Monday, June 9, 2014

A Peace Plan that Makes Sense?

5 Years ago I outlined my own vision of a Peace Plan between Israelis and Palestinians. Basically I suggested that any government negotiations centered around borders is doomed to fail as with any type of negotiation the sides are encouraged to take as hard-line position as possible.
I suggested that for the time being we should ignore the government-level negotiations, and instead concentrate on increasing personal connections between Israelis and Palestinians. If Israelis and Palestinians work together in fields like business, health care, and education, the details of if there is a border and where it is becomes less important - what becomes important is that Israelis and Palestinians have free access to each other's facilities and can interact without government interference.

Surprisingly, after I outlined my idea in a blog post in 2009, the Government didn't call me to help them rethink their relationship with the Palestinian Authority. Part of the reason that my plan is not realistic is that it forces people on both sides to abandon the arguments about who is right and who is wrong or arguing about perceived historical injustices, and instead think about how we can make the situation better for everyone.

Well, today I was pleased to see that I am not the only one who thinks that the way forward is by focusing on the personal level, not the government level. Dani Dayan just outlined a detailed Peace Proposal which has many elements of my dream, although he goes into much more detail (Summary of his plan here, more detailed version here). Similar to my plan he talks about Business, education, and health care, but he also addresses some other major issues like freedom of travel and replacing the army with a civil administration. He also talks about the role of the Palestinian Authority and important issues like access to Jewish Holy Sights, particularly Chevron, and of course a solution to the refugee problem.

There is very little in the plan that I can see anyone objecting to - but as I said before, extremists on both sides do not want a solution for Jews and Arabs to live together in peace, they want the other side to be publicly punished for perceived historical injustices.

It'll be very interesting to see if this peace proposal gains any traction, although I fear that that is wishful thinking.

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