluntary evacuation, compensation and eventual absorption of settlers presently residing on the eastern side of the security barrier, to encourage settlers who wish to relocate within the green line or within settlement blocs, regardless of whether an agreement with the Palestinians is concluded.
  • • Israel should prepare a national plan for the absorption of the settlers who would relocate to Israel proper, whether before or after an agreement is signed.  Such a plan should have urban, vocational, social, psychological and other appropriate components.

The Palestinian Authority has already taken constructive unilateral steps by seeking United Nations recognition as a state and building the institutions of statehood in the West Bank. Neither action contradicted the two-state vision. Although many Israelis and the Obama administration objected to the bid for statehood, it could have moved us closer to that outcome had Israel welcomed it rather than fought it. After all, Israel could negotiate more easily with a state than with a nonstate entity like the Palestinian Authority. And statehood would undermine the Palestinians’ argument for implementing a right of return for Palestinian refugees, since the refugees would have a state of their own to return to.

Example from history - 2015

Example from history – 2005

BWF proposes that the international community should adopt a paradigm that allows all stakeholders – Israel, Palestinians, the US and the other players – to take independent steps that will advance a reality of two states. Once the parameters are on the table, any independent step taken in the future can be clearly evaluated regarding whether they moves us closer to the reality of two states, and are thus considered constructive, or take parties further away.

For example, according BWF, a long-term truce between Fatah and Hamas, allowing for the rehabilitation and reconstruction in Gaza while preventing arming, is a positive step; a resurrection of Palestinian violence is evidently in the wrong direction. Similarly, an Israeli cessation of settlement activity outside of the settlement blocs, as well as preparing for the relocation of the settlers who currently live there, are constructive steps, while expansion of settlements outside the large blocs is not.

 

My conclusion

The components of Two-State solution have been roughly clear last two decades – see ‘Parameters of the Israel-Palestine Conflict’ on the beginning of this article – but the final agreement is still missing. The international pressure might lead to talks or negotiations again, with or without outside facilitators, but probably with the same outcome than earlier. So from my perspective a new approach is needed and both Israeli leftist initiatives – ‘it’s in our hands’ by Omer Bar-Lev and ‘Constructive unilateralism’ by Blue White Future – are steps forward and in my opinion also to the right direction.

If two-states solution can not be negotiated between shareholders and when one-state option in my opinion would destroy Israel as ‘Jewish homeland’ so there is possibilities to make regional solution – I have long propagated the idea of the “Three-State-(return) Option” ( e.g. in ”The Three-State Option could solve Gaza Conflict” ) or to support local unilateral solution. If peace negotiations don’t start, they fail again or regional solutions can’t be realized this time so from my viewpoint Israel could independently implement what I have called a ‘Cold Peace Solution’, a minimal level of peace relations, where Israel would annex main settlements from West-bank inside the security fence and return to negotiations about other than so solved border issue when both parties feel need to make a long term deal. This solution in my opinion is the best way forward and it even might be possible to implement. If unilateral solutions are made in the framework of constructive unilateralism so this approach might be the right roadmap towards more permanent two-state solution. Not so bad option compared status quo anyway from my perspective.

Cold-Peace-Solution by Ari Rusila