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[1]-[2]-[6]-[20]: A regional strategy for sustainable peace for Israel/Palestine

Middle East
on 25 Comments

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:

  1. USA & Israel on one side, against;
  2. Pretty much all Arab and Muslim states on another, their internal discrepancies notwithstanding – and;
  3. 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:

  1. Pointing out that USA & Israel are in alignment on almost everything but the settlements, and;
  2. Working on how to integrate Israel into a regional community with its five Arab border states and the states bordering on the latter.
Prof. Johan Galtung

Prof. Johan Galtung

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 “[1]-[2]-[6]-[20] peace agenda” to be worked on synchronically:

[1] Still relevant: A sovereign Palestinian State (hence [1]) fully recognized according to international law, as a UN member state, and bilaterally, by an ever increasing number of states.

[2] A two-state (hence [2]) 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.

[6] A Middle East Community of Israel plus its five neighboring countries (Palestine, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan; hence [6]) 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:

(a) Water

(b) The right of return

(c) Joint patrolling

(d) Rule by consensus

(e) Etc..

[20] Overarching and including the above: a Conference, gradually to evolve into an Organization for Security and Cooperation in the Middle East of the six [6] 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 [1]-[2]-[6]-[20] 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 [1]-[2]-[6]-[20] setting. Someone once famously said the best way to predict the future, is to design it. [1]-[2]-[6]-[20] 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.

About Johan Galtung

Prof. Johan Galtung, is the rector of TRANSCEND International’s Peace University-TPU. He is the author of over 160 books on peace, geopolitics, reciprocal development & economics, including ‘50 Years-100 Peace and Conflict Case Studies on Solution Indicative Conflict Analysis. Follow him on twitter @johangaltung.

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25 Responses

  1. pabelmont
    pabelmont
    March 25, 2015, 9:47 am

    Interesting proposal. Doubt Israel would “buy” into it. They clearly do not want either a 2SS or a democratic-1SS. That’s what the election proved. they love fighting, but have no experience being “at peace” (despite years of Egypt and Jordan peace) and my sense is that they need enemies to feel whole, complete, manly, etc.

    But glad you listed “water” as an issue. Perhaps there are other issues that should be listed. Sharing of Mediterranean oil-gas, for instance. Removal of toxic and other dumping that Israel did in West Bank. Disposal of depleted uranium munitions fired into Gaza, for instance. Reparations to Palestine for so very much, as well as or instead of PRoR.

    Peace and statehood for Palestine should permit enumeration of issues BY Palestinians who are closer to the issues than outsiders are and NEGOTIATION of those issues. That is why a dictated “peace treaty” written and enforced by USA or UNSC or anyone else would be worse than a peace negotiated by the parties.

    You say that Palestine has no power in negotiations? The nations could give Palestine that power by giving Israel something to lose from continuing obduracy. See http://123pab.com/blog/2015/03/after-the-netanyahu-reelection-what-is-to-be-done.php.

    • just
      just
      March 25, 2015, 9:58 am

      Great comment in its entirety, pabelmont!!!

      (I also very much appreciate your article at the link)

    • March 25, 2015, 10:16 am

      This guy lost me when he stated “Working on the sub-state-level would surely include disproving the visceral prejudices against Israel in the proverbial Arab Street “.

      Sounds like just another deluded Zionist…..even down the use of the word “visceral” (one of their favs).

      • just
        just
        March 25, 2015, 10:25 am

        When I first read that sentence, I made a mental note to go back and comment on it negatively.

        Then I re- read it, and it makes sense to “disprove” the traditional myths and the so far successful narratives assigned to “Arabs and Palestinians and any others” of the anti- peace Israelis and their supporters in the west.

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        March 26, 2015, 6:34 pm

        Professor Galtung sows confusion here by poor usage of words. Does he mean ‘disprove the false claim that there is prejudice among Arabs’, as just reads him, or ‘disprove ideas existing among Arabs and resulting from prejudice’?
        I really see nothing here but another repetition of the standard 2ss idea, which has often been linked to regional economic cooperation and shared prosperity. I think that it may come about some day (though it would be monstrously unfair) but that for the moment it will not even be formally on any negotiating table to which Israel comes, because it is contrary to Zionism, which concerns Jewish rights not shared with others and not merely to some, but to all of the Holy Land. So the Zionist state would have to be under considerable pressure, and for the moment the worst it faces is pinpricks.

    • Marnie
      Marnie
      March 26, 2015, 3:39 am

      The United States dropped their mask even before N’Yahoo did by giving the zionist state a free pass for decades. They have not been honest in negotiations and only serve to back up every crime comitted by the zionist state and continues to do. They helped to create this monster and are in no position to help forge the creation of a state for Arabs and Jews living side by side. I don’t know who would be honest enough and undeterred by bribes, threats, sabotage, etc., of AIPAC, congress, the xtian right, the right wing Jews, et al, but it definitely can’t be any puppet sitting in the oval office.

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      March 27, 2015, 12:29 pm

      “There is no reason why Jews in Israel should not have a right to a real democracy with Jewish characteristics.”

      Oh, no, you woke Fritz up, and he’s yapping like crazy. I’ll take him for a walk.

  2. just
    just
    March 25, 2015, 9:54 am

    My first reaction, after my first read, is bravo and thank you, Professor Galtung. I have long admired your work and you~ you’re a credit to Norway and the world.

    This struck me as essential:

    “To wit: Working on the sub-state-level would surely include disproving the visceral prejudices against Israel in the proverbial Arab Street.”

    Your plan is detailed and comprehensive. It could well work. I hope that the US government and the Israelis will heed your sage advice:

    “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.”

    And I have to absolutely agree with pabelmont when he writes:

    “Peace and statehood for Palestine should permit enumeration of issues BY Palestinians who are closer to the issues than outsiders are and NEGOTIATION of those issues. That is why a dictated “peace treaty” written and enforced by USA or UNSC or anyone else would be worse than a peace negotiated by the parties.”

  3. Bornajoo
    Bornajoo
    March 25, 2015, 3:06 pm

    Thank you Johan Galtung.

    An interesting proposal but as Pabelmont points out, what chance is there of any real and proper negotiations with israel when they have absolutely nothing to lose? They don’t even pay the bill for the occupation. There is no goodwill whatsoever from Israel and so far the Americans have given them a free pass. So they continue to act with impunity and have unashamedly openly embraced apartheid. They get all the carrots but no stick

    Until they get whacked with some big sticks they will just play the same game until they eventually ethnically cleanse the whole of Palestine. That is what they believe they can do and I for one fully believe that this is their agenda and they will try and achieve it by hook or by crook.

    If they have nothing to lose they will never negotiate. There is a golden opportunity right now but it depends on whether Obama has the will and the guts to make it happen during these last 18 months. Withholding the veto just once would create a framework for much needed sanctions which would give them something to lose.

    The USA hold the real master keys to the occupation and unless there is a change in USA policy we have to hope that bds and political isolation eventually take their toll.

    This short window will most likely slam shut after the next USA election so concrete steps have to be taken right NOW

    • lysias
      lysias
      March 25, 2015, 3:23 pm

      Obama too busy to meet with NATO Secretary General.

      Speaking of that short window.

    • bintbiba
      bintbiba
      March 25, 2015, 5:30 pm

      ….”Until they get whacked with some big sticks they will just play the same game until they eventually ethnically cleanse the whole of Palestine”.

      Bornajoo , I agree with every word you say , although I do have a lot of respect for Johan Galtung whom I have heard often on Press TV before it was banished from our screens.

    • truth2power
      truth2power
      March 26, 2015, 6:41 pm

      If only, if only Mr Obama would stop the US veto (and Mr Cameron the UK one!) – what a message that would send! They might also withhold arms supplies – just to make sure the message is not missed ;) Then both should step back and leave negotiations to other more worthy parties who might be able to achieve what has seemed impossible for so long!

      • Bornajoo
        Bornajoo
        March 27, 2015, 7:08 am

        “If only, if only Mr Obama would stop the US veto (and Mr Cameron the UK one!) – what a message that would send! They might also withhold arms supplies – just to make sure the message is not missed ;) Then both should step back and leave negotiations to other more worthy parties who might be able to achieve what has seemed impossible for so long!”

        Don’t worry about Cameron or any British pm. We are just another American vassal state of the empire. If the USA says jump, we say how high and we try and jump even higher than requested. If the USA withheld the veto then we would too and so would the other veto holding members of the unsc.

        The master key to the occupation is held by the USA. If and when the USA decides to change their policy everyone else would follow

      • just
        just
        March 27, 2015, 9:59 am

        “The master key to the occupation is held by the USA. If and when the USA decides to change their policy everyone else would follow.”

        True.

        It is the Israeli Occupation from which all bad things flow… ALL of them! The “illegal settlements” would never be, had it not been for the military Occupation. The daily grinding violence, harassment, murders & maimings, kidnappings, and terrorism by Israel’s forces and agents (illegal settlers and other Jewish extremists) would not happen without the Occupation. Et cetera…

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      March 26, 2015, 8:12 pm

      If Obama does not do it, push Israel to a regular arms length relationship, certainly nobody on the horizon to replace him will. Short window indeed.

  4. James McGinley
    James McGinley
    March 25, 2015, 3:16 pm

    What a bunch of cr*p. “Honest negotiations in this matter will …” THERE ARE NO HONEST NEGOTIATIONS UNTIL THE WORLD COMMUNITY DEMANDS IT. This guy would have honest negotiations between the girl and the gang raping her. They don’t want to negotiate… until they are FORCED TO. My God.

  5. amigo
    amigo
    March 26, 2015, 3:00 pm

    Speaking of applying force, these proposals from the EU are interesting.EU plans to pressure Israel as diplomat warns of ‘collision course’

    “Leaked report outlines 40 suggestions to sway Israeli policy; EU source: more chance of implementation in wake of Netanyahu rejection of Palestinian state.

    Elior Levy
    Latest Update: 03.25.15, 17:31 / Israel News

    “We are on a collision course,” said the European diplomat. “It’s clear to everyone in Brussels that there must be a response to these statements.”

    The diplomat said the EU does not believe Netanyahu’s subsequent backtracking on the creation of a Palestinian state. He added that Europe is interested in having a positive relationship with Israel, but considers Israel to be an entity that does not extend beyond the Green Line – the boundaries of Israel from its founding in 1948 until the 1967 Six-Day War.

    “If Israel continues its policy beyond the Green Line, it will affect the relationship between European nations and Israel,” he warned.

    The heads of diplomatic missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah recommend several steps in the report, and the majority of the 40 recommendations may be hard for Israel to swallow.

    The European source hinted that the election results and expected formation of a right-wing government in Israel mean the recommendations will be taken especially seriously by the EU. “y net.

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4640928,00.html

    The 40 suggestions are listed but are very small print and I could not copy and paste.Worth a look though.

  6. truth2power
    truth2power
    March 26, 2015, 5:57 pm

    At last, an accurate recognition of the reality of the mindset of every party in the region and a realistic template for a just and fair settlement! Neither the United States nor the United Kingdom should play a part in proceedings because both these countries have blighted the region’s history. Other neutral counties, under the auspices of the United Nations, should help and host negotiations between the parties concerned. It must be hoped that everyone involved will keep their religious beliefs out of the picture because it is blasphemous and unhelpful to conflate human desires with the Almighty and would only hinder progress towards peace.

  7. Curatica
    Curatica
    March 26, 2015, 7:11 pm

    In another world, another time….

  8. Walid
    Walid
    March 26, 2015, 9:02 pm

    “We are on a collision course,” said the European diplomat. “It’s clear to everyone in Brussels that there must be a response to these statements.” –

    A smoke screen, Amigo, the Europeans view the plight of the Palestinians with the same sincerity as the Arabs; they would want to see the negotiations go on for ever and ever and ever as while they are on, they can continue keeping their heads in the sand and not have to face the music. As to the EU stance on the 67 armistice line, it borders on the ridiculous since the Palestinians themselves have conceded that they are willing to consider land swaps beyond the 67 lines. With Abbas’ continued overholding of his post with everybody’s blessings, it’s a foregone conclusion that it’s only a matter of time before negotiations are back on, only this time they will be about the Jordan Valley since the other issues are already in Israel’s bag. And the pizza gets even more smaller and will continue so until it’s all gone.

    • amigo
      amigo
      March 27, 2015, 10:52 am

      “As to the EU stance on the 67 armistice line, it borders on the ridiculous since the Palestinians themselves have conceded that they are willing to consider land swaps beyond the 67 lines.”Walid

      I agree Walid, it,s hard not to be cynical given the plethora of disappointments experienced over the last few decades but I believe that far more open criticism of Israel,s poliocies/actions is coming from all quarters than seen heretofore.The worlds patience is wearing thin and leaders are making clear their position on Israeli intransigence and what might be done to oppose it.Gone are the willy nilly references to “Unhelpful ” or Unilateral actions ” by Israel and are now being replaced by clear reference to Illegal annexation and actions contrary to international law.This is new .Of course it will take time to see real action but from where I sit , the bubble has burst and zionists cannot put the paste back in the tube.

      In any event if Israel with the EU,s passive objections realises it,s goal of the so called “Greater Israel , then they will have to deal with Palestinians seeking equality and the vote.Either way , Israel is f—-d .

  9. MHughes976
    MHughes976
    March 27, 2015, 7:22 am

    In general we should place no trust in the fickle conscience of the West.

  10. ramzijaber
    ramzijaber
    March 28, 2015, 9:55 am

    “USA & Israel are in alignment on almost everything but the settlements”.

    Actually, even on settlements they are aligned as USA is OK to leave the “major” blocks for the zionist entity – that is over 80% of the colonies.

    That aside, here are some questions that I always ask myself about USA and zionist entity alignment:
    – WHY is the USA acting this way?
    – What’s the USA getting out of its blind and total support of the zionist entity?
    – What’s the REAL reasons behind calling the zionist entity the USA’s only and best ally and friend in the ME?
    – USA never had enemies in the ME before the zionist entity was established, so WHY this alignment and support?
    – Why name enemy of hundreds of millions of Arabs and over 1.2 billion Moslems just to support the zionist entity?
    – What’s the hidden agenda?
    – Is the zionist entity truly a 51st state in the shadows so USA can have a control over the ME?
    – Does the zionist entity have some truly damaging secrets on the USA that its using the blackmail USA?
    – WHY? WHY? WHY this blind and total support?

    Still waiting for answers……………..

    And I don’t really believe the true reason is aipac or money or elections…. For what’s at stake, it just doesn’t add up.

    • just
      just
      March 28, 2015, 11:32 am

      You nailed it, Ramzi.

      Now we just need the answers to your questions…

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