Alternative Palestinian Agenda


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Wisconsin State Journal

Peace Will Come With Security
by Arthur Glenberg

During the holy week and Passover, people around the world prayed for peace and freedom, yet the situation in Palestine and Israel seems to be moving swiftly in the opposite direction. Intransigence has built up on both sides to the point that ethical, long-term solutions seems impossible.

In contrast, a new proposal for moving peace forward has been developed and will be discussed at the public forum from 7PM to 9PM, Thursday in the Play Circle Theatre at the Memorial Union, 800 Langdon Street.

To date, Middle East leaders have proposed solutions to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict based on the principle of limiting the other side to as little as possible. For example, Israelis wants security and try to obtain it by limiting the activities and freedom of Palestinians. Palestinians want a state and try to obtain it by limiting the security of Israelis. The result is a cycle of escalating violence and increasing intransigence.

One way to break this cycle is to consider the hopes and aspirations of both Palestinians and Israelis, and to pursue a peace that recognizes that the aspirations of one side cannot be met without also meeting the aspirations of the other side. This must be the case because Palestinians and Israelis constitute integral components of a shared space.

The peace initiative developed by the Alternative Palestinian Agenda is such a proposal. It begins with an analysis of the strongest aspirations of Israelis (security, acceptance, Jerusalem, to name a few) and Palestinians (statehood, right of return, Jerusalem and others) and argues that these aspirations are inextricably linked.

In recognition of these linkages, the initiative develops a political solution to integrate and achieve these aspirations. In outline, the solution is a confederation between a Palestinian state with a Palestinian identity and an Israeli state with an Israeli identity. A states are united by a federal government, located in Jerusalem, that functions to ensure external security. After a transitional period, citizens of the confederation, regardless of ethnicity, are free to live in either state subject to the laws of that state.

Aspects of the proposal will at first seem bizarre. For example, the proposal outlines a territorial reconfiguration that assigns more land to the Palestinian state than other two-state proposals. If the goal were to limit the Palestinian state, than such a proposal would be absurd. However, if the goal is to share the land and hence achieve security by meeting the aspirations of both Palestinians and Israelis than the idea is worth discussing as a long-term, viable solution

In this regard, the peace initiative has a dual character. One the one hand, it is wildly optimistic: Israelis and Palestinians must develop trust in each other for the plan to succeed. One the other hand, the peace initiation is hard-headedly realistic: a sustainable peace demands that the participants respect each other's aspirations. For more information about the peace initiative see






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