A Citizens Based Road Map
to a Permanent Two State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Suggested by Gershon Baskin and Zakaria al Qaq*
There are probably many other ideas, suggestions and proposals that could easily be added to this modest beginning or suggestions for amending this document. The document is open for additional input from you. Relate to this document as yours – so improve it and sign on to it.
The issues concerning the future of Israel and Palestine are too complex and too important to be left only in the hands of the politicians. It is time for the Israeli and Palestinian civil society to make its voices be heard. It is time for us to let the political leadership know what we think must be done. It is time for us to stand up and do our parts in making the Road Map Process succeed. While it is clear that the Road Map has many flaws, it is equally true that this may be our last opportunity for a long time to help make peace become a reality. So with that in mind, the following is a guideline for Israeli-Palestinian civil society actions and roles that should be implemented as soon as possible.
I. Unequivocal Statements: Israeli and Palestinian citizens and civil society organizations should immediately issue unequivocal statements regarding mutual recognition, ending the occupation, rejection of all acts of violence, putting an end to all forms of humiliation respecting the dignity of all citizens, ending all forms of incitement, actively engaging in peace education at home and in schools and a return to negotiations: There are many formats for such statements. Below are two such statements – both are good and both should be supported.
The most recent statement comes from the International Alliance for Israeli Arab Peace that held a meeting in Copenhagen this past week bringing together 100 Israelis, Palestinians, Jordanians and Egyptians. The final declaration of the Alliance reads as follows (excerpts) ---
Similarly, there is a statement drafted by Prof. Sari Nusseibeh and Former GSS Head General (retired) Ami Ayalon, (http://www.mifkad.org.il/eng/) that states the following:
Two states for two peoples: Both sides will declare that Palestine is the only state of the Palestinian people and Israel is the only state of the Jewish people.
Borders: Permanent borders between the two states will be agreed upon on the basis of the June 4, 1967 lines, UN resolutions, and the Arab peace initiative (known as the Saudi initiative).
· Border modifications will be based on an equitable and agreed-upon territorial exchange (1:1) in accordance with the vital needs of both sides, including security, territorial contiguity, and demographic considerations.
· The Palestinian State will have a connection between its two geographic areas, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
· After establishment of the agreed borders, no settlers will remain in the Palestinian State.
Jerusalem: Jerusalem will be an open city, the capital of two states. Freedom of religion and full access to holy sites will be guaranteed to all.
Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem will come under Palestinian sovereignty, Jewish neighborhoods under Israeli sovereignty.
Neither side will exercise sovereignty over the holy places. The State of Palestine will be designated Guardian of al-Haram al-Sharif for the benefit of Muslims. Israel will be the Guardian of the Western Wall for the benefit of the Jewish people. The status quo on Christian holy site will be maintained. No excavation will take place in or underneath the holy sites without mutual consent.
Right of return: Recognizing the suffering and the plight of the Palestinian refugees, the international community, Israel, and the Palestinian State will initiate and contribute to an international fund to compensate them.
Palestinian refugees will return only to the State of Palestine; Jews will return only to the State of Israel.
The international community will offer to compensate toward bettering the lot of those refugees willing to remain in their present country of residence, or who wish to immigrate to third-party countries.
The Palestinian State will be demilitarized and the international community will guarantee its security and independence.
End of conflict: Upon the full implementation of these principles, all claims on both sides and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will end.
Either one of these statements or both of them, or other similar statements, should be supported and made public by Israeli and Palestinian citizens and civil society organizations. These statements should become our “joint flag” that we will raise high for all to see. We will call upon both peoples and both governments to join our call for a full, comprehensive and lasting peace based on these principles.
II. Monitoring and Verifying – A Citizens based monitoring group should be established that will serve as the publics’ “watch dog” on the implementation of the Road Map. A group of responsible Israelis and Palestinians will serve as civilian monitors issuing period reports to the public and to the media detailing the side’s compliance or non-compliance with agreements and with the implementation of the Road Map. We will not sit idly on the sidelines watching the politicians and security officials once again fail to implement agreements that they themselves negotiated and signed. Citizen monitoring is a well accepted and well known mechanism in the international arena. It is time for Israeli and Palestinian citizens to assume responsibilities for ensuring that our politicians implement what they agree to implement. It is our responsibility as concerned citizens to ensure that breaches and non-compliance by either side not be tolerated. It is time for the political leaders to take their citizens with the utmost seriousness. It is time for us to assume this responsibility and act responsibly with the power we have.
III. Renewal of People-to-People activities at all levels –
· Civil society based groups and institutions at all levels and in all field will renew and reestablish contacts across the divide creating broad based civil society activities of contact between Israeli and Palestinian citizens. These activities will include all of the following fields of action and more not listed here:
o Peace Education in schools
o Medical and Health cooperation
o Scientific research and joint projects
o Economic development, joint ventures, etc.
o Professional cooperation between people from similar professions
o Women’s organizations
o Youth activities including sports
o Track II and dialogue activities
o Media and culture
· The donor countries and private foundations are called upon to renew and to expand their support for People-to-People activities. In the years 1993-2000 an estimated $30 million dollars was granted to Israeli-Palestinian People-to-People activities. We call upon the donor community to launch a massive and intensive effort to strengthen the citizens’ peace making efforts. We call on the United States and the European Union to make a minimum annual contribution of $10 million dollars each and a commitment to allocate those funds every year for at least the next five years. We call upon other nations that have contributed to People-to-People efforts to refund their programs. We call upon the Government of Norway to once again take a lead on the People-to-People program and to coordinate donor aid with the other nations.
· We call on the Government of Israel to immediately ease the movement of Palestinians within Palestine so that students and teachers can get to their schools, ill people can get to doctors and hospitals, workers to their places of work, etc. We also call on the Israeli Government and security to establish a “3P Card Category” (People-to-People Person) for Palestinian permits allowing these leaders of People-to-People activities on the Palestinian side to gain free access between Israel and Palestine and to move freely in their work of organizing and running People-to-People programs. Likewise, we call on the IDF and Security forces to allow Palestinians to enter Israel and to sleep over in Israel with permits for the purpose of participating in People-to-People activities.
· We call upon the Palestinian security forces and the Palestinian police to provide security for Israeli People-to-People activities to come into the PA territories for the purpose of meeting with their Palestinian counterparts and to provide security for People-to-People activities to be held within the PA territories.
· We call upon the Palestinian NGO’s to engage and to re-engage in peacemaking. Palestinian and Israeli NGO’s should extend their hands to each other and let the message of peace be heard by wider constituencies on both sides.
· We call upon Prime Minister Abu Mazen and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to make public unequivocal statements supporting Israeli-Palestinian People-to-People activities. But even without such statements, we, civil society leaders will continue to expand and widen our Israeli-Palestinian People-to-People activities.
IV. Media and Exposure –
V. Raising Our Voices around the World