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Memo to Obama: Mid-East Peace in 1 Hour or your Money Back


peace dove

Photo Credit: Yori Yanover

With that, Israel sentenced the Palestinians in the territories to life in the Heart of Darkness.

HOW BAD IS IT?*

two_palestinian_old_people

According to World Bank estimates for 2006, per-capita Gross Domestic Product among Israelis was $18,580, similar to Portugal and Greece. Among residents of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, the figure was $1,230, similar to Sri Lanka and Honduras.

Under Israeli rule, the West Bank and Gaza were the fourth fastest-growing economy in the world, ahead of Singapore and Hong Kong. Life expectancy rose from 48 in 1967 to 72 in 2000 (compared to 68 for the Middle East and North Africa). By 1986, 93% of the population in the West Bank and Gaza had electricity around the clock, compared to 21% in 1967; 85% had running water, compared to 16% in 1967; 84% had electric or gas ranges, compared to 4% in 1967; likewise for refrigerators, televisions and cars. Infant-mortality rates were reduced from 60 per 1,000 live births in 1968 to 15 per 1,000 in 2000. (In Saddam’s Iraq, the rate was 64, in Egypt 40, in Jordan 23.). Polio, whooping cough, tetanus and measles were eradicated. The number of enrolled schoolchildren grew by 102% between 1967-87, while the population had grown by only 28%. From no higher education in 1967, in the early 1990s, there were seven universities, boasting 16,500 students. Illiteracy dropped to 14% of those over age 15, compared with 69% in Morocco, 61% in Egypt, 45% in Tunisia, and 44% in Syria.

All of these economic and social achievements were undone during the 1990s, after the territories were handed over to the Palestinian Authority, the governing arm of the PLO.

Since May of 1994, the international community has committed $10 billion to the West Bank and Gaza. But protection and racketeering gangs headed by PA officials squeezed the Palestinian business class, while the national budget was plundered by Arafat’s cronies. The PLO owned monopoly rights for the production and sale of all basic goods, from wheat, gasoline, and cement, to wood, gravel, cigarettes, and cars.

Within six months of Arafat’s arrival in Gaza, the standard of living there fell by 25%. Unemployment increased from 10% to 41% in 2002, and the rate of poverty rose from 20% to over 50%.

*Source: Who ruined Gaza? by Efraim Karsh, Professor and Head of Mediterranean Studies at King’s College, University of London, National Post, September, 16, 2005.

 

THE ONE-STATE SOLUTION

Israeliflagposter

I told you earlier that in 1921 the British, in effect, applied a two-state solution in Palestine, by dividing it into what is modern-day Jordan east of the Jordan River, and Israel or Palestine to the west. I stressed that to force the Jews to give up even more than two-thirds of the homeland promised to them by the nations of the world would be unthinkable.

But even if we ignore that moral point, it is simply impossible to separate the two largest communities in Israel or Palestine, the Arabs and the Jews. It’s a small country, and everybody there is living in everybody else’s back yard.

There are close to 1.5 million Arabs who are Israeli citizens, with the right to live wherever they wish, work, marry, study, as equals. There are close to half a million Jewish settlers in the disputed territories. Both those groups are not going anywhere. No one will try to remove the Israeli Arabs, and no one will succeed in removing the settlers.

We should stop trying to separate Arabs and Jews, which has made Arabs so obviously miserable, and has hurt so many Jews as well. If anything, what’s good for the country as a whole is more integration, not less.

The Palestinians have the right to live in a Western democracy, as does every human being. They have the right to security, and they have the right of ownership over their homes and lands. And some of them, whose parents or grandparents fled their homes and lands during the 1948 war, may be entitled to some kind of compensation for those lost possessions. New people have been living on those lands for the past 65 years, so it doesn’t make sense to uproot them now, but reparations could be made. The state should appoint special reparation boards, to examine claims by Arab refugees. I believe everybody would benefit from doing justice this way – both the people who receive and the people who give.

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


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16 Responses to “Memo to Obama: Mid-East Peace in 1 Hour or your Money Back”

  1. Absalon Romero says:

    Una estrategia inovadora y fundamentada en principios espirituales. Excelente reflexión!

  2. David Willig says:

    And what happens if at the first election, they change their mind and vote to end Democracy? It has happened in other Arab countries. So two amendments to your plan. Any one claiming Israeli citizenship must sign a document to that effect, A list of new Arab citizens will be published once a week.
    Second, all rights EXCEPT the right to vote, which will be phased on over a 50 year period. Ara voting will start at age 68 and go down every year, till 50 years from now it will be age 18 for everyone. Theis will let people get used to Democracy and the benefits of equal rights. Or they are free to leave.

  3. So many errors on first page alone.

    "Back in 1947, the official count was 1.6 million Arabs and 600 thousand Jews. That’s when the first attempt was made to divide the land into two states" That was the SECOND division of the land – Jordan was already created from the Mandate to form an Arab state.

    "When, in 1947, the United Nations of the world decided to give the Jews a homeland in part of Israel or Palestine" Wrong again. The UN voted to END the Mandate – the decision to form a homeland for the Jews was made in 1920 by the San Remo Treaty and not the League of Nations, and placed into formal international law by the League of Nations in 1922. The UN had nothing to do with it.

    The UK did not steal the eastern 3/4 of the Mandate for the Arabs until 1923 not 1921 as stated.

    We did not get along before the Mandate – Jews were subject to pograms and extra taxes, nor did we have any rights. Again you take extreme license with the facts.

    The Arabs that occupy Judea and Samaria have JORDANIAN citizenship. We have a peace treaty with Jordan where they renounced their claim to that territory but left their illegal colonists. International law states that they MUST take them back.

  4. The Jews were brought back to their land by the hand of God. Do not sin against God by trying to give away his land. Without God's blessing no permanent peace will come from that action. Month by month, and week by week. The middle east spins more out of control. Iran continues unwavering on it’s march in the development of nuclear weapons and Assad the dictator of Syria is still in power. Current intelligence seems uncertain of when Iran will get the bomb and Israel cannot afford to gamble with this. Assad of Syria looks like he may be willing to use weapons of mass destruction against his own people and against near by nations as well. If this situation does not drastically change soon for the better, I believe the war in Isaiah Chapter 17 will likely take place. Damascus Syria would be destroyed. The worlds economy would likely collapse as a result and could usher in a one world government movement. I wrote a small 6 page book that outlines what I believe the Bible states will take place soon as well as the potential trends I see at this time. I don’t accept donations and it’s free. It’s a short read. I encourage you to have a look: http://www.booksie.com/religion_and_spirituality/book/richard_b_barnes/after-the-rapture-whats-next.

  5. Gil Gilman says:

    It is difficult to ascertain which dance has the most wishful thinking behind it, yours or the perpetual two-step, but it was an enjoyable read, nonetheless. Regarding any factual errors, let us first inject meaning into the text which was not there to begin with, and then argue with it.

  6. I see the solution. Make Israel a state in the United States like New Jersey.
    Is that what you are suggesting.

  7. Charlie Hall says:

    When did you become a onestater?

  8. Yori Yanover says:

    Always have bee. One Jewish state with equal rights for all.

  9. Nice thought but not very realistic.

  10. Yori Yanover says:

    Harold Pomerantz — You're suggesting that a 2-state solution with settlement removal and half of Jerusalem given back to the Arabs is realistic?

  11. Charlie Hall says:

    How is your proposal different from the one state proposal that the BDSers or the Hadash party propose?

  12. Yori Yanover says:

    What happens if the Arabs of Hoboken decide to vote to stop democracy in New Jersey? There are inherent defenses in the system to stop that. There are special majority requirements for constitutional changes.

    But also, we should include things I didn't mention in the article. A friend of mine sent me this response, which might answer your concern:

    I agree with the general direction of Yori's plan: One Jewish State Solution, With Equal Human, Civil and Communal Rights For All.
    However, there are 3 points without which this state will quickly turn into the PLO model of a "democratic, secular state" dominated by an Arab majority, or even an Islamist Caliphate ruled by Hamas and other radicals.

    1) "Equal Human, Civil and Communal Rights For All" – should clearly exclude any National Rights (or claims), such as self-determination, from all Non-Jews. The exclusive national rights of the Jews in the One State of Isael must be based on the Liberal principle of defending the Jewish minority against the tyranny of the majority in the Middle-East.

    2) A constitutional mechanism should protect the above rights by according the Jewish communities a permanent majority in the Knesset's upper chamber (as per my proposal titled "The Community Democracy") and some practical security safeguards in Jewish hands.

    3) The refugees issue should be resolved through a regional convention, where all claims against Mid-Eastern governments must be discussed – including personal and communal claims of nearly 900,000 Jewish refugees from Arab countries, thousands of refugees from the current civil war in Syria and more.
    Ignoring these points may turn your lovely vision into a dangerous trap.

    Ehud

  13. Noah Farbstein says:

    Yori. your one-state solution looks familiar, and almost appears to be in line with some of Israel's largest detractorsseems including Tony Judt, Virginia Tilley and even the wakko Norman Finkelstein.

    Assuming, as appears recently to be the case, that Jewish population growth actually is far greater than that of the Arabs, Israel should annex all of the so-called "disputed" territories and require allegiance by all citizens, both Arab and Israeli.

    However, if we are in the minority, I don't believe a simple agreement by the Arabs as to the Jewish nature of Israel would suffice, especially under your proposal, as the Arab world (and the Palestinians) never truly has accepted the legitimacy of Israel, in any form, as the Jewish National Homeland. This continues to be demonstrated by the rerfusal of Hamas, the popularly elected government in Gaza, and other radical Islamic fundamentalists, such as Islamic Jihad, to accept Israel’s existence.

    More alarming is your failure to highlight the the nature this one-state alternative that you seem to advocate (what would the new state look like, aside from 'lots of smiles?'). Iin my opinion, under the later scenario, it merely would replace a democratic state with yet another Arab Nation state. Most likely, one that is radically Islamic and at best it would see the subjugation of the Jewish minority, but more likely its cleansing. In fact, one need not look any further than the treatment of Coptics in Egypt, woman and minorities in Gaza, and Israel circa 1920/21, 1929, 1936-1939, etc.

    Further, even Benny Morris, one of Israel’s most well-known historians and an authority on this topic, has reversed course and blames the failure of the peace process on the Palestinians, which he claims do not seek a two-state solution. Instaed, they openly endorse a binational state with an Arab majority (e.g. Sharia Law) in all of the land of Israel.

    In fact, Morris, with whom I fully agree, believes that the Palestinians, including the PLO/PA, never truly accepted a two-state solution (even in the 1990s), as clearly stated in their charter (“…from the river to the sea.”). This might explain why recently they have placed even more restrictive preconditions on negotiations with Israel, such as no construction in Jerusalem on land owned by Israel, and which never was a consideration in previous negotiations.

  14. Noah Farbstein says:

    Yori, your one-state solution looks familiar, and almost appears to be in line with some of Israel's largest detractors, including Tony Judt, Virginia Tilley and even the wakko Norman Finkelstein.

    Assuming, as appears recently to be the case, that Jewish population growth actually is far greater than that of the Arabs, Israel should annex all of the so-called "disputed" territories and require allegiance by all citizens, both Arab and Jew.

    However, if we are in the minority, I don't believe a simple agreement by the Arabs as to the Jewish nature of Israel would suffice, especially under your proposal, as the Arab world (and the Palestinians) never truly has accepted the legitimacy of Israel, in any form, as the Jewish National Homeland. This continues to be demonstrated by the rerfusal of Hamas, the popularly ele…cted government in Gaza, and other radical Islamic fundamentalists, such as Islamic Jihad, to accept Israel’s existence.

    More alarming is your failure to highlight the the nature this one-state alternative that you seem to advocate (what would the new state look like, aside from 'lots of smiles?'). Iin my opinion, under the later scenario, it merely would replace a democratic state with yet another Arab Nation state. Most likely, one that is radically Islamic and at best it would see the subjugation of the Jewish minority, but more likely its cleansing. In fact, one need not look any further than the treatment of Coptics in Egypt, woman and minorities in Gaza, and Israel circa 1920/21, 1929, 1936-1939, etc.

    Further, even Benny Morris, one of Israel’s most well-known historians and an authority on this topic, has reversed course and blames the failure of the peace process on the Palestinians, which he claims do not seek a two-state solution. Instaed, they openly endorse a binational state with an Arab majority (e.g. Sharia Law) in all of the land of Israel.

    In fact, Morris, with whom I fully agree, believes that the Palestinians, including the PLO/PA, never truly accepted a two-state solution (even in the 1990s), as clearly stated in their charter (“…from the river to the sea.”). This might explain why recently they have placed even more restrictive preconditions on negotiations with Israel, such as no construction in Jerusalem on land owned by Israel, and which never was a consideration in previous negotiations.

  15. Noah Farbstein says:

    Yori, your one-state solution looks familiar, and almost appears to be in line with some of Israel's largest detractors, including Tony Judt, Virginia Tilley and even the wakko Norman Finkelstein.

    Assuming, as appears recently to be the case, that Jewish population growth actually is far greater than that of the Arabs, Israel should annex all of the so-called "disputed" territories and require allegiance by all citizens, both Arab and Jew.

    However, if we are in the minority, I don't believe a simple agreement by the Arabs as to the Jewish nature of Israel would suffice, especially under your proposal, as the Arab world (and the Palestinians) never truly has accepted the legitimacy of Israel, in any form, as the Jewish National Homeland. This continues to be demonstrated by the rerfusal of Hamas, the popularly ele…cted government in Gaza, and other radical Islamic fundamentalists, such as Islamic Jihad, to accept Israel’s existence.

    More alarming is your failure to highlight the the nature this one-state alternative that you seem to advocate (what would the new state look like, aside from 'lots of smiles?'). Iin my opinion, under the later scenario, it merely would replace a democratic state with yet another Arab Nation state. Most likely, one that is radically Islamic and at best it would see the subjugation of the Jewish minority, but more likely its cleansing. In fact, one need not look any further than the treatment of Coptics in Egypt, woman and minorities in Gaza, and Israel circa 1920/21, 1929, 1936-1939, etc.

    Further, even Benny Morris, one of Israel’s most well-known historians and an authority on this topic, has reversed course and blames the failure of the peace process on the Palestinians, which he claims do not seek a two-state solution. Instaed, they openly endorse a binational state with an Arab majority (e.g. Sharia Law) in all of the land of Israel.

    In fact, Morris, with whom I fully agree, believes that the Palestinians, including the PLO/PA, never truly accepted a two-state solution (even in the 1990s), as clearly stated in their charter (“…from the river to the sea.”). This might explain why recently they have placed even more restrictive preconditions on negotiations with Israel, such as no construction in Jerusalem on land owned by Israel, and which never was a consideration in previous negotiations.

  16. Noah Farbstein says:

    Yori, your one-state solution looks familiar, and almost appears to be in line with some of Israel's largest detractorsseems including Tony Judt, Virginia Tilley and even the wakko Norman Finkelstein.

    Assuming, as appears recently to be the case, that Jewish population growth actually is far greater than that of the Arabs, Israel should annex all of the so-called "disputed" territories and require allegiance by all citizens, both Arab and Jew.

    However, if we are in the minority, I don't believe a simple agreement by the Arabs as to the Jewish nature of Israel would suffice, especially under your proposal, as the Arab world (and the Palestinians) never truly has accepted the legitimacy of Israel, in any form, as the Jewish National Homeland. This continues to be demonstrated by the rerfusal of Hamas, the popularly ele…cted government in Gaza, and other radical Islamic fundamentalists, such as Islamic Jihad, to accept Israel’s existence.

    More alarming is your failure to highlight the the nature this one-state alternative that you seem to advocate (what would the new state look like, aside from 'lots of smiles?'). Iin my opinion, under the later scenario, it merely would replace a democratic state with yet another Arab Nation state. Most likely, one that is radically Islamic and at best it would see the subjugation of the Jewish minority, but more likely its cleansing. In fact, one need not look any further than the treatment of Coptics in Egypt, woman and minorities in Gaza, and Israel circa 1920/21, 1929, 1936-1939, etc.

    Further, even Benny Morris, one of Israel’s most well-known historians and an authority on this topic, has reversed course and blames the failure of the peace process on the Palestinians, which he claims do not seek a two-state solution. Instaed, they openly endorse a binational state with an Arab majority (e.g. Sharia Law) in all of the land of Israel.

    In fact, Morris, with whom I fully agree, believes that the Palestinians, including the PLO/PA, never truly accepted a two-state solution (even in the 1990s), as clearly stated in their charter (“…from the river to the sea.”). This might explain why recently they have placed even more restrictive preconditions on negotiations with Israel, such as no construction in Jerusalem on land owned by Israel, and which never was a consideration in previous negotiations.

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