The negotiation for peace in the Israel-Palestine conflict now being conducted by the Obama administration has encountered its first major obstacle: Israel's determination to continue the expansion of settlements in the West Bank. After returning to Israel from Washington, Mr. Netanyahu announced that he will not freeze the building of settlements in the occupied territories. And today, two senior members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's cabinet, Interior Minister Eli Yishai and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz said that Israel would continue to build more settlements.
Forty years of negotiation for peace has ended in the devastation of the Gaza War. Relying only on negotiations to achieve peace is not likely to succeed. Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton tried their best to resolve the conflict through elaborate negotiations. I believe that there is a much better way to achieve peace in the Middle East. It involves only three simple steps:
1. President Obama should declare that his administration recognizes Palestine bounded by the 1966 (pre-1967) border, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
2. President Obama should ask both the United Nations Security Council and the UN General Assembly to vote for the creation of Palestine and declare that the UN recognizes Palestine bounded by the 1966 border. The UN should ask all occupying foreign powers to vacate Palestine. The Israelis who wish to continue to live in Palestine must apply for permission from the Palestinian government to live there as immigrants. After five years the Israeli settlers could become eligible for Palestinian citizenship just as immigrants to the US become eligible for American citizenship after five years’ residency.
3. The UN should ask Israel to relocate the wall Israel has built encroaching Palestinian ancestral land to its internationally recognized borders (1966 or Pre-1967).
Other nations from around the world can start recognizing Palestine, and send their ambassadors to East Jerusalem. Let the US be the first nation to recognize the free and independent Palestine.
I know that there are ten thousand and one suggestions and peace plans for the Middle East on the Internet from various organizations and columnists and politicians for resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict. I know also that the chance of President Obama’s reading about my “Peace Plan” is infinitesimally small. But who can predict? Lightning does strike occasionally, when least expected.
I hope that President Obama will succeed in his efforts to resolve the conflict. Peace in that region is desperately needed. King Abdullah of Jordan has predicted that if Israelis and Palestinians do not sign a peace treaty soon, a major war will erupt in the region in 12 to 18 months. And President Obama seems to concur with that statement.
Yesh Prabhu, Plainsboro, NJ