Forty five years of Occupation, continued Israeli settlement expansion and land expropriation, stalemate of the Peace Process, Operations “Cast Lead” and “Pillar of Defense", UN recognition of Palestine as a non-member State and Israel’s “punishments” have led to unprecedented international isolation and condemnation of Israel.
Recent months have seen a dramatic strengthening of Hamas within Palestinian society. There are indications of an imminent civilian uprising in the West Bank and there is a real possibility that the political deadlock will lead to a Third Intifada.
The chances for a Two State solution to the Israel Palestinian conflict are rapidly dwindling.
The present political deadlock and relative security calm in the territories will not continue for long. There is increased likelihood of non-violent protest, which could easily turn violent.
International pressure on Israel to break the deadlock to formulate new positions will increase significantly.
What is needed
In order to prevent a third intifada, Israel should immediately offer constructive new initiatives to revive the Peace Process. Revival of serious negotiations will demand from both Jerusalem and Ramallah real and painful concessions but will avoid more futile bloodshed. Most significantly, these negotiations should lead to a Two State solution.
A Four Point Plan to revive the Peace Process
A. Declaration by Israel of immediate de facto recognition of the Palestinian State.
B. Diplomatic Negotiations without Preconditions upon a New Basis
- Negotiations will be between the Israeli and Palestinian Governments.
- Replacement of Oslo Accords with a comprehensive new Agreement as a basis for the relations between the two governments.
- Immediate negotiations regarding alternative, intermediate agreements to formalize ongoing understandings and policies relating to security, economy, water etc.
- Initiation of new negotiations on the core issues (Jerusalem, Refugees, Borders) leading to a final settlement.
These steps would occur within a 5-year timetable.
Within a year: Immediate interim agreements and start of final status negotiations. Concomitantly both sides will undertake mutual “confidence building” steps: heightened security collaboration, settlement building freeze, prisoner release, dismantling of checkpoints; cessation of incitement.
Within 4 years: Conclusion of final settlement negotiations with declaration of a joint Peace Agreement formally concluding the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and settling all past claims.
C. Framework for International Support of the Process: Establishment of a Regional Quartet.
A "Regional Quartet" consisting of Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Jordan, would be established in addition to the existing "International Quartet" (USA, EU, Russia and the UN).
The headquarters of the Regional Quartet will be located in Cairo or in Amman with the permanent presence of Ambassadors from Israel, Palestine, the Regional Quartet states and a senior representative of the Arab League.
The role of the Regional Quartet will be to strengthen the Israeli and Palestinian Governments involved in the peace negotiations by means of guarantees that maintain regional parity.
D. The Arab Peace Initiative
Israel shall immediately declare its readiness to enter into negotiations for a comprehensive Regional Peace, in line with the Arab Peace Initiative, first proposed by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia in 2002 at the Arab LeagueBeirut Summit and re-endorsed at the Riyadh Summit in 2007.
The Regional Quartet together with Arab League and with US leadership will formulate the principles and agenda for these negotiations and propose confidence building measures to facilitate the negotiation process.
Israel will take part in bilateral negotiations with Palestine and in negotiations aimed at achieving a comprehensive and final regional peace.