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The Case for Peace
By Alan Dershowitz
John Wiley & SonsISBN: 0-471-74317-8
Chapter OneThe End Result
Two States with Secure and Recognized Borders
We all know what the final agreement will look like, but meanwhile young people are dying. That's what makes this so painful. It just breaks my heart. -Former president Bill Clinton
Like it or not, [Israelis and Palestinians] must recognize that their fate is intertwined. Their choice is either to live in perpetual struggle, with endless victims, pain, sorrow, and destruction, or to live in peaceful coexistence. From all the efforts I made over the years, I am certain that the mainstreams of both sides understand that reality. However, translating that understanding from an abstraction into a practical reality has proven far more difficult than I had hoped. -Dennis Ross, Middle East adviser and chief negotiator under Presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton
[T]he question today is not what the final agreement will look like, but rather how much more time do we have before any agreement becomes impossible to implement. -Marwan Jilani, executive director of the Geneva Initiative
Sometimes it is better to start at the end. There seems to be more agreement among Palestinian and Israeli negotiators about what a final resolution will look like than about the steps that must be taken to get to that point. An absence of trust-the result of years of missteps, missed opportunities, anddomestic posturing-has created a "chicken-egg" problem: each side wants the other side to show good faith before it is prepared to give up any important bargaining chips. Neither side can afford to give up too many chips without getting at least an equal number from the other side, lest it lose credibility among skeptical members of its own constituencies. Yet both sides understand that they will, eventually, have to exchange these chips if peace is to be accomplished. For example, all reasonable people acknowledge that the final borders will incorporate Israel's large permanent settlements (really towns-such as Maale Adumim) into Israel, and that these suburbs of Jerusalem will become contiguous with Jewish Jerusalem. That is the reality on the ground, as former president Bill Clinton, President George W. Bush, and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas recognize. But by announcing that Maale Adumim will be expanded in the direction of Jerusalem before a final agreement is reached, the Israeli government has usurped a bargaining chip from the Palestinians and engendered distrust among some Palestinian moderates. At the same time, by announcing now these future plans for expansion of Israeli areas, the Israeli government has given an important chip to Israeli moderates on the right who are somewhat skeptical about the unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. Thus, even when it comes to gathering support among moderates, many steps have a zero-sum quality.
Also, opponents to peace on both sides understand how easy it is to exploit mutual distrust by provocative actions calculated to draw a response from the other side and create a cycle of recrimination. A disturbing instance of this exploitation was reported by the Associated Press on April 8, 2005:
Tens of thousands of Hamas supporters paraded through downtown Gaza City on Friday, threatening to end a monthlong truce if Jewish extremists follow through on a pledge to hold a rally at a disputed holy site in Jerusalem next week....
Jewish extremists say that in July, when the Gaza evacuation is to begin, they will bring tens of thousands of people to the Temple Mount, forcing police to divert their attention from the pullout to Jerusalem....
Abbas said Friday that the Palestinians have been in contact with Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz of Israel about the rally.
"We have a pledge from the Israelis that they will prevent any aggression on Al Aqsa Mosque, and we hope so," Abbas said.
So before we get to the difficult steps, and the order in which they should be taken, let us first address the end result.
The Arab-Israeli conflict should end with a two-state solution under which all the Arab and Muslim states-indeed the entire world-acknowledge Israel's right to continue to exist as an independent, democratic, Jewish state with secure and defensible boundaries and free of terrorism. In exchange, Israel should recognize the right of Palestinians to establish an independent, democratic, Palestinian state with politically and economically viable boundaries. For these mutually compatible goals to be achieved, extremists on both sides must give up what they each claim are their God-given or nationalistic rights. Israeli extremists must give up their claimed right to all of biblical Eretz Yisrael (the land of Israel) and their claimed right to maintain Jewish settlements on, or to continue the military occupation of, disputed areas that would be allocated to the Palestinian state. Palestinian extremists must give up their claimed right to all of "Palestine," including what is now Israel, as well as the alleged right of millions of descendants of those who left or were forced out of what is now Israel during the war of 1947-1949 to "return" to their "ancestral homes" in Israel. Unless these claimed rights are mutually surrendered in the interest of achieving a pragmatic, compromise resolution to the conflict, there can be no enduring peace. But if these claimed rights are surrendered, peace can be achieved. The remaining disputes-and there are many-will be much easier to resolve if agreement is reached on these fundamental issues.
It would follow from Israel's renouncing all claims to remain on Palestinian land that the military occupation would end and the Palestinian government would exercise political control over its land and the movement of its people. And it would follow from the Palestinian renunciation of claims to all of Israel and to any right of return that there could be no justification for terrorism, "resistance," or any other violence against Israelis, and that the Palestinian government would be responsible for preventing and punishing any such violence. I do not mean to suggest that the occupation "justified" terrorism, only that even those who erroneously claimed justification could no longer credibly do so.
The precise borders would, of course, have to be negotiated, but there is already in existence an agreed-upon international formula for resolving this divisive issue. Resolution 242, enacted by the UN Security Council in 1967, provides as follows:
[The Security Council] (1) Affirms that the fulfillment of Charter principles requires the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East which should include the application of both of the following principles: (i) Withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent  conflict: (ii) Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force.
The "legislative history" of that important resolution provides guidance on how the borders should be determined. Soon after the end of the Six-Day War in 1967, the Soviet Union agreed to rearm Egypt. Egypt, in turn, embarked on an intermittent war of attrition against Israel. As Egyptian attacks escalated in frequency and severity, America's ambassador to the UN, former Supreme Court justice Arthur Goldberg (for whom I had, three years earlier, served as a law clerk and with whom I continued to consult on legal matters at the UN), drafted language that he hoped would frame subsequent peace negotiations. The United States found a willing cosponsor in Great Britain and negotiated language that eventually was adopted by unanimous vote of the Security Council.
Notably, the Security Council recognized that it could not reasonably ask Israel to return to the old armistice borders-agreed to as part of the end of the War of Independence in 1949-from which it had been threatened just months earlier. Resolution 242 demands Israeli withdrawal only from "territories," not "the territories" or "all the territories." This is no legal technicality; the definite article was omitted quite intentionally, and after extensive discussion, so that Israel would be free to negotiate reasonable and mutually secure borders with the defeated states that had threatened it. The Soviet Union had insisted that the resolution demand the return of "all" or at least "the" captured territories, but that view was rejected.
During the UN debate, Ambassador Goldberg argued, as described in Security Council records, that "[t]o seek withdrawal without secure and recognized boundaries ... would be just as fruitless as to seek secure and recognized boundaries without withdrawal. Historically there have never been secure or recognized boundaries in the area. Neither the armistice lines of 1949 nor the cease-fire lines of 1967 have answered that description ... such boundaries have yet to be agreed upon." Goldberg explained further, "The notable omissions-which were not accidental-in regard to withdrawal are the words 'the' or 'all' and 'the June 5, 1967 lines'.... [T]he resolution speaks of withdrawal from occupied territories without defining the extent of withdrawal."
Following the adoption of Resolution 242, in an address on September 10, 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson stated, "It is clear, however, that a return to the situation of June 4, 1967, will not bring peace. There must be secure and there must be recognized borders." The New York Times even printed a correction of its coverage of the resolution: "An article yesterday about peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians referred incorrectly to United Nations resolutions on the conflict. While Security Council Resolution 242, passed after the 1967 Middle East war, calls for Israel to withdraw its armed forces 'from territories occupied in the recent conflict,' no resolution calls for Israel to withdraw 'to its pre-1967 borders.'"
This legislative history clearly establishes that the pre-1967 "green lines"-the borders that contributed to the 1967 war-are not to be the "secure and recognized boundaries" contemplated by Resolution 242. Nor would major additions to the Israeli territory be consistent with the resolution. Relatively small adjustments, designed to assure mutual security would, however, be acceptable. This has been the operative assumption behind the two previous efforts to define new borders in the interests of peace: the Clinton-Barak and Geneva proposals. Both contemplated Israel's annexing the areas around Jerusalem on which thousands of Israelis now live in densely populated suburbs such as Maale Adumim, composed of large apartment complexes.
The Clinton-Barak proposals would have allocated to Israel small areas crucial to its security and made small adjustments to the Green Line amounting to less than 5 percent of the West Bank. In return, Israel offered to cede to Palestine certain areas inside Israel, adjacent to the West Bank. In the end, Israel agreed to an unspecified international presence and some early warning stations with virtually no permanent Israeli military presence. The Geneva proposals, drafted by private Israelis and Palestinians in 2003, contemplated borders based on the 1967 lines "with reciprocal modifications on a 1:1 basis." The difference between these proposals, though significant, amounted to a tiny portion of the total land at issue. It is, of course, uncertain what the final borders might look like now, since the Palestinians would no longer be negotiating with Barak or Clinton. That train left the station when Arafat rejected the Clinton-Barak offer, the second intifada was started, and both Clinton and Barak left office. The Palestinians will almost certainly get less now-after years of bloodshed and more than four thousand deaths-than they would have gotten had they accepted the Clinton-Barak offer or if they had offered a reasonable counterproposal. That is as it should be, if terrorism is not to be rewarded and negotiation discouraged. But if the Palestinians now enter into good-faith negotiations, and make best efforts to end terrorism, they will still get all of the Gaza Strip and nearly all of the West Bank.
A front-page story in the New York Times analyzing Israel's building decisions concluded that the most Israel will claim is approximately 3 percent more than what was offered at Camp David. "Clinton was down to 5 percent of the West Bank, and here you are down to 8 percent before final-status negotiations," according to David Makovsky of the Washington Institute of Near East Policy. "It has to be modified and agreed upon by the parties, but before our eyes we see the rough shape of a two-state solution," he concluded. Under this plan, "99.5 percent of Palestinians would live" in the new Palestinian state, with "fewer than 10,000 of the two million [West Bank] Palestinians" living within Israel. Moreover, 177,000 of the 240,000 Israeli "settlers" who now live in the West Bank (not including East Jerusalem itself) would be within the new Israeli borders and the remaining 63,000 would be evacuated to Israel. The Times concluded that "the likely impact of the provisional new border on Palestinian life is, perhaps surprisingly, smaller than generally assumed."
Once a permanent border is agreed on, the issue of a security fence diminishes in importance, because any such fence (like the existing Gaza fence) would be on the border, not inside Palestinian territory. To the extent that the Palestinian government could control violence from within its borders, the fence would become unnecessary, and eventually the borders could reopen without the need for security checkpoints. But until that time, the border fence would help make good neighbors by reducing both terrorism by extremists and retaliation by the Israeli military.
Until the death of Yasser Arafat, no Palestinian leader was willing to accept statehood for the Palestinians if it also meant acceptance of Israel. In 1937, the Peel Commission suggested, in essence, a two-state solution, with the proposed Jewish state (in which Jews would be a large majority) being tiny and noncontiguous, and the proposed Palestinian state being large and contiguous. Although the Jewish Agency (the unofficial "government" of the pre-Israel Jewish Yishuv) was greatly disappointed by the proposal, and despite the strong opposition of many Jews, it ultimately agreed to the recommendation. The Palestinians, led by the grand mufti of Jerusalem, categorically rejected the two-state solution, arguing that establishing an independent Palestinian state would require acceptance of a Jewish state, tiny and noncontiguous as it would be. Such an acceptance of any Jewish sovereignty, regardless of the size of the land, would be inconsistent with Islamic law as the grand mufti interpreted it. Palestinian leaders "clung to the principle that Palestine was part of Syria" and that there should be neither a Palestinian state nor any Jewish self-rule, "political power," or "privilege." The grand mufti even refused to "provide guarantees for the safety of the Jewish population in the event of an Arab Palestinian state."
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Table of ContentsAcknowledgments.
Introduction: The Case for Peace.
PART I: Overcoming the Geopolitical Barriers to Peace.
1. The End Result: Two States with Secure and Recognized Borders.
2. Is the One-State Solution a Barrier to Peace?
3. Is a Noncontiguous Palestinian State a Barrier to Peace?
4. Can Peace Be Achieved without Compromising Rights?
5. Is the Division of Jerusalem a Barrier to Peace?
6. Are the Informal Geneva Accords a Basis for or a Barrier to Peace?
7. Can Israel Make Peace and Prevent Terrorism at the Same Time?
8. Are Israeli Counterterrorism Measures the Cause of Suicide Bombings and a Barrier to Peace?
9. What If a Palestinian State Became a Launching Pad for Terrorism?
10. Will Civil Wars Be Necessary to Bring About Peace?
11. Is the Security Fence a Barrier to Peace?
12. Is a Militarized Palestine a Barrier to Peace?
13. Is the Iranian Nuclear Threat a Barrier to Peace?
PART II: Overcoming the Hatred Barriers to Peace.
14. More Palestinian Than the Palestinians.
15. More Israeli Than the Israelis.
16. A Case Study in Hate and Intimidation.
17. Will Anti-Semitism Decrease as Israel Moves toward Peace with the Palestinians?
Conclusion: The Contributions Peace Can Make.
What People are Saying About This
"In The Case for Peace, Alan Dershowitz has offered a thoughtful and profoundly logical response to all the critical questions about what sustains the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians and what can end it. For anyone who believes in peace, even while having doubts about whether it can be achieved, this is an important book to read."
—Dennis Ross, Middle East advisor and chief negotiator under Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton
"Alan Dershowitz has done it again! Just as he brilliantly presented the Case for Israel, he cogently argues that now is the time for peace between Israelis and Palestinians, with the passing of Yasser Arafat and the democratic election of Mahmoud Abbas. The Case for Peace, like The Case for Israel, takes aim at Israel’s enemies, but Alan Dershowitz now recognizes that the enemies of peace, in the extremist camp of the Palestinians and Israel, are also enemies of an Israel that deserves to have peace within secure borders next to a Palestinian state. He properly takes special aim at those American academics who insist that only a one state solution will provide justice for Palestinians, a certain prescription for the end of Israel as a Jewish state."
—Stuart Eizenstadt, former senior official in the Carter and Clinton administrations
"Alan Dershowitz has been on the forefront of making the case for Israel and against terrorism. Now he turns his attention to making the case for peace. He understands, as I do, how difficult it is to achieve peace with security. He confronts these difficulties with insight and with the benefit of years of experience."
"Alan Dershowitz's The Case For Peace is a sober, pragmatic and yet enthusiastic voice for peace between Israel and Palestine, to be based not on sentimentalist wishful thinking and not on dogmatic theorizing but on realism and empathy. I read it with thrill."
"Alan Dershowitz brings his exceptional skills as a legal and political thinker to this concise and compelling argument for Middle Eastern peace. The simple chord that resonates through the complex scenarios described in The Case for Peace is one of decency and respect for Palestinians, for Israelis, and, ultimately, for humanity itself. With an eye toward shared benefits and lasting resolution, Dershowitz offers a pragmatic proposal rooted in the lessons of the past and the opportunities of the present. Hopeful and wise, the blueprint for stability presented in this book is among the best in recent years."
-- President Bill Clinton