Chester Crocker, Scott Lasensky and Samuel W. Lewis propose that the US lays out its own set of principles for solving the Israeli-Arab conflict.
At a minimum, the American declaration should be based on the 1967 lines, with agreed territorial swaps; support a compromise on Jerusalem that allows for two capitals for two states; include provisions about security limitations and guarantees; reiterate America’s support for an agreed solution to the refugee problem; and reaffirm our long-standing commitment to the state of Israel. But American principles should also include some caveats, given that our ultimate interest is in an agreed, viable solution — not in any particular formula.
What would it take for American ideas to succeed? Unlike some past efforts, Washington should not try to “pre-cook” this declaration with one or more parties or to choreograph their reactions. In fact, the U.S. statement of principles would be explicitly described as what our own country believes in and can support; and by implication what it cannot support.
Thus the U.S. statement would not be designed to achieve immediate approval or adoption by the parties. Its purpose would be to clarify where America stands, how we define our interests and what we can work for. It would aim at influencing the climate of thinking in the region, sobering up those with illusions and encouraging those who need our support.
The authors here presuppose that the United States would be willing to display a level of autonomy from Israel that it has been incapable of demonstrating for many years. If such an initiative was taken, it would not only be momentous as an intervention but also because it could only be done by an administration that had truly unshackled itself from the Israel lobby.
This calls for USA to state a few, but not all, details of a suitable “peace”. However, wherever it calls for an “agreed” this-or-that, it turns the matter back to the parties, which leaves ample room for the same stalemate which has prevailed for 20 years.
Nevertheless, it might be useful, not for reaching agreement immediately from the parties but for educating the American public about the issues and relevant history and international law and thereby allowing the American public to move away from the purely Zionist or Palestinian views which have been propagated here for so many years toward views on an acceptable peace more in tune with American values after an education in the history and issues.
A better method of educating America would be an interactive process. The Obama Administration should call for free and open discussions among Americans to see what the American people would see as a just proposal, even if, in the end, the government adopted a different proposal or left more details in the “to be agreed” category.
Any government preparation for such discussions should start off with a list of topics and general ideas for solution. It might, for example, call for equal sharing of water resources, equitable sharing of land as a goal, but the pre-1967 78%-22% sharing as a more likely outcome. The right of Palestinian return would be reaffirmed, even if assigned to a to-be-agreed category, and note taken that the smaller Israel’s final territory, the smaller the number of refugees to which the land-based right of Palestinian return would apply.
The preparatory documents would set forth applicable international law, especially the rules for a legal occupation and the rule against the acquisition of territory by use or threat of armed force. Note would be taken that Israel has occupied all of Palestine since 1967, that is, for 43 years, whereas it occupied its pre-1967 territory alone only from 1948 to 1967, 19 years, and it being further noted that every part of Israel’s territory, at any time since 1948, was acquired only by force of arms and without Palestinian agreement.
In short, the document should be public and should aim to teach America: to teach where the problems came from (via history and law); to teach what the issues are; to teach what appears to be a fair solution to the people and nations involved; and then teach which divergences from “fair solutions” the USA would support (and why).
More important than the issues for peace, this discussion now and in all the future until the occupation ends should examine is how it comes about that Israel has built settlements and its wall, and inserted settlers, and maintained a siege against Gaza, when these things are in contravention of international humanitarian law — and to explain how the USA has failed to take steps, required by its own agreements, to enforce that law until this time.
There is no reason to think these discussions will lead to peace unless and until conditions change which have for so many years encouraged the parties to fail to come to agreement. Thus, the teaching and discussions here proposed should be expected to take a long time. Let’s design them to be accurate as to facts, accurate as to law, and elevating as to principles for achieving a just and lasting peace.
In response to the “jolt” and Pabelmont’s comment… I have the means of educating Americans about why it is not in their interests to go on supporting the Zionist state of Israel right or wrong. (Doing so is also not in the best interests of the Jews of the world or even Israeli Jews). The means are the three-volume American edition of my latest book, ZIONISM: THE REAL ENEMY OF THE JEWS (www.clarity press. com). Volume Three is updated to Obama’s initial surrender to Netanyahu and the Zionist lobby and its stooges in Congress. Volume One has a Dear America Introduction. It’s me speaking directly to Amercan readers with an Appeal for Understanding. A main point is that almost everything Americans have been conditioned to believe about the making and sustaining of the conflict in and over Palestine that became Israel is not true. Is Zionist propaganda.
I have read some ideas that are a waste of time but none quite so much as this. You might get a better hypothetical solution by asking a team of lawyers, geographers and economists in Iran to come up with the right answer.
What made the US a qualified arbiter in this matter in the first place? The only reason that America has had this definitive say is that US Zionism is even more extreme and fervent than the Israeli brand and for which reason it has supported this colonialist venture if not from the outset, at least since the end of WWII. So how do you expect the Americans especially to come up with a rational or balanced solution that will fairly and adequately protect the past, present and future interests of the Palestinian people.
In short America has invested heavily in a racist myth and an outright lie for 60 years. Zionism is a load of crock invented and fostered to garner power of the racist, nationalist, extremist kind, akin in history only to that exhibited by the Nazis and their Aryan myth, with which the Zionists collaborated wholeheartedly and extensively with at the time it arose. The methods and tactics used by the Zionists and the state of Israel so far, much like those of that German epoch, have in fact shown a total disregard for just about every norm of ethical morality, human rights, and international law. The Zionists have got away with this, primarily because of corruption, influence, black-mail, and intrigue at the highest levels in countries like, Britain, France, Germany, and especially America today, although.
Now let us be clear here. We are talking about a nation the size of less than Vancouver Island and a population slightly more than Hong Kong that uses, state terrorism, genocide, ethnic cleansing, murder, kidnapping, espionage, and false flag attacks as its tools to impose its will and to determine its existence, a country that is protected from any criticism in such actions, yet is in illegal possession of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons of mass destruction, a country said to possessing the fourth largest military in the world (certainly in terms of sophisticated technology, it is the 4th largest exporter of arms), a country that has initiated repeated wars of aggression, and has made every effort to avoid peace in favour of continued instability, colonization and ethnic cleansing in the hope of establishing some biblical idea of a Greater (eretz) Israel.
So can anybody tell me for what possible purpose does the world need a Zionist Jewish State in Palestine? What benefit is this pathetic pariah of a state to anyone, be he Jewish, Christian, Muslim, or Buddhist? Personally, I think the best decision that any committee of learned men could come to is to cut Israel loose and just apply International and US law which prohibits aid to countries with illicit nuclear weapons under NPT, and sanction it for its non compliance to a multiplicity of existing UN resolutions, rather than keeping this abortive experiment in geopolitics alive with weapons, direct subsidies, and endless UN Security Council veto support.
Ian’s last sentence has more going for it than anything else, short of the U.S. just walking away from every overseas exploitation it’s involved in. Of course, either solution requires strong leaders, not thousands of voices such as there are today, with no true head. The present leadership in both the U.S. & Israel, believe because of the symbiotic relationship, that only they have the solution to peace in the middle east. Sad to think that the Nuclear bombs will settle this, one way or the other, in this game of chicken.
All the NYT article reveals is that the editors and owners are suckers for fancy sounding drivel. The underlying purpose being to attempt to legitimize the Phony ‘peace process’. Your other article, by Prof. Francis Boyle, gives the lie to all of these supposed American ‘initiatives’.
There already is a Palestinian State, and it is primarily American interference that prevents it attaining its rightful place among the world’s free nations.