The Solution to the Israel-Palestine Conflict

Copyright Peter Zohrab 2003


Introduction The Problem The Solution The Author Postscript



A solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict would provide many benefits to many people:

  1. It would remove a huge feeling of injustice which is felt by the Palestinians, and by Arabs and Muslims throughout the World;

  2. It would remove a lot of the motivation behind Al Qaeda and other militant Arab and Muslim groups, which would be a great relief to potential targets of their terrorist acts -- in the United States and elsewhere;

  3. It would provide peace and security to the Israelis and Palestinians;

  4. It would resolve the grievances and desires of both the Zionists and the Palestinian refugees -- though this could not be a perfect solution.

Behind the confident-sounding title to this essay lies the core of a plan, which, together with other, more obvious proposals, stands a great chance of providing the solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. I think I am the first to suggest this idea, but I can't be sure of that, of course.


The Problem

Logically, there has to be a reason why the Israelis and the Palestinians have not been able to resolve their differences after such a long time, and with so much international effort having been put into the issue. And there is a reason -- the reason is that their demands (especially the demands of the "extremists" on each side) are diametrically opposed to each others' demands.

The international media have not been a great help. They have tended to engage in provider capture -- i.e. the media have often had agendas other than just reporting the news. They have seemed at times to see the task of "merely" reporting the news as being somehow beneath them; they thought they should be helping to bring about peace. This is what happens when you get people becoming journalists in order to "change the world" in some way. They shouldn't be so big-headed (Look who's talking !).

These attempts by the media to make peace have assumed that both the Israelis and the Palestinians are stupid -- which is not the case, in my opinion. If there are indeed irreconcilable differences, then we can expect at least some influential Israelis and Palestians to have noticed this -- even if the media haven't ! In that context, the simplistic push by the media for quick fixes just strengthens the wishful thinkers on the Israeli Left by giving them ammunition with which to argue for quick-fix, simplistic soluitons which won't work. (This is because the international media tend to analyse each situation into "Good Guys [The Oppressed] versus Bad Guys [Oppressors]", and it is obvious that they have chosen Israel to be the Bad Guy in this conflict.)

It is all very well aiming to create a Palestinian state in Gaza and the Left Bank and getting that State to recognise the State of Israel, but that doesn't even start to provide a solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict -- in some ways, it would make it worse. And I believe that many people in the region know this. Here's why:


The Solution

It may well be that many Israelis (especially on the Right) may have decided that the only solution is to "tough it out" -- to "keep on keeping on" for years and decades and even centuries, until everyone else in the region, including most of the Palestinians, just accepts that Israel is there to stay, and that the refugees and/or their descendants will never get their land back. Historically speaking, that may well be a realistic point of view. However, Israel is heavily dependent on United States support, and no one knows how long the USA will be the World Superpower that it now is. Once it weakens, as it surely must one day, the hounds will be baying for Israeli blood, so to speak. So a solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict would be in Israel's long-term interest.

The key sticking-point is the land. The Palestinians used to have it, but now they don't have it, and the Israelis do have it. Many centuries ago the Jews did have that land, but others have lived on it both before and after them. I am going to assume that both Israelis and Palestinians have a moral (if not legal) claim to the same land, so the question is how to resolve that difference of opinion.

The proposed solution is to adopt the staged implementation of a Value-Added Approach (VAA).

  1. In principle, all Palestinian refugees and/or their descendants will return to and repossess their former homes, which will collectively form the basis of a Palestinian state, which will be required to declare its recognition of the State of Israel (whose borders will be different from the present ones);
  2. Any desert land, together with any land to which Israel has added value or improvements -- such as reclamation from the sea or from desert land -- will in principle be Israeli land, and will form the basis of the State of Israel, which will be required to declare its recognition of the Palestinian state.
  3. Any land which has experienced improvement in the form of buildings constructed since the Balfour Declaration will in principle be Israeli land and form part of the reconstituted State of Israel;
  4. A Fund will be set up -- e.g. under United Nations Security Council auspices -- to implement large-scale reclamation of land from the sea and from the desert, in areas contiguous to areas earmarked for Israeli settlement under section 2 (above), for the purpose of providing more land for Israeli settlement;
  5. Palestinians who were nomadic before the Balfour Declaration but are now no longer nomadic (and/or their descendants) will be given compensation for the loss of their previous lifestyle;
  6. Palestinians who were nomadic before the Balfour Declaration and are now nomadic outside Israel will in principle be able to resume this lifestyle in their former home ranges -- subject to section 2 (above);
  7. The Security Council will set up a special-purpose judicial institution to adjudicate disputes arising in the course of the implementation of the Value-Added Approach (VAA);
  8. The Value-Added Approach will be implemented in such stages as the Security Council finds appropriate, after having read a report which it will have commissioned on the best way of implementing the Value-Added Approach.


The Author

The author, Peter Douglas Zohrab, has, has had, and intends to have no known Jewish, Israeli, United States, Arab or Muslim funding, affiliations or ancestry of any kind whatsoever.



I have heard an objection to this solution, to which I want to reply: The objection is that you need water to reclaim desert land, and desalination is so expensive that it is only feasible as a way of providing drinking water -- not as a way of providing irrigation. My answer to that is that the United States of America should -- in its own self-interest -- immediately target a huge budget allocation at speeding up research into making desalination cheaper. Once it has developed this technology, it should offer it free, or very cheaply, to Israel and all other desert countries. Apart from helping to solve the Israel-Palestine conflict, this would be an immense public relations and diplomatic coup for the United States in Muslim countries, which are the greatest threat to the USA today. The West is losing the War on Terrorism, so it is time to get real about solutions !



Peter Douglas Zohrab
Last Update 15 March 2004