Sunday, December 28, 2008

[palestine] just the facts please 2

To start with, the Arab peace initiative, on the surface, looks good:

  • The principle of Land for peace.
  • The conviction of the Arab countries that a military solution to the conflict will not achieve peace or provide security for the parties.

The goals of the initiative:

The stumbling block is Jewish withdrawal from East Jerusalem. This is clearly a ridiculous demand and the Arabs know full well that it could not promote peace, despite the rhetoric:

East Jerusalem refers to the part of Jerusalem captured by Jordan in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, and subsequently by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War. It includes Jerusalem's Old City and some of the holiest sites of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, such as the Temple Mount, Western Wall, Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

You can not realistically expect Jews, Muslims or Christians to withdraw from this vital piece of real estate and on this little piece of the world hangs issues reverberating throughout the old world. Note that in this, there is no Israeli proposal and yet the Jewish side has agreed, in principle, to all but the East Jerusalem question, providing the terrorism stops.

United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181 gave a more just solution in that Jerusalem as a whole would be internationally administered territory, ensuring equal rights, each to its own holy areas and any solution not including this part of the resolution is going to be doomed from its inception. Israel and the Palestinian State would be so placed that they would have direct access from their own territory to Jerusalem, something which Proposal 181 did not solve.

One other aspect would need to be an internationally administered corridor between Gaza and the West Bank. Though it would cut Israel in two, there would be another broad corridor between south and north, over or under the east-west Palestinian one, maybe in the nature of road underpasses and overpasses. The two need never clash.

Land for peace [Wiki article]

The Gaza 'test case' is argued by some to show the failure of the "Land for Peace" strategy with the Palestinians:
  • Rockets launched against Israeli targets continued almost immediately after the Israeli withdrawal and have increased in the time since[1].
  • The attacks from the Gaza Strip are continuing today[2]
  • The area is now being used to smuggle weapons into Israel[3]
  • Tunnels are being built under the border for use in the smuggling of weapons and fighters[4]
  • Is presumed that Hamas is the main organization behind the smuggling and tunnels, though other groups are likely involved as well[5]

Stop the rockets and international pressure will then be on Israel to allow more realistic, international proposals for the corridor issue.

So there is one solution for peace, if all sides are genuine in desiring it and are not hell bent on wiping the other off the map. To us, in far flung lands, this might seem like just a Sunday morning academic exercise but I'd suggest that in its solution lies the future peace of the world and avoidance of an Armageddon.


Anonymous said...

There is the issue of the settlements too. So far Israel has offered the Palestinians various deals that exclude the land that the settlements is on and military roads between the settlements (eg Barak 2000)- which would effectively create a Palestinian state split by military roads and deprived of its most fertile areas.

Also worth noting two other points- firstly that neither side can survive economically without the other- any peace deal would have to include a free trade deal. Secondly that Israel for years has deprived the PLO of the machinery to actually deal with Hamas- because of worries they might use it against them. I've been told stories for example of Hamas committing an atrocity- the PLO trying to get at them and following them but Hamas having Iranian supplied offroad vehicles- and the PLO being unable to follow them off road because Israel will not let them import similar vehicles.

Its an even more complicated issue than you are making it here I'm afraid.

James Higham said...

It is indeed that complicated and everything above in your comment needs to be incorporated in the peace.

It's a long term peace that's being looked at but if it starts with the Arab proposal and goes from there, it can be done, provided all parties genuinely want it to.

The settlements are important but I'd suggest the question of East Jerusalem is the one deep at the heart of it, the real prize.