Gideon Polya, “Peace NOW. Interim Peace Plan for Israel-Palestine”, MWC News, 7 March 2006, not cached by Google.
Peace NOW. Interim Peace Plan for Israel-Palestine
ARABS AND JEWS of the Holy Land BOTH want peace, internal security, national independence, national security, human rights, justice, economic hope, reconciliation and unimpeded access to ALL of the Land that they both regard as THEIRS.
Can these fundamental, COMMON desires of the Arabs and Jews of Israel-Palestine be satisfied – and indeed be satisfied IMMEDIATELY? The short answer is clearly YES. However, before outlining an Interim Peace Plan that can bring immediate “peace with justice”, it is important to outline the HUMAN COST of the continuing appalling situation and the case for IMMEDIATE peace in Israel-Palestine.
Decent people accept the fundamental principles enunciated in the American Declaration of Independence of the equality of all men and their right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Palestinians (whose forebears have continuously lived in the Holy Land for 2 millennia) have the same right to a decent life and national identity as the Israelis (whose forebears mostly colonized a foreign-occupied Palestine in the 20th century). However 5 generations of Palestinians have been denied these fundamental rights over the last 6 decades. Indeed the continuing, forcible subjugation and dispossession of the citizens of the Occupied Palestinian Territories and the Golan Heights since 1967 violates international law, numerous UN Resolutions, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Geneva Conventions.
The bottom-line in any social discussion is the preservation of human life. Fundamental to such discussion is “avoidable mortality” (technically, “excess mortality”) which is defined as the difference between the ACTUAL deaths in a country and the deaths EXPECTED for a peaceful, decently run country with the same demographics.
The United Nations (UN) Population Division provides detailed demographic statistics going back to 1950 i.e. several years after the formation of the State of Israel and the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homes and their land. The following KEY STATISTICS derive from straightforward analysis of publicly-accessible data from the UN, UNICEF and WHO (noting that Israel conquered the Occupied Palestinian Territories in 1967):
Post-1950 avoidable mortality/2005 population ratio: 0.095 million/6.685 million = 1.4% (Israel) & 0.677 million/3.815 million = 17.7% (Occupied Palestinian Territories)
Post-1950 under-5 infant mortality/2005 population ratio: 0.091 million/6.685 million = 1.4% (Israel) & 0.295 million/3.815 million = 7.7% (Occupied Palestinian Territories)
Post-1967 avoidable mortality: 0.082 million (Israel) & 0.319 million (Occupied Palestinian Territories)
Post-1967 under-5 infant mortality: 0.053 million (Israel) & 0.166 million (Occupied Palestinian Territories)
2003 avoidable mortality/2003 population ratio: 0/6.364 million = 0.0% (Israel) & 1,000/3.503 million = 0.03% (Occupied Palestinian Territories)
2003 under-5 infant mortality/2003 population ratio: 760/6.364 million = 0.012% (Israel) & 3,100 /3.503 million = 0.089% (Occupied Palestinian Territories)
2003 under-5 infant mortality/2003 under-5 infant population ratio: 760/0.644 million = 0.12% (Israel) & 3,100/0.617 million = 0.50% (Occupied Palestinian Territories)
IN SUMMARY, while the Occupier Israel is among the top dozen countries with the very best avoidable mortality and infant mortality outcomes in the world, the outcomes for the Occupied Palestinian Territories are GREATLY INFERIOR. In the Occupied Palestinian Territories, the post-1950 avoidable mortality and under-5 infant mortality total 0.677 million and 0.295 million, respectively; the post-1967 avoidable mortality and under-5 infant mortality total 0.319 million and 0.166 million, respectively; and the current “annual under-5 infant mortality” percentage is over 4 times HIGHER than in Israel
We must remind ourselves that whether a child dies violently from bombs or bullets or non-violently from deprivation, the end result is the same and the culpability the same. Further, the Ruler is responsible for the Ruled and this is set out quite clearly in Articles 55 and 56 of the Geneva Conventions (1949) that demand that the foreign Occupier of a country acts “to the fullest extent of the means available to it” to preserve the health and life of subject civilians.
“Article 55. To the fullest extent of the means available to it, the Occupying Power has the duty of ensuring the food and medical supplies of the population; it should, in particular, bring in the necessary foodstuffs, medical stores and other articles if the resources of the occupied territory are inadequate …
Article 56. To the fullest extent of the means available to it, the Occupying Power has the duty of ensuring and maintaining, with the cooperation of the national and local authorities, the medical and hospital establishments and services, public health and hygiene in the occupied territory, with particular reference to the adoption and application of the prophylactic and preventive measures necessary to combat the spread of contagious diseases and epidemics. Medical personnel of all categories shall be allowed to carry out their duties …”
A succession of Israeli governments have manifestly FAILED in their obligations to the Palestinians under the Geneva Conventions – as well as violating international law, numerous UN Resolutions and numerous articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. However Israel and its primary backer, the US, both regard themselves as “special” and refuse to ratify international agreement on the International Criminal Court and accordingly refuse to accept its authority (see:here).
The Jewish Holocaust (6 million victims) has given rise to the Jewish assertion of “Never again” – which accounts in part for the intransigence of Israel over peace with the Palestinians. “Terrorism” has been used as a convenient excuse for continued, human rights-abusing occupation. However the Jewish Holocaust has instructed millions of decent Jews both in Israel and around the world that ANY human rights violation is abhorrent – a view unfortunately not shared with expansionist Israeli war criminals and their fanatical, racist supporters. Indeed Israeli racism and fanaticism has helped feed Western Islamophobia and gross human rights violations, most notably UK-US democratic imperialism (democratic tyranny) that is now responsible for 2.1 million post-invasion avoidable deaths in the Occupied Iraqi and Afghan Territories (see MWC News).
The human cost of Israel is not simply confined to the Arab inhabitants of Palestine. Israel also has COMPLICITY IN (as distinct from “responsibility for”) immense post-1950 avoidable mortality in neighboring countries it has violently partly occupied (29 million deaths) and in countries (excluding the USS Liberty incident) that it has attacked militarily (42 million). Further, in a resource hungry world, money means lives and it is estimated that Israel has cost the US about US$3 trillion and the world as a whole US$6 trillion to US$12 trillion (see: here).
Decent people must insist on PEACE NOW for Israel-Palestine. With sincerity and goodwill it is possible to have an INTERIM PEACE IMMEDIATELY with a dramatic improvement in the lives of Palestinians and Israelis – and especially for their CHILDREN. The following is simply ONE eminently workable
INTERIM PEACE PLAN FOR THE HOLY LAND:
2 independent states defined by the 1967 borders; Palestinian militia disarmament; total, airport-level security provided everywhere jointly by Israelis and Palestinians (or as an INTERIM measure, initially largely by Israelis alone to permit IMMEDIATE implementation); military defense of Israel-Palestine provided by Israel alone (a major INTERIM measure to enable IMMEDIATE implementation); removal of all illegal settlements (or their retention by decision of the Palestinian state with settlement Jews wishing to remain as citizens of the Palestinian state paying rent to the original owners); all human rights including democracy and the rule of law guaranteed in both “Israel” and “Palestine” (with UN, EU, International Court of Justice and other inspection and guarantees); racism and incitement illegal; active reconciliation mechanisms; and, MOST IMPORTANTLY, access to ALL of the Holy Land (except for military facilities) for ALL Palestinians and Israelis.
This Interim Peace Plan is eminently workable and indeed, in terms of requisite security, is an approximation of the situation immediately after the 1967 Israeli occupation.
The above statistics are appalling but even these numbers hide the awful impact of continuing Israeli occupation primarily on Palestinians and especially Palestinian children – but also on Israelis, Jews, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, the region and the world. Thus the Palestine conflict disproportionately distracts the world from MAJOR problems, most notably the DAILY global avoidable mortality of 45,000 from deprivation-related causes and the DAILY global under-5 infant mortality of 30,000 that is largely avoidable. The post-1950 avoidable mortality has totalled 1.3 billion for the world, 1.2 billion for the non-European world and 0.6 billion for the Muslim world – a Muslim Holocaust 100 times greater than the Jewish Holocaust (6 million victims) or the contemporaneous but “forgotten” WW2 man-made Bengal Famine in British-occupied India (4 million victims).
What is the realistic alternative to such immediate peace with justice? Palestine is remorselessly heading towards a situation in which about 4 million Palestinians of the Occupied Palestinian Territories will be progressively confined to 4 tightly-guarded, densely-populated, walled-in concentration camps (Gaza, Samaria, East Jerusalem and Judaea) with continuing trauma, hopelessness, tit-for-tat violence, gross avoidable mortality and the genocidal prospect of “leave or die” when racist, Zionist fanatics decide to simply turn off the water supply. This nightmare scenario is presently being realized but is UTTERLY UNACCEPTABLE to decent people and already merits Sanctions and Boycotts as successfully applied to the racist Apartheid régime in White minority-ruled South Africa.
Hopefully an even BETTER Interim Peace Plan can be envisaged for IMMEDIATE implementation – if so, it should be URGENTLY advanced, discussed and rapidly implemented. Peace with Justice for the Holy Land is realistically possible NOW.