The Baskin-Siniora Peace Plan

Creating the Two-State Reality – The Six Point Plan

Thursday, September 01, 2005

 

1.  Gaza First – Success is the Prerequisite for any progress

 

The successful take-over and good governance of Gaza is a pre-requisite for any progress towards peace. In order for “Gaza first” not to become “Gaza only” everything must be done to ensure the success of Palestinian governance there.  This includes the following mandatory conditions:

 

 

There is a need for a significant attitude shift that will put the economy first. Economic hope for the people of Gaza will be the greatest guarantee that the situation will stabilize and remain calm.

 

 

 

 

 

2. Disengagement II – Negotiated and Coordinated

 

The Israeli separation barrier, although constructed in a way that is confiscating more land from the West Bank has for the first time created a consciousness of an eastern border in the minds of most Israelis. The 80 settlements east of the separation barrier with a population of about 56,000 (not including Maaleh Adumim) should be the next target for evacuation.  Already, real-estate prices in those settlements are crashing and many of those settlers would like to sell or receive compensation and move either back to Israel or to west of the separation barrier. The Government of Israel should move towards the next stage of disengagement from all areas east of the barrier.  This must be done as a coordinated action with the Palestinian Authority so that it is clear that negotiations produce positive results.  It must not be another unilateral Israeli action which will only encourage extremists. It would probably be most expedient if this was done by the present Government of Israel.  It would enable this government to serve out its term office and would put the important issues on the agenda for the next Israeli elections. But if early elections are held in Israel, the next government should move immediately towards the implementation of coordinated and negotiated second disengagement.

 

3. East of the Barrier – Palestine

 

Once the disengagement from the settlements east of the barrier is complete, all of the territories of the West Bank east of the barrier must be turned over to full Palestinian control. This should be part of the negotiated-coordinated process. Together with Gaza and about 80% of the West Bank (and a real link between the two areas) the State of Palestine becomes a reality. Full peace does not yet exist as the main permanent status issues are still outstanding: final borders, Jerusalem, refugees. Reaching agreements on those issues is the goal of the entire process and they will not be left on the sidelines. In order to reach the point where agreements will become possible, new realities must first be created.

 

Interim arrangements concerning security issues on the eastern border with Jordan should be negotiated and agreed tri-laterally between Israel, Palestine and Jordan. These arrangements should include the security along the entire eastern border and the crossings from the West Bank into Jordan.  This is not a final and permanent status agreement and interim security arrangements should be feasible for a limited period of time. This understanding would enable more flexibility in the negotiations.

 

3. Jerusalem in Focus

 

Jerusalem will become the next focal point of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – the signs are already quite clear. Peace will require reaching agreements that will enable Jerusalem to become the capitals of the State of Israel and the State of Palestine.  The parameters for peace in Jerusalem are quite clear and well known. Formal agreements on the permanent status of Jerusalem are probably still far away.  As such Jerusalem will either become a powder keg exploding all the time (which will derail any chances of peace) or alternatively, the forces of peace in Israel and Palestine can develop modes and acts of cooperation that will demonstrate how Jerusalem can become the city of peace. Positive Israeli-Palestinian cooperation in a wide range of fields and activities in Jerusalem will begin to lead to the possibility for future successful negotiations in Jerusalem.  Closed Palestinian institutions in Jerusalem should be re-opened and those institutions should engage in leading the process of creating cooperation in the city.

 

Jerusalem has usually been the window to the conflict and the worst atrocities and tragedies have taken place inside the city.  Now it is time to turn Jerusalem into the window of conflict resolution and reconciliation. Concerted and coordinated acts by the forces of peace in Jerusalem must become the order of the day, recognizing that formal peace in Jerusalem will come to Jerusalem only later.

 

4. New environmental resolve

 

A new era of peaceful relations, coordination and negotiations should be demonstrated by both sides through a dedication to love and cherish “the land” and its natural resources on both sides of the political border. Under the title “our shared environment” protection, conservation and sustainable development must become a shared goal and conducted by shared actions. The conflict has done too much damage to our natural environments. It is time to work together to promise a future for ourselves and the coming generations in this land. Cooperation is the key to saving the environment. Cooperation is the means to change attitudes and to enable us to move towards permanent status agreements.  The year 2006 should be declared by the Prime Minister of Israel and the President of the Palestine Authority as the year of the environment. A festive ceremony of the two leaders together under the banner “Our Shared Environment” would be followed by intensive year of cooperative activities coordinated by both governments and non-governmental organizations assisted substantively by the international community. 

 

5. Creating a Culture of Peace

 

Peace making and peace building is a process. Changing attitudes and building understanding takes time and effort. Both sides must dedicate themselves to build a culture of peace.  This begins with education and with culture, scientific and academic cooperation, and reaches towards religious understanding and tolerance. The process must begin with a dedication to teaching peace. Public incitement must be replaced by work on joint educational and cultural projects. Joint text books in peace education and on education for mutual understanding must be prepared for all grades in all Israeli and Palestinian schools. The media on both sides should be called upon to participate in the advancement of a culture of peace. When challenged “how can you teach peace when there is no peace” the response is that we teach peace in order to create peace!

 

6. Permanent Status Negotiations

 

As the new reality is being created, the State of Palestine comes into existence and functions and is recognized by the entire international community (including Israel) and the forces of economic development and promise, environmental cooperation and sustainable development, cooperation in Jerusalem are all visible, it would be much more feasible to convene the permanent status negotiations. Possibilities for reaching agreements on permanent borders, possible territorial exchanges, the sharing of Jerusalem, ending the suffering of the refugees and other outstanding issues would be more possible and therefore would produce more successful agreements.