Reports out of Jerusalem indicate that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will meet tomorrow with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. I'd like to use this diary to suggest to Olmert a comprehensive peace plan he can offer to Abbas in the meeting.
Follow me over the fold for the details, but be forewarned. Most of you, regardless of your political persuasion or stance on the I/P conflict, will not like what I have to suggest. Also I'm under no illusions that anything like this will ever happen, but I do believe it contains the seeds of a fair and equitable settlement to the ongoing war.
Here are the key points of the plan:
- Israel annexes the West Bank and Gaza. The Golan will be returned to Syria.
- All Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza become full citizens of Israel, with all the rights and responsibilities accruing to Israeli citizens.
- Israel retains its flag, currency, official language, and name. It will remain the homeland of its current Jewish residents and their descendants.
- The "right of return" for Jews to Israel is repealed.
- Palestinian refugees living outside the West Bank and Gaza will be given the option of returning to Israel and assuming full Israeli citizenship.
- Jewish refugees and their descendants expelled from Arab countries in the 1940s and 1950s will have the right to return to their home countries.
- Israel will immediately establish a fund, using its own monies, to pay reparations to Palestinian refugees dispossessed by Zionist and Israeli troops during and after the 1948 Independence War.
- Additional monies will be solicited from the United States, the European Union, and the Persian Gulf states to bring the Refugee Reparations Fund up to the amount needed to pay the reparations and make other investments as detailed below.
- Jewish refugees from Arab countries will have rights to receive payments from the fund.
- Israel will begin negotiations with Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon in order to create a free trade union with them along the lines of NAFTA, MERCOSUR, or the old EEC. Saudi Arabia and Iraq (if it ever achieves political stability) will be invited as observers to the trade group, with the eventual option of joining.
- Israel will sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and open its nuclear facilities to inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency. It will begin the process of decommissioning its nuclear weapons.
- Alongside the trade negotiations with its neighbors, Israel will begin negotiating for the creation of a joint military command along the lines of NATO.
- Monies remaining in the Refugees Reparations Fund will be devoted to infrastructural development throughout the region. Investments will be targeted to transportation, education, and health care in the poorest communities, and a substantial sum will be set aside for microinvestments such as those proposed by Nobel prizewinner Muhammad Yunus. The international institution managing the fund will be attached to the Middle East regional trade organization, and its directors will be appointed by the member countries of the organization.
- Israel will begin a substantial reduction in its armed forces, matched by equivalent reductions in the armed forces of its neighbors.
- The United States will be given a permanent military base on Israeli soil to guarantee Israel's security and oversee the smooth running of the trade and mutual defense organizations.
That's it. Have at me.
UPDATE: Following a suggestion by blueness in comments, point fifteen should be modified taking into account the following points:
the US is a toxic presence in the region, however. It has no credibility with anybody, except perhaps the Israelis. I would prefer an EU force. In my view, it would be fair for the Germans, French, English, Poles, Hungarians, Lithuanians, Latvians, Spanish, Italians, et al to pitch in here to "allay Israeli security concerns" . . . since they did pretty much nothing to "allay Jewish security concerns" for, oh, about 2000 years.