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"Oslo is dead, long life to peace!"

Avraham Burg's proposals on the Mid-East

Avraham Burg is President emeritus of the Knesseth, the Israeli Parliament, author of provocative essays such as Defeating Hitler, and he always takes part in the most advanced discussions about democracy. He has also been a member of Gariwo's Scientific Commission for many years. 
He is a founder of the Kreisky Forum for International Dialogue, an association of Israelis and Palestinians struggling to solve the Mid-Eastern conflict. On March, 29 he published in Haaretz some thoughts about the future of this endeavour in the light of the fact that the Oslo Accords seem to have been annulled by the ongoing settlements on the Israeli side and the incitations to hatred by a part of the Imams and the other influent Palestinian exponents. 

Concrete proposals

Other than for the ethical call for peace, dialogue and reconciliation, Burg's reasoning draws our attention because of the way he and his group articulated a range of political proposals: 

"- Every person living (or possessing residence status) between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea will be guaranteed equal personal, political, economic and social rights. These rights include: defense and security; receiving equal treatment free of discrimination based on gender, race, ethnicity or religion; freedom of movement; ownership and possession of property; legal access; and election and being elected.

- The collective rights of Jewish Israelis and Palestinians - linguistic, cultural, religious and political - will be guaranteed in every political framework. It is understood that neither side will have exclusive sovereignty on the entire land area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea (including exclusive ownership of land, exclusive access to natural resources, etc.).

- All exclusive privileges currently accorded to Israeli Jews will be canceled, among them: land ownership and access to natural resources. All the resources - material and political - will be redistributed on the basis of principles of restorative justice.

- Recognizing the Palestinian right of return as expressed in UN General Assembly Resolution 194. Implementing this decision will take into account the current reality. A lack of moral and political justice of the expulsion of Palestinians in the past won't be corrected by creating new injustices.

- The new political institutions will enact democratic immigration laws for regulating citizenship. At the same time, Jews and Palestinians living in the Diaspora will enjoy immunity in situations of danger (according to UN decisions). They will have a special status in the citizenship process relative to all other ethnic and national groups.

Like many, I believe with all my heart that mutual recognition based on these principles can bring forth an alternative political reality in which memories of exile and expulsions will turn into a comprehensive implementation of rights, citizenship and belonging. Loss will turn into life and despair will turn into hope".

22 April 2013

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