Conditions for Peace in the Middle East

by Benjamin Kuipers

I believe that the following conditions are necessary for any stable solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. There are probably more requirements, but I don't believe we can do without any of these.

Each of these might be furiously rejected by one or both sides.

  1. Everyone recognizes both the State of Israel and the State of Palestine, establishing "normal relations" and accepting their rights to exist as viable states.

  2. Israel clears out the settlements on the West Bank and Gaza, and turns the land over to the State of Palestine.

  3. The right of return exists, but only to the State of Palestine, not to the State of Israel. (i.e., eliminate the Trojan Horse)

  4. Jerusalem (the historical and religiously significant part) becomes a United Nations protectorate, not part of any State, held in trust for Humankind as a whole. The other parts of the city are divided between Israel and Palestine, and they can have their capitals there if they wish.

It's hard to be optimistic about getting anywhere near there from here.

First version written 12/5/2001.

I am overjoyed to learn of the Ayalon-Nusseibeh Statement of Principles, which takes essentially the same approach. It is a bipartisan grass-roots effort led by prominent Israelis and Palestinians.