As I sometimes do, allow me to engage in the height of hubris and naivety.
First some context.
- My plan requires all the work to be done by the Israelis. Why? Because I believe two basic things
Those with great power have great responsibility. Israel is a powerful, democratic and moral country. They are the only ones who can think and act clearly enough to enact any real change
I don’t believe the Palestinians have much real control over Hamas or their Government. They can certainly choose to ‘reject’ those groups, but it would be nearly impossible to co-ordinate and would likely come at great peril to their lives
- My plan is based on the notion that if Israel could delegitimize the primary grievances of the Palestinian resistance and, at the same time, materially support moderate Palestinians they will…
Worst case: Delegitimize the Palestinian resistance movement in the eyes of the world, restoring the moral high-ground to Israel - this is the best and only thing that can truly protect not only its existence, but its soul. It will also stop the slaughter of civilians in Gaza.
Best case: Significantly undermine the terrorists and create a real partner for peace amongst the Palestinians.
- The specific steps outlined below are most likely naive, incomplete and/or in the wrong order. The (big, angry, red) devil is obviously in the details. They are meant only as a straw man to give a general sense of the kind concrete steps that might be taken in line with the strategy mentioned above.
- All of these steps should be unilateral and unequivocal. That is; they should not depend on the Palestinians doing anything before or after each step takes place nor should they be at risk of rollback because of rockets, killings or other violence.
- Importantly, these steps should essentially be announced and happen at the same time - they must be communicated as part of a comprehensive peace plan. Their unilateral, unequivocal nature must also be clearly communicated to demonstrate the commitment of Israel to the peace process.
- Finally, many of these steps might seem counterintuitive (particularly step 1) and will likely invoke heated debate involving demonization or blame. I’m not interested in retreading the standard talking points. I’m only interested in a go-forward plan for peace. It will require moral courage and empathy - not excuses.
Peace Plan Steps
Recognize the right for the Palestinians to live in peace and establish a state of their own
Declare a day of forgiveness, in which all grievances from the past are forgotten
Declare a permanent cease-fire
Immediately lift all appropriate and possible limitations on food, materials and other freedoms for the people living in the occupied territories
Immediately halt the development of new settlements
Declare the UN partition plan as the blueprint for Israel’s definitive borders
Publish (and execute) a multi-year methodical roll back plan for settlements such that the borders of Israel are contained within the borders of the UN partition plan (the property might be handed to the elected groups formed in step 7 of this plan who would, in turn, re-distribute them to the people).
Offer the Palestinian people the promise of massive funding, labor, expertise and other resources if they succeed in forming and voting for 2 or 3 parties/organizations with moderate views who could be partners for peace (Israel might even need to be involved in facilitating the vote)
Publish (and execute) a plan to support these new groups by, amongst other things, working hand-in-hand with them to construct and protect schools, infrastructure and other basic foundations of a civil society (they might do this from funds that would otherwise be spent on attacking the Palestinians - and perhaps asking the US to contribute as well)
Patiently sustain these efforts over the long term (again, irrespective of day-to-day events such as rocket attacks). By long term I would expect no less than 5 years. More likely 10-20 years.
Do you have any constructive additions/suggestions? Let me know and I will expand the post.