Jerusalem – A new peace plan in Israel is gaining attention for its controversial suggestions to solve the current conflicts in Gaza.
Known as The Sanders Peace Plan, written by Michael S. Sanders, Director of Expeditions and Research at the Ancient Cultures Research Foundation, the proposal suggests a new paradigm for a comprehensive peace solution in the Middle East.
The Sanders Peace Plan is based on the idea that “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 Israel. All Jews living in Palestine would be citizens of Israel but residents of Palestine.”
To understand the particulars of the Sanders plan, it would be instructive to see how Sanders addresses three key issues:
1) “The Right of Return.” Sanders posits that “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.”
Sanders does not seem to know that the “right of return” is not only an “in principle” negotiating position of the Palestinian Arab leadership.
Instead, the notion of “right of return” represents the impassioned philosophy which unites all Palestinian factions around the idea that they have the inherent right for descendants of Arab refugees from the 1948 war to replace the state of Israel.
Since the inception of the Palestinian Authority in 1994, the PA has indoctrinated a new generation to believe in and fight to the death for the “inalienable” right to return to the 531 villages that they left in 1948. Sanders should peruse www.PalestineRemembered.com to see how Palestinians have carefully charted their return to every one of these villages, regardless of whether or not Israelis live there now.
2) “The Final Boundaries”. Sanders posits that ” Palestinians 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’…” and that “The Israelis wish to keep Jerusalem as an undivided capital of Israel and not dismantle large ‘settlement’ blocks on the east of the 1967 ‘borders’ …”
Sanders suggests a solution to this issue by suggesting that Israelis and Arabs be granted the right to purchase land on both sides of the 1967 line, allowing Arabs to live in Israel, while allowing Jews to live in a future Palestinian Arab state.
Sanders does not seem to know that the Palestinian leadership has never seen a future Palestinian state limited to the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza. The consistent and unchanging position of the Palestinian leadership, expressed in all Arabic content of the Palestinian Authority schools and media, remains their demand for control over all of Jerusalem and for hegemony over all of Palestine. In March 2003, after sources in the Vatican disclosed the constitution of the Palestinian Authority to this reporter, these goals of the Palestinian leadership were confirmed.
3) “Jerusalem and the Temple Mount”. Sanders posits that “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.”
Sanders ignores the fact that Israel recognizes that both Islam and Judaism recognize the holiness of the Temple Mount to their respective religions, while the Palestinian Arab leadership recognizes no Jewish right to the Temple Mount.
The fact that the Palestinian Arab leadership has sought to destroy archaeological artifacts found on the Temple Mount is far from an “archaeological misunderstanding.”
It is difficult for Sanders and some other advocates of Middle East peace to understand the tenacity and the ferocity of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, as represented by entities such as the PLO and Hamas, neither of whom seek a rational means to resolve the current Middle East crisis.
David Bedein can be reached at Media@actcom.co.il. His Web site is www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com
©The Bulletin 2007