Nu de pogingen van president Obama om Israel te bewegen tot zinvolle vredesonderhandelingen met de Palestijnen zijn gestrand op de weigering de bouw van israelische nederzettingen op de bezette Westelijke Jordaanoever te temporiseren, stelt de progressieve Amerikaanse Joodse lobbygroep J Street een andere benadering voor om te komen to een oplossing van ‘het’ conflict in het Midden-Oosten.
(Het voorstel spreekt mij zeer aan, maar ik betwijfel dat Obama dit durft uit te voeren tegen het beleid van de zionistische Groot Israel lobby in in).
Enough time has been spent by the United States and the parties “talking about talks” instead of establishing a route to actually ending the conflict between the parties.
Therefore, we believe it is time for the Obama administration to adopt a bolder, more assertive approach in its efforts to resolve the Middle East conflict. Specifically, the Administration should focus on delineating an agreed-upon border between the state of Israel and the state-to-be of Palestine, and on establishing security arrangements and that would accompany a two-state deal.
J Street supports long-standing American policy that both parties – Israel and the Palestinians – should comply with all of their internationally-recognized obligations. This includes prior Israeli commitments under the Road Map and other agreements both to stop all new settlement construction over the Green Line and to remove outposts, as well as Palestinian commitments to ensure security and prevent incitement.
However, the time has come for the United States to put forward a proposal to establish a border and security arrangements. With a border established, there will be no further need to negotiate over settlement construction. Both Israel and the Palestinians will be able to build where they please within their borders and not beyond.
Detailed security arrangements are necessary to guarantee a two-state deal and to address the full range of threats it faces (from Iran, from Hezbollah and from within Palestinian lands). Such a security plan will give Israelis the confidence that there is a U.S.-led international commitment to their long-term security as Israel pulls back from control of the territories. Finalizing arrangements on borders and security will then create a positive momentum toward addressing other final status issues.
Therefore, we suggest that the United States adopt a “borders and security first” strategy along the following lines:
Immediately engage the parties in a time-limited exercise under American supervision to draw the actual border between the two states based on the following principles:
The borders should create the new Palestinian state on the equivalent of 100 percent of the land beyond the 1967 Green Line with one-to-one land swaps.
The borders should allow for many existing settlements, (which could account for as many as three-quarters of all settlers) to be part of Israel’s future recognized sovereign territory.
The agreement on borders between the states should also address the border within Jerusalem with the exception of the Old City and its very immediate environs.
If the sides are not able to reach agreement on borders within the specified time period, the United States should present a proposal to both sides that adheres to the parameters presented above for a yes or no decision, with the support of the Quartet and other international stakeholders.
Simultaneously, address and finalize the security arrangements between Israel and a demilitarized future Palestine, and at Palestine’s external international border crossings, allowing for the deployment of an international force to guarantee the agreed provisions. The US should take this occasion to reiterate its commitment to guaranteeing the long-term security of Israel.
Once the border and security arrangements are agreed and in accordance with an agreed-upon timetable, Israel will withdraw from all of the territories designated for the Palestinian state and all other provisions will be implemented.
In parallel with implementation of the border/security arrangements, negotiations will then continue (or resume) on all other outstanding final status issues.
We also suggest that the Obama administration expressly take note of the Arab League Peace Initiative and urge the Arab League to recognize this new American-led effort as consistent with and responsive to their offer to achieve comprehensive, regional peace. To this end, we suggest opening discussions under US supervision to address the outstanding issues between Israel and Syria with the goal of achieving a comprehensive, regional agreement (including between Israel and Lebanon) that leads to full recognition and acceptance of the state of Israel by the Arab League.
A comprehensive regional deal will significantly reduce Iranian influence and its capacity to act as a spoiler in the region, posing the following choice for the regime in Tehran: either join the consensus for peace and recognition for Israel or be further isolated. The former option will open new horizons for negotiations with Iran while the latter would increase U.S. and regional leverage with Iran as the international community re-dedicates itself to preventing Iranian obstructionism and development of a nuclear weapons capacity.
The parties and outside experts are more than familiar with the options and trade-offs needed to establish a border and with it a viable, contiguous Palestinian state. This proposal puts the key question squarely before both the leadership and people on both sides and asks them to express their political willingness to actually achieve a viable solution – rather than continuing to put the spotlight on talks about talks and the conditions for entering into them.
The Obama White House can say it has gone to great lengths to maintain US-Israel relations. Can the government led by Netanyahu say the same?
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