(…it’s up to them…)

In that grand asylum of that region we all call – The Middle East – its inmates continue to engage in useless never ending conflicts of one kind or another; and, none has lasted longer nor been as mindlessly useless as the Israeli-Palestinian one.

For well over a half century both of them have continuously demonstrated their own version of the old adage: If you keep doing the same thing over and over again, while expecting different results, you’re not just stupid…you’re insane! Now, here we go again, with yet another American Secretary of State stepping onto the same old treadmill in an illusory search for a peaceful resolution between them. Which raises a troubling questions here…are we Americans just as insane as they are?

Sometimes real friends have to be blunt about what the realities of a situation are, which in this instance is this: no amount of outside third-party involvement with either advice, support, encouragement, bribery, or even a bit of coercion, will ever bring about such a desired result to this ongoing family feud. It’s a question of making a choice  for either endless war…or permanent peace; and, to quote from the sage words of Marcus Aurelius…it’s up to them…no one else can make that choice for them.

That being said, instead of approaching the problem in the same old way, perhaps it’s time to try something else, something that will show the rest of the world that neither of them is actually “insane” or bent on mutual destruction.

So, with no other purpose in mind beyond creating a rational basis for serious and real negotiations to achieve a peaceful resolution to their conflict, here’s an idea for taking only one small step to that end. The idea is this: let both the Israeli Knesset and the Palestinian Parliament simultaneously convoke special sessions, preempting all other efforts for this process to mutually re-iterate the following joint declarations, to wit:

“Since neither of us can in logic or common sense deny to the other what each wants for itself, we hereby unequivocally declare in the name of our respective peoples, that both have the right to exist as national states, in peace, if not amity, with each other; and, to that end, we hereby agree to and call for having a joint Commission tasked with producing a proposed definitive agreement for peace between us within ninety days, said commission to be composed of highly respected and select citizens from each other’s academic, business, political, military, and religious communities, so as to have as broad a cross-section of people as possible to be members of it.  Following their completion of that proposed agreement, it will then be immediately referred in simultaneous referendum to both peoples for their approval and ratification.

We further agree that if two thirds majorities from both approve and ratify that proposal, both sides agree to abide by its provisions and immediately work in concert to implement these.

As a sign of mutual good faith, we further agree to cease all hostile or violent activities against each other for the entirety of that process. Anyone violating this period of non-violence in any way will be mutually declared – hostis humanis generis – a common enemy to all, and dealt with accordingly. As a further sign of goodwill, all persons currently detained by each party will be released to the other immediately, with only the proviso that such persons agree to abide by these provisions.”

Or words to that effect.

For such a Commission to be effective, however, it would have to be completely sequestered during that ninety day period (much like a jury), to ensure that no outside or third-party influences are allowed to intrude upon their deliberations and negotiations.

One of the best possible locations for that purpose could be the Grand Canaries islands, in the Atlantic, off the west coast of Africa. Being an island location it would be relatively easy to provide an absolutely secure and sequestered place for it. Furthermore, in terms of an environment conducive to accommodation and goodwill, it would be a hard to find a better location for this purpose. About the only other suitable one might be St. Helena, further out in the Southern Atlantic, but that would not be as amiable an environment as the Canaries.

No doubt there are many who will say that all of this is just an exercise in wishful thinking. Our response to that is this: Has anyone come up with a better idea yet?