Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Amir Peretz and Labor to Lease Land for Peace

Amir Peretz, the new head of the Labor Party in Israel, is campaigning on quality of life and social issues as opposed to campaigning on the issues involving peace and the Palestinians. But of course peace goes hand in hand with quality of life in Israel, and any person running for office needs a position on peace.

But like with every other issue, Peretz has out-of-the-box solutions to the Arab-Israeli conflict, centering on the return of all settlements to Palestine, with Israel leasing large settlement blocks back from the Palestinians. Using the model of Hong Kong from the late 19th century, Peretz is now bringing a fresh set of ideas to a conflict which has not had an original solution since Wye River negotiations broke down in 1998.

I have no idea if Palestine would agree to lease the land to Israel. Nor do I know whether return of the land without giving Palestinians use of the land would be enough right now to stop the fighting. But I do know that some out of the box thinking is exactly what is necessary to get this stalemate out of the rut it is in.

I do wonder if other leasing options would be possible as well. For example, there is a sparsely populated area in Jordan, on the East bank of the Jordan River, which runs 15 miles north and 10 miles east from the Northern Border of the Dead Sea. 3 villages are in the area, Shunat Nimrin, Ash Shaghur and Al Mazar, but all three are sparsely populated by nomadic people. The land is right across the Jordan from areas of the Palestinian West Bank, and Ash Shaghur is due East of Jericho.

As part of a peace agreement, could Israel sign a long term lease for that land, and provide to the Palestinians in hope of creating a larger continuous Palestinian nation? This would grow the country tremendously, and would provide a much easier connection between the East and West Bank then will ever be found between the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Again, it’s just one possibility just like Peretz’ solution. Maybe neither solution will work, or help, or come to fruition. But I think it can only help to start examining new ideas, such as Peretz is doing. Only by looking out-of-the-box will we find the solution for peace in the war-torn region.

Posted by Scottage at 7:30 PM / | |