My 6-Point Peace Plan for the Middle East

William Sutherland
 


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With the Middle East gripped by another war in which the direct combatants are deliberately targeting each other's civilians and civilian infrastructure resulting in mounting casualties, it is imperative that the violence be halted as soon as possible. Accordingly the United States must rediscover impartiality and join with the international community in demanding an immediate end to the violence especially since with each hour it continues, more people fall victim and the risks of economic disruption and recession including to the global economy (from rising oil prices and the increasing cost of rebuilding), disease and famine grow along with hardened emotions of hate.

At the same time, the United Nations (UN), which has remained powerless to date, must enact immediate constructive reforms to end its paralysis. Learning from its failure to stem the genocide currently being committed in Darfur as well as past genocides (e. g. Rwanda, Bosnia, Cambodia, etc. ) along with its ineffectiveness and inability to address regional conflicts such as today's Middle East war, a veto override mechanism must be introduced. It would work in the following way - when a single permanent Security Council member vetoes a proposed resolution, such a veto would be overriden if 2/3 of the General Assembly votes to do so followed by the approval of the Secretary-General, who today serves as not much more than a mere figurehead with no real authority.

At the same time a plan encompassing the below listed 7 points should be adopted since it is the only reasonable and impartial means of ending the 2006 Middle East War and providing the region with solid footing on the path to lasting peace. Unless the blame game is stopped and fairness and even-handedness are used, the guiding principles of my 7-Point plan, lasting peace may never be established since simmering feelings of bitterness and resentment will linger through the generations.

1. An immediate cessation of hostilities by ALL sides followed by a two-year ceasefire in which NO side is permitted to engage in attacks, assassinations, incursions, and interference in the other's internal activities and politics (since it is unrealistic to demand one side to renounce violence and not the other, the key impediment currently embodied by Israeli-U. S. policy). During this period Palestine, Lebanon, and Israel would be permitted to operate their airports, border crossings and countries as they see fit within the context of existing UN resolutions and international law.

2. An agreement by ALL sides not to seize prisoners from foreign territory (e. g. Israel could not seize prisoners from Palestine, Hezbollah could not seize prisoners from Israel, etc. ).

3. An agreement to release IDF prisoners with a firm commitment by Israel to the United States, European Union (E. U. ), and Russia who would act as guarantors that Israel would subsequently follow the spirit of the Oslo Accords and release ALL Palestinians, Lebanese, and Arabs held in their prisons at the time of their choosing not to exceed 6 months. This would avoid the linkage that Israel rejects and provide the much-needed spirit of reconciliation to quench the flames of vengeance. Each side must love the others’ children as much as they love their own, respect each other as the human beings they are along with their feelings, and value the preciousness of life, including the lives of others.

4. The immediate establishment of foreign grants to assist Palestine, Lebanon, and Israel with the rebuilding process under the conditions that such aid could only be used for civilian infrastructure and compensation to victims and their families, and that a violation of points 1-3 would lead to a forfeiture of promised monies not yet received, grants received would revert to loans with immediate repayment required and punitive fines as seen fit by the World Court.

5. Implementation of ALL UN resolutions pertaining to EACH of the sides with the guarantee that this implementation will be completed within two-years. The present demand that Lebanon honor UN resolution 1559 while Israel gets a free pass on 242 is unrealistic and not feasible.

6. Upon completion of the implementation of ALL UN resolutions, the two-year ceasefire would become permanent. Afterwards ALL sides and parties of interest would declare and sign off on their recognition of a two state solution consisting of a viable and contiguous Israel and Palestine and their historical and legitimate right to exist within their borders as determined and created by UN resolutions and international law. Compensation (determined by the World Court) and housing would be provided by the international community to Palestinian refugees and their descendants, and to affected Israelis to address Palestinian calls for “right of return" and dismantlement of Zionist settlements, respectively.

7. Finally in the interest of world peace, the Middle East would be converted into a Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and nuclear-weapons free zone, requiring Iran to cease nuclear-weapons and WMD development and production activities, Israel to dismantle and turn over existing nuclear and WMD stockpiles to the United States or Russia for destruction and to cease nuclear-weapons and WMD development and production activities, an all states to formally renounce nuclear weapons and other WMD. As an incentive, the United States, Russian and the E. U. could sign off on an “umbrella" security agreement in which they guarantee the defense of Israel and Palestine as long as neither initiate a conflict with each other and/or their neighbors viewing an attack on any one of these states as an attack on their own countries.

If this 7-Point plan would be adopted, the 2006 Middle East War could immediately end sparing additional casualties and damage to civilian infrastructure and regional and global economies with the very real prospect of achieving lasting peace by 2008. As Martin Luther King eloquently stated during the September 1963 funeral for three of the Birmingham Church bombing victims, “Good still has a way of growing out of evil. The blood of these girls must serve as a revitalizing force to bring light to this dark city. "[1] Thus there can be reason for hope and even optimism that good can arise from the evil of today's conflict with the blood of Israelis and Arabs bringing much needed light to current Middle Eastern darkness.

_

[1] John Herbers. Funeral Is Held For Bomb Victims. The New York Times. 19 September 1963. 17.

William Sutherland is a published poet and writer. He is the author of three books, “Poetry, Prayers & Haiku" (1999), “Russian Spring" (2003) and “Aaliyah Remembered: Her Life & The Person behind the Mystique" (2005) and has been published in poetry anthologies around the world. He has been featured in “Who's Who in New Poets" (1996), “The International Who's Who in Poetry" (2004), and is a member of the “International Poetry Hall of Fame. " He is also a contributor to Wikipedia, the number one online encyclopedia.

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