HARVARD SQUARE COMMENTARY

September 17, 2007
What Can We Expect in the New Year?

James Adler


No one knows whether there will be progress toward peace or reversion to intensified conflict in the coming year.  It's largely in the hands of the Arab and Palestinian lands and Iran.  Israel has little control over what they do.
 
In the meantime here are six steps Israel could take that would not compromise its security and could in fact both strengthen its prestige and credibility (and so indirectly security) among its allies and potential aid-givers and allies in the West, as well as strengthen the confidence and commitment and credibility among their people of the moderates in the Arab/Persian Middle East:

1.
It could un-declare the annexation (not the occupation, just the annexation) of East Jerusalem.

2.
It could un-declare the Occupied Territories to be "disputed," and instead acknowledge they are Palestinian. To declare them disputed says to the world (and, if one may be permitted to put in this way, to Justice), that Israel, though having 80% of historical Palestine, and the Palestinian refugees 20%, is not satisfied, and would like as much of the remaining 20% as possible.  How can this help looking to the responsible part of the world? And to Justice?

3.
It could un-declare the annexation (not the occupation, just the annexation) of the Golan Heights.

4.
It could begin the process of removing all settlements from the Palestinian territories except for the large adjacent blocs that it may want eventually to try to exchange for equivalent amounts of Israeli territory.  When the wait is over and the time comes, this would get Israel ready to make a deal. 

It would not compromise Israel's security since, first, the outlying settlements weaken rather than consolidate Israel's security, and, second and more important, it would not involve ending the military occupation and withdrawal of the IDF, just the settlements.

These acts would not only be the strategically valuable and peace-eventuating and reputation-building, but also the right and just thing to do.  As with the occupation, the question also remains how, having 80% of historical Palestine, that Israel then proceeding to put 500,000 settlers in the remaining 20% cannot help but look to the responsible world-- and to Justice.

5.
It could re-submit the Barak and Taba proposals, which after Arafat's rejection of them, it removed from the table. 

6.
It could negotiate on the basis of the Arab League peace plan, which after Israel's rejection of them, in a significant contrast with Israel's behavior after Taba, the the Arab League did leave standing on the table.


These six acts would restore Israel's international standing, especially among Western allies and potential allies and in the Arab/Persian worlds where it counts, they would look better to the face of Justice-- and they would better prepare Israel for negotiations and for peace when the time comes-- not necessarily but hopefully beginning during this year.


............................................................................................................................................................................


Comment On This Article
(Please include your name so that we may publish your remarks.)


Return to the Table of Contents



Home           Contact Us           Mailing List           Archives           Books on Sale            Links



Articles may be quoted or republished in full with attribution
to the author and harvardsquarecommentary.org.



This site is designed and managed by Neil Turner at Neil Turner Concepts