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

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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.