I propose a three step plan to try resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Though I number these steps 1 to 3, I feel all three steps need to basically be implemented simultaneously.
Step 1: Virtually Abolish Military Aid and Provide More Humanitarian Aid
I urge the U.S. to virtually eliminate military aid to both the Israelis and the Palestinians. Since we officially provide little aid to the Palestinians, this would really mean ending military aid to Israel. I am basically a pacifist and feel this weaponry does more harm than good as Israelis abuse it.
I also urge the U.S. to provide much more humanitarian aid to the needy on both sides. Since Israel can better provide for its own needs, this will primarily mean supplying food, medicine, etc., to the Palestinians. I support using large U.S. Navy supply ships for this.
These ships should go in peace. But if fired upon by the Palestinians or Israelis, they can defend themselves. I doubt the Palestinians will fire on ships providing them humanitarian aid. And I don't think Israel will fire on U.S. Navy ships solely providing humanitarian assistance. If so desired, Israelis can inspect the cargo as it is removed from the ships in Gaza and other Palestinian territory to ensure it is only humanitarian aid.
I realize that Israel can (and does) get military weaponry from other sources than the U.S. But since the U.S. is by far the world's leader in high tech weaponry, it's not the same. I also realize that Palestinian terrorists attack Israel via rockets, suicide bombers, etc. But I feel such Palestinian attacks are an act of desperation and produce far fewer casualties and less property damage than the Israeli attacks. Also, I feel the rocket attacks are motivated by Israel's expansion of settlements, blockade, etc. Most important, I believe that implementation of my three step plan can lead both Israelis and Palestinians to virtually stop their attacks.
Step 2: Right of Return and Land Ownership
Palestinians who had their land taken in the creation of Israel in the 1940s need to either be reimbursed for their property or get the right to return to it. From a practical point of view, most of those original Palestinian residents have died during the decades since Israel's creation, and it would be very difficult to reestablish those still alive. Therefore, I support paying them well financially for their loss either in cash or in land and other resources to provide them an adequate standard of living elsewhere. The descendants of the deceased should be reimbursed similarly.
Some Jews obviously desire to purchase the remaining land in Jerusalem and other parts of Israel that are still owned by Muslims, Christians, and other nonJews. I urge allowing these Jews to gradually do so -- if they are willing to pay a price high enough to find willing sellers.
Gradually, this will probably lead to Jews owning most of the land. For example, if I as a Christian owned land in Israel, I might love the land, but probably wouldn't consider it as valuable as these Jews. If they offered me a huge sum of money, I would likely willingly sell and use the funds to buy a piece of land I loved even more in the U.S. or elsewhere.
As for who will pay the reparations, I feel many in the United States and elsewhere would donate some money toward it. The U.S government and the Israeli government can also probably afford to pay a significant amount -- especially if they both cut their military budgets substantially. Some will claim my plan shows favoritism to Palestinians since they are getting reparations. But I feel this is fair (1) since Palestinians were forced to give up their land to form Israel in the 1940s (2) Israel has a much more powerful military and far better infrastructure, making it better able to lead in this than the Palestinians (3) Israel has basically blockaded Gaza creating great hardships for Palestinians (4) Israel gets and has gotten an enormous amount of aid from the U.S. government, and finally (5) I basically support allowing Israel to keep all (or virtually all) of the land it currently owns/occupies even though much of it was acquired illegally, as long as it pays these reparations.
Step 3: Allow Visitors to "Holy Sites" and Other Archaeologically Significant Sites
Israel needs to make sites in Jerusalem and the rest of Israel that are considered holy and/or archaeologically significant publicly available to international visitors. This is very important because many Christians and Muslims consider certain sites in Israel important to their faiths. To reduce the likelihood of terrorism, Israel can search visitors thoroughly at the border.
For example, Israel contains many sites that are very important to Muslims. And many Muslims currently can't enter Israel under a lot of circumstances or visit sites in Israel that are important to the Islamic faith.
Discussion and Conclusion:
Persons have been fighting over this "Holy Land" for centuries. Ending the war won't be easy. Some very radical Jews who desire all the land won't want to be patient enough to wait years to buy most of the rest of it. Some very radical Palestinians who don't want Israel to exist at all won't like my plan either.
But I think my plan is a major improvement over the status quo. I feel that most Israelis and Palestinians will be much happier if my plan or something similar is implemented than they are now. International peacekeeping forces can be put in Israel and the Palestinian territories to help keep the peace.
What do you think? Am I just a naïve U.S. citizen who doesn't know what he's talking about? Or are enough Israelis and Palestinians tired of the ongoing violence that my plan (or something similar) may work?
An enormous number of Jews died or suffered terrible horrors during World War II. Creating the nation of Israel after the end of that war resulted in another set of problems for both Jews and Palestinians. The reality of the terrible things the Jews have dealt with does not alter the reality of the terrible things the Palestinians have dealt with, including the loss of their land and homes when the nation of Israel was created. Both sides need to sympathize (and to the extent possible empathize) with the other side to implement a just and lasting plan that can enable them to live in peace as neighbors and friends.
Note: This article was last updated on November 22, 2012 about 10:15 p.m., Eastern Standard Time. In the update I did two things: One was I replaced the words "Zionist," "Zionists," and "Zionism" with less specific terms, such as "some Jews," to make the content more accurate. The second thing I did was to add a paragraph at the end of each of the four subsections (Step 1, Step 2, Step 3, and the Discussion and Conclusion section) to clarify and elaborate on my views.
Persons who have previously read both the article and my comments in the Newsvine discussion below the article probably won't gain many (if any) new insights from reading the updated article. The information I used to create the final paragraphs of each section was almost all taken from or adapted from my comments in the discussion below. I feel (and hope readers do too) that the revised article is an improvement.