While everybody is focused on disappointing Israeli election results and the liberals and progressives of this world are justifiably fearful of a future pregnant with “more of the same – or worse”, it may be useful to take a look at the solution-indicative policy proposal below, to muster an idea of what measures may eventually usher in a more desirable future. Whatever the current situation may yield; releasing the peoples of the region from the grips of structurally oppressive, culturally alienating and directly destructive violence for good remains the priority.
First: Washington and Tel Aviv continue to make the same mistake over and over again: the conflict between Israel and Palestine is only a small part of a larger conflict-complex between:
- USA & Israel on one side, against;
- Pretty much all Arab and Muslim states on another, their internal discrepancies notwithstanding – and;
- The clear majority of UN member states in the UN General Assembly. Just look at all the votes recognizing Palestine as a non-member state, it’s practically the whole world.
Then: A genuine approach to peace would exclude all talk of the USA as a dispassionate honest “broker” and engage in Israel & Palestine negotiations by honestly:
- Pointing out that USA & Israel are in alignment on almost everything but the settlements, and;
- Working on how to integrate Israel into a regional community with its five Arab border states and the states bordering on the latter.
Honest negotiations in this matter will focus on the regional dimension and heed the UN General Assembly, in a “Uniting for Peace” setting. Peace work will be required on all levels of politics and diplomacy: At the sub-state-level, at the state-level and at the regional level. Anything less encompassing is shortsighted and probably disingenuous. To wit: Working on the sub-state-level would surely include disproving the visceral prejudices against Israel in the proverbial Arab Street. But remember, Saudi Arabia, the Arab & Muslim cultural legitimizer par excellence, delivered the most promising building block for peace with its 2002 proposal clarifying that an Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 borders would be the guarantee for recognition by all Arab states. Haven’t heard of that? Blame your media; but do look it up.
An image of a reasonable solution with secure, recognized borders for both Israel and Palestine according to the above would yield the following “--- peace agenda” to be worked on synchronically:
 Still relevant: A sovereign Palestinian State (hence ) fully recognized according to international law, as a UN member state, and bilaterally, by an ever increasing number of states.
 A two-state (hence ) Israel/Palestine nucleus with borders as empirically extant between 1948 & 1967 and some swaps of culturally neuralgic non-negotiable land. The respective sacred territories may become Israeli cantons on the West Bank and Palestinian cantons in Northwest Israel, which was heavily Palestinian before the Nakba. What about the capitals? Why not have capitals in both Jerusalems? What about a Palestinian executive branch? Palestinian Statehood could be protected by means of defensive defense, a concept recently presented by this author to the Italian Senate. Here, the resolution by the Palestine National Council of November 15, 1988 explicitly accepting a two-state solution is a fundamental building block for sustainable equity.
 A Middle East Community of Israel plus its five neighboring countries (Palestine, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan; hence ) modeled on the European Community of 1958 with Israel and the five Arab border countries. The endgame would be: open borders for goods and people; a joint council of ministers and a commission for the most pressing conflicts & contradictions, say:
(b) The right of return
(c) Joint patrolling
(d) Rule by consensus
 Overarching and including the above: a Conference, gradually to evolve into an Organization for Security and Cooperation in the Middle East of the six  plus the countries bordering on them, and where necessary plus some of the countries bordering these. This Organization would extend its work all the way to Libya, Turkey, Cyprus and Greece. Obviously, this would be modeled on the OSCE-Organization for Security and Cooperation for Europe of 1975. This is not rocket science, and even if it were, humanity has successfully done this before. We can, and for the sake of peace, must learn from and improve on such past experiences.
The Lieberman-Netanyahu one-state non-solution remains an anachronistic nonstarter in this 21st century. There is no reason why Jews in Israel should not have a right to a real democracy with Jewish characteristics. But a state exclusively for Jews with second or third class citizen “Others”? No modern democratic state is only democratic for one nation within it; and states are being absorbed into regions anyhow.
High acceptance for the above proposal may be found all over the world, except perhaps among Israel’s current leaders and a US administration stuck with such political counterparts. So far, peace has not accrued from forcing Palestine into the current pseudo-two-state setting with its excessive Israeli military-political-economic-cultural control over Palestinians and the deleterious US interventions in the neighboring countries.
Along this US-Israeli roadMAP, there has been no stable equilibrium, only endless strife and spiraling chaos. Today we see demands and solidarity for BDS — Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions — growing and growing; and tomorrow? No true friend of Israel would argue for the current modus operandi; nor would they defend Israeli occupation, colonization and expansion, impeding a Palestinian state. But some in powerful quarters may have ulterior religious motives inspired by the old Anglican-Protestant tradition of fomenting an Armageddon for the Second Coming of Christ. True story.
Jewish Israelis and hard rightwing Zionists in the USA have added political and military influence to their economic and cultural power through alliances with US evangelicals and neocons, which makes them strong but far from majoritarian. A minority of less than 2% of the US population, American Jews are increasingly divided on the question of Zionism. Revisionist Zionism’s efforts at stamping out all criticism as anti-Semitic is unstable and will collapse. One bad way it backfires is by leading to real anti-Semitism – a terrible phenomenon defined as being against Jews as Jews, regardless of what they think, say and do: pars pro toto – which has already reached frightening levels on the internet, where hate speech abounds under the cover of anonymity – or so they think. This may play out two ways: (a) Anti-Semites may get into power –may all gods forbid– or (b) somebody else gets into power to forestall that. That somebody is not Obama–“lame duck” is too lively to characterize his presidency– but could be Kerry when Israel/Palestine-Syria-Iran negotiations collapse, also due to Israeli-Neocon sabotage.
The road to something like --- spells constructive peace and will necessitate profound cultural and policy changes both in Israel and USA, each separately, but also together, namely within their relationship. With regards to the latter, history – not so far removed -, has shown a precedent in the way USA declared South Africa a liability after decades of shameful support. Maybe constructive change towards peace in West Asia must pass through a change in this relation first? It may start with a US administration identifying Israel as a liability and distancing itself. If this were to happen broad support for BDS in the US could follow. Time will tell.
No dramatic or highly visible inner change is needed in the USA for this foreign policy change to happen. In Israel there will probably have to be a regime change from Netanyahu-Lieberman type extremism to moderation; which has not been brought about by this election. Be that as it may, their “They are all against us” mantra feeds the autistic siege mentality backed by ‘Chosen People’ and ‘Masada’ complexes; a reason that BDS should never exclude contact, also in Israel, with peace on the agenda. Of course somewhere under the horizon, there are still the Mondoweiss’ and Uri Avnery’s and other moderates and anti-extremists, also in Israel, who could bring about a change. BDS does not have to bite economically for that to happen; in South Africa it was the moral message that had an impact. What really helps to bring about change, is an alternative that spells out a concrete political vision. In South Africa it was the one-person-one-vote democracy; in Israel it is pre-June 1967 with democracy, minority rights and webs of equitable cooperative relations in politics and economics throughout the neighborhood, that will pave the way to a --- setting. Someone once famously said the best way to predict the future, is to design it. --- is a concrete and constructive proposal towards reciprocity in the region.
A word of caution: The window for the above peace plan may very well be narrowing. The Islamic State and the nostalgic political fervours that aliment its machinations desire a future for the region modelled on a very different and very concrete image of a Khalifat (minus the Ottomans) dating back to a period preceeding the Balfour declaration and all that has flowed from it. Indeed, it is in the best interest of Israelis of all creeds for the region to act constructively and cohesively along the lines described above now. The key here is to understand that no peace will be attained through the obsession with “security” policies, but rather, security and saftey will flow from institutions and patterns of peaceful cooperation.