Zahava Gal-On, head of the Israeli Meretz Party, submitted a draft for a new “peace plan” to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and called on Israel to support the Palestinian statehood application at the United Nations.In her plan, Gal-On calls for a set time frame for the peace process, and for replacing the Oslo accords signed between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization.
She said that Israel “should be the first to welcome Palestine as an independent state”.
Gal-On made her statements to Israel’s daily, Haaretz; she said that an independent Palestinian state resembles an Israeli interest; therefore, Israel must be the first to recognize this state.
She stated that Israel must declare an end to the conflict with the Palestinians, without pre-conditions, and that the Palestinian state should be established in all territories occupied by Israel in 1967, including East Jerusalem, with a mutually agree upon land swap, and in return, Israel gets to keep all of its settlement blocs, certain strategic hills and the Jordan Valley.
As for the issue of Jerusalem, the Israeli official said that the solution should be based on the initiative that was presented by former U.S. President, Bill Clinton, calling for handing control of Arab neighborhoods to the Palestinians, while Jewish areas in occupied East Jerusalem remain under full Israeli control. Holy sites in the city should be under international control, she said.
She called on the Israeli government to stop all of its settlement activities in the West Bank, and added that halting settlement activities will help restart the peace process with the Palestinians.
The plan further calls on Israel to officially adopt the Arab Peace Initiative, and called on Arab states to engage in talks with Israel based on the Initiative (presented in 2002 offering complete normalization with Israel in exchange for withdrawing from the Palestinian territories – Arab States re- endorsed the plan in 2007 – Israel never submitted an official response).
She said that the main focus now should be on resolving the conflict with the Palestinians as this issue is the core of the conflict in the Middle East.
Her plan grants one year for extensive peace talks followed by four years of implementation of all resulting agreements.
As for the occupied Syrian Golan Heights, Gal-On said that once stability in regained in the country, and a new government is elected, Israel should reach a peace agreement with Damascus based on withdrawing from the Heights after setting clear security arrangements supervised by the United Nations and the International Community.
Israel was established in 1948 on %78 of historic Palestine, displacing hundreds of thousands of Palestinians while armed militias destroyed hundreds of Palestinian villages and towns.
In 1967, Israel occupied the remaining %22 of Palestine (West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem) and consecutive Israeli government continued to construct and expand Jewish-only settlements on the expense of the Palestinians despite the fact that these settlements are in violation of International Law.
The Jordan Valley area in the West Bank used to be regarded as the fruit basket of Palestine, but Israel sealed it off and continued to build settlements and military basis.
The new plan seems to ignore, or at least postpone, core issues of the conflict, including the internationally-guaranteed Right of Return of the Palestinian Refugees.
In 2010, the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank refused to resume peace talks with Israel due to its ongoing violations, and demanded the Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu to halt all settlement activities.
But Netanyahu said that Israel “has the right to build settlements”, and claimed that the issues of borders and settlements are to be determined during peace talks. He claimed that the Palestinian demands are “preconditions meant at stalling the talks”.