I am waiting for the Palestinian people and the Arab States of the region to say a very simple thing: ?We are prepared to accept and live in peace with Israel.? And I am waiting for Israel to say that it is prepared to live in peace with the Palestinian state.
If the various parties will put their signatures to a treaty affirming the above, there is a basis for a settlement of the conflict. If this cannot be done, then Israel has every right to feel that it is the intention of the Arab community to push them off the land and into the sea.
Everything in the current conflict is negotiable except for one issue. Closing up the settlement of Jerusalem as capitol of both parties. Allocating water resources, establishing borders, everything can be successfully resolved, except the demand that the land from which the Palestinians fled 50 years ago, be returned. Since both parties cannot physically occupy the same house, and if the Israelis are the ones to leave, there is no more Israel. There will have to be some adjustments in the form of money to compensate the families who left. There is no other way.
Just as the Jewish families forced out by the Nazis had to accept cash compensation for their losses, so will the Palestinians who can then use the cash to start purchasing property in Israel if they want to return.
But the first step has to be a declaration that both Israel and the Palestinian state have a right to exist behind secure borders, acknowledged as such by all the other states of the area. They must learn to follow this guiding principle: Live and let live.
- Emmanuel Hildes is a USF student.