An Israeli response to the Arab Peace Initiative
When it comes to proposals to end the Israel/Palestine conflict, the Arab Peace Initiative is most comprehensive one that comes to mind, yet a lot of American Christians believe that any peace initiative proposed by Arabs is simply a trick to weaken Israel’s defenses, so that they can slaughter them later! Well, it turns out there’s a group of highly influential Israelis starting to take the API seriously, and they’ve responded with a peace plan of their own. I have my friend Carl Medearis to thank for bringing this to my attention.
I’m sharing this for two reasons:
1. It’s a very good summary of the most problematic issues of the conflict, and proposes reasonable solutions.
2. It shows that the extremely hawkish position of Netanyahu and the Likkud party (which many mistakenly presume is the Israeli perspective) is not the only Israeli perspective out there.—–Aaron
In light of the continuing political stalemate over the past years, and especially in view of the current dramatic events that are taking place in the area, and their effect on the State of Israel, its security and its international status, we call upon the government of Israel to make a courageous decision and take the initiative, the purpose of which is to advance a regional peace agreement in the Middle East, to strengthen the security of Israel in the tumultuous region and its problematic international standing.
We call upon the government to present a framework for the conclusion of the Israel-Arab conflict, as a comprehensive response to the 2002 Arab peace initiative. Israel must decide on its future from a position of strength and not to be dragged along by events.
We present the public and its elected representatives with our proposal for an Israel Peace Initiative, which has been developed over the past years with the aid of Israeli experts, based on the known solutions to all the basic problems in the area (for example, the Clinton parameters, the proposals put forth Barak at Camp David, the Olmert and Livni understandings in the framework of the Annapolis process, the talks with Syria from the time of Rabin, Netanyahu, Barak till Olmert). We have a strong basis to believe that the initiative will be accepted favorably by the Arab capitals and the Palestinian leadership.
We hope that brave leaders will be found in Israel, in the area and in the international community who will translate the Arab and Israeli vision for peace into reality, instead of waiting for vain magic to take place.
Following are the main principles of our proposal:
Israel will accept the Arab initiative of 2002 as a basis for negotiations for peace agreements in the area, and will present her ideas on the points of dispute.
Israel will announce that her strategic aim is to reach a permanent agreement with the Palestinian Authority, as well as permanent peace agreements with Syria and Lebanon that will put an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict on the basis of the following principles:
1. A solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict through “two states for two peoples”, which shall form two nation states – one for the Jewish people and one for the Palestinian people (including the implementation of the Declaration of Independence from 1948 regarding the equality of Arab citizens in Israel).
2.The establishment of a Palestinian state on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip on the basis of the 1967 lines, and territory swaps on a 1:1basis, in limited scope.
3.The Palestinian state will be demilitarized with control over its internal security, side by side with strict security measures on its borders.
4.Jerusalem will be the capital of both peoples, whereas the Jewish neighborhoods, the Western Wall and the Jewish Quarter will be under Israeli sovereignty and the temple mount shall remain under a special no-sovereignty regime (“G-d sovereignty”) with special arrangements. Israeli Jerusalem will be acknowledged as the capital of Israel.
5. An agreed upon solution regarding the problem of the refugees on the basis of financial compensation and their return to Palestinian territory only (with symbolic and agreed upon exceptions).
6. An agreement with Syria that is based on the gradual withdrawal to the 1967 borders (similar to the model in Sinai), a 1:1 exchange of territories and broad security measures on the border.
7. A peace agreement with Lebanon based on the UN decision 1701 and on significant security measures on the border.
8. A commitment by Syria, Lebanon and Palestine to prevent terror and to discontinue cooperation with hostile entities and states.
9. The establishment of regional security arrangements between Israel, Arab states and the international community.
10. The building of regional economic development in order to ensure prosperity and stability among all the people of the area.
11. The advancement of normal relations between Israel and the Arab world and Islamic countries will take place alongside progress in the negotiations, coupled with mutual commitment towards peace education and the prevention of incitement.
The Advantages of the Initiative
1. The uniqueness of the initiative is that it provides an answer to the Arab initiative, with a wide perspective of the future of the area and not only regarding the topics of the conflict but from a strategic political, security and economic perspective.
2.Israel demonstrates that she is ready for far-reaching concessions only if the recompense will be the conclusion of the conflict and the end to all claims alongside significant security measures.
3. The actual announcement of the Israeli initiative will open channels to both new and old Arab leaders, will break the circle of isolation and international de-legitimization and will prevent international pressure and forced solutions.
4.Israel is sending an important message to the Arab public in general and to its youth in particular, that she is a true partner for peace, democracy and economic prosperity in the area.
5.It is possible to translate the initiative to progress in each channel simultaneously and without pre-conditions.
6.It is possible to use the initiative as a framework for a permanent agreement or an agreed-upon political horizon in the context of interim agreements.
Okay, so I lied. There’s a third reason why I wanted to share this with you, so that I can say this:
Don’t buy into the lie that Jews and Arabs are destined to fight each other until Jesus comes back! That is a self-fulfilling, self-defeating gross misreading of the Scriptures…that makes a mockery of the life and teachings of the Prince of Peace!
Glad I got that off my chest.
To read the full text of the Israeli Peace Initiative, click here!