Experiment: People's Peace Plan Number 1

Click here for more from Bradley Burston

The following is the first in a new series of experiments, grounded in the belief that where world leaders, academics, diplomats, and acclaimed experts have been unable to formulate a workableplan for Mideast peace, concerned citizens of the world might just have a better way.

It is the outgrowth of a discussion on this space which engendered a surprising and gratifying number of serious comments and reactions.

I respectfully and fervently ask that respondents voluntarily observe the following guidelines in formulating their response, in order to clear this space for mutual respect and openness to dialogue. Therefore, please refrain from:

1. Racist remarks, as well as slurs on the basis of religion, ethnicity and gender. 2. Use of the terms Nazi, Hitler, to describe the actions and policies of Israelis, Palestinians or other parties to the Israel-Arab conflict. 3. Disparaging remarks, personal attacks, vulgarities and profanities directed at other participants in the forum. 4. Advocacy of violence against individuals or religious, ethnic or racial groups, including statements which may be construed as urging attacks on leaders, officials, security forces or civilians.


People's Peace Plan Number 1

Formulated by Ray Knoeppel, a materials engineer from Hartland, Wisconsin.

The current peace process is not working well due to the closed-door nature of the process. This creates a vacuum of time which encourages radical elements and reduces the impact for moderates and countries that could support the process.

Here is my vision for improving the process:

As soon as possible reach an agreement on a vision for the peace plan along with a list of issues to be further resolved. Put this plan to a vote for all Palestinian and Israeli people. An affirmative vote would allow the final negotiations to begin.

Include charters in the peace plan which address concerns of the Jewish right and Hamas. In other words, include the right of Jews to settle in Palestine with safeguards AND include a mechanism for possible unification of Israel and Palestine (ONLY with majority approval of Jewish and Muslim populations).

My vision of a template for the peace plan is as follows:

Israel will commit to a West Bank footprint that is at least as large as the area encompassed in the 1967 borders. The current barrier is not the final border and the U.S./Europe will fund any removal and reconstruction of the barrier.

The city of Jerusalem will be jointly administered by Palestine and Israel. Ultimate control of the city will belong to Israel. Palestine will have control of entry for the Eastern Gates to the city. Palestine/Israel will have responsibility for people who they allow entry to in a manner like a company is responsible for its employees.

Palestinian control of entrance through the Eastern gates is a concession that requires acceptance by Palestine of responsibility for those given access to Jerusalem. Palestine must accept a mechanism for Israel to punish financially Palestine for the improper behavior of Muslims who enter Jerusalem.

In US law, if the employee, acting as an agent for a company, damaged or attacked someone, then the company would be responsible for both compensation and punitive damages. A suicide bomber allowed entrance would cost the offending country millions of dollars in compensation.

Control by Israel should also allow a significant Palestinian voice in the Jerusalem government. The council which runs Jerusalem could consist of elected officials and appointed officials from Palestine and Israel. Council members, chosen by each country would have to be approved by the legislature of the other country. I believe that Palestine and Israel should have significant minority populations. Significant Jewish minority representation will be encouraged in Palestine by making Palestinian resettlement into Israel completely dependent on long term sustained Jewish settlement in Palestine. The formula for Jewish and Palestinian settlement will be determined by negotiation.

If Palestine refuses to provide a safe environment for Jews, then Israel would have no obligation to settle Palestinians into Israel.In exchange of inflated representation for Jews in Palestine?s parliament, Israel would take in multiple Palestinians for each Jewish settler.

Concerned countries will define a basket of housing opportunities for Palestinians in the new state or foreign countries. This step is critical since it will document the resources that will be available to the resettled refugees and to Israel. As an example: The unified Jerusalem defined above would, require security checks on it?s borders. The city would need to evolve into a structure similar to Amsterdam or London, with an extensive mass transit system. European countries could define the design and funding of this system. Other countries could conduct competitions for the design of cities in Palestine for returning refugees.

Palestine will remain de-militarized. Israel will cease operations in Palestine. Each country will be subject to penalties and fines for violations. A list of weapons banned from Palestine (tanks, missiles) shall be defined. Possession of these weapons will be considered an act of war. The process only works, if Palestine becomes the ?Switzerland? of the Middle East. If they choose a policy towards weapons procurement, it needs to be understood that Israel has the right to terminate the process and respond militarily.

The suggestions above are one possible compromise between current proposals. Voting on a general outline early in the process, will help negotiators address the tough questions.

If the Palestinians or Israelis were to vote down a reasonable compromise, then both sides should know that their populations are not ready to make the hard compromises. Each group could adjust its policies for a long term struggle. It is better to know this now than in a few years.


Previous blogs:Fear of calling a terrorist a terroristPalestinian terrorism as a natural actHow would Jesus vote on Mideast peace?Perhaps we killed Christ after allExperiment: Peace dead? Send us your own plan!Israel's own version of Holocaust denial