Wednesday, February 4, 2009

What Approach Can Work in Israel?

While I abhor war of all sorts, I can understand why people take part in it. Specifically I understand why Israel responds with so much force when attacked. I wish they did not feel the need to respond.

The actions in Gaza of late were horrific and devastating, but we are not allowed to know what really happened there or why. Hamas has stopped anyone for reporting on openly reporting on what was happening in Gaza during the Israeli attacks.

So what actions are needed?

1) The Palestinians need to step and guarantee the safety of Israel.

2) The Palestinians need to have a full open media and a proper functioning civil society. Fascists like Hamas is ensuring enduring poverty, corruption, and a fear based society.

3) The Palestinians have to crack down on fascists and anti-Semites. Palestine also needs to be a secular state with no acceptance of any religion having any formal standing in civil society. Hamas has to be banned. Any group or party that can not broadly accept the UN declaration on Human Rights needs to be banned.

4) Israel needs to pull back some of the settlements on the Westbank to ensure that a Palestinian state is not unviable, though a close economic union would make this less important.

5) Israel needs to make itself a secular state and remove any standing from any religion in civil society. Israel can not be a Jewish state

6) Israel needs to proactively promote the advancement of non-Jewish citizens in Israel. When Israel elects an Arabic PM, then you will know the society is integrated.

7) Both Israel and Palestine have to abandon all right of return - if you are not choosing to live there, you should not have a right to live there because of ethnic or religious backgrounds

8) All residents of Israel and Palestine must have the right to live and work anywhere in the area - this includes owning land and operating businesses. More economic integration will

9) Palestinian and Israeli security forces need to work together, really they need to train together in the field to build a common bond as soldiers.

20) Palestinian media needs to report on the positive aspects of Israel and build a brotherhood with the Israelis.

10) Imans and Rabbis that argue for jihad or expelling all the arabs or something else that is actting against a civil society need to be dealt with via the courts.

Regionally there needs to be several things happen:

1) Saudi Arabia has to be made to recognize Israel, in fact any nation that does not accept Israel needs to be taken to task for this.

2) Egpyt, Jordan and Syria need to become functioning democracies with an open secular civil society. Free media, free elections, independent courts and not standing for religion. These countries also need to take a strong stance against any anti-Semitism.

3) There needs to be a regional economic union - ideally Jordan, Lebanon, Israel, Syria and Palestine. The closer the economic union, the less chance there will be conflict. It worked with France and Germany, it will work in the Middle East.

I know a lot of this would be very hard for the hawks on all sides, but it is broadly what would be acceptable to vast majority of people. The underlying interests of 80% of the Israelis and Palestinians are to be able to live in peace, know that your home is safe, be able to make a decent living, be able to worship as they want, and to be able to say and do what they want. Is this too much to ask?
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