(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Deputy Knesset Speaker Hilik Bar arrived in Brussels on Tuesday, where he is set to present his diplomatic peace plan to members of the European Parliament.
Bar (Zionist Union) was invited by Italian MEP Gianni Pittella, president of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, the second-largest group in the European Parliament, to address members of all of the parliament’s factions on Wednesday.
According to Bar, in recent weeks, European legislators have taken an interest in his plan’s idea of creating two states before a final Israeli- Palestinian peace agreement is struck.
“In these days, when the diplomatic freeze is as frozen as ever and the disconnect between us and the international community is growing, letting new voices and ideas to renew the diplomatic horizon and strengthen the effort to separate from the Palestinians be heard is more important than ever before,” Bar said.
The Zionist Union MK said he will continue promoting his plan and “the need to promote a solution to separate from the Palestinians and have two nation-states” anywhere in the world.
The Labor Central Committee is expected to discuss Bar’s plan on November 29 – the anniversary of the 1947 Partition Plan’s approval – and vote on whether to adopt all or part of it as the party’s diplomatic platform.
Bar’s diplomatic outline, which he presented in the Knesset in July, declares that Israel should recognize a Palestinian state in the UN. Borders would be determined based on the 1949 armistice lines, with land swaps to account for settlement blocs, and the two sides would negotiate on Jerusalem, security arrangements, the refugee issue, etc.
The recognition and approval of “Palestine” joining UN institutions will be conditioned on it not undermining the need to negotiate.
In addition, the Palestinians would recognize two nation states.
The plan also provides that, when there is a Palestinian state, Jews may securely live in it as residents or citizens, thus creating an option for Israelis not to be expelled from their homes.
In addition, Palestinian citizens would have “privileged access” to places of worship, tourism, academia and trade in Israel, and vice-versa.
The MK also called for Israel to officially respond to the Arab Peace Initiative – not necessarily to agree to it, but to stop ignoring it. This would go hand-in-hand with conducting a regional dialogue, in conjunction with bilateral relations between Israel and Arab states.
The outline also calls to improve quality of life in Gaza – which Bar posits would return the Palestinian Authority to the Strip to replace Hamas – form a municipal body to represent residents of east Jerusalem, and maintain the status quo on the Temple Mount.
Bar called for better integration of Israeli Arabs into Israeli society, including teaching young Israelis peace and coexistence, opening a bilingual university, and requiring Israeli-Arabs to do civilian or IDF service after a permanent peace treaty is signed.
The outline also deals with Israel’s relations with Diaspora Jewry. It says the government should give world Jewry an “advisory status on issues of national importance and matters of foreign policy” and educate them in Hebrew, Jewish history and Zionism.
The goal would be to strengthen their Jewish identity, while still promoting the Zionist idea of “the negation of the Diaspora” and encouraging them to move to Israel.