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An Unorthodox Solution
The conflict between Israel and Palestine is one that has been going on for over 65 years. Conventional solutions have been tried and have failed. A simple border change isn’t going to be enough at this point; something new and unorthodox needs to be tried. A one-state solution is refused by both parties in their desire for political, cultural, and demographic reasons. A two-state solution is seeming more and more difficult to bring to fruition. Something new needs to be found before the only option left is a genocide or worse. People are suffering and dying for the lack of action. These two factions can’t agree on a border location, so why not remove the border entirely?
This solution is referred to as the “One Land, Two State” (OLTS) solution. This envisages a joint land, with no lines drawn as borders, but still separate in government and people. Israel and Palestine would have parallel state structures, each governing its own individuals throughout the territory. Joint security and defense policies, a common and equitable economic policy, and harmonized legislation would all be part of the end-all-be-all of this solution.
Each state would be able to keep their own national symbols, government, parliament, and foreign representation and policy. They could have the choice to unite further by joining a defense union, an economic union, and/or a customs union. A single currency, labor market, and external management system might be part of this arrangement. Of course, harmonized legislation in areas such as road traffic, taxes, and police forces would need to be designed. A few of these things are even partially in place today. However, these states still have a long ways to go before this goal could be said to be accomplished.
For now, it must be acknowledged that this is just a distant hope. Both states see the other as a malignant force, even to the extent where they are teaching their children about the inherent evil of the other. After years of war, they aren’t likely to mix and mingle freely just at the say-so of their leaders. But within a half century, maybe complete and lasting peace could be achieved. In the meantime, a cease-fire and a meeting of the state’s leaders is a good start. After all of the fighting, it certainly won’t be as simple as yelling “Cease fire!” into the masses. Instead, the Egyptian military is going to have to step in and provide some support. Egypt has previously mentioned their desire for peace between the two warring groups, and as a result, they should be willing to push for peace. Mediating peace talks and monitoring the violence.
The United States and most European countries regard both factions as major threats or even terrorists. As a result, they are not likely to be very helpful in arbitrating the peace talks. Egypt has, at the very least, stated a desire for peace between Israel and Palestine. This, coupled with their significant military size, makes them the most likely candidate.
Complete integration isn’t possible for now, nor is it to be expected. Instead, a slow blurring of the borders that separate the countries, a cease-fire, and a meeting to discuss the joint future of both groups is more in order. With the help if the Egyptian militia, this should be well within the realm of possibility.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Mahmoud Abbas would be required to meet in a neutral location, Jerusalem (which has been claimed as a capital by both sides), to discuss the new arrangement. Before being allowed to leave, they must come to an agreement about plans for a joint future, as well as a declaration of peace.
During these meetings, the entire territory falls into military control of Egypt. Both sides need to agree that Egypt will: reinforce the same curfews in Israel and Palestine; have the same crime punishment system; be in charge of civilians. During this time, we can expect that there will be less resistance from civilians. This military control will only be temporary, and it is a far better fate than many of the citizens are dealing with now.
There are millions of refugees from this conflict spread throughout nearby locations, including Jordan, Egypt, West Bank, Gaza, and several others. These people will need to be returned to their ancestral homes as soon as possible, with as little conflict as can be managed. Some may choose to stay in the new homes they have made, but others may be willing to move to the new locations made available to them through the porous borders.
Even the basic step of deciding the nationality of each individual is going to be something unheard of before. It must be decided between the two parties themselves: previous nationality, demographics, individual choice, ancestral belongings, or religion. Another method may be chosen, as long as there is mutual agreement. Dual nationality is also something that would have to be discussed, based upon the way nationality is determined in the first place.
As a whole, this solution is going to take a lot of time and trust on both sides during implementation, but the end-all-be-all has the ability to end the suffering of innumerable people, while at the same time meeting the requirements both sides had for the making of peace. It is a long-term solution for sure, but with the assistance of the Egyptians it will at least bring some measure of relief in the meantime. The One Land Two State solution is something different and unheard of, but that may be just what it takes to solve this impossible problem.