Yossi Melman at PostGlobal

Yossi Melman

Tel Aviv, Israel

Yossi Melman is a senior commentator for the Israeli daily Haaretz. He specializes in intelligence, security, terrorism and strategic issues. An author of seven books on these topics, his most recent book, The Nuclear Sphinx of Tehran: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the State of Iran was published recently by Carroll & Graf. Close.

Yossi Melman

Tel Aviv, Israel

Yossi Melman is a senior commentator for the Israeli daily Haaretz. He specializes in intelligence, security, terrorism and strategic issues. An author of seven books on these topics, his most recent book, The Nuclear Sphinx of Tehran: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the State of Iran was published recently by Carroll & Graf. more »

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Forget Annapolis: Nine Steps to Peace

The Current Discussion: With the Israeli re-invasion of Gaza, it's clear that the "Annapolis Peace Process" is collapsing. Does it matter? Who's to blame?

Who’s to blame? Nobody and everyone. The Palestinians. The Arab world. The Israelis and the Bush administration. All are to blame for showing lack of vision, willingness and readiness to compromise and achieve genuine peace.

I don't like to boast about my previous writings in the style of I TOLD YOU SO. But I did. This is what I wrote four months ago, in Nov 2007 before the Annapolis Summit was convened:

"Since THE Camp David peace treaty between Israel and Egypt, back in 1978, there have been so many bilateral, multilateral, regional, international, and you-name-it summits and conferences to enhance peace, security, stability and tranquility in the Arab-Palestinian-Israeli conflict that only obsessed media and news freaks can recall all of them. Annapolis is probably going to be more of the same.
Like most past meetings, this one began with high expectations that were eventually shattered by its participants’ narrow-mindedness and lack of vision. Annapolis is doomed to the same fate."

It was so easy to forecast the failure of Annapolis. It was easy because the Bush administration and all the other participants, representing more than 100 states and organizations, had no real intention to really do something about the disaster in our region. Then, as now, they paid only lip service to the "PEACE PROCESS.”

All involved parties know very well what has to be done to solve the problems, to reduce the tensions and put out the fire – to achieve peace. You don't need to have a crystal ball to envision the future. The recipe is here in our hands and we all know it by heart.

Here are my ideas about how to enhance the process and achieve a real peace. You may call it the Melman Nine-Point Plan.

1. The world has to acknowledge and declare unequivocally that Hamas is a group of Muslim fundamentalists and terrorists, sponsored by Iran. They hate Israel and don't recognize our right to exist, not to mention the right for self-determination. They hate the U.S. and the West and see them as the source of all evil on earth. They are an anti-democratic movement seeking to establish a theocracy. They toppled the legitimate government of the Palestinian Authority in a military coup.

2. If the Arab world, especially Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE, really care about the fate of the Palestinians, they must stop their financial, military and political support for Hamas. The moment Hamas loses its constant supply of weapons and money from the above-mentioned states, it will cease to control Gaza.

3. Gaza would return to its original rulers: the Palestinian Authority, led by Mohammad Abbas (Abu Mazen).

4. The rocket shelling of Israeli towns (which is a war crime) would come to an end.

5. In return, Israel must stop all its military operations in Gaza and the West Bank.

6. After securing a stable and permanent cease-fire, an intensive round of negotiation will be opened to conclude a peace treaty based on four central principles:
A. Israel has to agree to withdraw from all the occupied West Bank lands and dismantle most of the Jewish settlements there, while guaranteeing its security needs.
B. A Palestinian State will be declared and recognized by the UN. The Palestinian State will be fully demilitarized.
C. Arab States and the Arab League have to recognize Israel and form full diplomatic and commercial relations with it.
D. Israel within its 1948 recognized borders will not accept Palestinian refugees.

7. An International Fund has to be established, with monies contributed mainly by the rich Saudi Arabia, UAE, Russia (which is also a very wealthy nation), U.S., EU, China and Japan to compensate the 1948 Palestinian refugees for the loss of their of their property. The refugees can resettle in the newly established Palestinian State and or Arab states.

8. An international force will be deployed to supervise and implement the agreement.

9. The U.S. administration will exert its ultimate power and influence to coerce all parties to accept this international agreement. If a party or parties refuse to cooperate with the agreement, the U.S. will break off its relations with that party and together with the UN Security Council will impose sanctions.

Simple, isn't it?

Of course. But it's easier said than done. Why? Because of what was said in the opening sentences of this blog post: narrow-minded leaders lack courage and vision. As long as there is no real change in individual and group thinking of the Middle East’s leaders, the region is doomed to paralysis.

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