Mitchell Netanyahu 311.
(photo credit: GPO)
The entire world knows what an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement looks like.
Our leaders know, most of the Israeli and Palestinian people know, US President
Barack Obama, special envoy George Mitchell, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton,
Quartet envoy Tony Blair, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, UN Secretary- General
Ban Ki-moon – they all know it. There are no secrets. This is the most
researched conflict in the history of conflicts and there are more detailed
plans on how to resolve even the minutest of details in this conflict than any
Collectively, those of us working for peace over the past 20 years
have conducted thousands of hours of meetings between Israeli and Palestinian
experts on every aspect of the conflict. The best universities in the world have
convened Israeli-Palestinian peace projects and presented their findings to the
international community and to the local leaders.
Israeli and Palestinian
negotiating teams have explored every possible issue in depth and have
identified all of the red lines of each side.
Time is running out.
Options for resolving the conflict that exist today may not be there
Our main problem is that until now this has been a failed peace
One of the ironies is that a majority of Israelis and
Palestinians say that they want peace. They say they are ready to make
compromises. But they also both say there is no partner on the other
History, thus far has proven them right.
speaking, Israelis and Palestinians have no good reason to trust each
Both sides have proven to be terrible partners. Both sides have
substantively, all of the agreements that they signed. Sure, each side
place more responsibility on the other side than take responsibility for
breaches. So why should we trust each other? We shouldn’t – is the
that is our challenge and not a curse of a doomed fate.
We have no choice
but to make peace.
Any other option is catastrophic. Our very survival
and existence as a nation – both nations – depends on our ability to
The survival of the Jewish people in our land, of the Zionist enterprise
entirety is based on our ability to extricate ourselves from the
the Palestinian people and to make peace on the basis of two states for
peoples. The fate of the Palestinian people and their survival as a
based entirely on their ability to demonstrate that they are responsible
of the community of nations and that they are committed to living in
their Jewish neighbors on the basis of two states for two peoples.
is no other solution to the conflict.
Whoever says he has another
solution is fooling himself and others. Yes, there may be federative or
confederative possibilities in the future for varying degrees of
open borders, but all of those options grow from the two-state solution
before it or instead of it.
SO WHAT must we do now? We must enter this
process with the working assumption that we don’t trust each other. We
expect each other to fulfill our most basic obligations. That is simply
reality. If this is the case, developing a peace agreement cannot be
based on a
bilateral process which is predicated on mutual trust, and no amount of
artificial confidence-building measures will create that trust. After
failure, violence and suffering, new trust can only be based on the
fulfillment of obligations and commitments agreed to in the context of
But if we don’t trust them and they don’t trust us, how can we
proceed? We must insist that there be a reliable third party who will
implementation and verify that all aspects of all agreements are being
We must insist that the reliable third party be able to act
immediately when there are breaches. It must be able to call the parties
task, to demand explanations and to insist on implementation. It must
full transparency so that the public on both sides knows what their
are fulfilling and what they are not doing. We must insist that the
third party has the capacity and the authority to resolve disputes in
before they blow out of proportion.
Not every single dispute needs to
rise to the level of a cabinet decision, as it did in past situations.
need to insist that Obama get directly involved and that direct
mediated by Mitchell take place immediately and intensively. We need to
that the mediator put bridging proposals on the table because we know
other’s red lines, but we will both wait until the last minute before we
our own. We need the mediator to conduct cooperation based negotiations,
competition based negotiations where the emphasis is on problem solving
“your losses are my gains.” We need a good agreement, we need an
both sides can live with, we need an agreement that the leaders of both
will support enthusiastically and not present as a bad deal to their
GETTING TO the agreement will be hard work. We need both leaders
to look directly into the eyes of their people and to tell them the
Netanyahu must state clearly that the Palestinian state will be
established in about 96 percent of the West Bank. We will give the
land inside of Israel to account for the 4% of the West Bank that we
as part of the agreement.
Some 80% of the settlers in the West Bank and
east Jerusalem will remain where they are and will be part of the
State of Israel, but some 20% will have to relocate – either to the
lands in Judea and Samaria or to Israel.
Netanyahu must say to the
Israeli people that Jerusalem will be the capital of both countries. We
have sovereignty over the Western Wall and they will have sovereignty on
Temple Mount, but they will agree not to dig or to build there, nor will
tunnel underneath. We will trust God to change the arrangement, if need
He decides to send us the messiah. Until then we will recognize that the
have control there and we do not.
Abbas must look in the eyes of his
people and say we will not return to our lost homes inside Israel. Our
will be to our state. Our mission is to build our state and to create
real democracy in the Arab world. Palestine will be a model state using
latest technologies and have the best school system in the Middle
Palestine will be prosperous and all Palestinians will be invited
to share the dream and to build the state. We will share Jerusalem with
Jewish cousins, our Israeli neighbors and we will resolve all disputes
diplomacy not violence.
And both states will dwell in peace.The
writer is the co-CEO of the Israel/Palestine Center for Research and
(www.ipcri.org) and an elected member of the leadership of the Green