THE SANDERS PEACE PLAN:
A new paradigm for a comprehensive
solution to the outstanding problems of the Israeli Palestinian impasse.
Michael S. Sanders
In a two state solution, it would be agreed that there would be a
differentiation between residency and citizenship.
All new Arab residents of Israel (present Arab citizens of Israel would
be given a choice) would become citizens of Palestine but residents of
All Jews living in Palestine would be citizens of Israel but residents
As in the United States, local residents would be able to vote for local
issues, police, education, utilities etc. but only citizens of their
states would be able to vote in National elections.
Outstanding Issues and the Solution:
in order or importance)
The Right of Return:
The Palestinian side
feels strongly that some recognition be granted to those refugees and
their descendants who lost their land for a variety of reasons in the
area that will be the final State of Israel. Prior negotiations have
indicated that the Palestinian side would settle for less than 100%
resettlement which has caused some deep resentment within the
Palestinian community, especially their Diaspora. The Israelis have
always indicated that this was a demographic problem which if
implemented would destroy the Jewish majority in the Jewish State.
With the solution
proposed, Jews would be allowed to live in a new Palestinian State. A
formula could therefore be developed which would allow “returning”
Palestinians to reside in the State of Israel without in any way
disturbing the Jewishness of the State of Israel. Thus the major concern
of the Israelis after security, i.e. the worry that demographics would
inexorably destroy the State of Israel would be finally resolved. The
formula devised should include a number of factors including in some
way the numbers of Jews living in Palestine. Under the proposal there is
no reason why Jews would not be permitted to buy or lease land in
Palestine nor why Palestinians would not have the same rights in Israel,
the numbers being subject to agreement by both sides.
The Final Boundaries:
have demanded that Israel withdraw completely to the 1967 borders which
at present is interpreted as the dismantling of all the Israeli
“settlements” in the so-called “West Bank”, “Gaza” and “East Jerusalem”.
The Israelis wish to keep Jerusalem as an undivided capital of Israel
and not dismantle large “settlement” blocks on the East of the 1967
It has previously
been taken for granted by both sides that Jews would not live in a new
Palestinian State. This in itself creates enormous problems for “true
peace” as distinguished from a “peace treaty” to be established. Under
the new proposal, the boundary issue becomes much less important and
adjustments around the “1967” borders would be perfectly acceptable to
Often ignored by
those drafting agreements, for any plan to work, both sides at the end
of the day must be economically viable. That means that Palestinians
NEED Israel for their markets and for a place to work. Whilst a wall
between the two sides might temporarily assuage a security problem, it
creates an economic one which cannot be sustained for any lengthy period
“terrorism” is always cited as the major problem. However the example of
the IRA in Northern Ireland where at the most 300 highly motivated
members tied down the whole British army for decades requires a
salutary and sobering pause for reflection. There are substantially
more than that number on both the Palestinian and Israeli sides who are
so strongly committed to their respective causes that unless their root
problems are addressed, there will always be a security problem.
Nihilists would always have to be taken care of in a different way.
Since Israel took
control of the West Bank, it has been Israeli Government policy to
“create facts on the ground” both for direct security considerations
and to make the creation of a Palestinian State less than viable. A
sizable number of those Israelis who took advantage of Government
encouragement and subsidies will do everything in their power to resist
resettlement on any terms largely because of religious reasons. For them
residency on any part of the land is a Biblical imperative.
Even Hamas has not
objected to the concept of Jews living in Arab lands. For true peace to
be established it is not just important but imperative that both sides
live together as equals, each as citizens of their own State but
residents in each others.
6) Jerusalem and the Temple Mount:
Here the problem is
essentially one of religion with each side claiming their right to the
Temple Mount. The evidence is overwhelming that these conflicting
claims are the result of archaeological misunderstandings and further
details how these misunderstandings might be resolved is not the subject
of this paper but can be obtained from the author.
dictated that Arab and Jew MUST live TOGETHER for there to be a peaceful
future for either group. For that to happen it is essential for each
side to recognize the concerns of the other and as far as possible to
accommodate those concerns in an agreement.
It is believed that
this plan which distinguishes between citizenship and residency does
take into account the major concerns of both parties. Once the accepted
paradigm that Jews cannot live in a new Palestinian state is abandoned,
it is clear that all the outstanding problems can be resolved quite
quickly and the result accepted not only by the two sides but by all the
“players” in the region.
COMMENTS On and
Off the Record.
"I thought this was a brilliant way of solving both the right of return
issue for the Palestinians and the demographic threat to the Jewishness
of Israel. Your idea is really the only sensible one, you can never ask
the Palestinians to give up the Right of Return or tell the Jews they
can never live in Judea and Samaria and you cannot either tell the
Israelis that they will loose the Jewishness of the state of Israel."
"I do not have any role at present in the
Middle East. Should I become involved in the process again you may be
assured that your suggestion will be among those considered by all
Further details of “The Citizenship Plan” can be
obtained from the author
Michael S. Sanders