Sunday, December 4, 2011

Thought Experiment: Two Treaty Provisions

A thought experiment, my final word on the Harper's piece for now. Who among current leaders could possibly agree to, say, "permanent residence" for Jews in Palestine, or an international commission to deal with the Palestinian right of return? Is the approach in the piece realistic? I thought I might try to make things clearer, and more challenging, by posting suggested wording for the two relevant clauses of a final status agreement:

1. Subsequent to the establishment of the Independent State of Palestine and its recognition by the State of Israel...
a. There will be no exclusive civilian residential areas for Israelis in the State of Palestine.
b. Individual Israelis remaining within the borders of the Palestinian State shall be subject to Palestinian sovereignty and Palestinian rule of law.
c. Individual Israelis who have their permanent domicile within the Palestinian State as of [negotiated date] shall be offered Palestinian citizenship or choose to remain as alien residents, all without prejudice to their Israeli citizenship.
d. Within the agreed schedule for the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Palestinian territories, the Israeli Government and its security forces shall maintain responsibility for the safety and security of Israeli settlements outside the areas of Palestinian security jurisdiction, pending the transfer of said areas to full Palestinian rule.
e. The parties shall establish the mechanism for dealing with security issues relating to Israeli citizens in Palestine and Palestinian citizens in Israel...
Right of Return
1. Whereas the Palestinian side considers that the right of the Palestinian refugees to return to their homes is enshrined in international law and natural justice, it recognizes that the prerequisites of the new era of peace and coexistence, as well as the realities that have been created on the ground since 1948, have rendered the implementation of this right impracticable [in most cases...] [State target number allowed to return]. The Palestinian side, thus, declares its readiness to accept and implement policies and measures that will ensure, insofar as this is possible, the welfare and well-being of these refugees.

2. Whereas the Israeli side acknowledges the moral and material suffering caused to the Palestinian people as a result of the war of 1947-1949. It further acknowledges the Palestinian refugees' right of return to the Palestinian state and their right to compensation and rehabilitation for moral and material losses.

3. The parties agree on the establishment of an International Commisssion for Palestinian Refugees (hereinafter "the ICPR") for the final settlement of all aspects of the refugee issue as follows:
a. The Parties extend invitations to donor countries to join them in the formation of the ICPR. b. The Parties welcome the intention of the Government of [neutral European country] to lead the ICPR and to contribute financially to its activities. c. The Government of Israel shall establish a fund for its contribution, along with others, to the activities of the ICPR. d. The ICPR shall conduct all fundraising activities and coordinate donors' involvement in the program. e. The ICPR shall define the criteria for compensation accounting for:
(1)  moral loss; (2)  immovable property; (3) financial and economic support enabling resettlement and rehabilitation of Palestinians residing in refugee camps.
f. The ICPR shall further:
(1)  adjudicate claims for material loss; (2)   prepare and develop rehabilitation and absorption programs; (3) establish the mechanisms and venues for disbursing payments and compensation; (4)  oversee rehabilitation programs; (5)  explore the intentions of Palestinian refugees on the one hand and of Arab and other countries on the other, concerning wishes for emigration and the possibilities thereof; (6)  explore with Arab governments hosting refugee populations, as well as with these refugees, venues for absorption in these countries whenever mutually desired.
g. The ICPR shall implement all the above according to the agreed schedule...
4. The ICPR shall be guided by the following principles in dealing with the "refugees of 1948" and their descendants:
a.  Each refugee family shall be entitled to compensation for moral loss to a sum of money to be agreed upon by the ICPR. b. Each claimant with proven immovable property shall be compensated as per the adjudication of the ICPR. c. The ICPR shall provide financial and economic support, enabling the resettlement and rehabilitation of Palestinians residing in refugee camps. d. The refugees shall be entitled to financial and economic support from the ICPR for resettlement and rehabilitation.
5. The State of Israel undertakes to participate actively in implementing the program for the resolution of the refugee problem. Israel will continue to enable family reunification and will absorb Palestinian refugees in special defined cases, to be agreed upon with the ICPR.

6. The Palestinian side undertakes to participate actively in implementing the program for the resolution of the refugee problem. The Palestinian side shall enact a program to encourage the rehabilitation and resettlement of Palestinian refugees presently resident in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, within these areas.

7. The PLO considers the implementation of the above a full and final settlement of the refugee issue in all its dimensions...

Of course no Palestinian or Israeli official could accept these provisions, right? Actually, I lifted them directly from the Yossi Beilin-Abu Mazen agreement of 1995, which was meant to serve as the basis for negotiation between Rabin and Arafat, but was tragically sent into eclipse by the Rabin assassination. Oh, and that's Abu Mazen as in Mahmoud Abbas, the current head of the PA, the man who is desperately trying to hold off Hamas with diplomatic movement and state-building; the man the current Israeli government and its hallelujah chorus in America--along with various pundits who think two-states are for "liberal Zionist" dinosaurs--seem eager to discredit.