IPCRI

מרכז ישראל/פלסטין למחקר ולמידע

مركز إسرائيل فلسطين للأبحاث و المعلومات

Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information

POLICY PAPER

JULY 13, 2006

 

Ending the crisis without killing anyone

Gershon Baskin, Hanna Siniora, Khaled Duzdar, Yossi Ben Ari

 

Thursday, July 13, 2006

 

The most desired end of the current crisis would be a return of the Israeli kidnapped soldiers from Lebanon and Gaza, the release of prisoners in Israeli jails, an end to cross border attacks, including rockets – in both directions – on the Israeli-Gaza border and the Israeli-Lebanese border, and the strengthening of moderates and the weakening of extremists.

 

The current strategy to end the crisis employs extreme long-term violence and escalating threats against civilians that may or may not end with the release of the kidnapped soldiers and prisoners in Israeli jails.  It may or may not end the cross border attacks; it will most likely strengthen extremists and weaken moderates and will cause vast damage and human suffering.

 

At times when anger rules, it is difficult to think logically, nevertheless; there is a more rational course that could be advanced that might have a better chance of achieving the desired results written above. Our proposal is as follows:

 

Prime Minister Olmert will immediately meet publicly with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and tell him the following:

 

1. Once Corporal Gilead Shalit is released from Gaza, Israel will immediately release all of the women and children prisoners in Israeli jails (without blood on their hands).

 

2. Israel will declare a ceasefire including the end of all shelling in Gaza, all targeted killings, and all arrest campaigns in the West Bank. If the Palestinians adhere to a ceasefire on their side, effective for all of the factions, after one month of full ceasefire, Israel will release all of the Palestinian prisoners incarcerated in Israel since before September 1993. If the ceasefire holds for another month, another several hundred prisoners will be released, etc.

 

3. Olmert will also tell Abbas that if the two Israeli soldiers kidnapped by Hizballah will be released, Israel will release all of the Lebanese prisoners being held in Israeli prisons.

 

According to this plan, there are no negotiations and there are no mediators. Israel can take the initiative, strengthen Mahmoud Abbas, weaken Nasrallah and Mashal, bring the soldiers home and achieve a ceasefire.  It is cheaper than any military plan, it doesn’t kill anyone, and it has the chance of ending the crisis faster than any other possible way.