KUSHNER’s ‘DEAL OF THE CENTURY’ PLUS and MINUS

When I wrote last year about the leaked draft of  the ‘Deal of the Century’, now titled “peace-to-prosperity”, I was impressed by its clearly stated intention to create a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza. Although there were many points that would disadvantage the Palestinians, I also found some points that were very positive for them. Now I have the opportunity to read the completed proposal.

The document Trump presented on 28 January is very detailed, running to 80 pages. Below I comment on the key passages. Sometimes I refer back to the leaked draft where that helps understanding.

1.  ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN PEACE AGREEMENT

“The role of the United States as facilitator in this process has been to collect ideas from around the world, compile them, and propose a detailed set of recommendations that can realistically and appropriately solve the conflict. The role of the United States is also to work together with other well-meaning countries and organizations to assist the parties in reaching a resolution to the conflict. But only the Israelis and Palestinians themselves can make the decision to forge a lasting peace together. The final, specific details of the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Agreement, must be worked out directly between the parties.”

Comment: This is not a ‘deal’ and it does not belong to Trump.  I agree with Kushner. Two nations claim the same land, former Palestine, as their own. They have been fighting over it for 99 years. It is time for peace. They need to work out between themselves how they can share the land and live peacefully together. I ask readers of this article to keep in mind that Kushner’s document is a set of ideas and recommendations, not a deal or a plan to be imposed on the parties.

2. THE PALESTINIAN STATE

“A realistic solution would give the Palestinians all the power to govern themselves but not the powers to threaten Israel. This necessarily entails the limitations of certain sovereign powers in the Palestinian areas (henceforth referred to as the“Palestinian State”) such as maintenance of Israeli security responsibility and Israeli control of the airspace west of the Jordan River.”

Comment: The leaked draft  said that Israel would defend Palestine against external aggression. That makes sense, because Israel has a huge military capability, whereas Palestine has almost none. Anyway, Palestine has no enemies apart from Israel. But the maintenance of Israeli security responsibility within Palestine means a continuation of the military occupation, and that would mean no peace agreement.

“While the Palestinians have never had a state, they have a legitimate desire to rule themselves and chart their own destiny. Any workable peace agreement must address the Palestinians’ legitimate desire for self-determination. This Vision addresses these legitimate concerns through, among other things, the designation of territory for a future Palestinian state, strengthening Palestinian institutions of self-government, providing Palestinians with the legal status and international standing of a state, ensuring solid security arrangements, and building an innovative network of roads, bridges and tunnels that enables freedom of movement for the Palestinians.”

Comment: Trump says the Palestinians have a legitimate desire for self-determination. Good for him: perhaps he could convince his friend Mr Netanyahu on this point. But it is not in his power to create a Palestinian state (the leaked draft called it ‘new Palestine’) because there already is a State of Palestine, created in 1988 by the same method of declaration and recognition that created Israel, with the legal status and international standing of a state, having been recognised by the UN and a majority of its member-states.

“The following criteria are a predicate to the formation of a Palestinian State and must be determined to have occurred by the State of Israel and the United States, jointly, acting in good faith, after consultation with the Palestinian Authority: The Palestinians shall have implemented a governing system with a constitution or another system for establishing the rule of law that provides for freedom of press, free and fair elections, respect for human rights for its citizens, protections for religious freedom and for religious minorities to observe their faith, uniform and fair enforcement of law and contractual rights, due process under law, and an independent judiciary with appropriate legal consequences
and punishment established for violations of the law.

Comment: The Constitution of Palestine already has all those features.

3. THE BORDERS  and THE WEST BANK- please see this map

“The State of Israel and the United States do not believe the State of Israel is legally bound to provide the Palestinians with 100 percent of pre-1967 territory (a belief that is consistent with United Nations Security Council Resolution 242). This Vision is a fair compromise, and contemplates a Palestinian state that encompasses territory reasonably comparable in size to the territory of the West Bank and Gaza pre-1967”

Comment:  This shows no knowledge of history, international law or the concept of justice. The West Bank and Gaza are Palestinian territories, outside the 1949 Green Line and outside Israel’s declared and recognised borders (those of the 1947 UN partition plan). It is not a question of Israel ‘providing’ territory for the Palestinians, the question is: how much of the territory Israel has stolen will it return.

“The United States has designed the Conceptual Map to include the following features: approximately 97% of Israelis in the West Bank will be incorporated into contiguous Israeli territory, and approximately 97% of Palestinians in the West Bank will be incorporated into contiguous Palestinian territory. Land swaps will provide the State of Palestine with land reasonably comparable in size to the territory of pre-1967 West Bank and Gaza.

“The State of Israel will benefit from having secure and recognised borders. It will not have to uproot any settlements, and will incorporate the vast majority of Israeli settlements into contiguous Israeli territory. Israeli enclaves located inside contiguous Palestinian territory will become part of the State of Israel and be connected to it through an effective transportation system.”

Comment: The land swaps are shown on the map, just south of Gaza and along the border with Egypt. It is not clear how the West Bank will be divided between Israel and Palestine. The leaked draft says that it is the main settlement blocs that will be annexed to Israel. The ‘Israeli enclaves inside Palestine’ are presumably the more isolated settlements. Whether it is the built areas of the settlements that will be annexed, or some agricultural land will be included, is not stated. It would need a boundary commission and a lot of negotiation to sort out the exact borders between Israel and Palestine in the West Bank. And what is going to happen to the security-barrier, a.k.a the separation-wall? I see no mention of it in the document.

“The Israeli population located in enclaves that remain inside contiguous Palestinian territory but that are part of the State of Israel shall have the option to remain in place unless they choose otherwise, and maintain their existing Israeli citizenship. They will have access routes connecting them to the State of Israel. They will be subject to Israeli civilian administration, including zoning and planning, within the interior of such Israeli enclaves. They will not be discriminated against and will have appropriate security protection. Such enclaves and access routes will be subject to Israeli security responsibility.”

Comment: Fair enough

“In areas of the West Bank that are not contemplated by this Vision to be part of the State of Israel, Israel will not: build any new settlement towns; expand existing settlements or advance plans to build in those areas; expand any of the Israeli enclaves referred to above or advance plans to expand those enclaves in those areas beyond their current footprint.”

Comment: This is a very positive break-through.

“The Palestinian population located in enclaves that remain inside contiguous Israeli territory but that are part of the State of Palestine shall become citizens of the State of Palestine and shall have the option to remain in place unless they choose otherwise. They will have access routes connecting them to the State of Palestine. They will be subject to Palestinian civilian administration, including zoning and planning, within the interior of such Palestinian enclaves. They will not be discriminated against and will have appropriate security protection. Such enclaves and access routes will be subject to Israeli security responsibility. Although each party will be in charge of setting zoning rules and issuing building permits in their own countries, zoning and planning of the State of Palestine in the areas adjacent to the border between the State of Israel and the State of Palestine, including without limitation, the border between Jerusalem and Al Quds, will be subject to the State of Israel’s overriding security responsibility. “(My emphases)

Comment:  The military occupation is going to continue. That is not acceptable. Throughout the West Bank, and along the borders, there should be a joint security force: there is already security co-operation in area B. The joint force should be of civilian police. There can be no role for the IDF, an army of war, within a peace agreement. Jerusalem is the undivided capital of both Israel and Palestine (see below) so there will be no border between them.

Comment: The leaked draft had a brilliant idea: “the border between Israel and Palestine will be open to passage of citizens and goods, as is the case with friendly countries”. Implementation of this idea would eliminate the present apartheid-like system between the two peoples. It is also a step towards those one-state proposals which preserve the national identities of Israel and Palestine within a confederation, federation, or union, and which I believe will eventually resolve the conflict.

“The Triangle Communities which largely self-identify as Palestinian, were originally designated to fall under Jordanian control during the negotiations of the Armistice Line of 1949, but ultimately were retained by Israel for military reasons that have since been mitigated. The Vision contemplates the possibility, subject to agreement of the parties, that the borders of Israel will be redrawn such that the Triangle Communities become part of the State of Palestine.”

Comment: The residents of the Triangle Communities largely self-identity as Palestinian citizens of Israel.

4. LAND SWAPS

“Land swaps will provide the State of Palestine with land reasonably comparable in size to the territory of pre-1967 West Bank and Gaza.”

Comment: The State of Israel was declared on 14 May 1948 “within the frontiers” specified in the UN partition plan constituting 55% of Mandatory Palestine. In the 1948-49 war it conquered, and illegally incorporated into the state, a further 23% including seven important Arab towns: Acre, Ashkelon, Jaffa,Nazareth, Ramle, Lydda, and Beersheba. The West Bank and Gaza constitute the remaining 22% of Mandatory Palestine. The populations of Israel and Palestine (including refugees with a right to return) are roughly equal at 9 million each. Confining the Palestinians to 22% of their homeland, while giving 78% to the Zionist incomers who acquired it by a campaign of “wholesale terrorism” against the British authorities in 1942-47, forcing them to end the Mandate, and by two aggressive wars of expansion in 1948-49 and in 1967, would be an injustice to the Palestinians of monumental proportions. Furthermore, I estimate that the Palestinians would be living at a population density of 1,495/sq. km, more than three times greater than that of Israelis at 433/sq.km. Only city states like Singapore have greater population densities. Imagine a road a kilometer (5/8 of a mile) long, make it into a square, put 1500 people in it, add in their homes, schools, workplaces, farms, olive groves, shops, recreation facilities, car parks… It would be a nightmare. Palestine needs much more land than that.

There is an answer to this, and it came from President Truman in 1949, when he wrote to Ben-Gurion demanding that if Israel wanted to keep the Palestinian territory it had seized in 1948-49, it should give the Palestinians territorial compensation from its own sovereign territory. There was territory available in the Negev, but Ben-Gurion refused the demand. The Negev still has a low population density, 48/sq.km. Give half of the Negev to Palestine (the land swaps mentioned above are already a step towards this) and create a border that makes Palestine contiguous from the West Bank to Gaza and into the Negev.

4. THE JORDAN VALLEY

“The Jordan Valley, which is critical for Israel’s national security, will be under Israeli sovereignty. Notwithstanding such sovereignty, Israel should work with the Palestinian government to negotiate an agreement in which existing agricultural enterprises owned or controlled by Palestinians shall continue without interruption or discrimination, pursuant to appropriate licenses or leases granted by the State of Israel.”

Comment: Israel has a peace agreement with Jordan. No-one is  going to invade Israel by  crossing the Jordan. This is just greed for land. The Jordan valley is part of the West Bank, an area from which Israel is required to withdraw its forces under Resolution 242, and where the State of Palestine is the legal sovereign. [Jordan obtained sovereignty over the West Bank by legal annexation in 1950, holding it in trust for the Palestinians under Chapter 11 of the UN Charter, and returning sovereignty to the Palestinian people in 1988.] The Jordan Valley should remain in Palestine.

5. ROADS, BRIDGES and TUNNELS

“Transportation corridors included in this Vision create transportation contiguity that greatly reduces the need for checkpoints and greatly enhances the mobility and quality of life and commerce for the Palestinian people. This Vision also contemplates a Palestinian state that maximizes ease of travel within the State of Palestine through state-of-the-art infrastructure solutions comprised of bridges, roads and tunnels, and provides significant benefits well beyond the borders of the State of Palestine. For example, the State of Palestine will benefit from a high-speed transportation link that will enable efficient movement between the West Bank and Gaza, crossing over or under the State of Israel’s sovereign territory.”

Comment. Reducing the number of checkpoints is very desirable. But even more desirable would be the open borders system mentioned above. My view is that the essence of the conflict is that there are two peoples who claim the same land. Their ability to travel freely through the land would support their sense of ownership, and this would help in peace-making. The idea of making travel from the West Bank to Gaza go under or over ground is horrible – I call it apartheid in steel and concrete. If the road is Palestinian territory, and needs to cross Israeli territory, just have a neutral crossing point, as in the UN partition plan, or have open borders, as described above.

“Two access roads will be built for the benefit of the State of Palestine that will be subject to Israeli security requirements. These roads will enable Palestinians to cross the Jordan Valley to the border crossing with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, thereby facilitating Palestinian travel to and from the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and beyond, and subject to the immigration rules of the State of Palestine, allow Jordanians and others from the region to enter the State of Palestine.”

Comment: A very useful facility. But since it goes from Palestine to Jordan it should be under the security of those states, as in the leaked draft. Otherwise, it is yet another example of the continuation of the military occupation.

6. JERUSALEM

“Jerusalem is holy to multiple faiths and has religious significance for much of humanity. The issue of Jerusalem’s holy sites, particularly the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif should be treated with the utmost sensitivity. Jerusalem should be a city that unites people and should always remain open to worshippers of all religions. Jerusalem’s holy sites should remain open and available for peaceful worshippers and tourists of all faiths. People of every faith should be permitted to pray on the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif, in a manner that is fully respectful to their religion, taking into account the times of each religion’s prayers and holidays, as well as other religious factors.”

Comment: Good.

“Jerusalem will remain the sovereign capital of the State of Israel, and it should remain an undivided city. The sovereign capital of the State of Palestine should be in the section of East Jerusalem located in all areas east and north of the existing security barrier, and could be named Al Quds or another name as determined by the State of Palestine.”

Comment: No,No,No. The State of Palestine has defined its capital to be Jerusalem. Al Quds is the Arabic name for Jerusalem. The government facilities can be in East Jerusalem or even remain in Ramallah, but Jerusalem, as an undivided whole, is the capital of both Israel and Palestine. It should be under joint sovereignty and administration. There are two peoples sharing one land: they have to work out how to do so peacefully.

7. GAZA

“Gaza has tremendous potential but is currently held hostage by Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and other terrorist organizations committed to Israel’s destruction. The terrorist organizations running Gaza have not improved the lives of the people living there. As these groups have gained power and increased their malign activity, the suffering of the people of Gaza has only increased. Israel has tightened security over Gaza in order to prevent weapons, and materials that are used to make weapons, from entering. Any acceptable solution must allow goods to pass through so that the Gaza economy can thrive while making sure Israel’s legitimate security concerns are addressed. The United States does not expect the State of Israel to negotiate with any Palestinian government that includes any members of Hamas, PIJ or surrogates thereof, unless that Palestinian government  (including its members from Hamas or PIJ) unambiguously and explicitly commit to nonviolence, and recognise the State of Israel. Should negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians result in a peace agreement, the State of Israel will be expected to implement its obligations under the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Agreement only if the Palestinian Authority, or another body acceptable to Israel, has full control of Gaza, terror organizations in Gaza are disarmed, and Gaza is fully demilitarized. For comprehensive peace to be achieved, it is up to the Palestinian people to make clear that they reject the ideologies of destruction, terror and conflict, and unite for a better future for all Palestinians.”

Comment: What utter humbug! The problems of Gaza are not due to Hamas, they are due to 53 years of Israeli occupation and blockade. The scale of death and destruction inflicted on Gaza by Israeli forces vastly exceeds that from the rocket attacks. To find out who are the real terrorists we need to look up some figures. The website If Americans Knew  shows that the number of Palestinians killed by Israelis in the conflict since the year 2000 is almost eight times the number of Israelis killed by Palestinians.

“At the invitation of the Kingdom of Bahrain, this past June in Manama, the United States presented the administration’s Middle East Peace Economic Plan titled Peace to Prosperity: A New Vision for the Palestinian People.”

“The economic plan will empower the Palestinian people to build a prosperous and vibrant Palestinian society. It consists of three initiatives that will support distinct pillars of the Palestinian society: the economy, the people, and the government. It will facilitate more than $50 billion in new investment over ten years. Hospitals, schools, homes, and businesses will secure reliable access to affordable electricity, clean water, and digital services. It will strengthen the Palestinian educational system and ensure that students can fulfill their academic goals and be prepared for the workforce. Access to quality healthcare will be dramatically improved, as Palestinian hospitals and clinics will be outfitted with the latest healthcare technology and equipment. New opportunities for cultural and recreational activities will improve the quality of life of the Palestinian people.”

Comment: Very welcome.

“Subject to the agreement of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, a free-trade zone between the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the State of Palestine will be established to expedite economic cooperation between the two countries. Goods from the free-trade zone will be exported using an airport located in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.”

Comment: Good idea.

“The United States will continue to provide duty-free treatment to goods coming from all areas that enjoy such treatment today, and will negotiate a free trade agreement with the State of Palestine”.

Comment: Good idea.

This Vision hopes to enhance Palestinian economic activity, protect Israeli security and provide a path for the State of Palestine to have its own port in Gaza in the future. The State of Israel will allow the State of Palestine to use and manage earmarked facilities at both the Haifa and Ashdod ports.  The State of Israel will help the State of Palestine establish fast-track transportation system that will allow the State of Palestine to transport all cargo from the earmarked port”. Subject to the consent of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the State of Palestine may use and manage an earmarked facility at the port of Aqaba, without prejudice to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan’s undisputed sovereignty at the port of Aqaba. The purpose of the earmarked port facility will be for the State of Palestine to benefit economically from access to the Red Sea. Five years following the signing of the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Agreement the State of Palestine shall have the right to create an artificial island off the coast of Gaza to develop a port to serve Gaza, as well as an airport for small aircraft.”

Comment: Good ideas.

“The State of Israel will allow the State of Palestine to develop a resort area in the North of the Dead Sea without prejudice to the State of Israel’s sovereignty at such location, including, without limitation, Israel’s sovereignty to the shoreline. The presence of the Palestinian resort area along the coast of the Dead Sea will not alter the distribution arrangements between the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the State of Israel for natural resources in the Dead Sea. The State of Israel and the State of Palestine will establish a road that will allow the Palestinians to travel from the State of Palestine to this resort area, subject to Israeli security considerations.”

Comment: Good idea. But will Palestinians be able to visit resorts in Israel, or is this another apartheid step?

9. PRISONERS

“The Israeli-Palestinian Peace Agreement will provide for the release of Palestinian prisoners and administrative detainees held in Israeli prisons, except (i) those convicted of murder or attempted murder, (ii) those convicted of conspiracy to commit murder (in each case murder includes murder by terrorism) and (iii) Israeli citizens. All prisoners who are released will become citizens of the State of Palestine.”

Comment: A very welcome step.

“Each prisoner who is released will be required to sign a pledge to promote within their community the benefits of co-existence between Israelis and Palestinians, and to conduct themselves in a manner that models co-existence. Prisoners who refuse to sign this pledge will remain incarcerated.”

Comment: what a stupid idea.

10. REFUGEES

“The Arab-Israeli conflict created both a Palestinian and Jewish refugee problem. Nearly the same number of Jews and Arabs were displaced by the Arab/Israeli conflict. Nearly all of the Jews have since been accepted and permanently resettled in Israel or other countries around the world. The Arabs who were displaced have, in very significant numbers, been isolated and kept from living as citizens in the many Arab countries in the region.”

Comment: What utter humbug! The Declaration of the State of Israel called for the in-gathering of the exiles and many middle-eastern Jews responded to that. At first the Arab states would not let them go because they did not want the Zionist state to be strengthened. Eventually they were allowed to leave and Israel strongly encouraged them to do so. Now they have been settled in Israel, they are no longer refugees. Most of the Arab refugees from Palestine do not want to become citizens of the Arab countries in the region, they want to return home to Palestine.

“The Israeli-Palestinian Peace Agreement shall provide for a complete end and release of any and all claims relating to refugee or immigration status. There shall be no right of return by, or absorption of, any Palestinian refugee into the State of Israel.”

Comment: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 13 (2) “Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.” This right has existed since the Great Charter of England of 1215. But there is a tricky part of international law here: it is a right to return to his country, not to his home. What is ‘the country’ of a Palestinian refugee whose former home is now in Israel? My guess is that the lawyers would say Palestine. Hopefully, when peace between the two nations is established, there will be freedom of movement between them.

“This plan envisions three options for Palestinian refugees seeking a permanent place of residence:

  • Absorption into the State of Palestine

  • Local integration in current host countries

  • The acceptance of 5,000 refugees each year, for up to ten years (50,000 total refugees), in individual Organization of Islamic Cooperation member countries.”

Comment: I suggest a fourth option: that the refugees be helped to go anywhere that is willing to take them. They might see a better future for themselves within, for example, Britain, the US, or Chile (where there is a large Palestinian diaspora) than in the middle East.

“We will endeavor to raise a fund to provide some compensation to Palestinian refugees. Such funds will be placed in a trust to be administered by two trustees appointed by the State of Palestine and the United States. The Trustees will work in good faith to adopt a distribution methodology to fairly compensate refugees in accordance with the priorities established by the Trustees. Once the Trustees have received and analyzed refugee claims, they will allocate the funds in the Palestinian Refugee Trust to claimants in a manner that reflects those priorities.”

Comment: Very reasonable. But why should the US provide the second Trustee? The refugees are an international concern, and the second trustee should come from the UN.

“It must be stressed that many Palestinian refugees in the Middle East come from war torn countries, such as Syria and Lebanon that are extremely hostile toward the State of Israel. To address this concern, a committee of Israelis and Palestinians will be formed to address this issue and to resolve outstanding disputes over the entry in the State of Palestine of Palestinian refugees from any location. The rights of Palestinian refugees to immigrate to the State of Palestine shall be limited in accordance with agreed security arrangements.”

Comment: All the international calls supporting the right of return of the refugees have included the proviso that they should be willing to live in peace with their neighbours. Determining this in individual cases will be a difficult process. Involvement of the UN in this process might be helpful.

“Upon the signing of the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Agreement, Palestinian refugee status will cease to exist, and UNWRA will be terminated and its responsibilities transitioned to the relevant governments. Part of the Economic Plan will go toward the replacement of refugee camps in the State of Palestine with new housing developments in the State of Palestine. Thus, the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Agreement will lead to the dismantling of all Palestinian refugee camps and the building of permanent housing.”

Comment: Good

SUMMARY

Below there are lists of points from the document that, in my view, are either ‘PLUSES’ or ‘MINUSES’ for the Palestinians. There is also a list of ideas from my own comments. My hope is that these will help readers understand the document, and perhaps help the parties come to an agreement. Again, I ask readers of this article to keep in mind that Kushner’s document is a set of ideas and recommendations, and not a deal or a plan to be imposed on the parties.

LIST OF PLUS points

  1. Recognition of the right of  the Palestinian people to self-determination and their own state.
  2. Not a deal to be imposed: ideas and recommendations for a peace treaty.
  3. No more new settlements or expansion of existing settlements.
  4.  The possibility of the triangle territories being annexed to Palestine if they so wish.
  5. Direct access route between Palestine and Jordan
  6. $50 billion investment in Palestine, improving health-care, education and services
  7. Free trade zone between Palestine and Jordan, with goods being moved by air.
  8. A future port and small airport in Gaza, with access to the ports of Haifa and Ashdod meawhile.
  9. Access to the Red Sea from the port of Aqaba in Jordan.
  10. A Palestinian resort area along the north coast of the Dead Sea.
  11. Release of all Palestinian prisoners and administrative detainees, except murderers.
  12. Financial compensation for Palestinian refugees.
  13. The opportunity for the refugees to return to Palestine, or integrate into host countries or Arab states.
  14. Refugee camps in Palestine replaced by new housing developments.

LIST OF MINUS POINTS

  1. The existence of the present State of Palestine is not acknowledged.
  2. No recognition of the illegality of the continuing occupation and the settlement program.
  3. The continuation of the military occupation of Palestine.
  4. No commitment to demolish the security barrier, a.k.a the apartheid wall.
  5. No commitment to provide Palestine with sufficient territory for a viable state.
  6. Annexation of the West Bank settlements and the Jordan Valley.
  7. The apartheid-like nature of the proposed transportation corridors.
  8. The refusal to accept that Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine.
  9. The refusal to allow any Palestinian refugees to return to Israel.

LIST OF IDEAS FROM MY COMMENTS

  1. It would need a boundary commission and a lot of negotiation to sort out the exact borders between Israel and Palestine in the West Bank.
  2. There can be no role for the IDF, an army of war, within a peace agreement. Throughout the West Bank, and along the borders, there should be a joint security force of civilian police.
  3. The idea of an open border between the two states would eliminate the present apartheid-like system between the two peoples. It could also be a step towards those one-state proposals which preserve the national identities of Israel and Palestine within a confederation, federation, or union, and which I believe will eventually resolve the conflict.
  4. Confining the Palestinians to 22% of their homeland, while giving 78% to the Zionist incomers  would be an injustice to the Palestinians of monumental proportion, and would leave them living at a very uncomfortable population density. Palestine needs much more land than that. Give it half the Negev and then both nations, which have similar populations, would have about half of the territory of former Palestine.
  5. Jerusalem, as an undivided whole, is the capital of both Israel and Palestine. It should be under joint sovereignty and administration.
  6. I suggest a fourth option for the refugees: that they be helped to go anywhere that is willing to take them. They might see a better future for themselves within, for example, Britain, the US, or Chile (where there is a large Palestinian diaspora) than in the middle East.

About David Gerald Fincham

Retired academic scientist.
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