Resolving the complex and longstanding issues in Israel is a highly sensitive and intricate matter that requires diplomacy, compromise, and cooperation from all involved parties. While there is no justification for the terrorist attacks of October 7 by Hamas on the Israeli people, and Israel has the absolute right and responsibility to defend itself, there will come a time for a resolution to the ongoing conflict. Likewise, the thousands of innocent Palestinians who have died or been injured by IDF response is equally disturbing and, at the very least, evokes calls for the support of global human rights.
Many people seem to have the answers to the conflict, yet few offer viable resolutions. This is probably because there isn’t a simple solution, thus making it easier to complain, spew hatred, and sling insults. Nevertheless, I outline some broad principles that have been suggested as a basis for addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, if for no other reason than to try to switch the current vicious dialogue that is spreading worldwide like a plague from one of antisemitism to one that is more potentially constructive.
- Negotiations and Dialogue: Encourage both parties to engage in direct, unconditional negotiations to reach a comprehensive and lasting peace agreement. International mediators or organizations, such as the United Nations or regional powers, may facilitate these talks. However, this cannot happen until the U.N. recharacterizes Hamas as a terrorist group, and all the hostages have been released.
- Two-State Solution: The two-state solution envisions the establishment of a sovereign and independent State of Palestine alongside the State of Israel, with agreed-upon borders. This has been a commonly proposed framework, although specific details remain a point of contention. The biggest question is where to put the Palestinians, and whose land are they to claim. It’s doubtful that any sovereign nation, including Israel, will willingly donate its land.
- Security: Ensuring the security of both Israelis and Palestinians is essential for any sustainable peace agreement. This involves addressing issues like border security, counter-terrorism measures, and disarmament of non-state actors. However, this cannot happen until the Biden administration stops appeasing the Iranian government. Israel’s security cannot be ensured until Iran is contained, and the Palestinian’s security cannot be assured until Israel is secure.
- Status of Jerusalem: The status of Jerusalem is a contentious issue. Finding a mutually acceptable arrangement for the city, which is considered sacred by multiple faiths, is crucial to any peace agreement.
- Refugee and Settlement Issues: Address the status of Palestinian refugees and Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Potential solutions include compensation, resettlement, or a freeze on settlement construction. Again, many solutions are on the table, but none go far enough to explain who will pay and who will lose land to the Palestinians.
- Economic Development: Promote economic development in both Israel and Palestine to enhance living conditions and foster cooperation between communities. While economic activity and investment can create a ‘soft power’ environment, the initial problem is kicking starting it. And investment at this level can’t happen until there is stability in the region. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) won’t consider investing in an unstable region.
- International Recognition and Support: Seek international recognition and support for a negotiated settlement. International stakeholders, including neighboring countries and the broader international community, can play a constructive role in the peace process. This is a bigger problem than many realize because the United Nations, which currently fails to recognize Hamas as a terrorist group, would ultimately be responsible for recognizing both groups as legitimate. Given that the United Nations’ credibility is on shaky ground, according to some people, the task of leaving global recognition up to them might not muster the response needed to provide stability.
- Trust-Building Measures: Implement trust-building measures, such as prisoner releases, ceasefires, and efforts to reduce hostility and improve relations on the ground. Before October 7, this may have been a viable option. However, given Israel’s resolve to destroy Hamas, it is unlikely that the Israeli government would consider such terms.
- People-to-People Initiatives: Encourage people-to-people initiatives, such as cultural exchanges, educational programs, and joint economic projects that can foster better understanding and collaboration between Israelis and Palestinians.
- Long-Term Monitoring and Dispute Resolution Mechanisms: Establish mechanisms for monitoring and resolving disputes that may arise after an agreement is reached, ensuring that both parties continue to adhere to their commitments.
It’s important to note that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is deeply rooted in history, and its resolution involves addressing the rights, security, and aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians. Additionally, the political, cultural, and religious dimensions of the conflict make it highly complex. Efforts to resolve the conflict should be driven by the parties involved, with support from the international community, to arrive at a mutually agreeable solution that respects the rights and security of both Israelis and Palestinians.