An Israeli's proposal for a Mideast peace

By , Raphael Israeli is a lecturer in Islamic Civilization and Chinese History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and senior fellow of the Harry S. Truman Research Institute. This is excerpted from a longer article which appears in the spring issue of the Jerusalem Quarterly.

Now that the Lebanese war is over, Israel ought to take a bold move designed to resolve issues in one comprehensive plan along the following lines: 1. The Palestinian people, including those now dwelling in Israel and Jordan, are a nation deserving of statehood just like Israel or any other people. However, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) will not be accepted as a partner for negotiations until and unless it revises its present National Charter and reciprocates Israel's move by a statement of recognition and of peaceful intentions.

2. Former Mandatory Palestine, including the East Bank, now called Jordan, is the joint home of the Jewish and Palestinian peoples. Satisfaction of the national aspirations of both parties can be attained by a mutually agreed partition of the land between the two nations and by voluntary transfer of populations which will ensure the more-or-less homogeneous nature of each nation in its territory.

3. After the partition of all of Palestine is achieved between Palestinians and Israelis, and the voluntary exchange of populations has been completed between the sovereign territories of the respective states, Jews and Arabs who wish to continue to reside in the state that is not their own will be able to choose between applying for local citizenship, with all duties and rights involved, or remaining as nationals of the neighboring country while acquiring the right of permanent residence in the host country. The latter will be able to cast their absentee vote for the institutions of their own state.

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4. Borders will be open and freedom of movement unhindered between Israel and Palestine. The modalities of the exchange of people and goods will be negotiated and anchored in the peace treaty to be concluded between the parties.

5. Jerusalem and its surrounding neighborhoods will continue to be united under one municipality elected jointly by its Jewish and Arab population. However, in matters of citizenship, including the right to vote, the Arabs who will have chosen to remain will be granted the same choice as the other Palestinian Arabs, as specified in item 3 above, namely, Arabs will either apply for Israeli citizenship or adopt Palestinian citizenship while continuing to reside under Israeli rule. The same will apply to Jews who will elect to continue to reside in areas handed over to the Palestinian political entity.

6. Until Palestinian leaders consent to negotiate and come to terms with Israel for the implementation of the above principles, the Israeli military government will conduct the daily business of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and the Israeli policy of settlement will continue unabated.

Obviously, parts of this plan will be adopted - and other parts rejected - by the parties and other interested powers, in accordance with what suits their purposes and perceived interests. The PLO will at first be the most vociferous in its rejection, because the plan seemingly undercuts its leadership of the population of the West Bank and other Palestinians; but in the long run, they may come to realize that if they respond to Israel's conditions enumerated in item 1 above, they may stand to gain much more than they will by pursuing the senseless road of terror.

The Hashemite rulers of Jordan will, understandably, be reluctant to renounce their throne, their hold on the reins of government and the ''Jordanian identity'' that they have so painstakingly nurtured over the years. But if the choice is between the fate of the Palestinian people, and by extension the stability of the Middle East, or the welfare of the Hashemite House, there should be no doubt about the option to be followed.

The US and other powers might also be reluctant to see King Hussein dethroned. However, since his pro-Western commitment has been recently put into question, and in view of the prospect of gaining a more stable Middle East once the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is resolved and the Palestinians are entrusted with political responsibility, the price might be worth paying. An intermediate solution could be worked out, however, whereby King Hussein could retain his throne in a constitutional monarchy while the actual power will be concentrated in the hands of the Palestinians.

In the long term, it would be up to the combined population of Palestine-Jordan to determine their mode of government. It might also facilitate things if the combined kingdom retained, at least during the transitional period , the name of Palestine-Jordan so as not to offend any national pride. Alleviation of the plight of the Arabs now residing in Israel, including East Jerusalem, by granting them an elective Arab nationhood, will provide a solution for both Arabs and Israelis.

As for us Israelis, by paying a certain territorial price, we will be able to secure our eastern frontier as we have done with Egypt and concentrate our efforts on facing the growing menace of Syria and other rejection-ists. By the same token, the sensitive issue of Jerusalem's Arab citizens will be channeled to new constructive avenues which might lead to the satisfaction of their national claims.

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