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Galilee Diary: Peace talk VII: A modest proposal

Galilee Diary: Peace talk VII: A modest proposal

by Marc Rosenstein
(Originally published in Galilee Diary and Ten Minutes of Torah)


And they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not take up sward against nation; they shall never again know war; but every man shall sit under his grapevine or fig tree with no one to disturb him. -Micah 4:3-4

I have tried over the years to avoid pontificating on large-scale national issues, but to keep this diary focused on the Galilee and my personal experiences there. However, sometimes it is hard to remain silent on the macro questions, and my experiences with Jewish-Arab relations here in the Galilee led me to the observations about "talking peace" in the last six entries. Which led me to the questionable step of wondering, "so, what is my vision, after all?" And even though I claim no authority in political science, international relations, etc., it seems a cop-out to keep speaking in generalizations and leaving the dirty work to others. So here is my peace proposal:

  1. Israel is the Jewish homeland and center of Jewish culture. Hebrew is the first language, Arabic second, English third - in public schools and in official government publications.
  2. Palestine is the Palestinian homeland and center of Palestinian culture. Arabic is the first language, Hebrew second, English third - in public schools and official government publications.
  3. Each state is a secular democracy, with full individual rights, equality of protection under law, and equality of opportunity for every citizen regardless of race, religion, ethnic origin, or gender.
  4. Jews are free to live in Palestine as Palestinian citizens - and Palestinians in Israel. Each minority will be guaranteed certain basic cultural rights such as the maintenance of their language community, religious institutions, unrestricted travel to their homeland.
  5. Religious communities are free to enforce, internally, their particular restrictions regarding membership, marriage eligibility, supplementary education, private education, and other matters, but, outside of basic restrictions on incest, all individuals may marry their chosen partner under law, with or without sanction of a particular religious community.
  6. Each state may develop an immigration policy in accordance with its needs and ideology.
  7. All parties renounce the use of force in solving disputes; a mechanism for mediation of disputes at various levels between the two states, and between their citizens, shall be established. Both states sides accept the borders (1949 lines) of this agreement and renounce any other territorial claims.
  8. A process of public reconciliation will be established, for creating a shared public historical record of events in the historic conflict between the two peoples.
  9. Both states pledge to cleanse their educational systems of materials demeaning to the other, and to institute (via a joint educational planning commission) a nationwide curriculum aimed at furthering reconciliation and partnership.
  10. While each state will be fully sovereign, certain commitments to cooperation will be institutionalized in this agreement:
    1. Movement/transportation/communication between the West Bank and Gaza
    2. A master plan for developing, preserving, and distributing the water resources of the whole region
    3. Access to, control of, safeguarding of holy places
    4. A master plan for environmental preservation
  11. Jerusalem will be one city with a formal mechanism for shared sovereignty. Each state will be granted, within the city, a capital zone wherein its key government institutions will be located.
  12. A joint commission, with international involvement, will develop a plan for resolution of the status of the Palestinian refugees by means of compensation and/or resettlement.
  13. The above definitions will be enshrined in a constitution for each state.  

Published: 7/07/2009

Categories: Reform Judaism, Israel
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