The sudden sprouting of tent camps and Israeli demonstrations has allowed the public a brief reprieve from having to confront Israel’s international reality and the Palestinian decision to bring the conflict to the UN Security Council in September.While the public is busy thinking about solutions to all the social-economic distortions, the US has been busy trying to pre-empt disaster. So far Israeli rhetoric, such as Avigdor Lieberman’s continued threats to cut relations with the PA, coupled with the PA’s financial crisis, have led to a Palestinian decision to work from now on preventing confrontation through mass non-violent protests in September.
Nonetheless, the political escalation that will result from the Palestinian resolve to go to the UN could snowball out of control. That is why the US is trying to reach agreement to return to negotiations. This approach so far has failed. With less than 50 days to go, I propose an alternative plan.
HOW ABOUT viewing the Palestinian desire to go to the United Nations as an opportunity rather than a threat or a crisis? Try to agree on a formula for a UN Security Council Resolution that would serve the interests of both sides leading to renewed negotiations, rather than political and physical escalation?
The following is a draft:
Proposal for a New UN Security Council Resolution on the Two-States-for-Two-Peoples Solution
Expressing its continuing concern with the grave situation in the Middle East, recalling UNSC 242, emphasizing the inadmissibility of acquiring territory by war, and the need to work for a just and lasting peace in which every state in the area can live in security, terminate all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every state in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force, the fulfillment of UN Charter principles requires the establishment of a negotiated, just and lasting peace in the Middle East which should include the application of the following principles:
1.Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in June 1967;
2. Establishment of the State of Palestine on the basis of the June 4, 1967 borders in the West Bank and Gaza, including east Jerusalem;
3. Termination of all claims or states of belligerency, and respect for/ acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of the State of Israel and the State of Palestine in the area, and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force;
4. The governments of Israel and Palestine will enter into immediate negotiations on the exact borders based on the June 4, 1967 lines with agreed-upon territorial exchanges that will take into account new realities on the ground, including existing major Israeli population centers, expecting that the final-status agreement will reflect these realities. The guiding principle in the determination of the borders is that the parties will agree through negotiations that Palestine will comprise 22% of the territory between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, and the remaining 78% will be Israel.
5. This settlement will establish Palestine as the Palestinian homeland, just as Israel is the homeland for the Jewish people. Both states are free to maintain their own immigration policies allowing for the return of nationals to each. The rights of Palestinian refugees will be dealt with in negotiations seeking to reach a just and agreed-upon solution that will end their decades of suffering and address their rights to a home and financial compensation.
6. The issue of Jewish refugees from Arab/Islamic countries will be dealt with in bilateral negotiations between Israel and the second parties directly involved.
7. Accepting this Resolution and to launch a new beginning to a renewed peace process:
7.1 The parties must fulfill their remaining obligations embodied within Phase I of the Road Map for Peace: Israel takes all necessary steps to help normalize Palestinian life. Israel withdraws from areas occupied from September 28, 2000, and the two sides will restore the status quo that existed at that time, as security performance and cooperation progress. Israel also freezes all settlement activity, consistent with the Mitchell report.
7.2 The government of Palestine must demonstrate that the state will govern justly and hold new democratic elections within one year. It must show that a Palestinian state can accept its responsibility and have the capability to be a source of stability and peace for its own citizens, the people of Israel and the whole region as such Palestine will continue the process of institution building, security reforms, and combating terrorism.
8. In accordance with the principles laid down in UN Resolution 181 from November 29, 1947, both states will respect the rights of national minorities within their borders, and grant them full equality under the law and in practice.
9. The Security Council Recognizes the City of Jerusalem as the capitals of both states, and calls on the two governments to negotiate the modalities for application of such.
10. The Security Council recognizes the importance of Jerusalem’s holy sites to all three religions, and proposes that they be placed under an international guardianship guaranteeing free and open access to all people who respect the sanctity of the sites, or any other acceptable arrangement reached by agreement of the parties.
11. The Security Council empowers the Quartet to work with the governments of Israel and Palestine to conclude negotiations on the permanent borders of the two states within one year, including the modalities for Jerusalem. The Quartet will report back to the Security Council on progress of those negotiations on a quarterly basis.
12. In accordance with Chapter VI and Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the Security Council announces its readiness to deploy peacekeeping troops to Palestine to assist and facilitate the withdrawal of Israeli security forces from the territories of the Palestinian state. The Security Council calls on the parties to determine appropriate and agreed security arrangements between them, including a timetable for implementation.
13. The Security Council calls on the General Assembly to discharge ts functions under Article 4 of the Charter and rule 125 of its rules of procedure to:
13.1 Decide that Palestine is a peace-loving state which accepts the obligations contained in the Charter and is able and willing to carry out those obligations;
13.2 Decide to grant the State of Palestine membership to the United Nations.
13.3 The State of Palestine will agree to refrain from taking legal action against Israel for one year, while negotiations are taking place to resolve all outstanding issues.
Gershon is an advisor to Israeli, Palestinian and International Prime Ministers on the Middle East Peace Process and the founder and director of IPCRI, the Israeli-Palestinian Public Policy Institute. He was the initiator and negotiator of the secret back channel between Israel and Hamas for the release of 1,027 prisoners – mainly Palestinians and Arab-Israelis of which 280 were sentenced to life in prison for planning and perpetrating various attacks against Jewish targets that resulted in the killing of 569 Israelis in exchange for one Israeli soldier, Gilad Schalit. Gershon is actively involved in research and advocacy concerning topics such as social policy, environmental security, political strategy, peace education, economics, culture and in the development of affordable solar projects with the goal of providing clean electricity for 50 million people by 2020.