The stalemate plaguing the Israeli-Palestinian peace process has prompted several former senior defense establishment figures, including ex-Mossad and Shin Bet chiefs, to publish their own version of a new peace initiative.
The manifest was influenced – according to its captains – by the unrest sweeping across the Middle East, and is meant to prompt the government into reigniting the peace talks.
Details of the initiative were reported Tuesday by the New York Times.
The authors claimed that the two-page document was formulated in response to the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative. The document calls for the 1967 lines to be a basis for a two-state solution, which would see the future Palestinian state stretch across most of the West Bank, with east Jerusalem as its capital.
The documents also advocated Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights, and the formation of regional security mechanisms and economic cooperation.
Some 40 people have signed the initiative, including former Shin Bet chiefs Yaakov Peri and Ami Ayalon, former Mossad Chief Danny Yatom and former IDF Chief Amnon Lipkin-Shahak, General (Res) Amram Mitzna, former minister Moshe Shahal and Yuval Rabin, son of slain Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. All 40 are affiliated with the political Left.
The two-state solution outlined in the plan is reminiscent of the 2000 Clinton outline, recognizing the Palestinian state as a nation-state, based on the 1967 borders. The plan also includes a land exchange – which will not exceed 7% of the West Bank.
The outline further states that the east Jerusalem would be the new state's capital, with the city's Jewish neighborhoods remaining under Israeli sovereignty, and its Arab neighborhoods under Palestine sovereignty.
Temple Mount, which Muslims hold sacred, would not be governed by either side, but the Western Wall and Jewish Quarter of the Old City would remain under Israeli sovereignty.
As for the issue of Palestinian refugees, the plan proposes financial compensation and return to Palestine, not Israel, with “mutually agreed-upon symbolic exceptions” allowed some of them back into Israel.
On the Syrian front, the document calls for Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights, with minor, agreed modifications and land swaps, to be taken in stages across a five-year period.
Time to end the conflict
The proposed peace initiative, which was formulated with the help of leading Israeli experts and was based on the various Israeli-Palestinian peace processes of the last decade, was sent to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday, and according to Peri, Netanyahu said he was "looking forward to reading it."
“We looked around at what was happening in neighboring countries and we said to ourselves, ‘It is about time that the Israeli public raised its voice as well,’ ” Danny Yatom told the Ne York Times. “We feel this initiative can bring along many members of the public.”
“We are isolated internationally and seen to be against peace,” Perry was quoted. “I hope this will make a small contribution to pushing our prime minister forward. It is about time that Israel initiates something on peace.”
The proposed initiative aims to bring an end to the Israeli-Arab conflict. As such, it acknowledges “the suffering of the Palestinian refugees since the 1948 war as well as of the Jewish refugees from the Arab countries"; adding that it shares the statement of the Arab Peace Initiative “that a military solution to the conflict will not achieve peace or provide security for the parties.”
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