I provide a draft of alternative approaches to Palestinian-Israeli co-existence written by Howard Cort to illustrate how far we are to achieving anything remotely close to co-existence. All the approaches listed below, not ONE is actually being talked about( in a serious way) in Israel - and to some degree many of the proposals here are not even debated in Palestine, although the one state solution has been suggested by some groups. These are exactly the kind of debates we should be having regarding the kind of state or states that should be created to achieve true peace and co-existence but I know for a fact such proposals are dead on arrival in Israel. I believe many of the suggestions below will find support in Palestine. The main obstacle to such a visionary approach to this conflict is and has always been Zionism ideology itself. Jews need to reach a post-Zionist state before we can even begin talking about federations and power-sharing or all the other attributes involved in any state structure that aims to promote co-existence and unity among competing groups of different ethnic or religious make-up. At this point, the fetish with a "Jewish state" takes precedent above and beyond any other consideration--that includes the viability in the long run of a such a narrowly defined and exclusive state based on a religion. It seems suicidal to continue on the Zionist track but then again whoever said Jews were averse to calamity. It's clear to me either some arrangements are made for co-existence or the track of co-annihilation will prove fatal to one party in this conflict. I don't see the Palestinians going anywhere or the 300 million Arabs going anywhere, so you would think sanity would prevail in Zion to come up with some solution that would make co-existence a reality - don't hold your breath!
ALTERNATIVE APPROACHES TO PALESTINIAN-ISRAELI COEXISTENCE
DRAFT – May 11, 2007
3121 N. Sheridan Rd., #509
Chicago, IL 60657-4913
ALTERNATIVE APPROACHES TO PALESTINIAN-ISRAELI COEXISTENCE
By Howard Cort
Several years ago, I came across, on the Internet, a special issue of the Boston Review (December 2001/January 2002) presenting a forum on binationalism in the Israel/Palestine context. As I read the various articles, I realized that I had come across other articles, elsewhere, on the same topic. Then I came upon Ehud Tokatly's HopeWays website, which includes a variety of approaches to Palestinian/Israeli coexistence. These are categorized in a table divided into several sections, including Federal State, One State – Multiple Systems, Bi-National State, Confederation, and Innovative Partition Models (1). Later, I was pleased to obtain a publication of the Palestinian Academic Study for the Study of International Affairs called IMPASSE: Exploring Alternative Solutions to the Palestine-Israel Conflict, as well as a report on a forum on the two-state solution in the Fall/Autumn 2005 Arab World Geographer.
I began to promote the idea of a compilation of a compendium of alternative approaches to Palestinian-Israeli coexistence, including introducing, and seeing passed, a provision to this effect in a larger Israel/Palestine resolution at the 2004 Biennial Convention of the United Nations Association (UNA/USA). Similarly, I requested the opportunity to conduct a workshop on this topic at the first national convention of Jewish Voice for Peace, which was held in April 2007.
It is my conviction, based on a principle I learned from Arthur E. Morgan, first chairman of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), that as wide a range of alternatives as possible should be examined before making decisions, particularly in cases of important public policy. Thus, I hope that the material here presented will be a modest but useful contribution toward carrying out that conviction and principle in the context of one of the world's most difficult problems. There are many omissions that I know about, and I'm sure there are others that I have missed. It is also possible that a comprehensive solution might result from combining elements of two or more proposals.
Please also note that there is considerable overlapping and that some items could fall into more than one category.
1. ONE STATE
A. One Unitary State: Majority rule; single, centralized national tier of government; human rights agenda; “. . . democratic, egalitarian system anchored in a constitution guaranteeing equality” (2 ); “mutual guarantees would have to ensure both Arab and Jewish collective interests, particularly in the transition” (3); “it allows all the people to live in and enjoy the entire country while protecting their distinctive communities and addressing their particular needs” (4).
B. Unitary Decentralized: “The political power of government in [unitary] states may well be transferred to lower levels, to regionally or locally elected assemblies, governors and mayors (‘devolved government’), but the central government retains the principal right to recall such delegated power” (5).
C. Consociational State: “. . . a state which has major internal divisions along ethnic, religious, or linguistic lines, yet nonetheless manages to remain stable, due to consultation among the elites of each of its major social groups. Consociational states are often contrasted with states with majority rule. Classical examples of consociational states are Belgium, Switzerland, Israel, and the Netherlands” (6). NOTE: Elsewhere, Belgium, Switzerland, and India are commonly considered to be federations, and the Israel example is controversial. Recent developments in South Africa, Bosnia, and Northern Ireland are in the direction of consociation.
D. Other: Sam Greenlaw has proposed One Country, Two Systems, modeled “on the Chinese experience with Hong Kong and Macao” and borrowing details from Switzerland (7). Noam Chomsky has suggested “parallel national institutions throughout the whole territory with a free option for each individual; and also the option of dissociation from national institutions with retention of full rights for those who prefer” (8). Moammar Gadhafi has proposed a state composed of both Palestinians and Israelis “allowing both to move wherever they will” (9). Daniel Gavron’s State of Jerusalem establishes in all of the Holy Land a pluralistic multiethnic democracy “based on the principle of one-person-one-vote” (10). Theodore Patterson’s Co-existence through Acceptance calls for “strong international political governance” (11).
A. Central Government: “A federation is a union comprising a number of partially self-governing states or regions united by a central (‘federal’) government. In a federation, the self-governing status of the component states is constitutionally entrenched and may not be altered by a unilateral decision of the central government” (12).
B. Symmetric Federalism: Every component state of a federation possesses the same powers (13).
C. Asymmetric Federalism: “Some federations are called assymmetric [sic] because some states have more autonomy than others, although they have the same constitutional status” (14).
D. Horizontal/Vertical Combination: Meron Benvenisti suggests “a combination of horizontal division (sharing in government) and a vertical division (partitioning of the territory). What I see is a federal structure that will include all of historic western Palestine. Different ethnic cantons will exist under that structure. It's clear, for example, that the Palestinian citizens of Israel will have their own cantons. They will have their own autonomy, which will express their collective rights. And it's clear, on the other side, that the settlers will have a canton. The executive of the federal government will strike some sort of balance between the two national groups” (15).
E. Swiss Vertical Division: The basic division of Swiss politics is the “gemeinde” or “commune,” whose semi-sovereignty, in relation to the canton, is similar to the canton’s semi-sovereignty in relation to the federation (16).
F. Other Proposals: Elon Jarden calls for a federal constitution, with several cantons, as determined by its established assembly, in accordance with demographic patterns of the country’s regions (17). Amos Shuveli suggests a federal constitution under which cantons will enjoy a greater or lesser level of autonomy and in which 50 percent of the parliament is elected on a regional/canton basis and 50 percent on a national or party basis (18). Ehud Tokatly’s Non-Territorial Federalism grants all national groups “a considerable measure of control over their lives, thus allowing all citizens, Jews and Arabs of all kinds, to enjoy a just, pluralistic society with a stronger, more democratic government” (19).
3. BINATIONAL STATE
A. Federal: "In a bi-national state, Jews and Palestinians would coexist as separate communities in a federal arrangement. Each people would run its own affairs autonomously and be guaranteed the legal right to use its own language, religion and traditions. Both would participate in government in a single parliament, which would be concerned with matters of supra-communal importance, defense, resources, the economy, and so on. Such a state could be modeled on the cantonal structure of Switzerland or the bi-national arrangement of Belgium. In the Palestine/Israel case, the cantonal structure would be based on the present demographic pattern of the country where densely populated areas like the Galilee would become Arab cantons, and Jewish ones like Tel Aviv would be Jewish cantons, and so on. This leaves a number of practical issues to be resolved, as for example, the exact composition and powers of the parliament, the exercise of the right of return for Jews and that for Arabs and so on” (20).
B. Unitary or Federal: “A bi-national state is a state made up two nations whose constitution recognizes both as state-forming nations, irrespective of their size. The constitution of such a state can be unitary or federal, as long as it is based on two nations being legally recognized as state-forming nations" (21).
C. Political Arrangement Unchangeable by Majority Vote: "It is a land of two peoples who live there or should live there by equal national right; any political institution must be based solely on a political arrangement which cannot be changed for the worse by majority vote" (22).
D. Mutual Security: "Viewing themselves as ‘pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian’, they conceive Jewish/Israeli or Palestinian security as unattainable absent a secure life for the other" (23).
E. Alternative Palestinian Agenda: Nasser Abufarha's detailed “Proposal for an Alternative Configuration in Palestine-Israel” characterizes the configuration as “a Federal Union that guarantees access to the whole space of Palestine-Israel, and at the same time protects the national identity and cultural expression of both societies through sovereignty over designated territories based on the natural landscape and current demographics of this shared space" (24).
F. Zionist Binationalists: Speaking at a roundtable discussion in London in the summer of 1946, Jewish philosopher Martin Buber said, "A solution giving to either side the right of domination would lead to a sudden catastrophe. The only solution that would not lead to a catastrophe, but only to a difficult situation for some time, is the creation of a bi-national state. That is, putting Jews and Arabs together in a kind of condominium and giving them the maximum of common administration possible in a given hour. They would have equal rights, these two nations, as nations, irrespective of numbers" (25).
G. Three-State Confederation: The confederation would consist of a Jewish State of Israel, an Arab State of Palestine, and a Binational State of Israel-Palestine. Israeli citizenship would be open to any current citizen of Israel, and some opportunities for citizenship would be offered to Palestinian refugees. Permanent residency status would be guaranteed to all current Israeli citizens and their descendents, whether or not they opted to become citizens of Israel, Palestine, or Israel/Palestine (26).
"In international law, . . . a condominium is a political territory (state or border area) in or over which two or more sovereign powers formally agree to share equally dominium (in the sense of sovereignty) and exercise their rights jointly, without dividing up into 'national' zones” (27). A possible example is Jerusalem as the capital for both Palestinians and Israelis. Ervin Kedar’s USIP – United “State of Israel” and Palestine (Condominium) – is based on joint sovereignty (28).
5. PERSONAL UNION
“A personal union is a relationship of two or more entities that are considered separate, sovereign states, which, through established law, share the same person as their respective head of state. It is not to be confused with a federation, which internationally is considered as a single state. . . . personal unions are almost entirely a product of monarchies” (29). Nonetheless, it is a conceivable arrangement.
6. TWO STATES
A. Growing Western Consensus: (1) no (or extremely limited "right of return" of refugees; (2) a fully shared Jerusalem; (3) reciprocal territorial exchanges; (4) demilitarization of the Palestinian state (30).
B. Arab Peace Initiative Adopted at the March, 2002, Beirut Summit:
Partial contents: “. . . full Israeli withdrawal from all territories occupied since 1967, including the Syrian Golan Heights to the lines of June 4, 1967 as well as the remaining occupied Lebanese territories in the south of Lebanon. . . . Achievement of a just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem to be agreed upon in accordance with UN General Assembly Resolution 194. . . . The acceptance of the establishment of a Sovereign Independent Palestinian State on the Palestinian territories occupied since June 4, 1967 in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital. . . . Establish normal relations with Israel in the context of this comprehensive peace. . . . rejection of all Palestinian patriation which conflict with the special circumstances of the Arab host countries” (31).
C. Parity for Peace: Esther Riley’s detailed proposal for two states on the same land, with bilateral governance and equal access by all individuals to resources (32).
D. Dual: "One superimposed on the other." Both individuals and geographic units have free choice as to which system to belong. Citizenship would not be bound by territory, but by choice. Geographic units could be like Swiss cantons, with an administrative structure like Switzerland’s (33).
E. Sovereignty Shift Lines (S.S.L): Elad Rubin’s proposal to uphold the Palestinian “Right of Return” and the “Jewish Right of Inhabitancy” by allowing Palestinian refugees to return to parts of Israel that would be equal in size to the areas occupied by settlements in the territories. Jews and Palestinians would have sovereignty over their own areas (34).
A. Weaker Central Government: “. . . an association of sovereign states or communities, usually created by treaty but often later adopting a common constitution. Confederations tend to be established for dealing with critical issues, such as defense, foreign affairs, foreign trade, and a common currency, with the central government being required to provide support for all members” (35). "Currently, a confederation is considered a state or entity similar in pyramidal structure to a federation but with a weaker central government. A confederation may also consist of member states which, while temporarily pooling sovereignty in certain areas, are considered entirely sovereign and retain the right of unilateral secession” (36).
B. Binational Confederation: Jerome Siegel’s plan calls for a three-state framework: a Jewish State of Israel, an Arab State of Palestine, and a Binational State of Israel-Palestine. Each state will have veto power. “Any citizen of a member state will automatically be a citizen of the Confederation. . . . All citizenship in the Confederation’s member states will require a choice of citizenship by the adult populations,” with joint and tri-state citizenship possible. Israeli citizenship “will be open to any current citizen of Israel (Jewish, Palestinian or otherwise).” Palestinian citizenship “will be open to all Palestinians, whether residing in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem or outside, whether refugees or not.” Palestine may offer citizenship “to Israelis currently residing within the original territory of Palestine (e.g., settlers).” Binational state citizenship “will be open to anyone eligible for citizenship in either state, but citizenship in one of the two states will not be required for eligibility. Thus some Israelis and Palestinians may be citizens only of the Binational State, whereas others may enjoy dual or even three-way citizenship.”
Equal territorial contributions to the Binational State will be made by Israel and Palestine “from their areas of original sovereignty.” Palestinian refugees will have a right to citizenship both in Palestine and in the Binational State. Some refugees may become permanent Israeli residents and some opportunities for Israeli citizenship will also be provided (37).
C. The Israeli-Palestinian Confederation: Joseph Avesar’s plan calls for a coalition of representatives from Israel or the Palestinian territories (or state) that would act alongside the existing Israeli and Palestinian governments. The confederation would serve as a mechanism for establishing projects of mutual benefit. Israel and Palestine would be divided into 300 districts, each sending one delegate to the confederation legislature. Both Israel and Palestine would have a veto over any confederation legislation (38).
D. The Confederation of the Levant: Fred Foldvary’s confederation would have (a) courts to resolve interstate disputes and a police force for law enforcement; (b) a foreign service for defense and foreign affairs (although Israel and Palestine would still be able to maintain diplomatic relations with foreign states, with gradual transference of some military to the confederation “as it gains confidence in its viability”); and (c) a two-house legislature, with one elected on the basis of population and the other with a fixed number of representatives per state (39).
E. Regional Confederation: Various plans have been proposed, including for Palestine/ Israel/Jordan; Palestine/Israel/Jordan/Lebanon (and possibly Syria); and a wider Confederation of Middle Eastern States, such as was promoted for many years by New Outlook Magazine, a now defunct organ of the Israeli Mapam Party.
Early on, Joseph Abileah proposed a Jordan/Palestine/Israel Confederation, with economic integration facilitating a solution to the refugee problem, an immediate irrigation system in the Syrian Desert, a religious council forming a second parliamentary house, and being open to any other country in the Middle East (40).
F. Two-Stage Solution: Under Jeff Halper’s proposal, two separate states would have various economic and cultural connections designed to lead to one state in the future, under a wider Middle East Union in which residency is separated from citizenship (41).
A. The Brazilian Contribution: Claude G. S. Martins has suggested that “the international community can assist in relieving the population pressures on the region’s environmental conditions through providing all communities with opportunities to emigrate to other countries. Brazil, for instance, can offer a new base for Jewish and Palestinian communities, in which the national cultural identity of both can remain intact regardless of their physical location of residence and which will not require individuals to give up their current citizenship, nor their national aspirations” (42).
B. Palestinian Academics: The Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs has published a book on alternative solutions to the conflict (43).
C. Forum on the Two-State Solution: The Arab World Geographer, a quarterly journal published by the Department of Geography at the University of Akron, in Akron, Ohio, has an issue devoted to the viability of the two-state solution and possible alternatives (44).
1. “HopeWays’ Peace Voices Analysis,” HopeWays, http://hopeways.org/e_index.htm.
2. Mazin B. Qumsiyeh (professor and author), Sharing the Land of Canaan (London and Sterling, VA: Pluto Press, 2004), p. 214; see also http://qumsiyeh.org/.
3. Virginia Tilley (associate professor, Hobart and William Smith College), The One-State Solution (Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2005), p. 220.
4. Ali Abunimah (editor, Electronic Intifada), One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse (New York: Henry Holt and Company, Metropolitan Books, 2006); see also http/www.electronicintifada.org.
5. Wikipedia, s.v. “Unitary state,” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unitary_state (accessed April 26, 2007).
6. Wikipedia, s.v. “Consociational state,” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consociational_state (accessed April 26, 2007).
7. Sam Greenlaw (database architect and Oracle DBA), “One Country, Two Systems,” HopeWays, http://hopeways.org/e_index.htm.
8. Noam Chomsky (professor, linguist), Peace in the Middle East? (New York: Vintage Books, 1974, as quoted in Fred Foldvary, “Peace Through Confederal Democracy and Economic Justice,” Peace Through Justice and Self-defense, http://www.foldvary.net/works/globcon.html.
9. Moammar Ghadhafi (Libya’s leader), “Isratine: Peace Proposal by Moammar Ghadhafi?” HopeWays, http://hopeways.org/e_index.htm.
10. Daniel Gavron (author, journalist), “The State of Jerusalem: Opportunity and Challenge for Israelis and Palestinians – and Others,” HopeWays, http://hopeways.org/e_index.htm.
11. Theodore A. Patterson (author), “Coexistence Through Acceptance – UN Involvement and Citizen Empowerment,” HopeWays, http://hopeways.org/e_index.htm.
12. Wikipedia, s.v. “Federation,” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federation (accessed April 26, 2007).
13. Wikipedia, s.v. “Federation,” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federation (accessed March 27, 2007).
14. Wikipedia, s.v. “Federation,” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federation (accessed April 26, 2007).
15. Meron Benvenisti (geographer and academic), “Cry the Beloved Two-State Solution,” Ha’aretz, August 6, 2003, http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/objects/pages/PrintArticleEn.jhtml?itemNo=326313.
16. Jonathan Steinberg (reader in modern European history, University of Cambridge), Why Switzerland? 2nd. ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), p.78.
17. Elon Jarden (author), “Federation – Not Separation,” HopeWays, http://hopeways.org/e_index.htm.
18. Amos Shuveli (author), “Is There a Hope in This Country?” HopeWays, http://hopeways.org/e_index.htm.
19. Ehud Tokatly (author, media expert, editor of HopeWays), “Community Democracy,” HopeWays, http://hopeways.org/e_index.htm.
20. Ghada Karmi (academic and author), “A Secular Democratic State in Historic Palestine,” first published in Al-Adab (Lebanon), July 2002, One-State.org, http://web.archive.org/web/20040805065028/http://www.one-state.org/articles/2002/karmi.htm.
21. Susan Hattis (editor of the Knesset website), “Roundtable – Bi-Nationalism,” http://www.passia.org/meetings/2000/biNation.html.
22.Yosef Luria (journalist), in Solveig Eggerz, “More Than a Nation: The Cultural Zionism of Martin Buber,” Issues of The American Council For Judaism (Fall 1998), http://www.acjna.org/acjna/articles_detail.aspx?id=98.
23. Mark A. LeVine (professor of modern Middle Eastern history, culture, and Islamic studies, University of California, Irvine), “The New Jewish Bi-Nationalism,” October 14, 2006, History News Network, http://hnn.us/blogs/entries/30789.html.
24. Nasser Abufarha (anthropologist and entrepreneur), “Proposal for an Alternative Configuration in Palestine-Israel,” Alternative Palestinian Agenda, http://www.ap-agenda.org/initiative.htm.
25. Paul Mendes-Flohr, ed., A Land of Two Peoples: Martin Buber on Jews and Arabs, University of Chicago Press edition (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005), p. 205.
26. See note 37 below.
27. Wikipedia, “Condominium (international law),” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Condominium_%28international_law%29 (accessed April 26, 2007).
28. Ervin Y. Kedar (professor), “USIP – The United ‘State of Israel’ and Palestine (Condominium),” HopeWays, http://hopeways.org/e_index.htm.
29. Wikipedia, s.v. “Personal union,” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_union (accessed April 26, 2007).
30. Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski (professor, former US national security adviser), speech at Chicago Council on Global Affairs, April 4, 2007, http://www.thechicagocouncil.org/podcast_details.php?podcast_id=26.
31. “Text of Arab Peace Initiative Adopted at Beirut Summit” (“official translation of the Saudi-proposed Arab peace initiative adopted at the annual Arab summit in Beirut, as published on the Arab League internet site”), Agence France-Presse [AFP], March 28, 2002, http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/AllDocsByUNID/5a7229b652beb9c5c1256b8a0054b62e.
32. Esther Riley (author, editor), “Parity for Peace in Israel/Palestine: Two States on the Same Land, with Bilateral Governance,” www.parityforpeace.org.
33. Mathias Mossberg (vice president for programs, East-West Institute), “Instead of Two States Side by Side, Why Not One Superimposed on the Other?” The Guardian, July 4, 2006, http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,1812080,00.html.
34. Elad Rubin (author), “S.S.L. – Sovereignty Shift Lines: A Solution for the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict,” HopeWays, http://hopeways.org/e_index.htm (or http://www.peaceways.net/peacelines.htm).
35.Wikipedia, s.v. “Confederation,” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confederation (accessed April 26, 2007).
37. Jerome Siegel (senior research scholar at the University of Maryland’s Center for International and Security Studies), “A Binational Confederation,” Boston Review (December2001/January 2002), http://bostonreview.net/BR26.6/segal.html.
38. Tom Tugend (contributing editor), “Lawyer Floats Own Peace Plan at UCLA,” The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, March 17, 2006, http://www.jewishjournal.com/home/searchview.php?id=15573
39. Fred E. Foldvary (lecturer in economics at Santa Clara University), “Peace Through Confederal Democracy and Economic Justice,” Peace Through Justice and Self-defense, http://www.foldvary.net/works/globcon.html.
40. Joseph Abileah (professor, author), “Joseph Abileah – Confederation in the Middle East,” The Mondcivitan (Spring 1972), The Hugh and Helene Schonfield World Service Trust, http://www.schonfield.org/5536.html.
41. Jeff Halper (anthropologist, coordinator of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions [ICAHD]), Obstacles to Peace: A Reframing of Palestinian-Israeli Conflict, 3rd Edition (Bethlehem, West Bank: Palestine Mapping Center, April 4, 2005); also, Jeff Halper, “Towards a Middle East Union,” Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, http://icahd.org/eng/articles.asp?menu=6&submenu=2&article=132.
42. Claudia G. S. Martins (Brazilian geographer), “The Brazilian Contribution to Palestinian-Israeli Peace,” HopeWays, http://hopeways.org/e_index.htm.
43. Dr. Mahdi Abdul Hadi (head of the Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs [PASSIA]), ed., Palestinian-Israeli IMPASSE: Exploring Alternative Solutions to the Palestine-Israel Conflict (Jerusalem: PASSIA
Publications, August, 2005).
44. The Arab World Geographer 8, no. 3 (Autumn 2005), http://users.fmg.uva.nl/vmamadouh/awg