UNITED STATES OF ISRAEL/PALESTINE
UNITED STATES OF ISRAEL/PALESTINE
This is a road map for creating a Union of Israel-Palestine. This proposal gives Israelis and Palestinians most of what they would have if they had separate countries but organized to function as a united country that guarantees security and prosperity for Jews and Palestinians. The basis of this union is a federation like the United States of America that ensures a Jewish state and a Palestinian state joined together based on equal rights.
Currently, there are approximately six million Jews and six million Palestinians in Israel-Palestine. However, most Palestinians are not citizens of Israel. They are stateless and deprived of equal rights.
When Israel became a state in 1948, it demolished most Palestinian towns and forced most Palestinians out of their homes. Israeli leaders at the time believed that if Israel prevented Palestinians from returning to their homes their children would eventually forget about Palestine. Israel's plan failed. The latest war on Gaza has revealed that not only did Palestinian children not forget about Palestine, but Israel is now fighting the grandchildren of those Palestinians who were forced out of their homes. Consequently, Israel will have to accept the reality that Palestinians will never forget about Palestine and Israel will have to make peace with Palestinians by accepting them as equal citizens of Israel-Palestine and both Jews and Palestinians will have to accept that Palestinians and Jews are native to Palestine-Israel.
ROADMAP TO A SHARED FUTURE.
This Roadmap envisions one country designed as a federation of two States, Israel, and Palestine, where each State contributes 50% to the federal parliament regardless of population.
This road map envisions two people sharing one united country where each side is guaranteed equality, freedom, civil rights, and security. The reference to "States" means two sovereign entities like New York and New Jersey linked together to form one country like the United States of America.
PHYSICAL AND POLITICAL BOUNDARIES
There shall be no physical barriers between states. However, the administration of a federation requires legal boundaries to determine the jurisdiction of the State government.
As to the boundaries of the states, this should be easy to agree on since boundaries do not impact freedom of movement, commerce, or where people choose to live. As a default solution, the boundaries may be the 1967 lines. The borders may also be based on demographics, but this proposal envisions a country where the states have a substantial number of people from the other side living in it. For example, all the settlers should remain in Palestine and all Palestinians in Israel should remain part of Israel.
FEDERAL, STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS
The federal parliament shall be divided 50/50 regardless of population, (like the U.S. Senate). Israel and Palestine will each contribute 50% to the federal parliament regardless of which State Jews and Palestinians choose to live in. The purpose of the 50/50 split is to provide each side with security, equality and to make certain that the legislature will not discriminate against a particular state or group, and to legislate for the benefit of the country.
The federal government shall have specific authority that is given to it by the constitution. It should not interfere with state governments but will guarantee certain fundamental rights for all people. Thus, the federal government could prevent Israel or Palestine from passing laws that discriminate against people because of their religion, race, or gender.
The Federal government shall also use its resources to assist Palestine in building its infrastructure and implementing projects to connect the highways, railways, and other infrastructure of Israel and Palestine.
All citizens of a state shall have the right to vote and run for public office. The state government shall be responsible for the general welfare of its residents. State governments shall have authority over all issues that concern their residents but don't violate federal law.
As to municipal elections, they will be based on one person/one vote. Municipal districts may be created around specific community concentrations. For example, Jews who live in Bethlehem or Palestinians who live in Tel Aviv shall have the right to vote and run for municipal elections regardless of their religion. However, community concentrations such as the Har Homa Jewish settlement which falls within the jurisdiction of Bethlehem or Beit Sahour may become their municipality. The idea here is to give Jewish and Palestinian communities most of what they want if they do not violate the rights of others. Municipal governments may not discriminate against residents based on religion, ethnicity, or gender. Municipalities must provide all residents with equal services.
President or Prime Minster
The federal Prime Minister may be selected by the federal parliament. Having the parliament make the selection is appropriate because a 50/50 parliament is more likely to produce a leader who will strive to serve all the people. However, the same may be accomplished by electing the prime minister by a popular vote of the entire country.
Jerusalem shall be the Capital of Israel-Palestine and there shall be no restrictions on the number of people who travel, visit, or reside in Jerusalem.
The federal police shall have specific federal jurisdiction throughout the entire country and shall enforce laws that are within the jurisdiction of the federal government. The federal government shall recruit and train federal police from both communities in substantially equal numbers. In addition to federal jurisdiction, the federal police shall prevent attacks against any religious community, group, or ethnicity and ensure free and fair commerce throughout the country.
STATE POLICE AND MUNICIPAL POLICE
State police shall have general police powers with jurisdiction over the entire state. Municipal police shall have general police powers delegated by the state.
The federal government shall have exclusive authority to establish a military to defend the Union of Israel-Palestine. The federal government shall recruit military personnel in equal numbers if possible.
RIGHT OF RETURN IS A BIRTHRIGHT
Every Jew and every Palestinian in the world shall have a birthright to return to the Union of Israel-Palestine. The federation shall accept the return of all Jews and Palestinians from all over the world.
There shall be NO restrictions on interstate commerce within the federation. No State may favor its industry to the detriment of the industry of the other State. No State may restrict the flow of goods from the other State or tax goods from the other State differently than it taxes goods of its own State.
The Union of Israel-Palestine shall have the same currency, no tariffs, and free trade. The federal government shall have exclusive jurisdiction to regulate interstate commerce.
Courts and state/federal law
The States may use religion as a basis for law such as family law. However, a State may not compel religious-based laws on any resident of the State. Each resident of each State shall have the right to opt out of religious laws and rely on secular laws by seeking the jurisdiction of the federal courts.
The federal courts shall have parallel jurisdiction to State courts, but the federal courts shall only apply secular law which is the law of the federal government. The residents of the federation shall have the right to submit their legal matters to the State courts or the federal courts. For example, a Muslim, Christian, or Jew who wants a divorce may file in State court which may apply Islamic, Christian, or Jewish law. However, if she wants to submit her dispute to the secular federal court, she shall have that right.
COMPENSATION AND REPARATION
To help Palestinians reverse the loss from being evicted from their homes the federal government must contribute to building the infrastructure of the West Bank and Gaza. The federation must assist in developing the Palestinian areas on par with Jewish areas.
The Israeli state must address neglected Palestinian areas within Israel.
This solution which is based on equal rights for Jews and Palestinians is the only solution proven to work. To illustrate, consider that Israel divides Palestinians into four different categories. The first category is for Palestinians who hold Israeli citizenship. Those Palestinians have the most rights in Israel-Palestine. The second category is those Palestinians who live in Jerusalem. They are not citizens of Israel but are legal residents. They have fewer rights than Palestinians who are citizens of Israel, but they have freedom of movement. The third category is for Palestinians who live in the Westbank. They are neither citizens nor residents of Israel and have limited freedom of movement. The fourth category is for those Palestinians who live in Gaza. They are not citizens or residents of Israel, and they have no freedom of movement and their living situation is described as an open-air prison. Today, the best coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians is found among those who hold Israeli citizenship, and who have freedom of movement and freedom of employment. The worst relations are with residents of Gaza who have no rights in Israel even though 80% of Gazans originate from Israel but were forced out in 1948. Thus, there is a relationship between the rights and equality that Israel gives Palestinians and how Palestinians respond to Israel. It is no coincidence that the Palestinians with the most rights in Israel are NOT throwing rocks or rockets at Israelis.