Arc of Prosperity

Scottish Independence within the EU – with a Scandinavian Slant


Switzerland between the river and the sea

It’s been nearly three months since the conflict between Hamas and Israel erupted. Israel’s ongoing efforts to dismantle Hamas have, regrettably, led to significant suffering for the people of Gaza, far beyond the impact on Hamas itself. This raises a critical concern: even if Israel achieves its immediate objectives against Hamas, the deepening resentment among Gazans could lead to the emergence of numerous groups with ideologies similar to Hamas in the future.

Given these circumstances, considering a sustainable and peaceful resolution to the Israel-Palestine conflict is imperative. We need a solution that allows everyone to live in harmony, one that doesn’t perpetuate a cycle of pain and conflict.

Upon reflection, a two-state solution might not be viable. Though appealing in theory, its practicalities pose significant challenges. How can Israel feel secure with an independent state, potentially armed, at its border?

Conversely, if this independent Palestine lacks a military force, wouldn’t this leave it vulnerable to potential domination by Israel, possibly fuelling further acts of terrorism against Israel?

Rejecting the notion of an apartheid state leaves us with the possibility of a one-state solution. This often gets dismissed due to concerns about demographic shifts and the potential for a Palestinian majority to marginalise the Israeli population. However, an innovative approach could be considered: a framework similar to Switzerland’s. Imagine a state comprising cantons – some predominantly Israeli, others Palestinian, with a Druze canton and several mixed ones. A constitution requiring a two-thirds majority of cantons for amendments ensures neither Israelis nor Palestinians can unilaterally alter it.

Adopting a Swiss-style military organisation could significantly contribute to fostering unity and cooperation in this proposed one-state solution. This military, structured along cantonal lines and bilingual in Hebrew and Arabic, would not only serve as a practical defence force but also as a powerful symbol of shared security interests and mutual respect. Its composition would reflect the diverse demographics of the state, with both Israelis and Palestinians serving side by side, promoting understanding and reducing mistrust between communities. Regular joint training and operations would further reinforce a sense of shared purpose and destiny, essential for the long-term stability of a unified state.

A cornerstone of this proposal is implementing a comprehensive right of return policy. This would extend to all individuals with ancestral ties to the region, encompassing not only Jews dating back two millennia but also Palestinians displaced in more recent times, such as those whose grandparents fled in 1948. This policy acknowledges the deep historical and emotional connections many people worldwide have with this land. Implementing such a policy would be complex and require careful management to ensure it contributes positively to the state’s demographic balance and social harmony, but it’s a crucial step in healing the wounds of the past and building a future based on equality and respect.

The establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, mirroring South Africa’s successful post-apartheid model, could play an instrumental role in this process. This commission would provide a neutral and respected platform where individuals and communities can openly discuss past grievances, atrocities and injustices. Through this process, a shared historical narrative could be constructed, acknowledging the pain and suffering of all sides. Such a commission would facilitate the crucial process of reconciliation, enabling individuals and communities to move forward from a place of mutual understanding and respect.

While some might dismiss this as a utopian idea, its practicality and potential effectiveness in creating a peaceful, democratic state cannot be overstated. This approach respects the rights, histories and aspirations of all people connected to the land between the river and the sea. It offers a vision of a future where coexistence and mutual respect are not just ideals but lived realities, paving the way towards a stable, prosperous and harmonious region. This may be a challenging path, but it holds the promise of a lasting peace and a thriving society for generations to come.

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