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Ideas for Solving the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict

By Jack Barry

Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, November 3, 2014

Editor's Note:

The following is a letter to the Editor by Jack Barry, an Al-Jazeerah reader, offering his ideas of how the Palestinian-Israeli conflict may be resolved. As readers may notice, these ideas do not address the other basic final-status issues, particularly the rights of the Palestinian refugees to be repatriated and compensated.


For almost 66 years, the international community has struggled to find a solution for the increasing growth of Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Despite the rhetoric, political disinformation, and emotional turmoil, the solution is relatively simple. It just takes political leadership and courage that is today missing in both Israel and Palestine. Only an outside third party can provide a solution - not one nation but the concert of nations.
Both Israel and Palestine should be recognized as independent states with borders that adhere to the 1948 UN resolution.
The over 382,000 Jewish settlers who reside in the West Bank little over 14% of the population of the West Bank should be free to continue to occupy their settlements in the West Bank. They will be, however, citizens of Palestine not Israel and thus subject to the political and security administration of the Palestinian government. Similar to the over 1,658,000 Arabs who live in Israel, they will be accorded similar protected rights as Palestinian citizens. This would hopefully avoid the horrors and long-lasting hatred that the forced migrations in India and Pakistan engendered.
Jerusalem is a more difficult decision. As the spiritual holy city of three major religions it holds special status as a historical and religious heritage city. No one group or religion can rightly claim Jerusalem as their undivided capital or territory. Jerusalem should come under a special UN commission empowered to provide security and administration of the city and its holy sites. The city will be again divided into its four historical quadrants the Jewish sector, the Arab sector, the Christian sector, and the fourth would be both the Armenian and other religions sector. Citizens would be limited by their professed religion or nationality to live in one sector and not any other.
Occupants of the Jewish sector will be citizens of Israel and Israel can enjoy that sector as its capital. Occupants of the Arab sector would be citizens of Palestine and Palestine can enjoy that sector as its capital. No country or religion can claim the other two sectors as part of their citizenship or as their capital. But all of Jerusalem four quadrants would be an open city under UN security and administration.

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