The following is a strategy of jobs for peace beginning in Gaza, which allows the Gaza settlers to stay there.
Port Mefta (Middle East Free Trade Area) is a free trade, tourist and gambling area established this year between Deir El Balah and Gush Katif, including Kfar Darom (7 sq. kilometers, or 2.5 sq. miles), under the administration and policing of the U.S.-led Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) that monitors the peace in the Sinai.
Port Mefta, deemed of “great interest” by Israel’s government, is followed by an MFO-administered Gaza Mefta in 2007, comprising Port Mefta, Gush Katif, the Philadelphi Route and Dahaniya airport, with the end of Israel’s occupation and control of the entire Gaza Strip and full employment for Gazans.
Gaza Mefta is a combined duty- and tax-free Singapore, Las Vegas and Riviera with ample affordable desalinated water. There is no withdrawal of Gaza settlers because all those who want to remain in the Gaza Strip reside in Mefta as international free traders, though under the MFO’s jurisdiction, not Israel’s.
Port Mefta provides unlimited access by the Palestinians to its new seaport and to an MFO-administered Dahaniya airport, which, along with the Philadelphi Route, are secured by MFO international police to block smuggling.
With economic viability and the promise of full employment for Gazans, Mefta creates hope for the Palestinian people.
James Wolfensohn, Special Envoy for Gaza Disengagement, has stated that the Port Mefta proposal is interesting and would help jumpstart the Gaza economy and boost Gaza employment.
Non-executive labor must be Palestinian
He proposes to connect Gaza with the West Bank by a sunken four-lane highway. Under the Mefta plan, the Gaza terminal of the highway is Port Mefta, and the surface of the highway is patrolled solely by MFO police – comprised of the Sinai MFO Fiji battalion and includes former Israeli and Palestinian police; an Israeli-designed anti-smuggling barrier surrounds Port Mefta.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon withdraws the Gaza defense forces in mid-August (except for a small contingent to protect Gush Katif until it becomes part of Gaza Mefta) and transfers northern Gaza settlers to Kfar Darom (part of Port Mefta) or Gush Katif.
The MFO begins construction of Port Mefta and the sunken highway before the end of 2005. The construction of the Port Mefta infrastructure and the sunken highway will require every construction worker Palestinians can muster, including those in the West Bank when it is quiet, since non-executive labor must be Palestinian. Then there is the construction of the far larger Gaza Mefta starting in 2007.
S.C. Yuter is a New York attorney with a doctorate in international law. Further details of his proposal can be found on his website, www.mefta.org