Harvard Law professor, Alan Dershowitz, is a veritable industry for writing, lecturing and preaching. Although overbearing, even boorish at times– and not really the expert on Israeli-Arab relations that he thinks he is– his core views on the conflict are not bad. He believes in a two-state solution and sees Israel’s settlements as problematic.
According to The National newspaper of the United Arab Emirates, Dershowitz and a visiting professor of Islamic Legal Studies at Harvard Law, Chibli Mallat, have agreed upon a reasonable text for the United Nations to adopt regarding the Palestinian Authority’s application for recognition as a state. It is strikingly similar to a framework I’ve hoped for, and that Tikkun has endorsed, including a provision to recognize Israel “as the Democratic State of the Jewish people with due regard to the full equality of the Palestinians in the Israeli State…”, with parallel language for Palestine as an Arab state with equal rights for non-Arab and non-Muslim citizens.
It further calls for immediate renewed negotiations on borders and other outstanding issues, with an understanding that the end result will not be the pre-June ’67 lines, but that modifications will be negotiated on a basis of one-to-one territorial swaps. Moreover, it “Establishes a Nonviolent Israeli-Palestinian Committee, … to accelerate the peaceful solidification of the two states, and meanwhile to ensure that facts on the ground and the use of violence do not imperil the security and viability of the two states….”
I wish their document had somehow incorporated the pioneering ideas of the Geneva Accord on Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees, but it does mention resolving these contentious issues in a positive spirit:
…. including justice for Palestinian and Jewish refugees and the Jewish settlers in the West Bank, the continued unity of Jerusalem, as well as security concerns for all, for Israel in particular, and calls for their nonviolent resolution by negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis, with the facilitation by all concerned of the fullest solidification of the two democratic states living in peace side by side.
On a less positive note, we have Israeli-Arab journalist Khaled Abu Toameh arguing in the Jerusalem Post that Islamic Jihad poses a serious threat to Hamas power in Gaza. Having seen Abu Toameh speak before Jewish audiences in New York, I know that he is somewhere between a realist and a cynic. He has no basis for predicting, as he does, that Islamic Jihad will one day take over from Hamas in Gaza, but it is a danger. This should underline the vital need to accelerate diplomatic efforts to end the conflict. Although a dark force in its own right, Hamas has been capable of curtailing attacks on Israel from other groups and from within its own ranks, as well as negotiating agreements. Relative to Islamic Jihad, it is an adult in the room. (Read Gershon Baskin on his dealings with Hamas.)