It is worth considering two new ideas to break the political deadlock and re-establish a real dynamic for peace in the Middle East.
1. The organization of elections in the Palestinian territories based on the theme of peace.
- To support the Palestinian Authority’s popular legitimacy in its efforts to crack down on the extremist movements.
- To confirm that a large majority of Palestinians subscribe to the principles underlying the peace process.
- To reinstill in the Israelis the feeling that the other camp is in the main in favour of peace and has appointed institutions to restart the negotiations.
2. The recognition of the Palestinian state as a starting point (and no longer the finishing point) of a negotiating process.
- To trigger the psychological effect that could justify ending the
- To renew Palestinian society’s commitment to its project to build a state.
- To establish a symmetrical framework of mutual obligations between the two states.
THESE TWO PROPOSALS ARE HIGHLY COMPLEMENTARY. THEY CALL FOR A PLAN TO BE IMPLEMENTED THAT COMBINES BOTH IDEAS.
- Holding elections without the promise of the recognition of their state would not be enough of a political prospect for the Palestinians.
- The Israelis would not accept the ex-ante recognition of the Palestinian state without a clear commitment from the institutions created by the elections to continue to seek a settlement by peaceful means.
HOW ARE THESE TWO PROPOSALS TO BE IMPLEMENTED?
1. There are number of possibilities for the elections:
- General elections (legislative and municipal) possibly combined with the election of the Palestinian Authority (or state) to the presidency.
- Election of a legislative council with constituent powers. Such a council would define the procedures for the subsequent election of the future state's president once the state is proclaimed/recognized.
- Such elections would call for the Israeli army’s prior withdrawal back to its pre-September 2000 positions and the lifting of closures.
2. Should unquestionable elections be held, the Palestinian state would immediately be recognised by Israel and admitted into the United Nations.
To give the Palestinian state a viable working basis from the outset, Israel would have to commit to implementing within a set time period (a few weeks), the third redeployment provided for by the Wye River Memorandum of October 1988 and commit to resuming negotiations on safe corridors between Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
The Palestinian state would have to commit to adopting, within a similar period of time, a constitution guaranteeing its democratic nature.
3. At the same time, the two parties would have to adopt a declaration of non-belligerency subject to international guarantees (or supervision). Both parties would commit to resuming negotiations immediately following the accomplishment of the above steps. These negotiations would be held on the basis of the relevant resolutions (242 and 338) with a view to reaching a final settlement, within a time period to be agreed, on the permanent status issues of territory, Jerusalem, refugees, security and the sharing of water resources.
4. An international mechanism would be responsible for ensuring the implementation of the commitments made.