Herbert Kelman and the Pursuit of a Two-State Solution

By on / Daily, International Negotiation

Many PON-affiliated faculty have been at the forefront of scholarship and policy on Middle East issues. Herbert Kelman, Professor of Social Ethics, Emeritus, at Harvard University, has written extensively on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and previously convened high-level, off-the-record meetings between senior members of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and Israeli policymakers and academics. His belief that military conflict had proven incapable of resolving the seemingly intractable problem of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict led him to suggest new negotiating strategies which might produce a breakthrough. In a recent Op-Ed in the Boston Globe,  Kelman said that despite the lack of a breakthrough in negotiations, the United States should take the lead on drafting a resolution recognizing a Palestinian state, with certain conditions.

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  • Israel – Palestinian Peace

    Without Israeli and Palestinian agreement, a lasting solution is impracticable. I have a suggestion which may take root in the soil between the rocks of the troubled land.

    The objective is for Israel and Palestine to agree to live along side each other with an agreed border, and with a population/immigration policy that allows citizens to legally transit between the states responding to economic opportunities, e.g., employment.

    Both Palestinians and Jews have experienced diasporas. The right of return ought to apply to both. Jews and Palestinians could have the right to migrate between Israel and Palestine like Canadians and Mexicans do with us when they have a job.

    Israelis resident in Palestine, and Palestinians resident in Israel, could own property in either state in accordance with the laws of each state. Citizenship would be subject to the laws of each state. Voting would require citizenship. Permanent resident aliens would enjoy equality before the law.

    My suggestion resolves some basic issues. The demographic and political issues of the state of Israel would be manageable. The number of Palestinians returning would depend on the economic need and absorptive capacity of the Israeli state. The spectre of a wave of Palestinian refugees overwhelming Israelis by shear numbers would be unrealistic.

    The issue of settlements would also diminish. Settlements on Palestinian land would continue to be titled to Israelis, but subject to Palestinian law, and visa versa. Israelis living in these settlements would continue to live and work there, or in Israel, as a commuting work force.

    Claims originating at the birth of the two states could be settled by an agency with appropriate funding and authority. Funding would be subscribed to by national and international agencies.

    Insofar as security is concerned, hostility between Israelis and Palestinians would begin to lose political credibility. A rising tide of trade and employment would make peace and tranquility a popular objective. In the interim, an international security force could be introduced, say, along the Jordan River, to maintain tranquility between the states.

    Israel as a homeland for Jews would be settled.

    Jerusalem remains. That issue is resolved largely based on negotiations to date. The wisdom of “Solomon” has taken hold.

    Best regards,

    Jaime L. Manzano
    Federal Senior Executive and Foreign Service Officer (Retired)
    7904 Park Overlook Drive
    Bethesda, MD 20817

    Reply

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