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The Five Solutions to the Middle East Crisis
Publication date: 2003-02-27

This article was based on the realities of 2003 and is of merely historical interest. For solutions based on the realities of 2011 see: Recognizing the Palestinian State.

Following the increased violence in the Middle East during the past year, five plans for resolving the conflict have emerged. Some of them, like the Saudi one, have been expressly stated, others can be deduced from the various statements and actions of the parties. Below we present the plans in a tabular form.

The Five Plans for the Resolution of the Middle East Crisis
The Issues The Plans
Issue Significance Saudi/Russian Netanyahu Sharon Bush Blair

Palestinian Refugees

At the time of the creation of the State of Israel some million Palestinians were expelled from the coastal Palestine, which became the State of Israel. These refugees, having been unable to find redress against this injustice by any peaceful means began an armed struggle for the return to their land. This struggle became known as the Palestinian Terrorism.

The issue of the Palestinian refugees is the primary cause of the "Middle East Crisis". Without resolution of this issue it will be impossible to establish permanent peace in the Middle East.

The international community largely ignores this issue. This is because as per UN Resolution 194, and the demands of some of the Palestinian Organizations, the Palestinians should be allowed to return to their places of origin in the present day Israel. Such solution is seen as threatening the existence of the State of Israel as an ethnic Jewish State.

It is possible, however, to achieve justice for the Palestinian refugees by compensating them monetarily for the loss of their properties and the loss and suffering caused by their expulsion. Such solution will not threaten the existence of the State of Israel and will redress the injustice which is the primary cause of the conflict.

Such solution is not financially unfeasable. One could see from the news clips of Gaza and Jenine, that substantial amounts of American and international money had been invested in steel and concrete during the past 30 years. In the early 1970's there were mud huts, not multistory concrete buildings.

Had this money been given to the Palestinians as compensation for the expulsion, rather than as charitable aid, it would have had the effect of redressing the injustice, which charitable aid does not.

To resolve by compensating the refugees or allowing them to return to their places of origin, if practicable.

Deny.

Deny.

Ignore.

Ignore.

Israeli Settlements

In 1967 the Israelis occupied the Gaza strip and the West Bank and established military control of these areas. They also began building settlements in these areas. These settlements also involved seizures of Palestinian private and communal lands.

This settlement activity is seen by the international community as illegal, but is continuing at the present time.

This is the secondary cause of the conflict, which was subject to negotiations and was intended to be resolved by the creation of the Palestinian state and agreeing its borders. Resolving this issue alone would still have left the issue of the Palestinian Refugees unresolved.

Withdraw all Israeli settlements and any other presence back to the pre-1967 lines.

Keep all the settlements and expel the Palestinian from the rest of Palestine.

Retain as many settlements as possible. But might agree to some partial tactical withdrawal, if pressed by the Americans.

Accepts the need to dismantle the settlement in theory, but not prepared to implement it in practice.

Can talk about it, taking postures without any effect, leaving it all to the Israelis and the Americans.

Destruction of Palestinian Property by the Israelis

Following the proclamation of the American War on Terror the Israelis have intensified destruction of Palestinian property and killing of Palestinians. This in itself became an issue and a cause of the continuation of the hostilities. The current state of the Palestinian territories is such that a major reconstruction effort will be required to bring the area to a habitable state.

The issue is not mentioned, because the plan was announced at the very start of the Israeli campaign and at the time this issue did no exist.

Blame the Palestinians.

Deny.

Ignore.

Ignore.

Release of Palestinian Prisoners by the Israelis

Following the proclamation of the American War on Terror the Israelis have been conducting a campaign of mass arrests of Palestinians. This in itself has become a major issues fueling the hostilities.

The issue is not mentioned, because the plan was announced at the very start of the Israeli campaign and at the time this issue did no exist.

Blame the Palestinians.

Deny.

Ignore.

Ignore.

East Jerusalem

Although withdrawal of the Israelis to the pre-1967 lines would have meant that East Jerusalem would have reverted to the Palestinians, the Wailing Wall, which is believed to be a remnant of an old Israeli Temple is situated in East Jerusalem under the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

This Wailing Wall has an important religious significance for the Jews, and the Israelis want to have access to that wall. Some Israelis also advocate annexation of the whole of East Jerusalem to Israel, and some plan demolition of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which has special religious significance for the Muslims, and building on its place a replica of an ancient Jewish Temple. For these reasons the access to the Wailing Wall and the ownership of East Jerusalem have become an issue in its own right.

East Jerusalem to be part of the Palestinian State. The Israelis to be given access to the Wailing Wall.

East Jerusalem to be part of Israel. The Aqsa Mosque to be demolished and the Temple to be build in its place.

East Jerusalem to be part of Israel. The Aqsa Mosque to be demolished and the Temple to be build in its place.

Ignore.

Ignore.

Creation of a Palestinian State in the East Bank and Gaza

Creation of a Palestinian state is not an issue in itself, it is a possible way of resolving the conflict.

Originally the Palestinians had no aspiration for a separate state. They lived in Palestine which was part of the Ottoman Empire and the issue of a Palestinian state did not arise.

When the British took over and were about to leave, then the Palestinians were agreeable to a Palestinian state shared by all its residents, Arabs and Jews, and where the communities would be represented in the government in proportion to the population.

After establishment of the State of Israel and expulsion of the Palestinians from the coastal Palestine some Arab refugees settled in the West Bank which was part of Jordan and was later donated to the Palestinian refugees by the then Jordanian king.

It was only when the Israelis occupied the West Bank and Gaza in 1967, that Yasser Arafat agreed to abandon claims of the refugees to the coastal Palestine in exchange of the Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza, which were to become a Palestinian state existing alongside with Israel.

This agreement proved to be unstable, because it failed to resolve the issue of the Palestinian refugees, and some Israelis had ambitions to annex all of East Jerusalem and not to leave the settlements. Some Israelis claimed the right of Israel to all of Palestine.

The West Bank and Gaza to become a Palestinian state with full sovereignty.

No Palestinian state.

A Palestinian state on parts of Gaza and the West Bank under strict Israeli control.

To talk about a Palestinian state, without a clear indication of what it means, or any serious practical steps towards its implementation.

Talk about it and posture as a peacemaker without producing any positive results.

Reform of the Palestinian Authority

This issue was introduced by the Israelis as part of their use of the War on Terror ideology to shift the blame on the present hostilities on Yasser Arafat and to allow them to continue with their war against the Palestinians until they "reform the Palestinian Authority".

The structure and composition of the Palestinian government is irrelevant for resolution of the conflict, but whatever Palestinian government will be bound by the resulting settlement just as the Israeli government will be.

No Palestinian Authority.

To manipulate the Palestinian Authority as it is convenient to the Israelis.

Until the Palestinian Authority is fully "democratic", the Israelis can do whatever they like.

It is not clear what the word "democratic" means in this context, but to judge by the Afghan precedent, it would mean appointment of a head of state by the Americans.

To talk about this issue, as if it is relevant, while posturing as a peacemaker.

Negotiations

Negotiations are not a suitable way of resolving disputes involving issues of right and wrong. Such disputes require imposition of judicial decisions.

It is like a thief stealing $1,000 and when caught red-handed saying: "Ok, let us negotiate! I give you back $500, and you don't call the police."

But politicians do not want to submit themselves to the rule of law - they prefer either wars, or negotiations.

The original Saudi proposal expected active American pressure on the Israelis to implement the solution. But Yevgeny Primakov, a Russian diplomat, expressed view that the solution should be imposed on the parties by the international community (under the auspices of the UN) by force.

Not necessary.

Should be used to impose the Israeli will on the Palestinians and to placate the Americans.

Keep talking.

To talk and posture as a peacemaker without producing any positive results.

General Approach

Here we consider the general approach of the parties and their objectives.

To resolve the conflict on the basis of justice.

To resolve the conflict by crushing the Palestinian resistance. It is also necessary to effect regime changes in all the "rogue states" who can harbour and assist the Palestinian resistance. The proposed war against Iraq is part of this plan. All of Palestine should be part of Israel, and the Palestinians should be resettled in the neighbouring Arab states. And the longer term objective is restoration of the Kingdom of Solomon, from the Nile to the Euphrates.

To obtain as much advantage for the Israelis over the Palestinians. A token Palestinian state would be acceptable, as long as it is under strict Israeli control.

To create an illusion of a peace process to get maximum support of the Arab states in the bid to dominate the world under the slogan of War on Terror.

To use the situation to promote his own image and retain the favour of the Americans.

The Consequences of the Implementation

What will happen, if the party has it its way.

A permanent resolution of the conflict.

Prolongation of the conflict and turning a local conflict into a global one.

The Eventual Solution

How the matter will be eventually resolved regardless of which plan is acted upon.

Sooner or later politics and violence will be abandoned and people will be all equal under the law, and this will bring peace and security to all.

How many years of destruction and bloodshed will be required to make people see sense and abandon violence and politics is for the future to tell.


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