Chapter 13. Peace can be Based on Human Rights and International Law
"We will have to face the reality that Israel is neither innocent, nor redemptive. And that in its creation, and expansion; we as Jews, have caused what we historically have suffered; a refugee population in diaspora ." Martin Buber, Jewish Philosopher, March 1949
Give birth to me again
Give birth to me again that I may know
In which land I will die, in which land
I will come to live again
Palestinian Poet Mahmud Darwish
In 1947, the United States, the Soviet Union, and France pushed for a plan within the United Nations for the partitioning of Palestine (1). This plan was put forward without consulting the Palestinians that inhabited the area. During that time, the Arab countries also presented a plan into the UN that was based on federalism. The New York Times published an article detailing this proposal:
A few minutes before the Assembly convened Arab spokesmen announced that they had drawn up a new six-point program in twenty-four hours of conferences. The program involved this formula:
(1) A federal independent state of Palestine shall be created not later than Aug. 1, 1949.
(2) The Government of Palestine shall be constituted on a federal basis and shall include a federal government and governments for Arab and Jewish countries.
(3) Boundaries of the cantons will be fixed so as to include a federal basis and shall include a federal government and governments for Arab and Jewish countries.
(4) The population of Palestine shall elect by universal, direct suffrage a Constituent Assembly, which shall draft the Constitution of the future federated state of Palestine. The Constituent Assembly shall be composed of all elements of the population in proportion to the number of their respective citizens.
(5) The Constituent Assembly, in defining the attributes of the federated government of Palestine as well as of its legislative and judiciary organs and the attributes of the governments of the cantons and of the relation of the governments of these cantons with the federal government, shall draw its inspiration chiefly from the principles of the Constitution of the United States as well as from the organization of laws in the states of the United States.
(6) The Constitution will provide, among other things, for protection of the holy places, liberty of access to visit the holy places and freedom of religion as well as safeguarding of the rights of religious establishments of all nationalities in Palestine (2).
Resolution 181 was vigorously promoted by the two great powers of the time even though it was the first time a resolution was introduced that violated teh UN Charter (on self determination). The United States and the Soviet Union were its primary backers. Countries not voting for it were primarily those of the non-White nations in Africa and Latin America and Asia who managed to resist pressure from the Great powers. Resolution 181 is used to give legal cover for creation and maintenance of the state of Israel. Resolution 181 was also never implemented in the sense that it sets a program for implementation and had clear parameters for its implementation. Zionist leaders violated this resolution by a unilateral declaration of statehood, ethnically cleansing the areas recommended for them and more, and preventing the return of the refugees. Zionism then controlled 78% of the territory as opposed to the 55% laid out in Resolution 181. When Israel was admitted to the UN, it was with the assurances that it would rectify these issues and comply with other resolutions (including 194). Under conditions of ist admittance to the UN, Israeli borders would be those shown on the maps of resolution 181 (55% of Palestine), there would be an economic union and an internationalized Jerusalem. More importantly, there would be safe return of refugees to their native lands, and respect for other elements of International law including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In fact, a strict adherence to international law would require Israel be expelled from the UN and sanctioned until it agrees to comply with its obligations. This especially pertains to allowing refugees to return to their homes and lands and compensating them for their losses and suffering. Since this is the only legal and moral way out, Zionism would have to be rethought.
The militant Zionism of the 19th and 20th centuries succeeded in creating a strong nation and in bringing in millions of Jewish immigrants. Zionism failed to conquer and completely cleanse the whole area, to squash Palestinian national aspirations, and to create a safe and secure state with normal relations to other states in the Middle East. Its primary victims were the native Palestinians who were ethnically cleansed. Yet, the return for Palestinian refugees is not only legal and moral but also feasible (chapter 4). The obstacles are a set of philosophical beliefs that are not rooted in logic or equality (see Chapters 6 and 7). Zionism also failed to deliver what it most promised to the Jews of the world: security and a feeling of control of their destiny. The few Zionist successes came from cultural Zionism and go largely undiscussed. For example, the forging of a Hebrew-speaking Israelite nation from an Ashkenazi and Yiddish speaking people was accomplished. Now two generations of Israelis are born whose mother tongue is Hebrew. They even have a unique accent when speaking a second language. Yet Israeli leaders and militant Zionist leaders still refuse to recognize this and still insist on the concept of a "Jewish nation" ignoring the new and remarkable development of an Israeli nation with flaws and strengths. Some Palestinians in turn also still dream of restoring "Arab Palestine." Both live in the past and both ignore the possibilities of a post-Zionist evolutionary world that can create true stability and peace with justice.
This brings us to what initially seemed to a majority on both sides as a pragmatic solution: the two-state solution. The Palestinian leadership agreed on a historic compromise by accepting this notion. Here is what the PLO Negotiations Affairs Department articulated as a summary of Palestinian positions:
Borders: The Palestine Liberation Organization's position regarding the issue of borders is straightforward: the international borders between the States of Palestine and Israel shall be the armistice cease-fire lines in effect on June 4, 1967. Both states shall be entitled to live in peace and security within these recognized borders. The primary bases for this Palestinian position are: United Nations Security Council Resolution 242, which emphasizes the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war and calls for the withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the 1967 war; and the internationally recognized Palestinian right to self-determination. The West Bank and the Gaza Strip together constitute only 22% of historic Palestine. The PLO's acceptance of the June 4, 1967 borders represents an extraordinary compromise. Any further Israeli incursions into Palestinian territory will not only result in widespread disillusionment and disaffection, but will also diminish the viability of Palestinian statehood.
Statehood: By virtue of their right to self-determination, the Palestinian people possess sovereignty over the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and the Gaza Strip and, accordingly, have the right to establish an independent State on that territory. The decision of when to declare that state and what the institutions of that state will be is a decision that rests solely with the Palestinian people. The PLO, as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, is the vehicle through which they express their political decisions. While Israel has exercised control over the West Bank and the Gaza Strip since the 1967 war, the international community regards Israel as a belligerent occupant with no rights to the territory.
Jerusalem: As stated in the 1993 Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements, Jerusalem (and not merely East Jerusalem) is the subject of permanent status negotiations. As part of the territory occupied in 1967, East Jerusalem is subject to United Nations Security Council 242. It is part of the territory over which the Palestinian state shall exercise sovereignty upon its establishment. The State of Palestine shall declare Jerusalem as its capital. Jerusalem should be an open city. Within Jerusalem, irrespective of the resolution of the question of sovereignty, there should be no physical partition that would prevent the free circulation of persons within it. As to sites of religious significance, most of which are located within the Old City in East Jerusalem, Palestine shall be committed to guaranteeing freedom of worship and access there. Palestine will take all possible measures to protect such sites and preserve their dignity.
Settlements: Settlements are illegal and must be dismantled. The corollary of the prohibition against the acquisition of territory by force is the Fourth Geneva Convention's stipulation against settling civilians of an occupying power in occupied territories. Israel sought to consolidate its acquisition of the occupied territories by settling large numbers of its civilians in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and the Gaza Strip, thereby creating "facts on the ground." In United Nations Security Council Resolution 465 (1980), the Security Council demanded that Israel "dismantle the existing settlements and in particular to cease, on an urgent basis, the establishment, construction of planning of settlements in the Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem." Israeli settlements geographically fragment the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and thus undermine the viability of Palestinian statehood. Israeli settlements also place intolerable burdens on Palestinian movement and development, in significant part by depriving the Palestinian people of important land and water resources. Israel has created two sets of law in the occupied territories-one for settlers and one for Palestinians-thereby institutionalizing discrimination.
Refugees: Every Palestinian refugee has the right to return to his or her home. Every Palestinian refugee also has the right to compensation for their losses arising from their dispossession and displacement. The Palestinian position on refugees is based on UN General Assembly Resolution 194 (1948), calling for the return of the refugees and their compensation. Resolution 194 was affirmed practically every year since with almost universal acceptance-the one consistent exception being Israel. The Palestinian side proposes to develop, in coordination with the relevant parties, a detailed repatriation plan that includes the modalities, timetables and numbers for a phased return of the refugees. This plan must ensure the safety and dignity of return in accordance with international human rights norms.
Water: Palestinian sovereignty over the territory of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip has direct implications for Palestinian sovereign rights to natural resources. In the case of water, the State of Palestine is entitled to an equitable and reasonable share of international aquifers in the West Bank and the Jordan River, and to sole control over water systems located wholly within Palestinian borders. During its occupation, Israel tightly controlled Palestinian access to water, while allocating the lion's share of high-quality water to Israelis, including settlers. Currently, Israelis consume three to four times as much water as Palestinians do per capita. Palestine needs its rightful share of water to provide for the drinking and sanitation needs of a growing Palestinian population and to allow our agricultural sector to achieve its full potential.
Security: The PLO seeks to structure security relations between the States of Palestine and Israel in ways that will: promote good neighborly relations between the States, provide effective responses to specific threats, create mechanisms for ongoing cooperation, and show due regard for international human rights standards. Security relations between the states of Palestine and Israel must be structured to reflect not only the security concerns of the Israeli people, but also the rights and interests of the Palestinian people. In particular, no security relations should prejudice or undermine Palestinian sovereignty and control over our territory.
Relations with Neighbors: The State of Palestine as a sovereign state has the right independently to define and conduct its foreign relations. The PLO will nevertheless seek to promote cooperation among Israel, Palestine, and neighboring States in fields of common interest. In order to promote cooperation among Israel, Palestine, and neighboring States, Palestine will seek cooperation in numerous fields, including: agriculture, aquaculture and marine matters, arms control, communications, crime prevention, culture, economic relations, energy, environment, exploitation of natural resources, health, security, social security and welfare, sports, tourism and transportation (3).
The Palestinians then compromised further in the maps proposed at Camp David in July 2000 and at Taba in January 2001. In short, the Palestinian leadership was willing to:
1) Give up 78% of their country to new immigrants against the wishes of the natives.
2) Give up the demand for a secular state for all its people and in essence accepting a racist Zionist state that considers itself a nation "for the Jewish people" and not for its citizens and has promulgated a set of racist laws that ensure continued discrimination and dispossession of non-Jews (See chapter 7 for details).
3) Accept to work out a phased repatriation of refugees to take into consideration Israeli government fears of upsetting demographic structure (i.e. to insist on keeping a Jewish majority, a racist view).
4) Accept to exchange land of equal value so that the majority of the settlement (illegal by international law) can be annexed to Israel.
5) Agree to share water when it really belongs to the indigenous people.
6) Abandon UN resolution 181 which gave 55% of Palestine to a Jewish state and 45% to an "Arab state" against the wishes of the natives and pushed by imperial US and British interests. Yet it specifically prohibited population transfer (which is precisely what happened). The borders defined therein are however, the only ones that provide any legal framework (however unfair) for a two-state solution. Yet Palestinians were willing to accept the cease-fire borders which would give the "Jewish state" not 55% of the land but 78% of the land
7) Agree to share Jerusalem (including the old city) and even a priori agree to leave West Jerusalem under full Israeli sovereignty (resolution 181 on partition calls for Internationalized Jerusalem).
Reality Not Conducive to Two State Solutions
The reality on the ground is not conducive to this historic Palestinian compromise because, first and foremost, maps tell a different story (see Figure 2). Israeli colonial growth in Palestine actually saw its midpoint in late 1947 when the Jewish Hagannah and forces expanded into the areas proposed for a Jewish state by resolution 181 and in so doing expelled the majority of the non-Jewish native inhabitants. The following 55 years resulted in decreasing area of the Palestinian natives to the point where again the Unified state comes into logical being. Any regression of Zionist expansion is not weakens its original purpose and goals as an expansionist colonial movement. In coming to terms with abandoning the two state solution in favor a of a binational state, Haim Hanegbi stated:
Everyone with eyes to see and ears to hear has to understand that only a binational partnership can save us. That is the only way to transform ourselves from being strangers in our land into native sons. ......I realized that the reason it is so tremendously difficult for Israel to dismantle settlements is that any recognition that the settlements in the West Bank exist on plundered Palestinian land will also cast a threatening shadow over the Jezreel Valley, and over the moral status of Beit Alfa and Ein Harod. I understood that a very deep pattern was at work here. That there is one historical continuum that runs from Kibbutz Beit Hashita to the illegal settler outposts; from Moshav Nahalal to the Gush Katif settlements in the Gaza Strip. And that continuity apparently cannot be broken. It's a continuity that takes us back to the very beginning, to the incipient moment....
I'm not crazy. I don't think that it will be possible to enlist thousands of people in the cause of a binational state tomorrow morning. But when I consider that Meron Benvenisti was right in saying that the occupation has become irreversible, and when I see where the madness of sovereignty is leading good Israelis, I raise my own little banner again. I do so without illusions. I am not part of any army. I am not the leader of any army. In the meantime our act is that of a few people. But I think it's important to place this idea on the table now (4)
One of the key issues to prevent this compromise is the current demographics in the area. The Jewish population of Israel and the occupied territories has now exceeded 5 million. The Palestinian population in Israel (within the Green line) is 1.3 million and the Palestinian Population in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan (Trans Jordan) is over two thirds of the population. In the proposed Palestinian "state" of the West Bank and Gaza live over 4 million Palestinians and 400,000 Jewish settlers. Thus, already and even without any refugees allowed to return, there is roughly a parity between the number of non-Jews and Jews west of the river Jordan in an area of 84,000 square kilometers. This is already a densely populated are with about 100 individuals per square kilometer. A partition into two viable states � the key here is the word viable � is rendered impossible by the already mixed population in every part of the country and the inequality of areas allotted to the two states (78% versus 22%). Israel is indeed a single country composed of Israelis and Palestinians for all practical purposes. A single pluralistic and democratic state of Palestine/Israel or a joint confederation with Jordan/Israel/Palestine is feasible and reasonable. The demographic and social and environmental issues discussed in Chapter 11 are also factors as are other factors now worth mentioning:
1) The old PLO structure, the PNA, the Oslo accords (predicated on an assumption of a two-state solution), and certainly the Israeli State have failed to achieve:
a) Palestinian rights including their inalienable right to return to their homes and lands
b) Basic equality and dignity to all people
c) A historic reconciliation that brings peace, justice, tranquility, and prosperity to people of the Middle East
d) Security and safety for all inhabitants
2) Even a truly sovereign Palestinian state on the whole of the West Bank and Gaza with East Jerusalem as its capital is likely to be equally resisted by Israelis as a one-state solution.
3) Such a mini state will exacerbate the problems of the Palestinians living in Israel. After giving up these areas, Israeli society would become more acutely aware and vindicated in its need of being a "Jewish state."
4) Recent events on the ground and internationally have forced a rethinking regarding the futility of a forced solution, the futility of apartheid systems, and the need for justice and equality. With intertwined economies, rapid growth of Palestinian population within and outside the "the Green line", limited resources, and massive expenditure on defense instead of economic development.
5) Recent polls of Israelis and Palestinians reveal a growing disillusionment of the two-state solution as a viable means of stabilizing the situation let alone having this solution achieve a long lasting peace. In a recent survey, over a third of Palestinians polled called for a democratic secular state even without this ever being formalized by viable Palestinian organizational structure. The Israeli public is also disillusioned with the two-state solution.
The Politics of Justice
A movement against Israeli apartheid must offer rational alternative structure in a post-Zionist era that would replace the current narrow nationalistic and racist structure. This alternative based on human rights, equality, and justice could raise wide support, including among Jews and Israelis.
Many intellectuals correctly point out all the faults of the current proposed solutions and the reasons for the failures of earlier peace initiatives and organizational activities. However, the Palestinian movement needs to organize to provide viable and credible alternatives to those criticized plans. All interested parties need to get together to affect a transition to a livable solution that respects human rights. This includes people of varied religions and currently of varied national identification/designations whether Palestinian refugees, Israelis, displaced people, "present absentees", Palestinians in the occupied areas, Jordanians of Palestinian descent, or Jordanians. Indeed, there are some signs of this rethinking.
A group of prominent Israeli artists made a statement that "If the state of Israel aspires to perceive itself as a democracy, it should abandon once and for all, any legal and ideological foundation of religious, ethnic, and demographic discrimination. The state of Israel should strive to become the state of all its citizens. We call for the annulment of all laws that make Israel an apartheid state, including the Jewish law of return in its present form" 5. Similarly, new associations for one pluralistic state were started by groups of Palestinians and Israelis (6).
My primary intention in writing this book was to explore a durable solution to a difficult problem by using key concepts of human rights and international law. Yet, the concepts of international law and human rights are difficult to understand outside of certain political ideologies. Political ideologies that deal with these issues from many standpoints lead inevitably to the conclusion of accommodation and coexistence. An example of such trend in thought is the ease by which socialist viewpoints translate to one-state solutions (7). Coexistence and equality is also compatible with certain pan-Arabic or pan-Islamic strands of thought. But even a conservative right political philosophy can also lead to peaceful coexistence (in order to free markets, exchange goods and services etc). However, coexistence and equality are more difficult to accommodate under certain "neo-Conservative" trends and certain branches of Zionism. A new conservative cadre of thinkers and leaders, now labeled neo-conservatives, mostly derive their philosophy from the work of such political scholars as Leo Strauss (1899-1973). Strauss had significant impact on very influential followers ranging from neo-conservatives in Washington like Irving Kristol and his son William Kristol to Likud leaders like Netanyahu. Strauss believed that concepts of right and wrong should and must be transmitted by influential thinkers and statesmen who guide large segments of society (8). This in essence is a deterministic agenda as opposed to an evolving one based on human needs.
Strauss' influence on the American right has left an indelible mark on US foreign policy ranging from the Reagan era contract with America to hawkish views on a "clash of civilizations" (9). The differences in philosophies should not be distilled to difference of determinism versus relativism. Rather, the difference is more fundamental than that. It is a difference between people whose experiences are shaped based on the issues of violence and might and those who believe that humanity can evolve through a paradigm of tolerance and coexistence. Those who attempted to straddle the two philosophies have found it difficult maintain a logical balance. A good example is to look at the declining fortunes of the so-called "Liberal Zionists." These Zionists find it rather easy to defend Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza from ethnic cleansing and home demolition, while they can not endorse the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and lands inside Israel. They want some semblance of equality for Palestinians with Israeli citizenship but will defend the discriminatory "Law of Jewish Return" which says any Jew, including converts, can become an automatic citizen, a "right" denied to thousands of non-Jewish people born there. This duality borders on a schizophrenic attitude that leaves many attempting to understand this view perplexed. Finding this position untenable over the long term, many either move towards liberalism or towards the conservative agenda. Under the mostly capitalist systems of Israel and the US, conservatives unencumbered by altruism or a spirit of sharing, climb to the highest level of corporate, financial, and political structure. This power is self-perpetuating as it is relatively simple to turn such financial, political, and media capital into votes. Looking at it from this perspective, one may get very easily discouraged. But other factors also need to be considered.
Altruism is Pragmatic
Altruism and collective survival are intimately linked. In an era where technology allows a few individuals to kill millions and where the world is connected like never imagined before, a Straussian model is simply not credible. Biology actually shows that altruism can evolve naturally in populations and can aid the survival of these populations. In the 21st century, borders are dissolving, communication and intermarriage and relocation are now creating a new world. The internet and globalization are making irreversible changes in what used to be thought of as important and unchangeable including need for nationalities, borders, and even separate languages and currencies. Even those "liberal Zionists" who agree with this vision but claim, we must encourage Zionism now until humanity evolves a bit more miss the point. Humans with a vision of plurality and democracy simply must work to shorten the time to get to this vision instead of waiting for this reality to materialize on its own. In the context of the Arabic and Islamic world, a transformation is also happening. Some Arabs think regressively to narrow nationalism or political and religious exclusivity, which is essentially a Straussian model. Yet many draw even on concepts of inclusion and openness has guided much of the progress of Al-Andalus/Spain under the more liberal Islamic leaders of the time.
Of course there are many concerns expressed by many regarding such visions of inclusive, pluralistic, and caring societies. Palestinians may fear losing their rights to the already more dominant segments of the society. But I would argue that implementing these rights could only occur while working hand in hand with an enlightened Israeli public towards a common goal. The absence of democracy in many states in the area is a matter of concern to the Israeli and Palestinian population. Fears that joining forces may lead to rule by majority eventually which could turn to dictatorship of one group over another. These fears should be dispelled not by words or utopian dreams but by a program based on partnership, concrete laws, international guarantees, and separation of powers. Below is a step in this direction of writing such a program. For this to succeed, efforts are needed by Christians, Muslims, Jews, and other who have reached the conclusion that peace is not only possible but essential.
It is clear that the conflict is not primarily a religious conflict. Founding Zionists were never religious and many even despised religious Jews. We also need to dispense with the myth that a solution based on military might is possible. The numerous wars fought actually demonstrate that these are battles and that there will not be a final day of victory and an end to the war with total triumph of one side or another. An individual like Ariel Sharon who tries to impose a military solution or to "defeat the enemy" has already been proven to be ignorant of history.
Another way to look at the situation in the Middle East is to identify who benefits from a lack of a peaceful and just resolution. Such a resolution could result in economic development, respect for human rights, and removal of barriers to exchange of people and of information. These resolutions could be a threat to these groups:
1) Arms industry: The US is the largest exporter of weapons in the world and over 60% of our weapons exports go to the Middle East.
2) The Oil industry: Less US involvement in the Middle East could spell an end to US dependency on oil, development of alternative energy sources, and energy conservation.
3) "Think tanks" and their employees primarily located in Washington DC. No less than two dozen such groups operate receiving a lot of funding from specialized interests ranging from oil and military industries to lobbies for Israel and other countries. Without some conflict to write and push position papers for, their jobs would be jeopardized.
4) Many Zionist leaders. Individually, they get significant attention and support, hefty lecture fees, good positions, and many write books and receive adulation. Collectively, they can maintain a "Jewish character" of the state of Israel under their "guidance" and avoid possible democratic reforms, separation of state and religion, and economic development that they will not control.
5) Religious zealots whether Christian, Jews, Muslims who believe in doomsday scenarios or an apocalyptic ending. For them, humans should just accept certain "truths" such as God "testing" his faithful by providing them with an enemy so if we are to triumph, we have to even be more religious and "strong". Of course, they simultaneously must also ignore the clear admonitions in these religions calling for mercy, love, respect for others and primarily embrace only the worst elements of their religion. The fanatical Jewish colonizers/settlers in Hebron are a good example of this as are people like Osama Bin Laden.
6) Many Arab leaders (Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, Egypt etc.). A resolution could take away the only crutch left for their dictatorial powers which benefit immensely from lucrative oil and arms deals. With their people not distracted by the conflict outside their borders, they would demand freedoms, responsible economic development, elimination of corruption, a better societal infrastructure, and jobs.
7) Our US elected representatives who receive millions of dollars in donations towards their elections from pro-Zionist groups and other groups listed above who benefit from the status quo. Absence of the conflict in the Middle East could deprive them of ways to ask for money from rather rich and politically active segments of their voter pool.
Three facts remain and provide the kernel for a re-evaluation of the current direction of political policy. First, these "beneficiaries" are a tiny minority of the mass of humanity adversely affected by the continuation of this conflict. Second, five of the eight million Palestinians in the world remain refugees or displaced people prevented from going back to their homes and lands. Third, Israel, established to provide a safe haven for Jews across the globe, is ironically the only place where Jews remain endangered and subjected to violence.
It is time for the remainder of us, who do not benefit from the continuation of this tragic conflict, to support a solution based on human rights and not the status quo balance of power. This, by definition, implies basic rights such as the right of refugees to return to their homes and lands, abandoning nationalistic and supremacist philosophies, and building pluralistic societies. Doing it in Israel/Palestine will result in a domino effect that will cause a dramatic shift in the repressive Arab regimes who will no longer have that most crucial "crutch." But even if they resist change, the tremendous savings and economic development unleashed by the two most highly educated people in the Middle East (Israelis and Palestinians) will undoubtedly result in dramatic and positive ripples across the globe. There need not be any losers but only winners. Understanding the obstacles is a first step toward a solution.
We Have Been There, Done That
A historian records events in the past and makes comparisons. Politicians try to do their bit to address conflicts based on their nationalistic, religious, or other narrow interests. Intellectuals try to dissect motivations, shed some logic on events, and understand things based on their readings. The media presents things in ways that sometimes are clearly biased, sometimes fair, and most of the time superficial. Activists with various persuasions try to influence perceptions and the course of future events. It is this latter group that I believe all of us should belong.
The history of the Holy Land over the past 100 years and histories of similar struggles in South Africa and elsewhere prove the futility of:
1) Acquisition of territory by force
2) Suppression, removal, and isolation of natives
3) Attempts to claim divine or other religious "rights" to land
4) Ignorance of human rights and basic legal standards (including international law)
5) Violence as a method of terrorizing, control, and/or suppression of resistance
6) Ignoring the potential of multi-ethnic, multi-religious, and multi-cultural societies with basic human rights protected
Yet, this history also proves the power of ideas and compassion and collective work in advancing agendas (good or bad). It is time for the people of the land of Canaan (Israel/Palestine) with support from all peace and justice loving people across the globe to work to ensure peace, justice, equality among all the people. What I propose is a manifesto of 10 principles/sections that provide a framework for peace (Exhibit 5). T his draft is just one of many possible scenarios for coexistence and equality. Solutions based on human rights require very hard work and will run against opposition. Grass root activism by non-violent means is required to bring human rights as a centerpiece for future arrangements for a peaceful resolution.
The past few chapters detailed, as Amnesty International stated, that peace was elusive because the program imposed in Oslo ignored basic human rights and international law (Chapters 11 and 12). To obtain peace, we do have to address basic human rights as well enunciated by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These rights may occasionally conflict with some interpretations or applications of narrow nationalism. In the first section of this book, we described the background of the Israel/Palestine question, and in chapters 5 and 6 what the issues surrounding Zionism as a failed solution to the problem of anti-Jewish sentiment. We discussed how Zionism in practice ended up with a set of laws that are discriminatory against non-Jews and that are mirror images of the past Apartheid laws in South Africa. Chapter 10 showed the environmental and societal impact of the conflict especially in terms of putting political causes ahead of sustainable development in the tiny area of Israel /Palestine. In another section of this book we explained how governments (Israeli, US, British, Arab Countries) have largely played a negative role in bringing about peace in the Middle East simply because they put narrow political interests and narrow nationalistic agendas ahead of human rights, sustainable, development, and international collaboration. The world is moving towards dissolving borders, more international collaboration, and more communications. Some like many in the US government want to maintain narrow nationalism while implementing capital globalization to benefit multinational corporations. Others want this trend to move towards curbing multinational corporations, spreading the wealth, and ensuring sustainable global development (e.g. the Kyoto accords). This is not the place to discuss these but I would only say that regardless of power plays, borders are dissolving, nationalism is becoming less important, and populations are mixing like never before. This is a trend that I think all agree will continue.
In light of this trend, let us examine what is it mean to be a Zionist or a Palestinian Arab nationalist. Zionists include Christian Zionists who support the ingathering of the Jews for their own reasons. To Zionists who are secular or religious Jews, having Israel meant having a nation, a center of passion and attachment, a revived language (Hebrew), and all the benefits of a modern state that is "ours" (as Zionists like to explain). It also meant investing assets, whether donated by Jews or received from the West, in a "Jewish homeland." These funds and energies were channeled to building institutions, infrastructure, an army, and all the trappings of a nation-state. This has already succeeded regardless of whether the non-Jewish natives of Palestine had to pay the price and regardless of what the future holds. Israel is now well established as a nation with a language and a culture regardless of what one thinks about the legitimacy of this establishment and its colonizing activities. Yes, Israel was established by the aggressive and the violent brand of Zionism initiated (in the 1840s) by Britain and later encouraged and supported by the Western countries. And yes, after the Nazi era, the Western Countries were more amenable to support the Zionist program and the Zionist program took a life of its own with its own momentum. On occasion this program even came in conflict with its Western parents (e.g. Britain in 1939 and the US in 1956). Yet, western countries avoided any serious challenge to Israeli policy and refrained from talking about human rights if that meant Palestinian human rights.
This created a psychology of invincibility and power among Israeli leaders that allowed them to pay lead head not only at international law and human rights but even at agreements they signed (e.g. The 4th Geneva Convention, Oslo Accords). On occasions Israeli leaders even challenged the great powers that made their existence possible. This is seen from the challenge to the British White paper in 1939 settlement expansion against the wishes of the US government. Yet, Israel now exists as a Jewish state because Levi Eshkol's or Martin Buber's brand of Zionism failed: a Zionism without massive ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian natives, a Zionism that is of a humane and multicultural and multi-religious nature would not have allowed for establishment of a Jewish state in a land already occupied by natives. The mainstream Zionists (whether labor or Likud, Ben Gurion or Sharon) with help from Christian Zionists and non-Zionists wanted a nation not only of culture and language and economy but also one of military power. Power they achieved. But mainstream Zionists also claimed they wanted a state that would be a safe-haven for Jews and eventually become "normalized." Early Zionist visions were in fact based on a strong, safe, state as an antidote to anti-Semitism. In this goal, one would argue that the presence of Israel did not contribute to diminishing anti-Jewish feelings and that hatred would actually continue to grow unless justice is enacted for the victims of Zionism, the Palestinians. Israel in a sea of dispossessed and disenfranchised Palestinians simply cannot survive while an Israel with equality and justice for the Palestinians can expand and grow economically and spiritually and in every other way.
Palestinians for their part were mostly a peasant society but with enough intellectuals and leaders to realize what the Zionist plans were from early on. Palestinians were simply in the way of realizing the Zionist visions of a country that is entirely Jewish "like England is English." This would be a nation in which Jews are the majority and run the affairs of government and have "unique" laws such as considering land ownership for the Jewish nation ("Am Yisrael") who are allowed to come live their acquiring automatic citizenship and with automatic rights to land and subsidies denied to non-Jews. As explained earlier, Eretz Yisrael (the Land of Israel, really the land of Canaan) was densely populated by descendents from Canaanites and other groups. These are natives who mostly spoke Arabic and who identified with Judaism, Christianity, or Islam. As a result of the Zionist program, the population of Christian and Muslims in Palestine/the Land of Canaan ended up as refugees or dispossessed people. Palestinians stubbornly demanded rights enshrined in international law and UN resolutions (including right of return and self-determination). While it would be a mischaracterization to state that Israel was the belligerent party all the time or that Palestinians and Arab countries were innocent, it would be equally wrong to state that somehow there is parity between Israelis and Palestinians or the colonizers and the colonized. Having said that, what do Palestinians want and what can they be content with? The simple answer is given by looking at where they are now: 9 million people, without a country of their own, most of them dispossessed of their lands and properties, and most of them impoverished. A basic element of justice would be to restore at least some of what was taken away from them. Understanding history is important to understanding how to resolve the key issues of refugees, borders, settlements, self-determination, and equality.
The Power of Coexistence and Non-Violent Direct Action
he Palestinians, as victims of dispossession, have negligible military power and are dispersed and impoverished. But even if they acquire some might, they would be wise to recognize the power of non-violent actions, the power of coexistence, and grassroots empowerment among all people fighting for their basic rights. Israelis, having accumulated tremendous political, military, and economic might, must realize the limits of this power and the futility of continued oppression and domination. They too must learn to use the power of non-violence, the power of logic and coexistence rather than the power of tanks and missiles. As Edward Said wrote:
The third way avoids both the bankruptcy of Oslo and the retrograde policies of total boycotts. It must begin in terms of the idea of citizenship, not nationalism, since the notion of separation (Oslo) and of triumphalist unilateral theocratic nationalism whether Jewish or Muslim simply does not deal with the realities before us. Therefore, a concept of citizenship whereby every individual has the same citizen's rights, based not on race or religion, but on equal justice for each person guaranteed by a constitution, must replace all our outmoded notions of how Palestine will be cleansed of the others' enemies (10).
From its inception, Zionism relied on western powers to grant it legitimacy and keep it alive. This started with the Great Britain in the 1840s through the Balfour Declaration on 1917 and continued on with US support at the UN Security Council in later years. While having actively participated in "cleansing" the land of its native inhabitants to set the stage for increased Zionist colonization, Israeli leaders dealt with all issues efficiently except the persistent problem of a Palestinian presence. Interestingly, while ignoring the remaining Palestinians and discriminating against them, the same Zionist leadership left the options of co-existence and of returning Palestinians expelled. After all, how does one explain that the majority of Palestinian village lands are still vacant, including such famous locals as Deir Yassin? Many are turned into national parks and "green areas." One would hope that deep down in the hearts and minds of the Israeli leadership, they realize that Israel would remain ephemeral no matter how strong it becomes unless justice is restored. They perhaps know that one day, a post-Zionist era would occur and that this would liberate them from dependence on the West. While initially believing Palestinian as an "inconvenience" or believing refugees would eventually settle elsewhere, Israeli leaders were unpleasantly surprised at the turn of events and the strength of the Palestinian will not only to survive as individuals but also as a people.
Many in Israeli society remain isolated, protected, and ignorant of what it takes to bring peace. Many thus simply gave up and see solutions either based on continued domination or by separation, expulsions, building walls, and by other harsh means. These moves are 'justified' based on the reasoning that the demands from the other side are too extreme. Reconciling the two groups requires a rethinking of assumptions and mythologies because now their narratives are completely divergent. To Israeli Jews, 1948 was a birth of a new nation, a heroic war of independence. To Palestinians, May 14, 1948 is the day of Al-Nakba (the catastrophe) where they commemorate their expulsion, lost lands, homes, relatives and a country. To those who believe in Zionism, Zionist aspirations created a Jewish homeland that connected it to its history and old Zionist hearts still beat stronger in awe every time they set foot in the Ben Gurion International airport after a trip abroad. To Palestinians, their exclusion, alienation and subjugation is so strong that their heart beats faster at seeing any of the symbolism of this Zionist success, whether the flag with the Star of David or a border crossing with Israeli soldiers or a settlement on Palestinian land. In his excellent analytical book of the Palestine Question, Edward Said concluded that:
The irreducible and functional meaning of being a Palestinian has meant living through Zionism first as a method of acquiring Palestine, second as a method for dispossessing and exiling Palestinians, and theirs as a method for maintaining Israel as a state in which Palestinians are treated as non-Jews, and from which politically they remain exiles despite (in the case of the 650,000 Israeli-Palestinian citizens)now 1.7 million-MQ their continued presence on the land (11).
A large segment of the population on both "sides" still lives in this past. Many Israeli Jews still think that they can maintain the racist laws in a western-implemented, self proclaimed "democratic Jewish state", while ignoring or at best managing the Palestinians. Many Palestinians still think that it is possible to recover an Arab or even a Muslim Palestine and reverse the wheels of history.
Psychological and Physical Apartheid
Adding to the physical apartheid implemented by Israel and documented in detail elsewhere in this book, there is a great psychological apartheid. Unlike the physical apartheid constructed unilaterally, psychological apartheid has walls constructed from both sides. These walls result in shielding people not only from the reality of the other side but prevents introspection on their own shortcomings. Both the psychological and physical apartheid walls must be removed if there is ever to be a viable future for all.
Palestinians were subjected to cruel and unreasonable treatment over so many years that many begin to doubt that justice is possible and many certainly believe coexistence impossible. Similarly, since many Israelis have been feeling embattled and attacked that many also feel that coexistence is impossible. A defeatist attitude develops and envelops not only Palestinians and Israelis but also may of their supporters. But either the societies coexist as peaceful human beings or they will perish as rival primate societies.
There appears to have been little thought given to what is best for the community as a whole which would then also benefit the individual. The resources are foolishly perceived as finite and many ideologues perceive the conflict as a zero sum game. A few politically oriented people are viscously fighting over control and power instead of devoting effort to provide for economic growth, employment, and other features of a viable society.
A sense of hopelessness and desperation leaves many looking for 'crumbs' of both material and psychological 'food'. This is especially stressful when combined with the deep commitment by many to historical myths of grandeur or glory. I am not going to spend much time on the history of the Jewish, Arabic and Islamic civilizations (volumes have been written on these). Suffice it to say that our psychological profile is one that contrasts our existing condition with the perceived greatness of our ancestors and our prophets. We thus assume ourselves as a privileged group but this immediately contrasts with what we observe to be the destitute present situation as described throughout this book. This is especially true for the Palestinian people who are dispossessed. We can address the bigger issues of why 1.3 billion Muslims or 300 million Arabs (Muslims and Christians) have so little to say in the direction of world economies and social and cultural developments so dominated now by the US as a sole remaining power. But perhaps this too can be resolved slowly once the knot of friction in Israel/Palestine is resolved. Imagine the example set if this one place in the world, previously an example of violence, endemic hatred and tribalism, can transcend all this to build a truly shining example of coexistence and non-violence. Imagine the billions of dollars spent on armaments going to desalinate seawater, to build high tech industries, and truly harness the great minds of the inhabitants (Jews, Christians, and Muslims) for positive developments.
Of course, people do cling to their pasts, their emotions, and their tribalism. They cannot simply discard any connection to the past and suddenly adopt logical and pragmatic approaches to solve conflicts. But fortunately it is possible to gradually evolve as we appear to be doing in this new information age. We need not ignore history but we need to decide what to emphasize in this history. Should we emphasize the prosperity, peace and unity that Islam and the Arabic civilization brought to the Middle East. Or should we mourn the loss of the diversity of languages and cultures that existed before. Should we emphasize the tolerance and coexistence of Jews, Christians, and Muslims (e.g. in Spain or Al-Andalus) or should we emphasize the oppression of Assyrian Christians and genocide of Romanian Christians by the Ottoman Turks? Should we discuss the ethnic cleansing of some Canaanites by invading Hebrews or talk about the coexistence, trade and neighborly relations of the Kingdom of Israel at the time of Solomon and David? Should we talk about the golden era of Arab sciences, math, medicine, astronomy, and law or should we speak of the occasional problematical behavior of some Muslim rulers (e.g. in India with the suppression of Buddhism and Hinduism)? Should we celebrate the incredible ability of the monotheistic religions to make people work together for good deeds and as a team of devout people looking to better human life on this earth or should we mourn the loss of individualism that ensues from dogmatic practices of these religions? Or should we talk about how all religions were used for abuse of basic human rights and for engaging in war crimes. Examples include the Crusades, the colonization of the so-called "New World" under the banner of Christianity, ethnic cleansing by Israel of non Jews in 1947-1949 under the banner of Judaism, and the Taliban atrocities in Afghanistan, and Osama Bin Laden under the banner of Islam.
Perhaps we need to teach children to value themselves, value teamwork, respect others and defend the rights of minorities. This is not as simple as it seems. Adults perhaps need to learn to accept, in a very positive fashion, views that are foreign to them. In other words, someone who speaks his views regarding issues should be listened to and respected regardless of how sacred the holy �cows� may be. Would you be willing to rationally listen to a view radically different from yours on your religion or your way of doing things? Would you be willing to defend the right of that person to present such view with all your efforts?
Truth is usually the first victim of wars. Few ask why Palestinians are resisting, why Israelis are so fearful, what really separates us, and what really unites us. While fixated on "violence", history and context are lost as is rational discourse. Investigations by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Physicians for Human Rights, the UN, and Israeli Human Rights groups go unreported and their recommendations unheeded. Even details of what happened at the negotiations and the core issues remain primarily hidden from public view and replaced with rhetoric and political babble.
The people in the Land of Canaan and even in America have been shielded from reality, from the importance of human rights and developing enforced international legal norms. Thus it is not surprising that when asked "do you support or oppose the continuing assassination policy in the territories by Israeli security forces?" fully 77 percent of Israeli Jews said yes. Assassinations are of course prohibited by international law. The majority of Israeli Jews supported the incursions into Lebanese and Palestinian territory even when these resulted in massive civilian deaths. It is instructive that 56 percent believed that the main purpose of the incursions in April 2001 was to warn the Palestinians (i.e. collective punishment), while 26 percent believe the main purpose was the elimination of the terrorist infrastructure and 13 percent believe the operation has both purposes. The rest had no view on the matter. 61 percent of Israeli Jews believe that all means are legitimate in the "war against terror", even those forbidden by law, while 34 percent believe that the means must be legal 12. Similarly, a majority of Palestinians under Israeli occupation have supported suicide bombings inside Israel in polls conducted in 2001 (the reverse of 1996). These amazing statistics leaves one a bit more understanding of how mass psychology can be so easily manipulated.
An Inevitable Solution
A just peace based on self-determination and the right of return was proposed in a United Nations general assembly resolution on July 21, 1976. During the first phase of the plan, Palestinians displaced in 1967 would be allowed to return immediately to the occupied West Bank, including eastern Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. At the same time, preparations would be made for the return of Palestinians displaced in 1948 to their places of origin inside Israel. These would include designation or creation of a competent agency to be entrusted with the organizational and logistical aspects of the mass return of displaced Palestinians; creation and financing of a fund for that purpose; and registration of displaced Palestinians other than those already registered with UNRWA. Following the completion of these preparations the second phase of the plan would facilitate the return of refugees choosing to go back to their places of origin now inside Israel. Palestinians not choosing to return to their homes would be paid just and equitable compensation as provided for in UN Resolution 194.
There are three possible resolutions to a colonialist situation. The first one is to expel the colonizers and return sovereignty to the natives, as happened in Algeria. The second is a complete or nearly complete annihilation of the native population, as happened in Australia and North America. The third is an abolition of the privileges of the colonizers and the creation of a democratic, egalitarian system anchored in a constitution guaranteeing equality, with a complete abolition of all forms of discrimination against the natives, along with the establishment of a framework capable of creating a pluralistic society. It is this process which is currently evolving in South Africa.
As Israel envelops and digests Palestine (see Figure 1) it cannot help but lose its Zionist character. As the economies of Palestine and Israel continue to merge and become so interdependent, suffering of the Palestinians spreads to the Israelis. As the illusions of peace based on apartheid dissipate, more people will come to see the futility of the previously offered scenarios. Some still cling to the notion that colonizers can be removed like the Algerians did with the French settlers and Palestine will be redeemed as an Arab Islamic state. In the meantime, the Zionist State of Israel is unable to comply with democratic standards or extricate itself from an ever-deepening quagmire. It chooses to neither evolve to a pluralistic society nor to repeat its methods of ethnic cleansing practiced in 1947-1949. Many still delude themselves that Israel is a "Jewish democracy." In South Africa, cooperation of whites and blacks together with economic pressure from outside was needed to move South Africa to a post-apartheid state. In the land of Canaan, Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike working to make the change with pressure from outside is similarly needed and beginning to show some progress. A durable peace can and should be based on any elemental understanding of history, reality, morality, and justice. More and more people are beginning to see the outline of how this peace can be achieved. I drafted such an outline based on discussion with hundreds of activists over the years (Exhibit 5). This is merely a draft to open the discussion and provide points for visualizing a new Land of Canaan.
Those who think the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is a never-ending war because "these people have been killing each other for ages" or that such visions are too idealistic have failed to read history. Britain and France fought many wars including the 100-year war, which actually lasted over 120 years. Both now share a tunnel with free movement of people and ideas and it would be unthinkable for any one to imagine a resurgence of conflict in Western Europe between those two great powers. The Berlin Wall tumbled and Apartheid in South Africa was dismantled. The 100 years of conflict in the Middle East remain one of the few conflicts of the 21st century left to be resolved but is not un-resolvable. I argue that a grass-root movement can effect change that results in a win-win situation for people of the Land of Canaan. The guiding goals of such a grass-root movement for peace should be based on justice and equality. Here are the goals:
1) Right of Return for refugees to their homes, farms, businesses, and lands (include restitution, and compensation for suffering).
2) A pluralistic democracy in Israel/Palestine with equality and Human rights for all
3) End to all acts of violence
1) Develop more governmental and public support for the ultimate goals. Currently, significant support exists in most countries except the Governments and media of Israel and the US.
2) Use economic and public relations tools of divestment and economic boycotts (as happened in South Africa)
3) Press governments providing military and economic aid to stop military aid and condition economic aid on implementation of international law and human rights.
1) Develop community members and structure to identify with this vision
2) Engage in efforts of education and alliance building,
3) Ensure fair media coverage and exposure with a concerted media strategy and action
4) Provide direct relief and humanitarian aid to those suffering from human rights abuses
Breaking through the conundrums humans have created is not easy. It will require transcending a part of our selves that may seem familiar and reassuring. Learning to live together, while initially uncomfortable, can lead to a new way of thinking. Joseph Campbell wrote in 1968:
Today, the walls and towers of the culture-world that then were in the building are dissolving ... But of course, on the other hand, for those who can still contrive to live within the fold of a traditional mythology of some kind, protection is still afforded against the dangers of an individual life; and for many the possibility of adhering in this way to established formulas is a birthright they rightly cherish, since it will contribute meaning and nobility to their unadventured lives, ... and to those for whom such protection seems a prospect worthy of all sacrifice, and orthodox mythology will afford both the patterns and the sentiments of a lifetime of good repute. However, by those to whom such living would be not life, but anticipated death, the circumvallating mountains that to others appear to be of stone are recognized as of the mist of dream, and precisely between their God and Devil, heaven and hell, white and black, the man of heart walks through. Out beyond those walls, in the uncharted forest night, where the terrible wind of God blows directly on the questing undefended soul, tangled ways may lead to madness. They may also lead, however, as one of the greatest poets of the Middle Ages tells, to 'all those things that go to make heaven and earth.' (13)
It is indeed a journey of awakening at the individual level that is not only spiritual, but also require concrete action to bring true peace and justice to fruition. We Canaanites, who invented the alphabet, domesticated animals and developed agriculture, and made this arid land into a land of milk and honey, surely can do this. An Arab poet wrote "Itha Asha3bu yawman Arad al-7ayata fala budda an Yastijeeb al-qadar. Wala budda lillayal an Yanjaili wala budda li-thulm an yankasir." Roughly translated, it means: If the people one day strive for life, then ultimately destiny will respond and the night will give way and the injustice will be broken. The path to peace is not served by the creation of more states or unjust "fixes" to perceived demographic "problems." It has to do with justice and implementation of human rights and international law. It requires grass root action to accelerate its arrival but it is the only solution possible in the long tern. We can either remain locked in our old mythological and tribal ways or we can envision a better future and work for it. The choice is obvious.
Exhibit 5. Draft framework for Sharing the Land of Canaan
Section 1. The Land and the People: the land of Canaan includes as a minimum the land west of the river Jordan bordered on the east by Jordan, in the South by Egypt, on the North by Lebanon and Syria. Including Jordan in this arrangement is highly desirable. The people of this land are those who resided in this area naturally including Palestinian refugees and their descendants. International law recognizes the rights of refugees to return to their homes and lands. While native rights supercede any privilege or land given to immigrants who came under the banner of Zionism by the unjust Israeli "law of Jewish return", the new immigrants who arrived as such and willing to coexist as equal will be recognized and treated equally under the laws. While correcting past injustices, appropriate measures will be taken to ensure minimal internal dislocation and no external dislocation for Jews wishing to continue to reside in peace and equality in the state.
Section 2. Equality before the law: All instituted laws that discriminate among citizens based on religion, ethnicity, gender, or age are considered null and void. Based on constitutional principles, all individuals must and will be treated equally.
Section 3. Self-determination and self-governance: Self-determination is a key concept in International law and the UN charter. Since the two-state resolution adopted by the UN in 1947 violated this principle by not consulting with the local inhabitants and later events made it impossible to implement, it is not considered a basis for a solution. The people of the land (Palestinians and Israelis) will be reconstituted with the rights of the dispossessed Palestinians to return to their homes and lands. At that point, all the people will have the rights of collective self-determination with guarantees by the international community for plurality and democracy.
Section 4. Freedom of religions: The state throughout its institutions shall uphold freedom of religion and worship. Holy sites for all religions will be protected by law. Custody of Holy Sites shall be with the respective religious authorities with any disputes addressed through an independent Judiciary system (see section 7).
Section 5. Relationship of state and religious institutions: There shall be separation between religious matter and governmental state matters. No person shall have privilege (in employment, housing, access to government, services, or any other privilege) based on religious beliefs or lack thereof. Religious institutions and the state authorities shall be free to operate within the boundaries of the adopted constitution without infringing on individual or religious rights. Parliament shall prohibit parties from running unless their membership is open to people of all religions. Parties cannot advocate a state based on a particular religion (Jewish State, Muslim State, or Christian State).
Section 6. State powers: There shall be legislative, executive, and judiciary powers each separate and independent.
6.1. A democratically elected legislative council (parliament) shall decide laws pertaining to all aspects of state without infringement on the rights of minorities or instituting any laws that violate basic human rights as declared by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (which shall be considered part of this framework). The parliament shall also select any state insignia, national regalia, or other symbolic structures as deemed appropriate, but without infringing on the rights of one or other ethnic or religious groups.
6.2. Executive power shall be vested in the office of the elected president and the cabinet. The cabinet and the president shall run the affairs of the state in accordance with state laws and in compliance with relevant international laws.
6.3. Judiciary: the judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court and all state courts as ordained and established by the parliament. Judges for the Supreme Court shall be elected by the Parliament. Term of office will be decided by the constitution. The judicial power shall cover all cases arising as a result of the constitution adopted by parliament, other adopted laws by parliament (including judging if such laws violate constitutional principles), and issues under obligation of international treaties.
Section 7. People first: The purpose of state government is government by the people and for the people. Human rights shall be the foundation of state laws. Many of these inalienable human rights are codified in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Adherence to all provisions of the UDHR shall be a primary objective in building a constitution with a bill of rights.
Section 8. Truth Commission: Upon return of displaced persons and refugees, abolition of discriminatory laws, and elections to a national parliament, a truth commission will be established (elected by members of the new parliament) which will address all issues of injustices committed. This includes acts of violence committed against civilians, forced removal, property rights, and any other issues that may be brought before it for adjuration. It will be charged with minimizing any repercussions or forgiving individuals who committed crimes for which they now freely admit.
Section 9. Violence: We recognize acts of terrors as reprehensible whether exploding bombs in civilian areas, shelling neighborhoods, demolishing homes or any other act of terror. The Israeli occupation and colonization practices are by definition violence. Assassination (extra-judicial execution) is violence prohibited by international law. Having nuclear weapons, biological and chemical warfare capabilities is also abhorrent. We are not naive to believe that it is possible to obtain and implement a mutual renunciation of all violence especially while occupation and oppression remains. But efforts must be made to reduce the violence by implementing justice and equality and building trust. We believe the alternative vision and program presented above is the best course of action to move in that direction.
Section 10. International guarantees and place in the world: Our land and people are integral part of the area of the Middle East broadly defined with significant cultural, religious, and ethnic ties to other parts of the Middle East. This is also an area of great significance to Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. Thus, there must be effective guarantees of security, liberties and freedoms not only for the local people but also by them with international guarantees, support, and guidance for other interests and access to this center of human heritage. Further, this conflict was used as pretext for lack of progress to democracy in the region. By showing the example of living together in harmony, equality, and democracy, we can provide an example to a world ravaged by lack of democracy, and ethnic, religious, and national strife. Truly, we then can become what many religious traditions instruct: an example to the world.
Notes to Chapter 13.
1. "Proposal Driven through by U.S. and Soviet Will Set Up Two Sates" NY Times, November 30, 1947.
2. NY Times, November 29, 1947.
4. Cry, the beloved two-state solution, Ha'aretz, Thursday, August 07, 2003
5. Israeli Artists Manifesto, Beit Ha'Am, cited in Barghouti, in "The New Intifadah: Resisting Israel's Apartheid", Verso Books, 2001, p171.
6. see The Association for One Democratic State in Palestine/Israel http://www.lpj.org/Nonviolence/Sami/OneState/bylawseng.htm and the Action Committee for One Democratic Secular Republic http://www.onerepublic.org, www.palestinenet.org
7. Fouzi el-Asmar, Uri Davis and Naim Khader, editors: Debate on Palestine. Fouzi El- Asmar and Uri Davis and Naim Khadr, Towards a socialist republic of Palestine.
8. Leo Strauss, Natural Right and History, (University of Chicago Press, Reissue edition, 1999).
9. Shadia B. Drury, Leo Strauss and the American Right (Griffin Trade Paperback; 1999).
10. Edward Said, A reply to Arab Intellectuals, Le Monde Diplomatique, Aug/Sept 1998.
11. Edward Said, The Question of Palestine, (New York:Vintage Books, 1979), pp. 180-181.
12. Haaretz Daily, 4 November 2001.
13. Campbell, Joseph. 1968. The Masks of God: Creative Mythology. Viking Penguin Inc., New York, p. 37.
Tanya Reinhart, Israel/Palestine: How to End the War of 1948, (New York: Seven Stories Press, 2002).
Naim Stifan Ateek, Rosemary Radford Ruether, Justice and Only Justice: A Palestinian Theology of Liberation (New York: Orbis Books, 1990).
Nancy Stohlman and Laurieann Aladin, Live from Palestine: International and Palestinian Direct Action Against the Occupation, (Cambridge, MA: South End Press, 2003)
Gene Sharp, The Politics of Nonviolent Action (Boston: Porter-Sargent, 1973).
Alice and Staughton Lynd (eds.) Nonviolence in America: A Documentary History, (New York:, Orbis Books, 1995)