Monday, August 9, 2010

Let's discuss a draft for a Constitution


A special solution
Considering that all previous attempts to create a two-state solution failed, led to bloodshed, and that our both peoples, the Jewish people of Israel and the Palestinian-Arab people, do not want to - and cannot - merge into a single Nation living in a unitary state, we have reached the conclusion that the only solution left is nor separating nor merging, but entering a unique kind of Federal Alliance:
A "three states for two peoples in one land-solution". This is made possible by both peoples recognition of the same supranational Sovereign. It takes the form of a Federal State which has sovereignty over the territory and over two non-territorial nation-states.

The specific logic for this federation is simple: if you want to have two independent nations in the same federal framework, the federation has to be supranational; if you want to eliminate the demographic problem without territorial partition, and without the risk of a future secession, you need to separate national identity from territory. This is achieved by having national laws applying only on individual citizens or communities, and not on the territory. So the national identity will be formed by Law, not by Land.
This non-territorial character of the national states will help preventing any future nationalist fight for the Land.

Principles for a Constitution

We have reached the conclusion that the best solution is a "three 4 two in one", a "three states for two peoples in one land-solution": the Federal State shall have sovereignty over the territory and over two non-territorial nation-states, whose national law applies on their citizens personally, and not on a territory.

The Federation allows the Israeli Jewish People and the Palestinian Arab People full autonomy and political independence each one as a different People, while enjoying the whole land of Israel-Palestine in an equal and peaceful way.

The constitution shall protect the independence of each people and the full respect of the Human Rights by the different Authorities, it will define an equal parity in the management of common infrastructures, a just partake of natural resources between both peoples, mutual Right of Return, a joint defense of outer borders.

Federal institutions of government
One federal state includes a federal joint government and parliament elected by all the federal citizens.
It is based on a constitutional covenant between both peoples and implements the supranational sovereignty of the rule of Law and Justice, on the whole, undivided, land of Israel-Palestine, and on both national states of Israel and of Palestine, accordingly to its prerogatives.
Sovereignty on the land shall be implemented by the federal state exclusively.

It will respect the principles of national equal parity and reciprocity: every federal institution shall include the same number of Arabs and Jews, whatever the demography, so the demographic problem will have disappeared.

Small ethnic groups or communities not affiliated with the two main Nations could send a few delegates to the Federal Parliament in order for their voice to be heard.
Ministers and deputy ministers, the Prime Minister and the President, could rotate every two years in order to allow a fair representation of Israelis and Palestinians.

Will fall under the responsibility of the federal government all domains managed as a whole, like: foreign policy, defense, environment, general means of communication, energy and information networks.
Foreign policy should have to be neutral, and both national states shall be forbidden to enter foreign alliances.

National institutions of government
They include: two national parliaments, two national governments.
Both national states - based on personal and communal autonomy - will be non-territorial states of law, each one ruling on their citizen and communities on a personal basis - not a territorial one - accordingly to its prerogatives.
In this way the Jewish state will always be nearly 100% Jewish, no matter the number of Palestinians living in geographical proximity. This is equally true for the Palestinian state: it will always be nearly 100% Arab, no matter the number of Jews living in the West Bank and Gaza.

Regional and local councils
Each national state shall be largely decentralized, itself a federation of communities and districts which enjoy broad juridical, judicial and administrative autonomy, according to principles of communal democracy and democratic self-government.

Other ethnic groups and communities
Ethnic groups, communities and individuals who do not attach themselves to the two main nations (like may be Druzes, Bedouins, Circassians, Black Hebrews or other groups), could find their collective political expression at the local or regional level of administration. They still would have to attach themselves to one of the two main Nations if they want to participate to national elections. Federal elections will be open to all, with no prerequisite of national definition.

Democracy is "Rule of the People". We have two peoples in the Federation, so democracy, "Rule of the People" is to be replaced at the federal level by "Rule of Law", Parity and protection of rights for minorities, preventing any oppressive rule of the majority on the minority.

Democracy can only apply in unitary national states, like the State of Israel and the State of Palestine in our Federation, which shall elect democratically its own government and parliament.

Every inhabitant of the Federation will enjoy a double citizenship, like in the European model: his own national citizenship which guarantees his national identity, and a common federal citizenship which guarantees equality and on the basis of the universal principles of Law and Justice.
Every federal citizen would swear loyalty to the constitutional State, which means that he recognize the other people's national independence.
Mixed couples could choose to which Nation-State they want to be attached.
There could be a possibility to have federal citizenship alone, to be a kind of world citizen before time.

The single territory encompasses all of Israel and Palestine.
It includes the whole land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea: West Bank, Gaza and Israel of today.
Its name is "Land of Israel" and "Land of Palestine".

The administration of the territory as a whole shall be within the powers of the Federation exclusively.
A General Land Use Plan will be agreed upon by a federal Land commission, within the powers of the Federation exclusively. The Land Use Plan will enable proper urbanization and housing planning solutions.

The federal state will confer territorial prerogatives to both national administrations according to a mutually agreed map of administrative (not political!) regional districts. The map will be based on the actual geographic demography and its history.

In order to minimize the interventions of the federal state in the national issues of each people, these districts will be of three kinds:
- Arab districts under direct Palestinian jurisdiction,
- Jewish districts under direct Israeli jurisdiction,
- open mixed districts - Jerusalem among them - under exclusive federal jurisdiction.

Ownership of land shall be exclusively private, never national.
Arabs may live individually in Jewish districts, and Jews - in Arab districts, according to the local or communal policy.
A joint Israeli-Palestinian committee will jointly manage public lands and water resources, ensuring their equal access to every citizen, and the equitable development of both urban and agricultural populations.

New Palestinian and Israeli settlements could be created in their respective districts by their own national government, without any federal control.
In open districts could be built new Jewish, Palestinian or mixed settlements on a fair basis by decision of the proper federal authorities.
In case an Israeli settlement was previously built inside a dense Arab district in a way that causes frictions, it could be displaced by the federal authorities. Alternatively, it could be kept in place in exchange for the creation of a new Palestinian settlement inside a Jewish district or according to any other agreed arrangement.
Any evacuated settlement could be taken in account as a contribution to the overall solution of settling or compensating refugees.

Previously illegal Jewish settlements could be legalized by Israeli authorities in case they are located inside a Jewish district.
Communal or private Palestinian land previously seized by Jewish settlements shall have to be returned or compensated for.

Immigration, Alyah and Refugees
The whole territory shall be open to the immigration of Palestinian refugees, Jewish immigrants and political refugees from any country.

The Right of Return of Palestinian refugees and the Israeli Law of Return shall be a fundamental part of the Constitution and shall be both fully respected.
The national governments and communal administrations absorbing their nationals and members shall apply their own selection criteria, free of any federal control, and shall be responsible for their proper integration in the regional districts under their responsibility.
Once granted national citizenship, the immigrant shall receive its federal citizenship after a ceremonial swearing of allegiance to the Covenant.

The federal jurisdiction shall be responsible for ensuring the compliance of the federal administration to the Constitution and to Human Rights, among them the right of entry and residence on the territory of the Federation for any human being.
The federal government will deal with general right of asylum for non-Palestinians or non-Jewish refugees.

Compensations for lost of property
Palestinians and Jews who have been evicted from their land, home, or any property because of the conflict, shall be compensated and will have pre-emption rights in case their property is being sold or rented.
The refugee camps shall be dismantled or rehabilitated. UNRWA administration will be terminated.

Forces of Defense
Joint armed forces of Defense shall operate under centralized federal command. These federal forces, combining Israeli and Palestinian units, shall be used exclusively to implement the peoples' federation basic right of self-defense from external aggressions.

The creation of the Federation of Israel-Palestine shall be linked to a peace agreement with the whole Arab league. There could be a clause like: "Attacking the FIP would be seen as an attack against the Palestinian people themselves." Then, for the Palestinians such an attack would be like a conflict between Arab countries.

In case the Arab League woud not agree to sign a peace treaty with the FIP, the usual federal parity will be temporarily postponed: the direction of the Joint Army - Chief of Staff and Minister of Defense - shall be at first under Israeli command only. It will gradually be shared then with the Palestinians, as peace treaties with neighboring Arab and Muslim states are concluded.
The reason for this measure is simple: the Palestinian people defining themselves as a part of the larger Arab nation, it will prevent the Palestinian citizens being torn between two allegiances in case of conflict.

The federation shall apply a policy of transparency on nuclear weapons and shall sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
We support the vision of a world without nuclear weapons and will pursue this goal at the regional level in the Middle-East.
Interlocking Jewish and Arab geographical areas in the Federation shall be encouraged: it will make virtually impossible to target one of the populations in particular with a nuclear missile.

Police forces
The order and internal security shall be provided by the police forces exclusively, operated at the various levels of the federation : Federal Police incorporating mixed units, Israeli National Police, Palestinian National police, Municipal Police.

Political violence, terror, would be a mere internal problem, dealt with by the police only. Any violent and subversive attempt to destabilize the Federation will be immediately nipped in the bud.
Each police force shall operate in its national or communal districts to deal with intra-community conflicts. Other conflicts will be dealt by the federal police forces.
The allocation of extended responsibilities and powers to municipalities and district councils will be an effective way to reduce the frictions between the two peoples and the various communities.

A Federal Supreme Court is responsible for ensuring the constitutionality of the laws of the Federation.
The nation-states and their various communities will enjoy judicial autonomy.
Rabbinic and shar'ia tribunals shall have extended and recognized jurisdiction on the community who choose to abide by their legislation.

In order to express the unity and indivisibility of the Federation, Jerusalem, Yerushalayim-Alquds, shall be both the siege of the political capital of the federation and of the two Nation-states.
It will enjoy a special status in form of a distinct regional district placed under the Federal government exclusively.
Jews and Arabs will be free to live anywhere in the town.

The federal municipality will be decentralized; it will coordinate the activities of various sub-municipalities and will harmonize their development.
This pattern may be the operating model of mixed cities all over the country.

As federal capital, not belonging to any Nation, Jerusalem will be the symbol of the peaceful covenant, of unity beyond separation, between East and West, between the two peoples, and beyond them, of humanity.
Inside such a jewel-box the Holy sites will find back their original meaning.

Federal elections shall be conducted according to principles of paritary democracy.
In every candidate list, nominations are made up of an equal number of Arabs and Jews.
The Federal Parliament and government shall be elected for a four years mandate. All the federal citizens – Israelis, Palestinians and others shall vote for candidate lists which include an equal number of Arabs and Jews and delegates of minorities. In this way will be chosen candidates who are guided by the common interests of both peoples.

National elections: each citizen shall vote for his own national parliament, no matter where he lives.

The federation shall guaranty of a decent minimum subsistence to every inhabitant.
A special tax shall be consecrated to fight poverty.
A federal economic commission will have the task of reducing economic disparities between the two peoples. In this way, Palestinians who were former Israeli citizens will not loose any of the advantages they had before becoming citizen of Palestine.
The Federation shall operate one federal central bank and shall have a common currency.

Both Israeli and Palestinian economies will be integrated and will complete each other; total freedom of movement for workers and goods shall be guarantied.

Health and Social protection
Health, social protection, and every matter of human rights in general shall be the responsibility of the federal state.
The Federation will provide a federal health system for all.

Culture and Education
Cultural and educational independence are provided for each nation and community.
A common core program of education shall include the study of the language and culture of the other nation, English and Sciences.

Official languages:  Arabic for the Palestinian state; Hebrew for the Palestinian state, and both Arabic and Hebrew shall be the Official languages of the Federation.

Implementation process

This is the easiest solution. We, the Palestinians and Israelis, will decide by our democratic vote, and that is enough:
- no need for negotiations about dividing the land, dividing Jerusalem, refugees, security, settlements, water, etc.
- no dependence on mediation by any international facilitator.
- no risk that any extremist could torpedo the negotiations: there is no need for negotiations at all! The majority will decide, and the majority is moderated and peace seeking.

Having opted for the federal solution, Palestinians and Israelis will recognize that the true culprit in 1948 war and the Naqba was nation-state nationalism and its incapacity to compromise on territory, not the peoples themselves. They will easily forgive to each other their fear to be dominated by the other and their violent reaction to it.

We are building a joint movement of Palestinians and Israelis. The movement will act according to the same constitutional principles like the Federation itself - Respect, Reciprocity and Justice - with an Israeli branch and a Palestinian branch. The spirit of respectful cooperation in view of the same aim that prevails in this group will be pivotal in building confidence between the two peoples.
The movement will run for national and municipal elections, both in Israel and in Palestine.
As soon as there will be a majority for the Federation in the public opinion, a referendum shall be conducted in both countries.
A quiet revolution will be achieved by the most democratic way.
We have already begun to implement the solution: each time someone is convinced that this solution is The Solution, we are closer to the aim.
It can be implemented slowly, step by step, as individual after individual, community after community become ready to enter the federal covenant.

The implementation of the federal structure is flexible, and can adapt itself to different scenarios in case a two-state solution or a one-state solution is first implemented, willingly or not.
The federal solution does not contradict the two-state solution: the federation would appear never the less to be necessary in order to allow the borders between the two countries to stay opened, and its ability to institutionalize cooperation would be more than welcome.
It is true whether Israel would proceed to a unilateral withdrawal from the West Bank, or a negotiated solution would be implemented first -against all odds - in the narrow time window still left.

In case of a single unitary state - probably resulting from an Israeli annexation of the Occupied Territories - the federal structure will allow to solve the demographic and identity problem, while granting administrative autonomy to both peoples on an equal basis, transforming occupation in a true cooperation.

We shall bind the creation of the Federation with the signing of a comprehensive peace agreement with the Arab League and, possibly, Iran, in order to make the issue of the joint federal army easier to implement.

We will act in order to get the support of the Quartet, the Arab League - included Syria - Turkey, Iran and the UN. 
A strong and wide international coalition championing the Federal solution will make it easier to accept by most Palestinians and Israelis.

Yehuda Schwartz

A unique solution

A unique conflict requires a unique solution

The Israeli - Palestinian conflict is a unique conflict: there is no other case that a people who sees itself as being in exile during nearly two millennia, and then returns to the land he deems it still owns .This was the cause of an unprecedented conflict of legitimacy with another people who, meanwhile, had grown deep roots in the same land during a long political and religious history, and has too strong claims to territorial sovereignty.
This ability of the Jewish people to live in exile from its land for a so long time must be analysed. Because political solutions do not usually take this dimension into account, they do not address at all the core of the conflict - the peculiar relation of Jews to land - and cannot provide for a sustainable solution.

Our common problem: the territorial nation-state
Judaism and Islam are not mere religions in the western sense, but nations, a people and a Ummah, who have their own traditional legal system which both have produced in the past a state of law, halakhic State in Diaspora, and islamic Caliphate.
The Jewish nation have lived in Diaspora for hundred of years in autonomous communities, who were small, but real, "states within the state", without a territory.
The problem is that there is no room in the modern territorial nation-state for two different nations: because of its territorial character, only one national law is binding for anyone who physically dwell on the territory. As a consequence, all citizens have necessarily to become one single nation, if not, one of the two peoples has to leave the territory, or the territory has to be split between them.

As soon as nation-states were created in Europe, following the French Revolution and the Napoleonic wars, the Jewish communities lost their legal autonomy and were dissolved.
Zionism, the response of secular Jews  in Europe to their exclusion as a people from the new nationalisms, reacted by creating its own Nation-State for the Jews, on the same European model which had rejected them. Of course, the "Jewish Problem" only turned itself in a "Palestinian problem"!
Following the logics of territorial nationalism, the UN voted a Partition Plan in 1947.  Arab States unleashed the war of 1948 against the new Jewish State and were defeated. As a consequence, a large part of the Palestinian Arabs emigrated or were expulsed; then most of the Jews living in their communities in Arab or Muslim countries had to emigrate.
Both peoples are victims of territorial nationalism.

Abrahamic relation to the land
Western Nationalism is absolutely contrary to the Abrahamic tradition in its relation to land. Abraham heard the divine call asking him to leave his homeland, the Mother-Earth and Fatherland which gave him birth, in order to become the adult creator of his own future, on an other land, still to be discovered and deserved.
Hebrew or Arab true national identity is independent of territory, their land is not Mother Earth, a land-mother, but a land-wife to fecundate and fertilize.

How its possession is justified and legitimized? Not by our past origin, not by "who was the first on the land", but by our future behavior: living by virtue of a debt - not of a right - we have to give back in return, by giving hospitality to the stranger, by giving just charity (tzedaqa/zaqa) to the poor, the widow and the orphan.
By distancing themselves from heathen nationalism, Israelis and Palestinians will return to their true Hebrew and Arab identity, and will be able to live together on the same land. Otherwise they are doomed to kill each other until the last survivor, for who would accept to split his own mother into two pieces?

A special solution
Considering that all previous attempts to create a two-state solution failed, led to bloodshed, and that our both peoples, the Jewish people of Israel and the Palestinian-Arab people, do not want to - and cannot - merge into a single Nation living in a unitary state, we have reached the conclusion that the only solution left is nor separating nor merging, but entering a unique kind of Federal Alliance:
A "three states for two peoples in one land-solution". This is made possible by both peoples recognition of the same supranational Sovereign. It takes the form of a Federal State which has sovereignty over the territory and over two non-territorial nation-states.

The specific logic for this federation is simple: if you want to have two independent nations in the same federal framework, the federation has to be supranational; if you want to eliminate the demographic problem without territorial partition, and without the risk of a future secession, you need to separate national identity from territory. This is achieved by having national laws applying only on individual citizens or communities, and not on the territory. So the national identity will be formed by Law, not by Land.
This non-territorial character of the national states will help preventing any future nationalist fight for the Land.

Those national systems of law can be secular or religious, the crucial point is that they should allow people a real personal autonomy. In that feature, they resemble the traditional systems of law, Halacha and Shari’a , which apply to Jewish or Muslim individuals personally, wherever they live in the world.
The abrahamic relation to the land will be implemented in the special structure of this federal state. Jewish and Israeli identities will be reconciled, and so the Arab and Palestinian ones. And both would have found peace by returning to their Abrahamic heritage.
But was not this alluded to, when the two brothers, Isaac and Ishmael, met together to bury their father Abraham after a life-long separation?

An answer to the religious conflict too
The modern territorial nation-state was built by applying the theological notions of Sovereignty and Alliance to the social realm where they became sovereign people and social contract. It has contributed to a liberation of men and peoples, but at the same time, it has absolutized the person "Nation", who became god-like, knowing no other master than itself, generating nationalist wars, the most lethal than humankind has ever known.
Because of its autistic nature, it is impossible a priori to integrate nation-states in a set of higher order of complexity, which would be supranational. This, the United Nations have demonstrated perfectly.

We can find a deep religious meaning to the Federal Alliance ("Federation" is from Latin foedusfoederis, "alliance") of Israel-Palestine: being necessarily a federation ruling over nations, its Sovereign is potentially made Sovereign of the World - ribono shel olam/rabb el alamin in the language of our traditions - for if its example will be followed,  its Peace will extend to the rest of humanity.

By their reception of the Federation the believers of our respective religions will be tested and judged: will they accept and recognize the Federation and the Sovereign of the World, or will they reject it, thus showing that they actually worship their own nation under the mask of religion, that they bow to their own sovereignty, whether they call it "Jewish" or "Islamic"? So their hideous mask will be lifted, we will prevail on the fanatic religious nationalists!
By this solution - a supranational federation binding together two non-territorial nationalities, we have succeeded to translate into terms of modern politics our common abrahamic roots: a Covenant between two parts, between the monotheistic tribes of a new People of God and the Master of the Universe to whom the Land belongs, for universal blessings.

Yehuda Schwartz