A Peace Proposal for the Quartet
A Peace Proposal for the Quartet

he Obama Administration and its associates in the Quartet have been doggedly seeking a formula for peace between Israel and the

I have lain awake nights wondering if we will ever find a way out this corrosive impasse.
Palestinians. In their venerable collective judgment, the major impediments to a peaceful resolution are the “settlements” and the occupation of “Palestinian lands” beyond the 1948 armistice lines (the 1967 “borders”). For its part, Israel has been calling for direct negotiations in which the parties would address matters related to security and defensible borders, among other critical issues essential to achieving a “two-state” solution. 

Like many Israelis and, I imagine, our counterparts among our purported peace partners, I have lain awake nights wondering if we will ever find a way out this corrosive impasse. The other day, I had an epiphany, which I offer to the Palestinian leadership and the well-intentioned peace-seekers in the international community. 

Recognizing that the term “occupation” refers to the forcible taking over of all or part of another country (think, for example, of Turkey in Cyprus), the Obama Administration and the Quartet should draft a proposal demanding that Israel withdraw immediately from every inch of territory that ever belonged to a sovereign Palestinian Arab state in the area between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. The proposal would naturally include Jerusalem, and would require Israel to pull back completely from any quarter of the Holy City that ever served as the capital of a Palestinian (or Arab) government.

The declaration would be brought to the Security Council, where its unanimous passage would be assured. To uncover possible evidence of Palestinian Arab sovereignty in the land or in Jerusalem, the Council would direct the Secretary-General to establish a select commission chaired by an eminent expert to undertake an exhaustive search of the historical record. The Security Council would subsequently adopt a resolution obligating the parties to accept the commission’s findings as a guideline for, finally, bringing the conflict to an end.

 I would like to think that my proposed initiative would be welcomed by both sides. The Palestinians could hardly reject the lure of discovering a factual basis for their unyielding claim that Israel is the illegal usurper of land that had been Palestinian Arab polity. And for Israel, it would provide the opportunity, once and for all, to lay this scurrilous libel to rest.