The Israeli Palestinian Conflict – And What a Solution Could Be
The next round of efforts to negotiate a peace deal between Israel and Palestine does not start promising. And some people have spent almost all their lifetime to bring forward a peace deal without any results – not to talk about almost every US president and numberless international initiatives. That is a situation the world no longer can afford. It costs hundreds and thousands of lives in many places around the world – and almost as important – it costs the western values lots (if not all) of its credibility in one of the worlds’ actually most important regions. It is one of the most successful recruiting and fundraising arguments for terrorism and it endangers the security in even the remotest and seemingly securest places around the world. And one of the most unsettling consequences: it even corrupts our own values in the western world.
How do we normally solve conflicts?
If we look at the way civilian societies solve conflicts between two parties that belong to the same society, our mechanisms are quite clear. Think for example of two neighbours in the outskirts of a city battling over garden fences and tool sheds in the disputed area between these two households. And think of an escalating private conflict that is fought by shouting matches, occupying the disputed area, kidnapping cats, poisoning dogs, barricading the gateway with parking cars, threatening the physical health of persons, occasionally firing bullets into the neighbour’s house, exploding gas-powered grills, organising terrorising gangs and at the end even putting other neighbours at risk.
At the beginning of this conflict other neighbours are trying to moderate the conflicting parties. If this does not help someone will call the police that are safeguarding the situation. Afterwards the two conflicting parties will be put before court to get returned a verdict. The conflicting parties are given the right to appeal against the judgement and even to raise objections against the judges. But ultimately there will be a judgement that is irrevocable and the parties will have to settle with this verdict. In most of those cases, nobody will be perfectly happy with the outcome and there will be some minor skirmish between these two parties afterwards. But everybody who is not obeying to the verdict risks to be penalised or even to be put in prison. Over the years the wounds heal and later generations have the chance to live together even harmonically.
Historically exceptional problem solving
There could be other ways to solve conflicts – e.g. one party or even both parties rise above themselves and propose selfless compromises (Mandela, Gandhi, Schuman/Adenauer, Sadat/Begin). But these persons are very rare. And they have to have a great personal history, a good timing and a strong standing in their own community so that these compromises cannot be denounced as cowardice, selling off common interests (for own advancement) or simple stupidity.
We cannot afford waiting any longer for Mandelas in Israel and Gandhis in Palestine
If we hope for a negotiated peace deal we place a very, very high bet that one or two personalities of such a stature arise in the Israeli Palestinian Conflict. Actually all players are far too weak in their own community to rise above themselves and above the legitimate fears in their communities to lead their peoples toward peace. And we do not see white hope for such persons in the near future.
Therefore let’s use our «normal and proven process of conflict solving» in this conflict. Neighbours already tried to moderate. We have sent police in this region several times (UNTSO, UNEF, UNDOF, UNIFIL – although most of the time only with the consent of the conflicting parties and not in the cause of Israeli Palestine Conflict). Before this conflict escalates into another hot war there again, let’s bring this case and the two conflicting parties to court to return a verdict in a civilised way. Define a well balanced team of widely undisputed judges with high profiles and different origins and with no stakes in this conflict. Give the conflicting parties the right to raise objections but with the ultimate imperative to have a team of judges in place at the end of this process. Let them submit their arguments and claims. And let the court decide on the solution. Arrange for the enforcement of this verdict in the international community in advance of the court. And make clear, that not accepting this court or not participating in the court will only make your case weaker – but will not avoid a verdict and its enforcement.
Even a bad solution is better than no solution
To be clear, there will be no perfect solution. There will be no fair solution. History makes fair solutions impossible. We only can try to make a verdict as just as possible. And we have to enforce this verdict as the verdict at last instance with no possibility to appeal and with the strong support of the main powers of the world. It is not an easy way and we will have to overcome lots of hurdles. But it is obvious that we have to solve this conflict and that we will never get to a negotiated solution – and that we do not want a solution by the outcome of a war.
Over the years and decades both parties will live better in the situation of the verdict than in the actual situation, even though they did not agree to it or even strongly opposed to it. Over the years most of the people settle with a situation that is not to be changed, especially if it brings the fruits of peace and co-operation into everybody’s life. And the world will live better and benefit from the peace dividend. And we all can focus our energies on other important tasks like improving the lives of the poorest in the world and in every country or inventing new sources of energy.