Alternative Palestinian Agenda


Saber Al Sabbar


The Patience of the Cactus

In the Media


The Daily Cardinal
May 3, 2002

UW Panel Discusses Mideast Territorial Borders
Division would create boundaries along Israeli, Palestinian population lines

By Courtney Clement

A bi-national state with new territorial divisions between Palestine and Israel was the route to peace proposed during a discussion held Thursday at Memorial Union.

"We thought it was important to start discussion of these ideas as soon as possible," said Arthur Glenberg, a UW-Madison professor of psychology and moderator of the panel, when explaining the timing of the presentation.

The plan outlines a land division and subsequent political bodies for Palestine and Israel, considering each in terms of their specific aspirations and concerns. Areas that are predominantly Israeli would be delegated to Israel and Palestinian areas to Palestine.

Concerns such as the right to return of Palestinians living in exile and Israeli concerns regarding identity and the character of the Jewish state were also dealt with in the allocation of territory.

Politically, the plan differs significantly from the two-state theory en vogue by advocating a bi-national state that would have separate, sovereign states for Palestinians and Israelis that would then be united under a common economic and political unions.

These measures would be a stepping stone to the larger goal of creating a community across borders, according to Thursday's panel.

"The purpose of this proposal is to give access to all people to the whole country so that lines become less relevant," said Nasser Abufarha, author of the discussed plan and panel member.

The methodology of the proposal, which dealt with the practicality of divisions based on population density, possibilities of territory for habitation and natural resources, was praised by those present.

"It would be nice to see these same principles used in other parts of the world," said panelist Jonathan Graubart from Jewish Voices Against the Occupation.

Some concerns were raised though regarding the plan's feasibility.

Panelist Bruce Saposnik cited the desire of Jews for their own state for security reasons - the initiative behind the creation of Israel - as not being dealt with sufficiently.

"I am not sure that this proposal meets this need [for security] or that the world has changed enough that this need is no longer necessary," he said.

The proposal was cited as a positive addition to the debate on potential resolutions to the conflict.

Panelist and UW-Madison Professor Mohammad Douglah said he saw the need for overcoming a need to blame.

"Does it really matter who shoots first in an environment where all people have suffered and continue to suffer?" he said.






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