November 2, 2006
Mideast Solution: A Confederation
(Page 2 - Previous Page)An Israeli-Palestinian Confederation would pass legislation on many issues that are unlikely to pass by each government independently. For example, a confederation government could pass legislation to borrow $10 billion from Arab and other countries to construct utility and transportation grids extending from Haifa to the West Bank to Jerusalem and Gaza. Such a project could substantially increase the economy of both the Israelis and Palestinians. It is unlikely that the Israeli or Palestinian governments would veto such legislation given the potential benefits to their people.
Common legislation could pass to enhance the life of the Israeli and Palestinians people in many areas including Roads Natural resources Tourism and Security. A confederation government would act as a mediator between the Palestinian and Israeli governments.
Would a confederation pose a threat to the existence of the future Jewish State? What if Arabs become a majority? The Confederation is not a one-state solution. The Israeli government and the Palestinian government remain sovereign and independent of each other. The division of land between the Israeli and Palestinian States will remain subject to negotiations between the two governments.
A confederation is not tied to the ultimate outcome of such negotiations. A confederation is necessary whether the Israelis and Palestinian agree on the division of land or not. A confederation is a third government designed to enhance the life of the Palestinians and Israelis much like the European government is designed to enhance the life of the German and the French.
It is predicted that the Muslim population in the region will outnumber the Jewish population at some time in the future. Palestinians will outnumber the Israelis with or without a confederation. Even assuming that in 50 years the Israelis will be a minority, under the constellation suggested in this article they will be protected, since legislation will require 25 percent of the minority to accept the legislation and the Israeli government will maintain its veto power. However, Israelis must act now to extend the same courtesy to the Palestinians, since it is unlikely that Palestinians will agree to extend a veto power to the Israelis if the Israelis did not allow them the same power when the Palestinians were in the minority.
A confederation government utilizes a second dimension to the conflict that has been clearly neglected. Up until now, the conflict was viewed strictly in terms of land. All peace discussions focused mostly on the divisions of land between the Palestinians and Israeli governments. This approach ultimately failed, mainly since the governments were too weak and the area is too small. The combination of shared holy places and natural resources in this tiny area makes a resolution almost impossible. The confederation government will approach the issues on the basis of People -- not strictly on the division of land. It will manage the daily life of the Israeli and Palestinian People and will create a mechanism to deal with each others daily and economic life. Each representative to the Confederation will mostly focus on benefiting his constitutes from his own district and not the National aspiration of his country. This new mechanism of passing legislation is likely to encourage agreements between representatives based on the interest of their constituents. Israeli and Palestinians representatives would find themselves on the same side of an issue. The Palestinian and Israeli governments that ultimately will posses the veto power would watch for the national interest of their people. They will be justified in exercising their veto power when a significant national interest is threatened. However they may face national and international pressure if they attempt to veto reasonable legislation.
An Israeli-Palestinian Confederation is an idea whose time has come.
On Sunday Nov. 12, The Israeli-Palestinian Confederation will have a symposium to examine the ideas presented in this article. The speakers will include Ian Masters, professor Benjamin R. Barber, Col. Uri Dromi, professor Norman G. Finkelstein , professor Mark LeVine, Ambassador Edward L. Peck and Sami Mashney.
Israeli-born Josef Avesar practices law in Encino and is founder of the Israeli-Palestinian Confederation.
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