One way to resolve the land issue in the Palestinian quest for a state…


On February 18, 2005 I published an op-ed in the Connecticut Jewish Ledger entitled, “Who’s land for peace?  It’s time for Jordan and Egypt to contribute.”  This op-ed, reprinted in full below, urged Egypt and Jordan to contribute some land to the Palestinians as a way for them to gain territory, while Israel can retain geographic security.  

While I doubt that the current Egyptian government ever read my op-ed, I’m glad to see Egypt is now thinking in a similar vein.  A report by Israel Hayom notes that Egypt offered Mahmoud Abbas 620 square miles of territory adjacent to Gaza.  Of course, Abbas rejected this (they “never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity”), but perhaps it is a start to some more creative thinking toward some type of settlement.  There is still the Hamas concern however – they continue to want to wipe Israel off the face of the earth.

 

Who’s land for peace? It’s time for Jordan and Egypt to contribute

Halley S. Faust

January 20, 2003

Prior to 1977 it was the avowed desire of the Arab nations to eliminate Israel from the map. Israelis wanted peace. They wanted it originally based on the 1947 UN Mandate which would have created a Palestinian state and a much smaller Israel than existed from 1948 to 1967. The Arabs refused.

Israel wanted peace in 1967 before they decidedly defeated the attacking Egyptian, Jordanian, and Syrian armies. The Arabs refused. They wanted peace in 1973 when in the costly Yom Kippur war they could have completely destroyed the attacking Egyptian army. The Arabs refused.

When Sadat went to Jerusalem the Israelis made peace. To this day they have upheld their end of the agreement, even though it meant evacuating (and physically fighting) with some of their own citizens who were settlers in the Sinai desert.

When King Hussein of Jordan wanted peace in 1994, the Israelis signed a treaty; both sides have abided by that treaty. Since 1994 the Israelis have been willing to form peace treaties with Syria and Lebanon. Lebanon has been unwilling to come to the table. Syria has not done so in good faith.

It is clear the Israelis want peace. It is clear they are willing to go to great lengths to achieve it, including fighting their own citizens. They have sought peace since long before the establishment of their state.

So for the Arab countries as a whole to complain that their own lack of democracy is because of the Israel-Palestine conflict that’s a joke.

If the Palestinian Authority were a willing partner, it would have upheld its part of the Oslo Accords and the Interim Agreement of 1995, which clearly called for one Palestinian Police force, the arresting and prosecuting of all “individuals who are suspected of perpetrating acts of violence and terror”, and the systematic acting against “all expressions of violence and terror.”

Instead, the PA incited the current intifadah and gave refuge to terrorists and murderers. At last count there were nine Palestinian police forces.

It is clear that Arafat and his ilk have blown their chance, the result of which has been the murder of innocent women and children on both sides of the border. It is also clear that borders resembling the pre-1967 armistice borders are unworkable, leaving Israel only 9 miles wide at its most vulnerable point. At this point, the Palestinians and Israelis need physical separation.

As stated in the 1978 Israel-Egypt Camp David peace agreement, “Peace requires respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every state in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force.” In order to get to this feeling of security there needs to be sufficient land to establish a buffer between those who refuse to accept peace and those who do.

So, here’s my suggestion: Jordan and Egypt have plenty of land – together they have 39 times the land mass of Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. For Israel to feel secure it needs a buffer zone. For Gaza and the West Bank to feel secure and flourish they need more land – they will soon run out of comfortable living space given their large population growth rates.

“Land for peace” should come not just from the Israelis, but from all the parties in the region. So, Egypt and Jordan, give up a little. You have 422,000 square miles of land, compared with Israel’s 8,500 and the West Bank and Gaza’s 2,312. How about giving the West Bank and Gaza just 0.5% from the relatively unpopulated Sinai Desert and the Jordan Valley? Then the Israel-Palestinian boundaries can be adjusted for Israel to feel secure, and Palestine to have land in which to grow.

When Jews settled in what is now Israel they had to drain the swamps, plant trees, put in irrigation, and work the land, all under the constant threat of Arab violence and without the rest of the world’s help. Palestinians might have to work hard to make their new lands inhabitable, but certainly no harder than their unlivable current circumstances, and they could convert the $300 million per year the UN gives them (two-thirds from the US) into permanent resettlement. And they’d be able to do it fighting amongst themselves, like the Israelis do, rather than fighting Israel.

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Comments

  • Anna RayneLevi  On September 8, 2014 at 9:48 am

    I like it!

    *Anna Rayne-Levi, MA, LPCC*

    *anna.levi.rayne@gmail.com (505) 670. 4542 *

    *“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children”* *Nelson Mandela*

  • Dr Mark Johnson  On September 8, 2014 at 10:16 am

    Thanks, Halley! Great suggestion!

    Mark B. Johnson, MD, MPH
    Executive Director
    Jefferson County Public Health
    645 Parfet Street, Lakewood, CO 80215
    (303) 271-5701 (office)
    (303) 271-5702 (fax)
    (720) 877-1690 (mobile)

    “If you would rule the world…you must keep it amused.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

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