Encountering Peace: Imagine...

A letter to Ban Ki-moon, with a vision of a peace agreement.

November 8, 2010 21:52
4 minute read.
Encountering Peace: Imagine...

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Ban Ki-moon
Secretary-general, United Nations
Your Excellency,

On behalf of the State of Israel and the Jewish people, and as an expression of our sincere intentions to achieve comprehensive and lasting peace with the Palestinian people, we submit for the consideration of the Security Council the following commitments, and have no objection to these commitments being expressed in a resolution.

The people of Israel and the entire world seek a just and lasting peace in the Middle East, which should include the application of both the following principles:

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The resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is predicated on the mutual recognition of the rights of the Jewish people and the Palestinian people to self-determination as expressed in UN Resolution 181 from November 29, 1947 leading to the establishment of two nation-states for two peoples on the territory that was the British Mandate until May 14, 1948.

The Jewish people accepted the 1948 partition plan which led to the creation of the State of Israel. The Arab world rejected the resolution, and as a result the state of Palestine has yet to be established. The government of Israel under my leadership has agreed to the establishment of a Palestinian state which shall be established upon arriving at a comprehensive peace agreement between the PLO and Israel. The establishment of the state of Palestine will be on the basis of the June 4, 1967 borders, in the areas of Judea, Samaria (the West Bank) and Gaza, with agreed-upon territorial swaps enabling a reasonable adjustment of the borders that takes into account the developments on the ground since June 1967.

The territorial swaps principle will ensure that the State of Palestine will be of equal size to the territories conquered by Israel in June 1967, so that 22% of the territory between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea will be the Palestinian state and the remaining 78% will be the State of Israel. The lands that will be exchanged from territory inside Israel will be uninhabited.

BASED ON these principles, the government of Israel and the PLO will enter into immediate direct negotiations on the exact borders between them. The negotiations will include security requirements for peace, the future of Jerusalem, refugees, water, economic relations and sustaining a culture of peace.

Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the State of Israel, yet we note with unease that the nations of the world have not yet recognized it as such. Through the peace process we seek full international recognition of Jerusalem as our capital and, therefore, recognize the need to address Palestinian claims regarding its future. Israel also recognizes the importance of the holy sites in Jerusalem to all three religions, and will consider together with the Palestinian leadership all proposals to guarantee free and open access to all people who respect the sanctity of the sites.

The treaty of permanent peace will establish Palestine as the Palestinian homeland, just as Israel is the homeland for the Jewish people. Israel is a democratic peace-loving state which accepts its obligations contained in the United Nations Charter, and in the spirit of the UN calls on the Palestinian people to join hands with us to resolve this conflict through negotiation and dialogue. Both parties are free to raise all their claims and issues for resolution in the negotiations.

We welcome the continued assistance of the United States and the Quartet in facilitating the negotiations. This is a time when historic leadership is necessary. We firmly believe the conflict is resolvable. We call on all members of the United Nations, especially members of the Arab League, to take positive steps that will encourage moderation and will support our efforts for peace.

We know that as we move forward toward peace, the enemies of peace will step up their efforts to destroy our achievements through terrorism. Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists are faithful to their covenant of destroying Israel. This we cannot allow, nor can the Palestinian leadership. We call upon all nations to cast out those who support and launch terrorism. We call on all nations to put an end to the flow of money and weapons to terrorist organizations. Terrorism is the most dangerous enemy of peace and democracy, and we must all face the challenges that these criminals pose with resolute commitment and determination.

Through direct negotiations we can reach peace. Once we have completed the negotiations and have arrived at an agreement which puts an end to the conflict and to all claims of both parties, the State of Israel will be proud to sponsor the call to admit the state of Palestine as a full member of the UN.

In peace,
Binyamin Netanyahu,
Prime Minister of Israel

The writer is co-CEO of the Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information (www.ipcri.org) and is in the process of founding the Center for Israeli Progress (http://israeli-progress.org).

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