Sunday, May 16, 2010

Alternative Political Approaches - a shorter review

Howard Cort is a retired social planner who is convinced that to best solve a major public policy problem, all alternatives must be considered.
He has made a good review of various bi-national, federal and confederal proposals made in the past:

Alternative Political Approaches To Israeli-Palestinian Coexistence. It is worth being studied carefully!

He has written a shorter review wich I reproduce here:

Alternative Political Approaches to Israeli-Palestinian Coexistence: Selected plans

By Howard Cort
November 23, 2008

Believing that to best solve a major public policy problem, all alternatives must be considered, I began studying alternative political approaches to Israeli-Palestinian coexistence. I prepared a draft paper, which is being regularly revised and is available at the above website. Here are some examples of political approaches mentioned in the paper, followed by some sources for comparative analysis.

Alternative Palestinian Agenda Nasser Abufarha's detailed "Proposal for an Alternative Configuration in Palestine-Israel" characterizes the configuration as "a Federal Union that guarantees access to the whole space of Palestine-Israel, and at the same time protects the national identity and cultural expression of both societies through sovereignty over designated territories based on the natural landscape and current demographics of this shared space." Thus some parts of Israel that are predominantly Arab would fall under Arab sovereignty and some parts of the West Bank that are primarily Israeli would fall under Israeli sovereignty.

Parity for Peace Esther Riley's Parity for Peace is a condominium solution calling for two states on the same land, from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River, each with its own flag, song, holidays, head of state, legislature, and representation in the United Nations. The legislatures could legislate on matters not affecting the other population, such as marriage, but for matters affecting the common territory, the two legislatures would come together to make the laws. Each state would have equal power regardless of demographics, thus ensuring that each nation had enough power to protect its interests but not enough to dominate the other. To ensure equal application of the law, government institutions would be fully integrated, with positions of power rotated between the two states. Refugees would be compensated for their losses and have the right of first refusal to buy back their properties. Clerics would coordinate religious sites, and a publicly funded program would aim to reconcile the two peoples.

USIP Ervin Kedar calls for a condominium named the United "State of Israel" and Palestine (USIP). Palestinians and Jews could claim the whole area between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River as their state. The right of return of both Jews and Palestinians would be respected and people could live anywhere they wanted. Each state would have its own legislature and have separate laws, administrative departments, courts, and police units, and separate brigades in the USIP armed services. Coordination would come through the USIP Condominium Council, with equal representation from both sides. The policies of the council would be enforced by a joint Israeli-Palestinian National Guard. Under the tab Peace Voices in

The Israeli-Palestinian Confederation Josef Avesar calls for a coalition of representatives from Israel and the Palestinian territories (or state) that would act alongside the existing Israeli and Palestinian governments. The confederation would serve as a mechanism for establishing projects of mutual benefit. Israel and Palestine would be divided into 300 districts, each sending one delegate to the confederation legislature. Fifty-five percent of the Israeli legislators and 55 percent of the Palestinian legislators would have to agree in order for any measure to pass. The governments of both Israel and Palestine would have a veto over any confederal legislation, even if the relative sizes of their populations change.

Two States—One Nation Kamal Nawash proposes creating a confederation of two sovereign states—Israel and Palestine—united by a government with limited powers. The confederation (which he calls a nation in the sense that the United States of America is a nation) would be called the United States of Israel and Palestine. Although the states would be geographically distinct from each other, Israelis and Palestinians would be able to live and work anywhere in the confederation, but their votes would count only in the state in which they had citizenship. Each state would have equal representation in the national parliament, regardless of the size of its population. The president or prime minister would be elected by the parliament, and because no one could get more than 50 percent of the votes without votes from the other side, no extremist could win. In time, the states could decide to turn more powers over to the national government, as happened in the USA.

Binational Confederation Presented as a "species of binationalism," Jerome M. Segal proposes a three-state confederation comprising a Jewish State of Israel, an Arab State of Palestine, and a Binational State of Israel-Palestine, each state having veto power in the confederal government. The binational state would be created by land ceded by Israel and Palestine from their areas of "original sovereignty" as defined by Segal: Israel's would be the territory it controlled before the 1967 War, and Palestine's would be the West Bank and Gaza, but not East Jerusalem, which would be under confederal sovereignty. All adults would have to choose which member state to have citizenship in, and it would be possible for them to hold citizenship in two or even three states if they met the respective eligibility requirements All citizens of the member states would be able to work, travel, and own property anywhere in the confederation.

Comparative Political Analyses
The Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs has published a book on alternative solutions to the conflict (Dr. Mahdi Abdul Hadi, ed., Palestinian-Israeli IMPASSE: Exploring Alternative Solutions to the Palestine-Israel Conflict (Jerusalem: PASSIA Publications, August 2005).
The Arab World Geographer has an issue devoted to the viability of the two-state solution and possible alternatives (8, no. 3 [Autumn 2005]). The Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics Economics and Culture has a special issue entitled "Future Options" (14, no. 2 [2007]. HopeWays presents and categorizes a number of options under the tab Peace Voices.

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