Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The New Jerusalem: Peace Not Impossible

If the U.S.A. be a true democracy, if a national referendum were held today-- wouldn't the majority of the people vote to remove ourselves completely from the ancient Palestinian-Israeli conflict? Or do we really believe we can make peace happen by continuing our massively expensive support, military supply and political favor for the Israeli state in Palestine? Does it really enhance our national security to continue antagonizing the entire Muslim world? Or would a disengagement from the one war in Palestine also remove the 'need' for the other two wars (in Iraq and Afghanstan)? Do all Muslims hate us 'for no reason'? Or can we remove the obvious reason, and find out just how minor is the remnant terrorist threat? Alternatively, How much time do we (Israel, USA) have before Muslim militants have nuclear weapons?

A famous general once said: "What we have here is a failure of imagination". In that spirit, in the face of the despair of escalating warfare, I present a realistic hope. Peace is possible, and Terrorism is defeated by this peace, not by further warfare. Imagine this:

We could make a rough estimate of the cost-since-1940 of the Palestinian conflicts. Let's just say in today's dollars, $ One Trillion $. We could also realistically assume that in the future, without a genuine, comprehensive, lasting solution, the conflict will cost at least that much again (double that if it 'goes nuclear').

What could be done differently, for that kind of money?
In simplest common-sense terms, the best chance for peace between mortal enemies is to separate them, put a good distance between them if at all possible. Well, it is certainly possible now.

The Plan for 'The Treaty of Palestine and New Israel, 2009':
Create a new Jerusalem in Palestine, and a new Israel _far_ away from Palestine; cede the Palestinian territory of the current Israel entirely to the Palestinians.

The Jerusalem in Palestine shall be 're-newed' as a neutral World Heritage site. Its ancient metropolis would be divided into quarters: Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Secular. In the Secular quarter would be located all the pragmatic city government institutions including the police (composed originally of United Nations supplied forces). The other quarters would be populated by a select core of representatives of the three religions, who would renovate/establish their mosques, synagogs/temple, churches and related educational and cultural institutions.

All the rest of the territory of the present Israel shall be given unconditionally to be the homeland of the Palestinian peoples, the State of Palestine.

The present Jewish population of Israel shall be relocated to a suitable new land. The present State of Israel is about 50 miles by 200 miles. My suggested location for the New Israel is: a similar-sized portion of land located along the southern border of the US State of Arizona, extending from that border to 50 miles south in Mexico. It is largely arid desert 'wasteland', sparsely populated, but would provide access to sea as part of its southern border would be the Gulf of Baja California (aka: Sea of Cortez). For several reasons stated below, this location is ideal.

Mexico is the key for this plan at this suggested location. The Mexican People would gain significant prestige in the world by being the principal sponsor of a final and enduring solution to an age-old intractable conflict. Mexico must also receive significant economic benefits in exchange for ceding this relatively small portion of land. Alternative desert sites for consideration if Mexico defers: Western Australia; Egyptian Sinai; North Coastal West Africa; South Africa; West-Coastal Argentina.

Sources of funds to compensate Mexico (including relocation payments to the small existing populace):
(1) as payment for the infrastructure improvements created in Palestine by the people of Israel since its modern founding circa 1940: an international consortium composed of all interested nations (hopefully including wealthy Muslim such as Saudi Arabia) will pay Mexico on behalf of the Palestinian people.
(2) benevolent donations: from 'friends of Israel' -- such as the active Jewish organizations in the USA, and the Christian ones there who profess support for Israel.

Sources of funds for initial relocation/construction of New Israel:
(1) and (2) same as above
(3) long-term loans from public and private lenders
(4) as compensation for Israel to forfeit its nuclear-weapons capability and signon to the Non-proliferation Treaty: the USA would receive the nuclear weapons and material, and in return provide funding/expertise/oversight for a nuclear-powered electricity-generation infrastructure.

Feasability: A prime assumption is that, based upon the historical success of modern Israel in creating a flourishing State in resource-poor Palestine, we can expect that the Jewish Peoples will demonstrate similar resourcefulness and industriousness in the re-creation of this New Israel. Even more so, since they will be guaranteed a peaceful existence, and so not need to waste the large portion of wealth and effort as they did in Palestine on defense and warfare.

Ancilliary benefits to the USA and Mexico:

The New Israel, once it is established as a thriving State, would provide a significant beneficial trading partner especially in high-technology goods and services, and an additional employer/skills-trainer of Mexican national guest workers.

Historically and currently there is an escalating tension at the USA-Mexico border. The USA contemplates a major expenditure in 'border protection'. This would be significantly moderated where the New Israel would provide a natural, neutral buffer zone between Mexico and the USA. Of course, the Treaty would provide for guaranteed free transit of trade goods across that buffer (especially in the I19 corridor connecting Tucson).

The construction of this New Israel would provide a unique opportunity as a testing ground for modernization of all facets of national infrastructure and sustainable living. For example, electric power generation; nuclear has already been mentioned, but the location is also ideal for large-scale-Solar, and possibly wave/wind. Others: Construction techniques for environmentally-friendly high-density housing, transportation, communications; fresh-water from desalinization of sea-water.

The peaceful solution to the Palestinian-Israel conflict would enable the USA to disengage rapidly from military ventures in traditional Muslim regions; this in turn would significantly reduce the motivations of Muslim militants against the USA, would isolate Muslim terrorists from the vast majority of the Muslim peoples, and would resolve the expensive, endless, hopeless 'war-on-terror' as a major threat to national and international security.

The fate of this should not rest in the hands of a few politicians with intransigent attitudes; it should be submitted as a referendum to at least the peoples of Palestine, Israel, the USA, and those who would provide the new territory.
Especially the US referendum can inform and motivate all parties that this is an unambiguous 'last chance', that we will no longer waste our resources and jeopardize our security with the status quo in Palestine.

We know this plan will require alot from all parties involved.
Our answer: Is it possible? Yes. Is it worth the effort? Yes.
Would it benefit our entire planet, and all our peoples, by demonstrating that peace and the ensuing prosperity are achievable? Yes! There is Hope.

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