As I stated in an earlier piece Israel, What Now?, I have my doubts that any externally mediated attempt will end in anything but failure. I have stated that the best proposition would be for the Israelis and their neighbors, including the Palestinians, work for a lasting peace free of the world’s preconditions, guidance, advisements, or any other perceived assistance. With this said, I do have an idea that Israel could use to approach their neighbors individually or in pairs and reach some preliminary results.
Seeing as Gaza was previously ruled by Egypt until the 1967 war, then Egypt should be invited in the negotiations involving Gaza. Israel could make clear that they will continue to keep the crossing into Gaza open when conditions permit. Further, the Israelis would pull out all forces from Gaza with certain provisions. The main condition would be Israeli support for Egypt retaking control of all matters within Gaza. Israel would leave it to Egypt whether or not they wished to grant citizenship to the occupants of Gaza. Further, for each terrorist attack, rocket firing, or other aggressive incident, Israel would appropriate one hundred meters from the north end of Gaza. Every absorption of land would be permanent and the inhabitants would be moved southward. This process would continue up to the Egyptian border with Israel, which would also force all the residents of Gaza into Egypt.
Israel should combine the Chebaa Farms and Golan Heights into one issue taken up with both Syria and Lebanon. Due to the abuse of the Golan Heights by Syria previous to the 1967 war, Israel should refuse to return control to Syria. Inform Syria that once they are able to accept this, then relations can be negotiated between the two countries. As far as the Chebaa Farms, Israel should offer to be responsible for all considerations such as power, trash removal and other municipal responsibilities. Israel would further share security with Lebanon so to fairly protect all the citizens in this disputed area. Further, Israel would extend citizenship to those wishing to be considered Israeli and urge Lebanon to do the same for the remaining citizens. Perhaps even find a way to allow those desiring Syrian affiliation would be allowed Syrian citizenship.
Finally, the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) should be negotiated with its former occupier, Jordan. The Israeli offer concerning the West Bank should resemble the offer with the Chebaa Farms. Israel would consider the Jewish occupants of the West Bank as Israeli citizens. Jordan would be asked to find some mechanism to grant citizenship to the Muslim residents in the West Bank. Other peoples, Christians, Bedouins, and any others not previously covered would be allowed to choose their allegiance for citizenship. The Jordanians would be responsible for security and order enforcement in the predominantly Moslem areas while Israel would be responsible for the predominantly non-Muslim areas. Special units of Jordanian and Israeli officials and police would jointly police all areas of mixed occupants.
I have serious doubt that Israel’s Arab neighbors would accept this initially. Eventually, if Israel gave each of these offers and continued on as if these agreements were in place, then in time Israel’s neighbors would find it in their best interest to institute this plan, even if they do not “officially” recognize or sign a treaty formalizing these tenets.
Beyond the Cusp