Hope for peace requires sacrifice and compromise

Published12/2/2007 11:41 PM

In a fair world, Middle East peace would see Israel withdraw to the 1967 borders and Palestinians accept Israel's creation and end all violence. Both would make equal sacrifices, resulting in two sovereign states as originally prescribed 60 years ago last month under the United Nations Partition Plan for British Mandated Palestine.

The original Partition Plan sounds reasonable but it was not a clean division of the land. Instead, the U.N. divided Mandated Palestine into six separate regions and each state overlapped the other like a checker board.


In the ideal peace plan, Palestinians would stop fighting and end their violence against Israel; Israelis would stop exploiting the violence to confiscate more Arab lands to build illegal settlements. Since 1970, those settlements have grown from 15,000 to more than 450,000 people. With American backing, Israel separated the settlements into two categories, 250,000 settlers encircling East Jerusalem on land Israel formally annexed, and 200,000 in the rest of the West Bank.

Having lost all of the past wars, Palestinians are obligated to compromise from their goal of creating one state. They have recognized Israel's "right to exist," but Israel has never recognized Palestine's right to exist.

Hoping to return home, the Palestinian refugees have grown from 750,000, according to original U.N. estimates, to more than 4.5 million people during the past four generations.

While Palestinians have targeted Israelis with physical violence, Israel has targeted Palestinians with physical and land violence. Israel annexed much of the West Bank. They point out Israel did return land, a small sliver of barren desert called the Gaza Strip. But while Israel withdrew its soldiers, it still controls transit to and from Gaza, and water and electricity. Gaza is basically one giant prison where the prison guards have stepped outside of the prison walls.

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Israel is building a Wall it claims will stop violence. But the Wall is not built on the 1949 armistice lines but, rather, deep in the West Bank. Cleverly called a "fence," the Wall encircles all of the West Bank's water wells for exclusive Israeli use, and Israel's land mass. Israelis say the Wall is temporary. But the Israelis also said the settlements were temporary, too -- needed, they argued for years, to prevent an Arab attack against their nation.

In Israel's world, security always turns into profits in land and in the expulsion of non-Jewish Arabs, who are mostly Muslim but also Christian.

I am not saying we should blame everything on Israel. I am saying that when Israel says it is making painful compromises, the only pain is being exerted on Palestinians to compromise even more than they already have.

The only workable solution is to share Jerusalem, compensate the refugees, return all of the occupied West Bank and work together to undermine the certain violence from rejectionists.

Those who reject peace have the power to destroy peace and eventually destroy Israel. Without peace, the Palestinians will disappear but the Islamicists will continue to grow.

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