What if the “final” borders for Israel and Palestine created an interlocking spiral form centered on the Holy epicenter of Jerusalem/Al Quds? This would create two parcels of land that were contiguous and ‘whole’.
The Israeli band would capture major west bank Jewish settlements, IDF bases, a security zone in the Jordan River valley and Dead Sea coast and finally, Jerusalem. This would provide full territorial contiguity of Jewish settlements, Jerusalem and greater Israel. Israeli security concerns would be addressed because in a way the Palestinian band would be surrounded by the Israeli band [and vice versa].
The Palestinian band would capture all the major population centers; Jenin, Nablus, Ram Allah, Jericho, Hebron, Bethlehem and finally Al Quds. This band would include new land swaps from Israel to compensate for the Israeli band area losses. The Palestinian band would also have a permanent border with Jordan. The Palestinians could travel through their entire state and internationally without crossing through Israel [no more road blocks].
What the proposed plan does is demarcate spheres of population that already exist. The Israeli IDF absence on the Palestinian bands and the political restriction for either side to travel across bands are the salient changes.
The Israelis can step up patrols and monitor roads and settlements on their bands. Checkpoints into all population centers under their control would remain.
Crossings between the bands could be under [tunnel] or over [bridge]. This would alleviate the long distances of the bands at strategic points. In fact there is an economic incentive for peace and cooperation between these two states since peaceful band crossings will shorten transportation routes as well as allow trade between states.
Final Status Issues:
Jerusalem/Al Quds: Capital of both Israel and Palestine, jointly administered. Including an international nexus zone with embassies and United Nations presence.
Palestinian Right of Return: Guaranteed return to Israel or financial settlement. Return offered as like-kind with resident alien status. Nationality is Palestinian.
Jewish Settlements within Palestinian territory: Guaranteed financial settlement if remaining in Palestine with resident alien status or guaranteed return to Israel offered as like-kind. Nationality is Israeli.
My point of departure is threefold:
1. that the situation in the West Bank is unstable and deteriorating;
2. that both Israelis and Palestinians have profound relationships to the West Bank land independent of each other and
3. that, in their conflict, neither side is all wrong or all right; or more precisely, that neither side is so unquestionably more wrong [or more right] than the other.
In this ‘thought experiment’, I’m trying to ‘skip ahead’ to a time of negotiations and posit what a fair final settlement plan would look like [based on my points of departure above]. Any final status agreement/plan will necessarily have a transition period where there will be heightened security risks as it is implemented. If that period is successful, and the plan is viable, it would get more peaceful and the threat of attack less and less likely, that is the goal. A broader war is not the goal; annihilation of one side is not the goal.
There is a fundamental human question being decided in the West Bank which is all of our concern and should be considered. We don’t have to wait until both sides have had a fundamental shift in attitude to ponder a possible future disposition of these two peoples. I am assuming there will be negotiations in the future.